Michael Galimi
December 1, 2008

Every story is different and this one is unique as Carl Weinreich pushed forward with a project that produced a stunning '91 Mustang LX for his son Donald. We could just list the parts used, but the story behind this Mustang's transformation is very special. Carl is a lifetime auto body guy and hardcore car builder from Michigan. During the week, he is the auto body shop manager at a local Chevrolet dealer, but on weekends he transforms into a restoration and custom car builder. He has been in the hobby working under notable builders since he was 17, and operates a part-time car building biz, Carl's Custom Concepts. With such vast experience and a passion for cars, it's no wonder that his daughter and son both ended up with nice Fox-body Mustangs. His daughter drives a custom yellow-painted ponycar, while this outstanding orange Stang belongs to his son.

Carl bought the coupe from the dealership where he is employed. It was a trade-in and sat on the lot as a worn out four-cylinder Ford amongst Chevys. Most saw the lonely coupe as a pile of ruins while Carl envisioned greatness. He figured it would be a nice car to fix up and pass along to his daughter and son when they turned 16. Within three days of picking up the $350 coupe, it was stripped down and painted silver. A set of Pony wheels was added to spruce it up a bit, and the car was left mechanically stock. Carl parked the Mustang in the driveway on Christmas morning, seven days after the two had turned 16. They both loved it but sharing was out of the question. To solve the problem a second Stang was purchased. Danielle received the aforementioned yellow-painted Mustang while Donald took possession of this fine coupe. That is when the story shifts. Donald was bitten by the Mustang bug and he soon wanted to go quicker, faster, and look better.

The engine rumbles and runs hard thanks to Keith Black pistons, ported stock heads, an Edelbrock intake, a Holley carb, and a Comp camshaft. A little nitrous is thrown into the mix to make things interesting.

A transformation to the current status took several years and required the car coming off the road. Stripping a vehicle to a bare shell is not an overnight process. The Weinreich family took a few years to get things done the right way-which is the only way in Carl's book. The father and son duo have attended the Detroit Autorama since Donald was nine years old. In recent years, they enjoyed the show with the main goal of gathering ideas and concepts for the project.

During the middle span of the car build, Donald joined the Army and one year later was deployed to Iraq. That put the project on hold, at least for a little while. "At that point, I lost my best buddy to hang out with and either work on or talk to about cars," says Carl. He continues, "Once he left for Iraq, I needed something to keep me busy. So, what better to do than restart the work on the Mustang? I told my son that the Mustang would be done by the time he came home from Iraq, which was supposed to be one year. So March 7, 2007 is when work began on the car."

Carl kept Donald in the loop thanks to the wonders of the Internet. While overseas, Donald researched what parts he wanted on the Net and would email his dad with the specs. One of the major companies they tapped for parts was UPR Products. "I became a dealer for uprproducts.com at the beginning of the project and started using a lot of its parts," says Carl.

In August 2007 a family friend prodded Carl to get the car ready for the upcoming Detroit Autorama, taking place in March 2008. He initially thought the task was impossible but with a little convincing by Donald, he took off running. Nearly every weeknight and weekend was spent thrashing on the '91 coupe. Slowly but surely, it was being transformed into a showstopper and a special present for the son he missed so dearly.

A 250 shot of juice is employed to get things going in a hurry.

For an engine, a stock block was bored, and when combined with the stock crank (3-inch stroke), it displaces 306ci. The Keith Black pistons yield 11:1 compression and receive air via a Comp Cams bumpstick (.541/.544 lift) and ported stock heads. Carl built the engine himself and farmed out the machine work and cylinder head porting (D&S Engines). He junked the EFI and went with a carb setup using an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap and a Holley 750 double pumper. BBK headers whisk away the gases, and dump into a custom x-pipe and a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. A NOS Big Shot nitrous plate system adds two hits of nitrous to the mix, worth a combined 250 horsepower increase. Backing the engine is a T5 five-speed manual trans, which is shifted using a UPR short-throw shifter. A Ford Racing King Cobra clutch holds all of the nitrous-enhanced power.

Carl opened up the UPR catalog when it came time for chassis modifications. In the front, the heavy stock K-member and bulky A-arms were tossed and UPR's tubular setup replaced it. The struts were wrapped in the company's coilover conversion kit. It dampens the street bumps and adjusts ride height. A bumpsteer kit and Flaming River rack-and-pinion keep the car going straight and respond to driver steering requests. UPR Pro Series rear upper and lower control arms offer adjustment and the ability to plant the rear tires. Carl wanted to go one step further, so he added mini-tubs, rear coilover shocks, custom subframe connectors, and a six-point rollbar.

Nitrous wheels check in at 18x8 in the front and 18x10 in the rear and are covered with BF Goodrich rubber.

The outside is where Carl excels above the average hobbyist. The ordinary silver, like what was applied a few years ago, just wouldn't do. Thankfully, Carl's grandson has been hanging out through the process, so he turned to him for a suggestion. The two-year old, Dominic, tastefully picked out orange-his favorite color. A custom formula was concocted and it took nearly 20 different blends to get just right. Thankfully, Sherwin Williams' Planet Color Automotive Finish (Troy, MI) staff was very patient as Carl kept tweaking the blends until he was satisfied. "I think the color is what makes this car different. There are no other cars painted like it; this was a custom formula," says an enthusiastic Carl.

The big homecoming came this past summer; Donald arrived home to a loving family as well as getting the keys back to his awesome Mustang. His dad built it exactly as Donald wished. Topping off the hard work and dedication-the coupe won First Place in the Mild Hardtop '80-Present class at the 2008 Detroit Autorama. Mission accomplished.