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1988 GT & 2001 Cobra - A Ford Family
Stephen Young’s ’88 GT and Pete Young’s ’01 Cobra are a small token of the Young family’s dedication to Ford.
Former Ford employee and avid Ford enthusiast, Charlie Young had the honor of working in Ford production plants for a span of 30 years throughout the middle of the 20th century. Mainly as production manager, Charlie worked at the Kansas City Assembly Plant (Missouri), the Twin Cities Assembly Plant (Minnesota), and later the Wixom Assembly Plant (Michigan). It was during his stint at Wixom that Charlie would drive home a new Lincoln Continental or Ford Thunderbird nearly every night. Over the years, Charlie brought home cars destined for the likes of Perry Como, Liz Taylor, and Arnold Palmer. He even brought home a '61 Thunderbird Indianapolis 500 Pace Car before it made the trip to pace the legendary race. Being so entrenched in Ford Motor Company, combined with living in Birmingham, Michigan, paved a solid foundation for a second-generation Ford enthusiast in Charlie's son Pete. Pete grew up during the muscle car era of the '60s, and throughout high school, he was lucky enough to drive the family car, which was usually powered by a 390, 427, or 428.
By the time Pete was starting college, majoring in mechanical engineering, his love for Ford vehicles was well established. One day, his father brought home a dark blue '65 Mustang GT with a Hi-Po 289. To Pete's surprise, his father left a note on the car informing him that if he paid for his own college and kept his grades up, then his dad would provide him the transportation.
Pete thought that was a fair deal and began working for Ford during the summers. He worked at the Livonia Transmission Plant, the Ford River Rogue Complex, and the Dearborn Test Track. The Test Track was a pivotal point for Pete, gaining him exposure to Thunderbolts, prototype 427 street cars, the one-seat prototype Mustang, and high-performance competition from GM and Chrysler. He even drove one of the first hand-built Cougars for a photo shoot.
After graduating from college, Pete drove a '67 GTA fastback with a 390, and later a Torino GT fastback. After getting married, along came Pete's son Stephen. Pete was forced to give up his hot-rod iron for family cars like the LTD and Mercury Marquis.
Stephen, a third-generation Ford enthusiast, grew up around boats, mini bikes, drag racing, NASCAR pits, and other fast Ford cars. Sadly, Stephen's grandfather Charlie passed away when Stephen was very young. After owning an '86 coupe, an '89 GT with a 466ci big-block, a '91 convertible, and an '87 Saleen Mustang (Number 47), Stephen wanted to build a weekend cruiser.
He found an '88 GT in South Carolina with only 16,000 miles on the odometer, and has since added tasteful mods like Edelbrock Performer heads and intake, an E303 camshaft, BBK headers, a 70mm throttle body, and 4.10 gears. He also swapped the axles and spindles for '98 GT five-lug pieces, and added the black Bullitt-style wheels. A set of Steeda springs gives the Fox its stance.
Meanwhile, Stephen's dad, Pete, was getting the muscle car itch yet again. With his kids now grown and out of the house, Pete purchased the '01 SVT Cobra seen here. He drives it in road race events at Barber Motorsports Park, Little Talladega, and Road Atlanta. Mods include 4.10 gears, a Steeda shifter, Bullitt-style wheels, sub-frame connectors, lowering springs, and a full exhaust system.
Although Stephen has no memory of his grandfather, Charlie's legacy lives on through Stephen's '88 GT and Pete's '01 SVT Cobra shown on these pages. There's even a fourth-generation Young coming up through the ranks. Stephen's five-year-old son, Jack, is sure to follow in his elder's footsteps as a Ford enthusiast and Mustang maniac.