Mmfp 0802 06 Pl Custom Interior
Frank H. Cicerale
February 1, 2008

Unless you've been living under a rock recently, you've probably seen these catchy credit-card commercials. You know, the ones in which prices or products are listed, followed by payment on the charge card, until the commercial gets to something emotional and caring. The price for that deed is termed as "priceless." Imagine one going something like this: New Mustang-$26,000. Modifications-$17,000. Being able to show that pesky neighborhood Vette your ever-diminishing taillights-priceless.

Another motorized, gasoline-burning, boost-induced example of that catchy commercial comes in the form of a certain '95 Mustang GT convertible from New Boston, New Hampshire. Owned by Charlie and Monica Grandll, this SN-95 is the epitome of turning a standard-issue Mustang into something truly priceless.

The GT is the second Stang owned by Charlie, the previous one being an '89 Fox-body. "I sold the '89 GT when we moved to New Hampshire," he says. "We were both just out of college, and money was tight. Monica wanted to go to cosmetology school. I thought that was more important than the car, thus it was sold."

The crown jewel of the Mustang's topless cabin is the custom-fabricated instrument panel, designed by Charlie. Wanting something different that would match the theme of the car, he drummed up this custom instrument panel that features a set of speakers and a host of Nordskog digital gauges. Combined with the custom-fabbed center console, the inside of the car breathes unmeasured value.

Three years later, Monica was out of school and cutting hair. Life was good, and a chance drive-by of a Ford dealership in the summer of 1997 proved to be timely. "We saw an all-white Mustang convertible on the used-car lot, and Monica fell in love with it," Charlie says. "The Mustang was still there in the fall, so we struck a deal and brought the 'vert home with us."

After an exhaust system and a cold-air kit were installed, Monica spent the next couple of years cruising around in the drop-top Pony. When she and Charlie decided the car needed to be louder and faster, they discovered it would take almost five years of labor, love, and the sizeable parts-purchasing power of plastic before they could complete the car their way.

The topless Pony now sports the venerable 5.0 small-block Ford, which has retained most of its stock characteristics. The bore and stroke dimensions remained how Ford intended. In fact, the bottom end wasn't even cracked open. All of the power-producing parts were bolted to the top end of the 302, starting with a set of AFR 165 aluminum heads, worked over by Ed Curtis of Flowtech Induction (Coventry, Rhode Island), who equipped the heads with a set of Scorpion 1.7-ratio roller rockers as well as some other fancy work. Once the heads were on, Ed made sure the castings would be maximized, stuffing in a custom roller bumpstick. While the specs of the camshaft are secret, it was ground with the idea of forced induction in mind.

What BEGAN as a basic, 5.0 small-block Ford has transformed into a shiny yet potent powerplant. The 302 now sports a set of AFR heads, a killer Hogan sheetmetal upper intake manifold, and the power-producing properties of a centrifugal blower.

With the heads and cam ready to flow some serious air and make even more power, Charlie knew that a restriction in regards to the intake would kill the entire combination, therefore a polished Hogan sheetmetal upper and a GT-40 lower intake were laid between the heads. Since the cam was designed for a blower, it was only natural that a centrifugal huffer would make its way under the hood. Charlie went the tried-and-true route, picking up a Vortech V-1 S-Trim, which packs 8 pounds of boosted New England air into the powerplant via a K&N filter, a Pro-M 80mm mass air meter, and a 70mm Accufab throttle body complete with a Fox conversion. Feeding the expected fire in the combustion chambers is a 255-lph in-tank fuel pump that pushes the good stuff into the 302 by way of a set of 42-pound injectors. The ignition sequence is fired each time the MSD 6AL box teams with an MSD Blaster 2 coil and Autolite plugs. All of this gets a signal from Mission Control-that being the stock computer that was loaded with a JMS chip stocked with an SCT tune. With the faster part of the equation solved, the question was how to make the car louder. Charlie took a cue from the New Edge Roush cars and coupled a set of Ford Racing Performance Parts shorty headers to a BBK x pipe, DynoMax bullet mufflers, and a side-exit exhaust system measuring 2 1/42 inches in diameter.