The first owner had done a top-notch job of lowering the Mustang two inches with Eibach springs, which he complemented with a set of KYB struts and shocks. Against the mirror-black paint, the wheels he chose shine like jewels - chromed AZE deep-dish rims measuring 17 x 9-inch front and 17 x 10-inch the back. Just short of being true bling-bling, the wheels wear Nitto 555 radials that measure 245/45-17 in front and 275/40-17 in the rear.
Teresa treats her cars as though they were fine china, but the GT taught her a valuable lesson one day about taking care of such high-dollar wheels.
"One of the tires had a flat while I was out, so I immediately pulled over and stopped so nothing would get damaged," she recalled. "The car sits so low that a regular jack - even a shop floor jack - will not fit under there unless the car is driven onto some two-inch-thick boards first.
"I had a can of something that is supposed to patch a flat and inflate the tire long enough to get you home, so I used that. By the time my mechanic pulled the tire off to fix it, the goo had completely eaten the chrome off the inside of the rim. The company that made the wheel wanted $800 to sell me a new one, so we paid to have it re-chromed instead. Nobody could ever guess now what it looked like after that goo got to it."
Teresa and Darrell have further improved the looks of the convertible by adding a Saleen Speedster cover, Cobra hood, side scoops, smoked headlights and billet grille. The black leather Ford interior received white-face gauges, various auxiliary gauges and billet accents (window and door switches, climate controls and steering wheel cruise control pads). The B&M short-throw shifter was dressed up with a custom knob.
Because Teresa wanted a little more 'go' in her GT, the 5.0-liter received a few strategic upgrades, including a Professional Products 70mm throttle body, BBK On-road cross-pipe with 2.5-inch tubes, high-flow catalytic converters and a 3.27:1 Richmond final drive. Headers are BBK equal-length units with 1-7/8-inch tubes, but the most significant power adder came at a price for Teresa.
"Five years ago, I had the choice of getting a ceramic kitchen floor installed in my home for my birthday," she told me, "or a Roots-type Kenne Bell supercharger. I can still cook just fine without the tile," she says with a smile.
The Mustang, however, cooks even better with the blower, which - after custom tuning by Doug Studdard at Bama Chips - boosted output to 320 rear-wheel horsepower. So eager were Teresa and Darrell to feel the enhanced 5.0-liter work that they forgot to re-gap the Autolite sparkplugs.
"We kept blowing out the spark at around 4,000 rpms," she recalled. "When we adjusted the plugs to .035-inch, it solved the problem. We had tremendous help from the Kenne Bell technicians during and after the installation of the supercharger."
To dress up the engine compartment, the couple added chrome pulleys for the crankshaft, water pump, power steering and alternator, and they chromed a few carefully chosen covers and fasteners. A chromed BBK strut tower brace was added to improve chassis stiffness. The only immediately plans for more changes include a larger mass air sensor, bigger injectors, a smaller boost pulley and a custom dyno tune.
Although it doesn't show so much as a speck of road wear, the black GT became Teresa's daily driver, taking her back and forth to her accounting job. It also saw success on the show circuit, garnering a first-place trophy during the 1998 World of Wheels event in Birmingham. In addition, the whole Sanderson family is active with the Magic City Mustangs group as well as the Mustang Club of America, attending many shows each year throughout the Southeast. She retired 'Pure Power' (its official nickname) from commuter duties in January of 2000.