Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsFeatured Vehicles
1995 Mustang GT Convertible - Priceless
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."
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.
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.
Knowing that the factory AODE would need some help in handling the dyno-proven 440 rwhp, Charlie had Art Carr rework said transmission. The beefed-up slushbox houses an Art Carr 3,000-stall converter and a shift kit within the case. Cooling the transmission fluid to manageable temperatures is a B&M trans cooler, while an aluminum driveshaft from FRPP links the automatic trans to the 8.8-inch, 3.73-equipped rear.
Charlie couldn't let Monica tool around in a boring white Mustang, so he enlisted the help of some friends and proceeded to shampoo and rinse the Mustang in some high-performance conditioner. He started with the undercarriage of the Pony, where he swapped in a UPR tubular K-member as well as a set of the company's tubular A-arms, coilovers, and caster/camber plates. Out back, the stock springs were bounced in favor of a set of FRPP B-springs. A set of SpinTech subframe connectors tie together the flexible flyer frame.
With the Mustang equipped with the side-exit exhaust, it was only natural that Charlie throw on a set of SVO-badged side skirts. He then bolted on a Cobra R hood with accompanying SVO scoop, an '00 Cobra-R style front bumper, a '95 Cobra rear spoiler, and an ABC rear bumper, complete with clear-out taillights. A custom tonneau cover went on next, followed by a Pure Mustang vertical-door kit that not only adds to the cool factor, but make egress easier.
Charlie rolled the Mustang into the paint booth at Heritage Auto Body in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where master spray-gunner Jay Skabo washed the body of the car in a three-tone paint scheme. The Ford Grey Metallic hue up top is split from the Ford Oxford White on the bottom by the ever-changing DuPont Chromalusion stripe. Rounding out the looks of the Mustang is the style bar and the Boyd Coddington Osiris rims. The 18x8 fronts and 18x10 rears are shod in BFGoodrich KDW hoops, appropriately sized 245/45/18 and 295/35/18 front and rear. A set of 13.25-inch rotors hide behind each of the four rims.
After creating a custom center console and recovering the seats and door panels with a two-tone grey schematic, Charlie threw on a couple of billet interior pieces before embarking on creating the wild instrument panel. He completely reworked the dash, fabricating parts out of fiberglass and matching it with the rest of the interior before stocking it chock full of Nordskog digital gauges. He then moved to the trunk, where he 'glassed in the JL Audio amp and subs that thump out the tunes when the radio is on.
"What I like most is sitting back, enjoying what we built, and watching peoples' expressions when they see the car for the first time," Charlie says. "The power level of the car is just right; it's perfect for Monica but still has enough in it to let me slide the car around a bit."
While future plans for the car call for a stroker buildup featuring an A4 block that Monica got Charlie for Christmas (what a gal), for the time being, the happy couple enjoys the Mustang while tallying up the cost: Selling Charlie's '89 GT-painful. Picking up the '95 GT convertible-blissful. Building a car that the two of them envisioned and now enjoy-priceless.