Pete Epple Technical Editor
October 22, 2010
Photos By: Steve Baur

Dennis Gonzalez of Ocala, Florida, is a long-time Mustang enthusiast, and has owned more Mustangs than many of us. Although owning a used car dealership affords him the ability to buy and sell as many Ponies as he wants, he has never built one from the ground up-until now.

"I have owned 17 Mustangs in the last 12 years," Dennis tells us. "I've always had a passion for Mustangs, and I wanted to start with a stock car and build everything myself." When things at the dealership began to slow down, Dennis took the opportunity to focus some of his time and effort into building the Mustang he always wanted. "My friends said I was crazy, but I was on a mission," Dennis adds. "I wanted a one-of-a-kind Mustang."

Being that most of Dennis' Ponies were stock, he wanted to build something a little more radical. With the guidelines for the build set, he began to search for the foundation. Dennis started his project with a super-clean stock '89 GT convertible, which he found from an Internet ad. "I bought my convertible in November of 2007," he adds. "I got the car from its original owner, and it was completely stock. The car was all original and it was perfect!"

To get the project underway, Dennis set his sights on making power, and he turned to Powerhouse Machine Shop in Ocala, Florida, for help. Three hundred and six inches of Ford power sit under the hood and add to the fun factor of Dennis's GT. The build started with the factory block, which was bored 0.030-inch over stock. The stock crankshaft was reused, and moves stock-style connecting rods and pistons.

The short-block was topped off with a set of Twisted Wedge aluminum cylinder heads from Trick Flow Specialties, and an E-303 camshaft from Ford Racing Performance Parts opens and closes the 2.02/1.60-inch valves. The air/fuel mixture is delivered to the cylinder heads via a Holley Systemax intake manifold. When Dennis wants some extra power, he gets it in the form of a 125hp wet shot of nitrous from NX.

The engine spins a Ram clutch, which transfers power to the World Class T5; gear selection is handled with a Pro-50 shifter. A stock driveshaft turns the 3.73 gears in the stock 8.8-inch rearend housing. Power is transferred evenly to both wheels via a spool and 31-spline axles; black powdercoated Weld Pro Stars wrapped in Nitto 555R drag radials keep Dennis's Fox planted to the pavement.

UPR Products upper and lower control arms locate the rearend housing under the car, and QA1 shocks cushion the ride. Up front, a UPR K-member cradles the engine and helps shed some unwanted pounds. UPR tubular A-arms keep the front wheels in line, and coilover struts handle weight transfer, with QA1 adjustable struts smoothing out the bumps. A Flaming River manual rack helps with the steering duties.

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Once the mechanical side of the project was done, Dennis focused his attention on adding some show to complement his Fox's new-found go. A 4-inch cowl-induction hood and a Saleen rear spoiler add an aggressive touch to the classic looks of the Fox GT. With the help of some friends, Dennis laid down the custom two-tone black-and-white paint scheme using Matrix paint. Custom airbrushing ties the contrasting colors together, and a custom airbrushed Grim Reaper helps bring out this Pony's dark side.

The occupants are kept safe in the driver's compartment by a 10-point rollcage, and the stock seats have given way to black Corbeau buckets. Carbon-fiber Auto Meter gauges give Dennis the ability to keep tabs on everything happening under the hood from the comforts of the driver's seat.

Once the car was finished, Dennis came away with an amazingly driveable Fox that turns heads wherever he goes. The blend of power and looks really make this one incredible street-Pony. "Of all the Mustangs I've owned, none have ever been this radical," Dennis tells us. "This one really has it all!"

Although things were slow at the dealership, Dennis found a productive use for his spare time.

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