Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 29, 2009
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

In 1959, an Aston Martin DBR1 won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was piloted by Britain's Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby, a man who needs no introduction. Shelby retired from driving after the 1959 racing season, but Aston Martin continued to manufacture grand touring sports cars, including the DB series.

Like the DBR1, Aston Martin now races its DBR9 in GT racing circuits. To bring its racing technology and heritage to its customers, Aston Martin released the DBS V12. Based on the 470hp DB9 and built on the Ford VH platform, the DBS features a 510 hp V-12 powerplant capable of near-200-mph speeds.

When Steve Carpenter, of Van Nuys, California, saw what Aston Martin had done with the DBS, he wanted to create an equivalent machine based on the new S197 Mustang. Some may argue that Aston Martin is a British company and we Americans have no business copying a foreign car. However, Aston Martin was owned by Ford Motor Company until recently, and the DBS is built on a Ford-designed chassis. Enough said.

Like the Aston Martin DB9, the new Mustang is no shabby machine. Featuring an all-aluminum Three-Valve SOHC 4.6L V-8, ABS, airbags, and even Bluetooth, the S197 is the most advanced Mustang ever. Steve, though, works at the well-known Galpin Auto Sports, in Van Nuys, California. The team at GAS have modified and customized many different makes and models of vehicles, including Mustangs, some of which have graced the pages of MM&FF.

With resources in place, Steve began transforming his bone-stock '08 GT into a DBS-inspired racecar that could still be comfortable to drive on the street. He began by contacting APR Performance, a leader in high-quality performance products, specifically aerodynamic body kits.

The APR crew teamed up with GAS to create a one-off widebody kit for Steve's Pony, complete with a Steeda hood, carbon-fiber front bumper, and custom rear wing. The GAS team then coated it with a three-stage Morning Frost Pearl White. It is now 90 mm wider in the front, and 100 mm wider in the rear, allowing room for the 295/25ZR20 front and 345/25ZR20 rear Pirelli PZero Corsa tires.

With big power in store and unrivaled handling on the ticket, the GAS team combined Eibach Multi-Pro-R2 coilovers with an FRPP sway bar, Steeda G-Trac Brace, and an FRPP reduced assist steering rack. In the back, a Steeda Watt's linkage, upper and lower control arms, and sway bar keep the 345s on the pavement. GAS also added a Steeda triangle chassis brace and FRPP 3.73s.

Stopping power is in the hands of Wilwood six-piston calipers on 14-inch rotors in the front, and four-piston calipers on 12.88-inch rotors in the rear. Sticking with the racing theme, Steve contacted HRE Performance Wheels for a set of custom 20-inch racing wheels, 10.5-inches wide in the front and 12.5-inches wide in the rear.

Under the hood, the GAS team pulled the stock engine to make room for a Whipple-supercharged FRPP mill pumping out 725 rwhp at 15psi of boost. To support such an animal, GAS added twin Ford GT fuel pumps, a Whipple 105mm mass air meter, and 54-lb/hr injectors. Bassani long-tube headers feed a custom three-inch exhaust system, also done by the GAS team. To handle the abuse, they swapped the stock clutch and flywheel for a McLeod 8.5-inch clutch and flywheel.

Inside, GAS added a Grand Touring touch to Steve's GT. First, it installed a four-point rollcage painted to match the exterior; then it reworked the stock seats with premium black leather, white stitching, and Saleen head rests. The stock steering wheel was ditched for a custom Grant wheel, and carbon-fiber Auto Meter gauges were added to the dash panel. GAS also added a custom carbon-fiber package tray, which houses rear cooling ducts. A stainless steel plate was added to the panel, then signed by none other than Carroll Shelby.

It's quite amazing how a British racecar driven by an American icon, Carroll Shelby, found a way to inspire a new American icon, the S197 Mustang, to take on a new life as a British racecar-only better.

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