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2002 Ford Mustang GT - From Rider To Driver
Multiple Accidents Have Kept Scott Spandet Off Two Wheels, But He Found His Performance Fix In His '02 Mustang GT.
After hitting the pavement at 85 mph and living to tell about it, my family helped me decide it was time to change my hobby," explains Scott Spandet.
The Lenexa, Kansas-native has always been an avid motorcycle enthusiast, and even took part in a yearly road trip with a group of friends. But during a ride to Bad Lands, South Dakota, Scott's tail bag came loose from his bike, and after it became tangled in the rear wheel, he was violently thrown to the pavement. Being that this was his second high-speed motorcycle accident, Scott's family helped him make the decision to hang up his helmet.
Surviving not one, but two, serious motorcycle crashes would be considered by most to be a miracle. For a performance junkie, it just means finding a safer way to get your speed fix. Since the accident, Scott has had a slew of performance vehicles from a '68 GTO to a Nissan 350Z. He also became very fond of Fox-body Mustangs, as he had owned a few since his two-wheel days. When Nissan released the redesigned 350Z in 2002, Scott put a down payment on one, and planned a turbo build in hopes of achieving the same levels of performance he was used to from his motorcycles. After less-than-stellar reviews in the magazines and getting the runaround from the dealership on when his Z would arrive, Scott looked elsewhere.
"One Saturday morning, my lawn mower broke, and my oldest son and I went shopping for a new one," Scott explains. "We passed by the local Ford dealership and I said, 'Let's just cruise through the lot and see what they have.' We headed straight to the back where they kept the Mustangs, and that's when I saw it!"
Only minutes after laying eyes on this Torch Red GT, Scott was on the phone with the Nissan dealership confirming that his deposit would be refunded. Once the financials were settled, Scott came home with a new Mustang-oh, and a new lawn mower.
"After a quick 800 miles of break-in time, the stock parts started coming off," Scott adds. "All of my Mercedes- and BMW-driving neighbors would come to the garage saying 'are you voiding your warranty?' I simply said, 'Of course I am!'"
With the help of his sons, Scott and Tony, a ProCharger P1-SC supercharger kit and new exhaust system was installed. Once the Two-Valve was tuned for the 10 psi of boost, it laid down 412 rwhp and 360 lb-ft of torque, and would routinely crank out 11.70-second quarter-mile numbers. Although far from that of a sport bike, Scott was driven to take his Two-Valve Pony to the next level.
"The car still didn't come close to the speed I was accustomed to," explains Scott. "So I decided to step it up." The foundation of the build was a 302ci stroker short-block from MPE Performance (Blue Springs, Missouri). The combination of JE forged pistons, Manley forged rods, and a Livernois Motorsports forged crank gave Scott the strength needed to reach his power goals.
The short-block was topped with Livernois Motorsports Stage 3 CNC-ported cylinder heads, with a set of Comp cams handling valve actuation. The P1-SC ProCharger was then swapped out for a larger D1-SC unit, which pumped out 16 psi, and the fuel system was upgraded to handle the extra airflow. While the car was apart, Scott swapped the stock K-member for a tubular piece from AJE and installed a rear-seat delete and Corbeau front seats to shed a few unwanted pounds. The end result was 575 rwhp, which equated to 10.75-second track times, and all of this on the stock five-speed gearbox.
Although the combination worked very well, Scott wanted more. The next round of changes found the D1-SC on the shelf to make way for the F1C that now sits in the engine bay, and the fuel system has been upgraded with a blend of parts from Aeromotive and Fore Precision Works. Scott tapped ProMotion Powertrain for a T56, and the rear was fortified with a spool and axles from Strange Engineering.
Once the combo was tuned using a Big Stuff 3 fuel injection system, the Two-Valve pounded out 744 rwhp and 665 lb-ft of torque. With 29 pounds of boost being forced into the Livernois-ported heads, Scott has gone a best of 10.50 at 136 mph, all the while still seeing large amounts of street duty.
"I keep thinking I can make more power," Scott adds. "But the car is fun, and it's fast enough as it is. Plus, I'm still trying to figure out how to get all the power down. I'm proud that over the years I've had a lot of fun, I've learned a lot, and I've made some great new friends with my Mustang." Plus he's kept this Pony shiny side up!