Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
February 7, 2011
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

As a spectator at the San Diego International Auto Show in January 2006, Ernie Sigala watched a team of guys assemble a new Mustang over three days.

When approached by one of the show coordinators, he was asked what he thought of the three-day build. He explained that it was interesting, but a spectator would have to attend all three days in order to see the completed project.

Ernie had a better idea-host a one-day build so spectators could watch it happen right before their eyes. To the amusement and surprise of the coordinators, Ernie told them that not only could he do it in one day, but in less than six hours. "They took me up on that offer and put me to the challenge on October 7, 2006, at the Orange County International Auto Show," said Ernie.

That fall day, a team of twelve guys, including Ernie, set out to do just what the show coordinators thought was impossible. A mere 4 hours and 45 minutes later, "the end product was one of the finest S197 Mustangs out there," remarked Ernie. But that wasn't the end of the road for the '07 Mustang GT that you see here-it was only the beginning.

Hard Core Muscle (HCM) of Santee, California, has flexed its muscles on this project from the start. Ernie owns and operates the business with the help of a first-rate staff. Since that fateful October day in 2006, the HCM team has completely reinvented this coupe into what you see on these pages.

Under the hood, the team installed a forged Eagle rotating assembly, complete with 0.020-over JE pistons, bringing total displacement to 285 ci. It added some mild porting to the heads, an FRPP twin-screw, and some exhaust components, and the coupe pounded out 561 rwhp and 523 lb-ft of torque.

Elsewhere, the HCM team chromed suspension components, installed a Blow-By Racing LNR body kit, and had the exterior painted Nitro Blue by Kustom Shop of San Diego, California. Throw in some Saleen shocks, struts, control arms, wheels, and brakes, along with some BMR Fabrication chassis and suspension components, and you've got a low, lean, and mean stance that will keep even the bravest Brand-X jabronis at a distance.

Inside, though, is where all the magic happens. HCM compiled an array of components from Auto Meter, Corbeau, and ARC Audio, along with custom suede stitching done in-house and custom carbon fiber by Street Scene. The seats are Corbeau LG1s that have been reupholstered with black microsuede to match the door panels and console. Other pieces were painted to match the exterior.

This one-of-a-kind showpiece has served Ernie well over the past three years, drawing a crowd wherever it goes. Even with dozens of First Place trophies under its belt, it's not stopping anytime soon. In fact, it's scheduled to have a partner in crime-the Sigala Mustang. Check out www.hard-core-muscle.com for more.

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