October 1, 2007

Once the engine was back together, the car had to be sent over to XX Tuning in East Hartford - about 20 miles away. The SCT custom tuning wizards there did their thing and were able to coax 438 RWHP, along with 420 RWTQ, out of the engine. With that work completed, Santina fell in love with her car all over again. "My car is so much fun now. Even though I had a string of bad luck, it was all worth it. It gets so much attention now, it's an awesome car - better than before." Just in case you might think that this 'Stanger could be so smitten by a simple engine change, you need to know that there is a whole lot more to this Pony than just a rebuilt motor.

Beyond Skin Deep
Along the way, Santina has been investing in balanced street performance. The most significant project was the conversion of the 'vert's back end from a Mustang's regular stick axle to the independent rear suspension from a 2003 SVT Cobra. This is just the thing for cruising the Connecticut byways on a sunny day, regardless of whether you're just chilling or needing to squeeze it a little bit. Along with the IRS came the additional benefit of bigger rear brakes and Bilstein gas pressure shock absorbers. Not to leave the front end out of balance with the rear, our Santina has also upgraded the front binders to set of Rotora 6-piston brake calipers and 14-inch rotors.

Attached to those brake rotors are a set of classic 18-inch by nine-inch, chromed 2000 Cobra R wheels, shod with 275/35-18 Yokohama performance radials. This combination admirably does the job of looking great and handling well. A set of Maximum Motorsports' subframe connectors contributes mightily to the handling capability as well. Rounding out this car's suite of enjoyable capabilities are a Pioneer stereo head unit, augmented by a pair of 10-inch Solobarics subwoofers.

When you measure up this car, the only conclusion you can come to is 'well rounded.' Santina has brought this Pony along from a factory stock example to a worthy street cruiser - one that has the brawn to back up its good looks. Even though life has taken a couple of swipes at her, she has rolled with the punches and recovered well. Should misfortune darken your doorstep sometime in the future, remember this example and, as Santina did... suck it up. After all, life is too short to drive an ugly car.

Santina Giuliano's 2000 Mustang GT
Engine
Ford 4.6-liter SOHC V8

Engine Modifications
Manley forged connecting rods; Diamond forged aluminum dish top pistons, piston pins; VT Engines' Stage II blower cams; Comp Cams' valve springs; Stage III port & polished cylinder heads by Scrivener Performance; ARP hardware for mains and cylinder head studs; Kenne Bell 1.7-liter supercharger with 8 lb pulley, intake manifold; BBK 65mm throttle body; Ford Racing 42 lb/hr fuel injectors; Team Breed cam covers; Bassani mid-length headers, crossover pipe; Flowmaster American Thunder 2.5" mufflers; Fluidyne aluminum radiator; SCT custom tuning by XX Tuning, East Hartford, CT

Driveline
S.P.E.C. Stage III clutch disk and pressure plate; B&M short shifter

Chassis
Maximum Motorsports' subframe connectors; 2003 SVT Cobra rear brakes; Rotora 6-piston front brake calipers with 14" rotors

Interior
Pioneer head unit; Solobarics 10" subwoofers

Suspension
2003 SVT Cobra independent rear suspension; KYB-AGX front struts; Bilstein rear shock absorbers;

Wheels And Tires
Chromed 2000 Cobra R 18" x 9" wheels with Yokohama tires

Numbers
438 RWHP, 420 RWTQ