Frank H. Cicerale
May 1, 2009
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word Mustang? Obviously, there's horsepower, performance, style, speed, and a whole host of other terms relating to how fast you can get your Pony to go or how good you can get it to look. However, we bet the words handicap accessible aren't on the list.

Thanks to Tiger Racing and Carol Hollfelder, you can add those words to the description of this '05 Mustang GT. The story of this Stang begins with the woman who drives it. Carol, who is a spokesperson for Ford Mobility Motoring, is a paraplegic. She doesn't let that stand in her way of driving the most coveted of all ponycars, though. As a matter of fact, she owns two other Mustangs, including an '03 Stang that she races in the Speed World Challenge GT class.

Auto Kraft in Lincoln, Nebraska, applied the BASF Black paint to the upper portion of the Mustang, along with adding all of the Classic Design Concept's body components and the Glassback roof.

Carol's other Mustang, a '95 GT, was her first, and she and her husband, Paul Brown, are currently building a '65 Mustang. But it's the '05 GT that holds a special place in their hearts. "This car was built for her," Paul says. "We got it three weeks before the '04 SEMA show, and even though we were still working on it at the last minute right before the show, it won Ford's Excellence Award there."

Obviously, the most challenging part of the build was converting the car from standard foot-operated pedals to hand-operated pieces. "What we were trying to achieve with this car was a breakage of the minivan stereotype," Paul says. "We wanted to open people's eyes to the range of possibilities available to those with disabilities. Many assume that very few vehicles can be made accessible. This is untrue. Almost any vehicle can be fitted with some adaptations. While there are those people who do need extensive modifications like you'd find in a typical van conversion, many others can still get the sports car of their dreams. All it takes are brake and throttle hand controls designed for the street from a company like Mobility Products and Designs."

The bone-stock Three-Valve mod motor is artificially enhanced to 400 hp with help from a Vortech V2S blower.

This Mustang is an obvious example. With the car destined for a spot on the convention floor at SEMA, it was only natural that, along with the control conversion from Mobility Products and Designs, this car would also showcase some of the aftermarket's finest threads and interior appointments. The stock factory buckets were set aside, with a pair of Cobra seats from Sub Sport taking their place. Katzkin two-tone leather seat covers and doorpanel inserts were installed by Covina Auto Trim (Montebello, California), along with the Schroth Rally four-point harnesses from HMS Motorsports. Although the stock carpet and sound system remained, some changes were made to the instrument panel. Concept Instrumentation by Ford Intelligence created the LED screens for the tachometer and speedometer, along with the installation of cameras mounted in the sideview mirrors and rear wing for an enhanced driving view.

The two-tone theme was carried over to the outside of the car, as the S197 shows off its hot looks. "We originally wanted the car's paint scheme to tie into the one we have for the race car, but Ford wanted things to be done a different way," Paul says. "The goal was to liven up the car without taking away from the lines. The guys at Auto Kraft (Lincoln, Nebraska), and I came up with this paint scheme at 1 in the morning a few days before SEMA. The inspiration actually came from a photo of one of Bud Moore's old Trans-Am cars."

The Mustang rolls along on Momo 20-inch rims wrapped in Toyo Proxies hoops.

Later nights and inspiration aside, the paint scheme and bodywork is truly fitting. The crew at Auto Kraft started things off by shooting the upper portion in BASF Black, making for a nice contrast with the stock silver hue. Of course, all of the paintwork was done after the new hoodscoop, quarter-window scoops, and front spoiler (all from Classic Design Concepts) were bolted on. Completing the look of this Mustang is the rolling stock, which is made up of Momo 20x9.5 front and 20x10 rear rims. The car rides on Toyo Proxies sneakers. Classic Design Concepts' Glassback roof was installed in a hotel parking lot just hours before the car was rolled into the convention center.

The interior of the Stang saw just as much work as the exterior. Katzkin supplied the threads, and Ford Intelligence the Concept Instrumentation that includes LED screens for the tach and speedo that are hooked up to cameras mounted on the sideview mirrors and the rear wing. Mobility Products and Design handled the controls for the hand-operated brake and throttle.

Knowing that she already had a full-fledged race car, Paul wanted Carol to have just enough power to be happy, but not too much to get in trouble with the local police. The 4.6L Three-Valve mod mill was left as Ford built it, though the addition of a Vortech V2S centrifugal huffer and Bassani headers, an x pipe system, and a full-on exhaust system combine to create 400 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The 5R55S five-speed automatic remains behind the engine, as does the stock converter and driveshaft. The 8.8-inch rear out back has been fortified with a Detroit Locker Truetrac. As for stance, did you expect a couple that's into road racing to not improve upon the suspension? We think not! To that end, Koni Sport adjustable struts are found up front, while the hind end of the Pony is a laundry list of HPM Performance Products' parts, including Mega Bite Jr. lower control arms and a fully adjustable Panhard rod. Eibach sway bars can be found fore and aft, while a set of their springs hunkers the rearend down. Tightening up the chassis is an HPM strut tower brace, while Stoptech 14-inch front rotors and four-piston calipers bring the fun to a halt when needed.

"The car is driven when she has a chance to take it out on nice days, which is quite often here in California," Paul says. "The car is very popular, as it looks sporty, but has a backseat for her wheelchair. The car made such a statement that we had the director of Toyota's disability car program come up to us at SEMA, talk with Carol and I, and ask us where the van was. My wife proudly pointed to the Mustang."

While the car was finished literally hours before the '04 SEMA show began, taking it down to the wire was worth it. Just ask Carol each time she fires up the Pony.