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2008 Mustang GT California Special - Daily Devotion
Rolling (And Rumbling) Proof That Great Cars Can Be Built By Real People.
We all have some routine in our lives. Every week we do such mundane things as take out the garbage, vacuum the house, and change our underwear (hopefully more than once a week on this one).
Many of you also have weekly traditions that are a lot more fun. Like spending weekends at the racetrack, bench racing with your friends at the local hangout, or maybe treating the significant other out to a night on the town.
For Rebecca Jameson and her friend, Stacy Smith, two Mustang fanatics living near Charlotte, North Carolina, that tradition has been finding ways to personalize their '08 California Special.
"Since she bought the car we've done something to it just about every week," Stacy says. "Some of the things have been big and some have been smaller, but the car has been in a near constant state of change as long as she's had it."
Although Rebecca has long been a car nut, this is actually her first Mustang. Her previous car was a Volvo S40. Rebecca tried to upgrade it, but-as you might expect-aftermarket parts for Volvos are relatively rare and expensive.
All that ended when she had a near head-on collision with a truck. The car was repaired, but it wasn't the same and Rebecca was ready for something new. Stacy, who had already owned and modified a Mustang, encouraged her to make that her next car.
On December 31, 2007, they went looking to testdrive a few cars at different dealerships, and Rebecca ended up purchasing her '08 GT California Special that same day. "It was love at first sight," she says. But even then, she admits to originally having her eye on a different Mustang. "She's a big Georgia fan," Stacy explains, "and we found a red and black Mustang, University of Georgia colors. I thought she would go for that one, but she decided to go with the orange one because the color is so striking, and it's a lower-production car.
Of course, the choice of a Mustang with Grabber Orange paint was more than just chance. Stacy admits he has always loved the GT-R concept race car Ford unveiled a few years ago-which was also displayed in bright orange. Ford never put the concept into production, but that didn't keep Stacy and Rebecca from building a Stang inspired by it.
Rebecca recalls that she hadn't had the car home for more than a week before she and Stacy began its transformation with Eibach Pro-Kit springs. Quickly following were underdrive pulleys, a Magnaflow exhaust, and dyno tuning by Pro-Dyno to bump the power up to 301 hp and 321 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.
As the car progressed, she and Stacy realized it was becoming a rolling resume for Naughty Car Specialties, a customization shop they were founding. As a representative of Naughty Car Specialties, they decided the Mustang should be all about performance first, and styling decisions had to support the focus on performance.
The next move to further increase power was a Rotrex supercharger, along with a Forced Air Performance two-core intercooler. That required an increased rate of fuel delivery, so FRPP 39-pound fuel injectors were added, fed by a GT500 pump setup. The Mustang also uses a DiabloSport Mafia mass airflow calibrator to make the most efficient use of the power. Ultimately, Dan DeSio at Pro-Dyno retuned the engine, which reliably produced 464.7 rwhp and 435.75 lb-ft of torque with the supercharger adding 10 pounds of pressure.
Inside the car, a set of AeroForce Tech digital Interceptor gauges help monitor engine conditions, and an MGW short-throw shifter have been installed to improve e.t.'s. Other upgrades include the previously mentioned Eibach spings-which lower the car approximately 1 inch-a CHE K-member brace, CHE engine torque limiters, and a strut tower brace from FRPP to stiffen up the front clip. In the back, CHE adjustable upper control arms, along with CHE's fixed lower control arms and a CHE adjustable Panhard bar, help keep the tires planted on the asphalt. The rearend has been fortified with 3.55 gears, and the rolling stock is a set of 18x9.5-inch GT500 wheels wrapped in 245/40 R18 Sumitomo rubber.
On the outside, possibly the most striking aspect of this Mustang, are the vented front fenders. These are actually custom-made and one of the first products offered by Naughty Car Specialties.
"I was sitting in traffic back in 2006," Stacy says of the origin of these fenders, "and at the time I had an '05 Mustang. (Workers) were repaving I-85, and I was just stuck sitting there for three or four hours. I had a Mazda RX8 on one side of me and a Viper on the other side. The RX8's fender vents weren't functional, but they look really good, while the Viper's vents are functional. While I was sitting there, I put all three cars together in my mind and came up with this (pointing at the current Mustang's fenders).
"I went home and tried cutting the vents in my '05 Mustang with a grinder. It came out OK, but my limited metalworking skills kept me from getting them exactly as I wanted. When Rebecca bought this car, I had a friend who works in a NASCAR Sprint Cup shop help me out. I marked the pattern and he did the metalwork. He rolled the fender and removed the sharp edges, so it doesn't need body filler; then I added the mesh in the opening."
The idea of the fender vents is to help evacuate hot air away from the brakes. 3D Carbon's Boy Racer rear wing and an Eleanor-style hood with racing-style captive hoodpins help complete the GT-R look. Rebecca and Stacy have also installed strobes in the headlights, just to grab a little attention, and fabricated a third brake-light cover with the name of the car, SNG 500. ("SNG" is short for www.shifts-n-giggles.com, the company website, and "500" is the approximate horsepower at the crank)
Rebecca and Stacy say they still aren't done with their car, but who ever is? They originally planned to move to the interior but have since decided that nearly 500 hp at the rear wheels isn't enough. A complete engine rebuild with forged internals is the priority now, so they can twist the Rotrex supercharger a little faster and put more boost to the Three-Valve modular engine.
It's nice to know that by doing most of the work themselves, regular car nuts who are willing to replace a fat wallet with plenty of determination are capable of producing a fantastic Mustang.