Jerry Heasley
September 1, 2004

Some modifieds are so well done they look factory stock, or perhaps more like a special package from the manufacturer. Ernie Segura's '01 GT is like that.

Right away, the Kaminari side moldings pop out with their simulated brake cooling scoops. The Ford Racing billet fuel door is another mod, but much more subtle. The rear wing and hoodscoop are definitely GT items. But the hood decal is a question-it's aftermarket, too, but could pass as something from the factory.

The big mods are the Cervini Stalker front end and Kaminari rear bumper. Ernie has skillfully woven these body kits with a combination of OEM and other aftermarket parts to give his GT a hotter look, but one might think it could be a special Ford factory package. Maybe a Super GT?

"It's funny, because one kid came up to my car at the 40th Anniversary show and saw the original window sticker displayed in the side window," Ernie told us. "He saw the $24,000 sticker price, then he nudged his father and said, 'Look, Dad, only $24,000.' "

Ernie probably burst the kid's bubble when he walked over and explained, "Yeah, but there's $13,000 more in aftermarket parts."

Ernie, who lives in Taylor, Michigan, and works for EDS on the GM Tech Line, had never purchased a Ford before. "I had a '95 Camaro Z28 and went to testdrive a new '01 Z28. But it drove the same as my '95. So, my wife suggested we go to the Ford dealer to see what they had to offer."

The silver GT coupe on the showroom floor became the object of their desire. It was definitely a change from the Z-concept. Maybe the aftermarket components available for the Mustang were big reasons Ernie went Ford.

"The first thing I did was the body kit because I didn't want my car to look like all the others on the road."

He kept the stock appearance with some OEM items, like the Hella foglights, which came from an '87-'93 Mustang GT. The running-pony decals, from Graphic Express, were OEM on the '79 Mustang pace car. They look stock on the sides of this '01. The lower grille in the front valance is simply aluminum mesh, $44 per sheet from American Products Company. In the back, the exhaust tips exit through the rear valance.

At Ford's 100th Anniversary in Dearborn last year, Ernie learned a lesson about modified late-model Mustang judging.

"At the shows, it's not just the body they look at, it's also the engine," Ernie said. Inspiration came from a Bullitt GT parked next to him. He liked the intake and wondered if it would fit his '01. It would. In the swap, Ernie powdercoated the intake and "made it real nice."

The next time out, he did take home an award. Essentially, the engine validates the interior and exterior mods.

Ernie considers the interior "basically stock." He swapped out the stock gauges for white-faced versions from Auto Meter. The Alpine stereo has a multimedia tuner for just about every hot output available today, including DVD, XM radio, and MP3.

The car is also lowered a couple of inches with H&R springs riding on 18x8-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels.

Ernie characterizes the theme of his Super GT build as a combination of OEM from different Mustangs, with some retro and a lot of "fast and furious."