Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 1, 2009
Photos By: Peter S. Linney
Model: Lindsay Crolius

Los Angeles is most commonly known for its movie stars and beaches, but it also has a dark side consisting of gangs and riots. So it goes without saying, being an officer for the LAPD is not a job for the meek or mild. Officer Ricardo Lizarraga was a well-liked and respected police officer for the LAPD. On February 20, 2004, Officer Lizarraga and his partner responded to a domestic disturbance. While at the residence, a man pulled out a gun and opened fire. Officer "Lizzy" Lizarraga was struck in the abdomen and later died from the wound.

James Takishita is also an LAPD member and the proud owner of this '98 Stage 1 Roush convertible. When the odometer rolled past 121,000 miles, it started showing its age and James knew it needed to be freshened-up. While exploring options for a complete transformation, he decided to make this car a tribute to his fallen friend, officer Lizarraga.

James and Lizzy were tight and trained together in preparation for the police academy. "Lizzy was one of those guys who never quit, and motivated others to push themselves beyond their limits," James states. Upon graduation from the academy, the two were sent to different divisions of the department to work on separate assignments.

Like the man behind the theme, the car needed to be reliable and quiet, but have the ability to become a beast when necessary. For that, Brian Schapiro and Mason Rowland at B&D Racing pulled out the original SOHC engine to make way for an '04 DOHC Cobra crate engine with 0.020-inch-over JE forged pistons. Because good was never enough for Lizzy, James had B&D install a 2.2L Kenne Bell supercharger pushing 16 psi of boost. Other air/fuel delivery upgrades include a K&N air filter, SCT BA-200 MAF sensor, Accufab throttle body, and 60-lb/hr fuel injectors. B&D also installed new blue Ford Racing valve covers with engraved coil covers to commemorate officer Lizzaraga. The stock 4R70W was gutted and stuffed with a Lentech Street Terminator package and a Continental 2,500-stall converter. By way of a custom driveshaft, the power goes through a stock 8.8-inch axle housing beefed-up with Ford Racing 3.55 gears on a Torsen 31-spline T-2R differential. Thanks to a custom tune done by Brian at B&D Racing, this street beast made 530 hp and 595 lb-ft of torque at the wheels while only winding up to 6,000 revs. James also had a custom exhaust system installed with Dynomax race mufflers.

You can catch a glimpse of the Fluidyne heavy-duty aluminum heat exchanger through the Cobra R front fascia. The heat extractor hood with pins warn that this car means business.

Up front, a Griggs Racing tubular K-member and severe-duty adjustable front control arms keep the wheels in line, and Koni double-adjustable front struts and Griggs coilovers cushion the ride and handle weight transfer. Out back, Koni 30 Series shocks with Griggs coilovers keep the rear wheels securely planted to the pavement. For stopping power, a Brembo 13-inch system was installed up front, and the rear brakes were upgraded with Pro Stop rotors and Hawk brake pads. B&D also installed a Griggs World Challenge frame kit and tubular front swaybar to add a little extra rigidity to the convertible's chassis. Chrome Roush wheels wrapped with Toyo R888 275/40R18s sit in all four corners and add some extra style to James' rolling tribute.

For paint and bodywork, James entrusted Jules at Auto Body Experience. He installed a Cervini's Cobra R front bumper, heat extractor hood, and Saleen rear spoiler. Jules then coated everything with Ultimate Red, making this a paint job Ferrari would envy. To complement the red exterior, B&D installed a custom tan top made of '03-'04 Cobra material.

The same attention to quality and styling continues inside. B&D installed a pair of leather-wrapped Sparco Milano Prestige buckets in front and wrapped the factory rear seat to match. A painted-to-match four-point rollcage and DJ Safety five-point harnesses keep James and his wife, Terese, safe and secure. To finish it off, they installed an FR500 steering wheel, and Auto Meter boost and air/fuel gauges.

At first glance, you don't know what to call this 'vert. Is it a Cobra? Is it a Roush? We'll just call it unique and inspiring, like the man it was built to honor.