Jim Smart
August 1, 2009

Ron and Ryan Peter are citrus farmers by trade, which makes them resourceful in many ways. Mustangs began as a hobby for the father and son team. In due course, Mustangs turned into Stang-Aholics, a restoration and performance modification business in central California. Here are two examples of their work.

Screaming Yellow Meanie
Mustang projects often turn up where least expected. Ron and Ryan were visiting Fresno when they spotted a '66 Mustang fastback at an ornamental iron shop. Their discovery had been relieved of most of its parts, but that didn't deter them. They finally located the owner who was, in fact, interested in selling. To sweeten the deal, he led them to a back room filled with the Mustang's missing parts. Ron and Ryan purchased the car and hauled it home

The body was mounted on a rotisserie and media-blasted down to the bare metal before it became a side project while Ron and Ryan worked on customer cars to keep the bills paid. Eventually, the pair went to work in earnest with the goal of building a fun-to-drive restomod.

"We wanted a fun car that would have the handling capabilities of a modern Mustang," Ron tells us. "That's when we contacted Heidt's and ordered a complete suspension system." Ron and Ryan began with Heidt's Mustang II front suspension along with power rack-and-pinion steering, coilover shocks, tubular control arms, and 11-inch Wilwood disc brakes with four-piston Dynalite calipers. In back, Heidt's newest four-link setup was prototyped on this Mustang. To stiffen the platform, Stang-Aholics went with Heidt's chassis stiffening kit.

Because Ron and Ryan wanted to showcase their skills, they opted for '05 Mustang Screaming Yellow basecoat/clearcoat with Midnight racing stripes, carrying the yellow into the engine compartment to help the 302ci small-block stand out. It didn't need much help, having been built by Jim's Classics & Hot Rods with 350 horsepower-before pushing the 100-horse nitrous button. The goal was to keep expenses modest using off-the-shelf parts like a 302 two-bolt main block, nodular iron crank, shotpeened rods, Speed Pro forged pistons, '68 302-4V heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM induction, and Comp Cams 280H hydraulic cam. The cold air system is custom fabricated.

The drivetrain is a Tremec World Class T5 five-speed with Modern Driveline's cable clutch system and a Currie 9-inch rearend equipped with Detroit Tru-Trac and 3.50 gears. On the ground are 17-inch Hopster wheels wrapped in Kumho radials.

Inside, Ron welded up and carved out a dashboard and instrument panel to create something totally unique. Big Daddy's Upholstery did the Mustang bucket seats with custom Stang-Aholics stitching. We like the Flaming River polished steering column, Grant custom steering wheel, and Spal power windows. Mid-ship is a Pioneer sound system with 6x9-inch speakers aft and 6-inch roundies in front.

All wiring, hoses, and lines were carefully hidden for a clean look when the hood is open. The battery is tucked away in its own box for both safety and good looks in the trunk area. A Fuel Safe fuel cell keeps fuel where it belongs.

Street-Rod Hardtop
Nowhere could the words "street rod" be truer than with Chris and Emily Werlhof's '68 Mustang hardtop. Like Ron and Ryan, Chris is in the agricultural industry, so he's also equipped with a great imagination, which explains the DuPont Chroma Base Clearcoat Orange Pearl and Super Jet Black color combination. Although it is surely a hardtop, it offers clean aerodynamics via shaved driprails, mirrors, and door handles.

Emily found this '68 at a local car show and gave Chris the license to buy it. Chris drove it for a few months and concluded so much more could be done. He had a new Heidt's coil-over front suspension installed along with rack-and-pinion steering. He also opted for a Ford Racing 351W GT-40 crate engine, but that wasn't doing it for him either.

The car needed a fresh look, something that would thrust it beyond the average notchback. When the body shop Chris had been working with got very busy and short on storage space, Chris had to pick up the car and put it in storage. "I was out on a motorcycle ride when I saw the sign for Stang-Aholics and decided to stop by," Chris told us. That's when he decided to haul the Mustang out of storage and turn it over to Ron and Ryan

Stang-Aholics took Chris and Emily's hardtop, stripped it down, and went to work with the same passion exhibited on their fastback. On top is a '67 Shelby hood dovetailed into an Eleanor-style front fascia. Stang-Aholics molded in subtle fender flares to bolster this ride's character. We like the Sylvania HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights, Hella Optiluz driving lamps, and LED taillights.

The Ford Racing 351 GT-40 crate engine was a lot of engine for the money when Chris ordered it-385 hp with a two-bolt main short-block, GT-40 aluminum heads, and M-6250-A351 hydraulic camshaft. Chris finished it off with Hooker long-tube headers, Mallory ignition, Edelbrock dual-plane Air Gap intake, and 750-cfm Demon carburetor.

To get his 351 into the power band, Chris went with a tough and dependable C6 transmission with a B&M Holeshot torque converter and Hammer ratchet shifter. In back is a Currie 9-inch with Detroit True-Trac, 3.25:1 cogs, and 31-spline axles. Brakes are 12-inch Wilwood discs with four-piston calipers. Check out the Boyd Coddington 17-inch five-spokes with Falken tires.

Inside, Stang-Aholics outdid itself with ProCar Elite leather bucket seats in gray and Auto Custom Carpet 80/20 blend plush pile. Brushed aluminum yields a high-tech look along with a Kenwood KVT-719 DVD stereo and navigation system. To pump up the vibes, there's a light-dimming JL Audio system, white-face Auto Meter instrumentation, Spal power windows, Lokar billet pedals, and Grant Heritage Diablo steering wheel.

"Ron and Ryan are great salesmen," Chris adds. "I had no chance of having a simple car." He's embarrassed to admit that something he intended to drive wound up as a trailer queen. "I'm getting a little braver these days and drive it whenever weather and local roads cooperate," he laughs.