Frank H. Cicerale
September 1, 2008

Imagine you just bought a house (minus a garage), and while moving in, you park your prized possession, an '86 Mustang GT equipped with the rare T-top option, in the attached carport. Then, while your baby sits under its semi-sheltered home, Mother Nature turns the hair-dryer on full blast, and a nasty windstorm collapses that carport on your pride and joy.

Such was the case with Mark Weiner's '86 Mustang GT. "The car almost didn't make it this far," Mark says. "During a bad windstorm, the carport collapsed and ended up on top of it." Having just moved into his new house, Mark was beside himself, as he and wife, Stacey, didn't have the money to fix the car. Thanks to Mark's dad, the Mustang's inauspicious start was overcome with an ending forged by hard work and a vision of triumph over setback. "My dad had the car painted for me, since, at the time I'd just moved into my house, and $4,000 for a paint job wasn't in the budget.

A 306ci small-block Ford is the motivation for Mark's '86 Mustang GT. Based around a D.S.S. Sportsman block, the Edelbrock-headed powerplant thumps out 318 ponies at the rear hides-not bad for a summertime cruiser.

"The car is looking good as new," Mark says. "Since that paint job, it has just taken off." Jay McHush handled the repair work and resulting coloration of the Pony's sheetmetal. Mark and Jay decided to replace the factory hood with a Cervini's Mach 1 piece, and followed up the part replacement with the removal and shaving of the engine bay and trunk latch. Jay then broke out the paint gun, loaded it with PPG Jalapeno Red, and lit up the flanks of the car with the vibrant hue. After throwing on some clear to bring out the shine, the bodywork was complete, and the car was ready for the rest of its makeover.

"I'm an automotive tech by trade, so that made working on the car much easier," Mark says. To complement the car's newfound good looks, he decided to shore up the Mustang's foundation before adding a copious amount of power. Up front, the stock springs and shocks made way for a set of stock '95 Mustang GT struts and a pair of Steeda sport springs. The stock front sway bar was retained, as well as the stock 8.8-inch rear, though its innards were worked over with the addition of a set of 3.73 gears. Mark then welded the torque boxes and a pair of Steeda full-length subframe connectors, and replaced the flimsy rear control arms with a set of uppers and lowers from Steeda. Add in the same spring/shock combo featured on the frontend, and this four-eyed Fox-body was ready to hug the corners.

Knowing that a whole lot of go was coming shortly, Mark updated the whoa aspect of the Pony by junking the stock braking system. In its place went a set of Ford Racing Performance Parts Cobra brakes featuring 13-inch rotors up front, while stock '95 GT brakes were rigged up aft. Wanting a look that would contrast the car's red hue, yet still achieve the handling and ride quality he was looking for, Mark bolted up a set of black-painted 17x9 FR500 rims on all four corners. The sexy-looking wheels are dressed in 245/45/17 Bridgestone RE01Rs.