Frank H. Cicerale
January 12, 2007
Photos By: Randy Lorentzen

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Jonathan Ozeretny is used to extreme, over-the-top cars. The 25-year-old Nitto Tires marketing manager drives a Vortech-fed '03 Mach 1 Mustang daily, so when it came time to find a car suitable to promote the Nitto name, the final product had to take things to the extreme. With the advent of the S197 Mustang, it was only natural to grab one of Ford's retro-Stangs and turn it into a showcase of what can be done both mechanically and visually.

"The car was bought three weeks before the '05 SEMA show as the Nitto Tire booth vehicle," Jonathan explains. There was one slight problem, however. With the car's pink slip changing hands a mere three weeks before the biggest show of the year, there was little time to wave the magic wand over the flanks of the new Pony. "It was decided that for the '05 SEMA show, just the exterior and appearance would be modified," Jonathan says. "For the '06 SEMA show, it would be in the Nitto Tire booth, fully rebuilt."

With a plan of attack settled on, it was time to get cracking on the visual portion of the car. Stance, paint, and the critical wheel/tire combo were needed to not only make the car look good, but to draw people in. South County Customs got the call, and the result speaks for itself.

Enhancements of the classic-looking lines come in the form of a 3dCarbon "Boy Racer" body kit. After the new front and rear bumpers, side skirts, door caps, and fender flares made their way onto the Stang, an RKSport ram-air fiberglass hood replaced the factory piece. The old-school look of the hood is combined with functionality, as it works as a fresh-air induction system to feed the Three-Valve modular engine between the rails. After the body components' installation was finalized, South County contrasted the Stang's factory black finish with Mercedes Benz silver paint. Finishing off the outside looks of the car is the custom pinstriping job done by Jeff Styles, along with a billet grille, quarter-window louvers, a rear spoiler, tinted windows, and a Steeda rear emblem.

Setting off the looks are the 20-inch Konig Beyond rims. As you might expect, Nitto rubber is found on all four corners. Nitto Extreme 555-series shoes wrap around the menacing-looking Konigs, with 255/35ZR20s up front and 285/30ZR20s under the rear quarter-panels.

Now that's extreme, but honestly, did you expect otherwise?

With the Stang being one of the main focal points of the Nitto booth at SEMA, Jonathan couldn't let the appearance modifications stop with just paint, body components, wheels, and tires. For the interior of the car, South County gave the cabin a classic yet high-tech look and a custom feel. The stock gauges are complemented by a set of dashboard-mounted Stewart Warners that give the Mustang a musclecar appearance. Opposing the classic feel of the gauges is the high-tech look of the carbon-fiber interior trim, while suede inserts on the seats and door panels scream customization. Tunes come from the high-end stereo system complete with audio and visual improvements.

Not one to have a car with just a pretty face, Jonathan put the spurs to the Pony on both the induction and exhaust sides. A Vortech V-2 S-Trim blower pumping 12-13 pounds of pres-surized air into the modular engine found its way into the engine bay. Emptying the Three-Valve 4.6's combustion chambers of the spent fumes is a job handed to a pair of JBA headers mated to Flowmaster mufflers. Keeping the blown mod mill cool under fire is a Snow Performance water/ methanol injection kit, while a Vortech tune handles the fuel and timing tasks. Backing the powerful Ford is the stock five-speed transmission, although the stock clutch and flywheel were ditched for Fidanza replacements. Gear selection is handled by a Steeda Sport shifter.

The Stang pounds the pavement with a fierce hand thanks to numerous suspension upgrades both front and back. Tokico D-spec shocks made their way onto the front end along with a Steeda sway bar, while the 8.8-inch rear, now featuring 4.10 cogs, is kept in check by Tokico shocks, Metco control arms, and a Steeda sway bar. Filling up the huge area behind the 20-inch Konigs are Steeda 14-inch stoppers up front with accompanying Steeda brake upgrades out back.

"Most people think that with the bigger 20-inch wheels, the car drives poorly," Jonathan says. "However, with the full Steeda suspension, it drives smooth, though the part I like best about the car is the sound. We didn't put any cats on it, so it's extremely loud."