Frank H. Cicerale
September 1, 2007
Photos By: Peter S. Linney
Model: Luana Lani

California is known for its pristine beaches, sunny skies, beautiful women, and hot car culture. It's also a fine place to grow citrus fruit. So what do you get when you combine a ripe orange with a ripe Mustang? How about Miguel Valenzuela's sweet '07 Pony?

"For as long as I can remember, Mustangs have had a following," Miguel says. "Whether you like the classic Mustangs of the '60s or the newer, redesigned versions, the Mustang is considered an all-American musclecar."

Numerous body components were switched around to give Miguel's '07 GT the proper attitude. The factory hood was ditched in favor of a Steeda cowl piece, while 3dCarbon front and rear bumpers were installed. The paint comes courtesy of Miguel's own design.

Wanting to showcase his own version of Ford's latest ground-based rocket ship, Miguel, a team member of Citrus Motors in Ontario, California, took a brand-new S197 Mustang off the lot, ran it through a squeezer, and created a delectable snack of a car. With all of the dealership's resources at his fingertips, it took only two months to create his rolling masterpiece.

"I wanted to show how far dealerships have come with accessories by taking this particular automotive icon to the next level," Miguel says. "The vision of this car was a show-quality Mustang that would appeal to almost anyone yet could still be used as a daily vehicle."

With that in mind, the Three-Valve powerplant was left mostly stock. We say mostly because taking a gander at the top of the modular engine allows you to see the inherent power-producing abilities of a polished Saleen supercharger. The Saleen blower helps the Mustang make an estimated 400 rwhp-not bad for a daily driver.

Exhausting the fumes from the engine are a pair of Edelbrock shorty headers that dump the gasses into a MagnaFlow after-cat exhaust system. A K&N cold-air kit helps the air flow into the engine, while a DiabloSport chip and a MAFia mass air meter allow the computer to keep up with the extra air being ingested.

The drivetrain also went relatively untouched, though the stock Ford shifter was swapped out in favor of a B&M gear selector. The stock gears were then dumped aside and replaced with a set of Ford Racing Performance Parts 3.73 cogs. Eibach front and rear springs get the car down and dirty, while improving handling and stopping are a pair of front and rear Eibach sway bars and DBA Gold-Series discs.

While performance was a consideration for Miguel's Mustang, his focus was the car's outward appearance. All of the custom bodywork was done in-house at Citrus Motors. The stock, flat GT hood was set aside and replaced with a Steeda cowl piece. A 3dCarbon bumper and a grille that relocates the foglights to the center change the look of the front end, while Saleen H.I.D. headlamps give the car a European look when the lights are on. Moving to the rear, you'll find a 3dCarbon bumper, while taking care of the roadster look is a custom tonneau cover. Also giving the drop-top some looks is the lightbar that shows up when the top is dropped. Of course, all of this needed to be painted, so Miguel dug out the paint gun and went to town.

"I wanted a color that would stand out," he says. "Once I saw the Lamborghini Mercilago Orange, I knew that was the color." DuPont was called upon to provide the supercar hue, as well as the white and silver to go along with the orange. After hitting the flanks of the Mustang above the bodyline with the orange, the rest of the car was shot in the white, with the silver as an accent. Miguel went so far as to accent the rear decklid and fender emblems with the orange. Completing the Pony's outstanding look are a set of AF 116 Asanti wheels. The 22x9 fronts and 22x10.5 rears are surrounded by Hankook 265/30/22 meats up front and 295/25/22 shoes out back.

Except for the polished Saleen supercharger sitting on top of the factory-equipped Three-Valve, Miguel's modular mill is pretty much stock internally. Accompanying the blower are induction and exhaust improvements that allow the car to register an estimated 400 rwhp.

Miguel didn't expend all of his attention and energy on the exterior, though. As a matter of fact, the interior of his S197 is just as flattering as the outside. Airstream (Ontario, California) was enlisted to recondition the inside of the car to the same standard as the outside, and the result is awe-inspiring. The stock seats were re-covered in black and white leather, while giving the dual buckets some flare are the orange stitching and the embroidered running pony on both seatbacks. A set of Auto Meter Nexus gauges made their way into the gauge pod that now resides on the center of the dash. The one thing those who slide into the seats of Miguel's Mustang are sure to notice is the custom-made 31-piece carbon-fiber dash kit. The instrument panel, dashboard, and even the steering-wheel spokes had the stock plastic replaced with the high-tech material.

Speaking of high-tech, Miguel made sure that when the top was down, the tunes coming from the car would be heard loud and clear. The Sound Shop (Chino, California) installed a high-end stereo system that revolves around MTX speakers and a Pioneer AVIC-Z1 navigation unit. Open the trunk and you'll find a TV screen and amplifiers. Glance at the back of the headrests and both of the rear-seat riders can enjoy watching a flick on the miniscreens in front of them.

"Within two months, the vision became a reality, and we had a Mustang that was modified in almost every way," Miguel says.

It looks like what started out as an orange on a tree is now one heck of a glass of OJ-this one has a kick to it, though.