Evan J. Smith
Mustang360 Network Content Director
June 30, 2010
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

There's something special about Southern California's hot-rod car culture. Pristine weather and amazing switchback roads, especially the Pacific Coast Highway with the beautiful Pacific Ocean a stone's throw away, make for amazing driving experiences that can only be taken full advantage of in the right car. Imagine if you will 500-plus ponies, the top dropped, and your favorite tunes cranked, meanwhile you're strapped tightly to a hot Pony, ripping up canyon roads with confidence.

Steve McCord is no stranger to this scenario, nor is the Grabber Blue GT seen here. Each day McCord heads for Galpin Auto Sports, based out of Van Nuys, where he is the general manager at GAS, a high-performance auto center dedicated to modifying and personalizing American iron.

Galpin Ford, the parent dealership, was founded in 1946, and has been a leader in customization since building wild van creations and other cars in the '60s and '70s. GAS opened in 2006 to take customization to an even higher level. "GAS was created so we could better control the design and build phases of the projects we work on," says McCord. "It's a different environment from the dealership; GAS allows us to create new ideas and some great cars."

Known for wild creations, including the Shelby modified for the recent Knight Rider television series, Galpin Auto Sports set out to produce a 2010 Mustang for the 2009 SEMA show, and for later use as a showpiece for the business. This 2010 GT convertible was one of the first of it's type to be modified, and the goal was to create a Mustang with improved handling and acceleration, and racy looks, but still one that maintained full streetability. Achieving their goal meant going beyond bolt-ons, so a widebody kit was designed, along with a classy paint scheme to enhance the lines of the modded GT.

"Beau Boeckmann, the owner of Galpin Auto Sports, is the one who steered us to push the envelope and do an in-house widebody kit," explains McCord. "We wanted Grabber Blue and a convertible from the start. The color is reminiscent of the '60s and '70s Mustangs. It just says, 'I'm awesome,'" he adds.

Under the guidance of shop foreman Chris Whitney, technicians dove into to the GT and massaged fiberglass until they had the desired shape, which holds onto the factory lines quite well. The wheelwells are flared big time, but designers retained the 2-inch (or so) outer lip rather than just rolling them at the wheel-lip edge. This helps keep the factory look and actually makes you look twice (or three or four times) to make sure you are seeing flared fenders. The bodywork blends nicely into the highly modified front and rear facisas, and the rockers have been bulged to complete the Trans Am-racer look. The front fascia is smooth and clean, while the back has a wild faux diffuser that almost looks like grille-work. Love it or hate it, it certainly adds a major custom touch.

Once the body was smoothed, GAS' Paul Stoll applied PPG Envirobase High Performance Water Borne custom two-tone paint in Gloss Black and Grabber Blue Pearl Metallic with silver piping and accents. Lastly, a wire-mesh grille from Custom Speed was installed.

No ride would be complete without the right rims-in this case, one-piece, forged-aluminum Mono Leggera Pinzette hoops get the call. The thin-spoke wheels measure 20x11 inches in the front with Pirelli P Zero Rosso 285/20/20-inch tires mounted; out back are 20x13s with 345/25 P Zeros. Stopping those big meats are Wilwood six-piston calipers with 14-inch two-piece rotors in front and 13-inch rotors with two-piston calipers in the rear.

Getting the Mustang closer to the ground is Ford Racing Performance Parts Handling Pack, which MM&FF recently used on its '07 GT with great results. The suspension offers an approximate 1-inch drop and improves handling, but with only a small increase in firmness. "It's a well thought-out and tested suspension. It provides a nice drop, but isn't harsh at all," adds McCord.

To provide more go, GAS installed a FRPP blower with a 10-rib upgrade, twin fuel pumps, 34-lb/hr injectors, and Bassani exhaust that enhanced output to over 550 rwhp and 542 lb-ft of torque.

With this much custom work, the interior had to be modified to match. "Chatsworth Auto Upholstery took the seats and added bolstering, then they were recovered with black Katzkin leather with contrasting stitch work and Alcantara suede," says McCord. "The seats provide a racecar feel, but they're comfortable enough for everyday use." The interior also features a Hurst shifter, a Grant steering wheel, JL Audio speakers, a Stealthbox, and a JL amp.

In all, it took four months to design and build this one-of-a-kind GT convertible. It's been to the 2009 SEMA show, where it was seen in the Ford Motor Company display, along with a host of shows and events in the So Cal area. "Just about 80 percent of the days are sunny here," says McCord. "That's why we went with a convertible, but it's colors are eye catching and it's racy at the same time."

Steve, we agree, this is one racy Stang. Now all we need is a plane ticket to L.A. and the keys. Can we have them-please?

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