Do you remember the Ford advertisement from a year or two ago? It showed a photo of a 2005 Mustang and was captioned: "For the last 40 years, every kid in America has wanted the same pony." Matt Chronister was certainly one of those kids, because he has wanted a Mustang of his own since his tender years. Once he turned 16, it wasn't long until the title for a Mustang had his name on it.
"I come from a Ford family and a Mustang is the car to have in my eyes. When I turned 16, I found an affordable 1994 V6 and when I found that I could actually own the car, the fact of it being a V6 didn't seem to matter," Matt told us. Indeed, many people take their first steps into the Mustang world on six cylinders, rather than eight. The benefits are strong, particularly if you use that car on a daily basis. Reduced insurance rates and better gas consumption are among the main reasons why a V6-powered Mustang is a reasonable choice ... until the power bug bites you in the ... never mind. You know what I mean.
Of course, we know now that 3.8-liter engines of that vintage suffered from head gasket challenges and this owner, unfortunately, found out about that particular malady the hard way. "Not until three head gaskets and a used motor later did that really become a problem for me." In fact, on his way home from having the used motor installed, Matt spotted his next Mustang. It was sitting in a used car dealer's lot and gleaming in the Pennsylvania sun like a black diamond. "Soon, I was rid of my problem-prone V6 and driving my dream car - the '95 GT that I currently and will always own."
Now, regardless of how bad-ass you think they look, black Mustangs are pretty much a dime a dozen and Matt knew this. "From Day One, it's been a goal of mine to have a different car than everyone else. Having a Mustang doesn't always make that easy, but it is an ever-changing project." On the outside, he started with a 2000 Cobra R front end, fitting the Cobra bumper cover with the R's unique splitter. Saleen side skirts and rear fascia were added as well, then a 3.5-inch cowl hood from ABC Exclusive and their Y2K Cobra R functional rear wing completed the body modifications. After the new components were painted to show level, Matt installed the silver vinyl stripes that add a lot of distinction to the GT. A set of DropZone sport springs lowered the car to where he wanted it, while the black Pacer 20-inch rims and some window tint completed the exterior renovations.
Although Matt had big future plans for power adders, his short term need for speed was going to have to settle for a nitrous oxide installation. A Nitrous Works wet system filled the bill, using a 15-pound bottle and a 150-175 hp shot. The nitrous controller is managed both by the driver, using an arming switch and a wide open throttle switch, as well as through a window switch that is built in to the Mallory HiFire 6 ignition controller. All of these components work together to provide a safe and competent nitrous system. Having added this capability led to a new upgrade opportunity, though perhaps not in the way Matt had envisioned.
Two years ago, he took the car to a dyno shop so that they could do a run with the NOS working. As he told us, "Going into third that day resulted in a loud bang and the loss of all transmission functions. The splines on the counter shaft, as well as third gear, had been stripped." Like any good Mustang owner, he saw this development as an opportunity to upgrade, rather than a mechanical disaster. A plan began to form in his mind and, so, the gearbox was replaced with a modern T-56, six-speed transmission. Challenges emerged with the T-56 installation, for example, having to fabricate his own transmission mounts to the new box, but in the end, they were all overcome.
The new plan, as Matt sees it, is to convert his Pony to turbocharged power. Everything that has been accomplished in the past two years has been done with that goal in mind. The motor has been freshened so that it will be able to handle the additional power without complaint. That has included installing a main bearing girdle on the block - a job that he says wasn't as simple as he might have thought, given that he wanted to retain the stock oil pan. A Ford Racing E-303 cam now find its home deep inside the 5.0-liter block, along with their FRPP hydraulic roller lifters and Probe Industries' 1.7-ration roller rockers. Matt had taken the cylinder heads off himself for a little internal port matching, and so he added Comp Cams' dualie valve springs while he was at it.
After some mild porting, he dropped a Saleen intake manifold on top and added a Professional Products 75mm throttle body. Ford Motorsport's 19-lb fuel injectors were also installed, along with a Bosch 255 lph fuel pump and Aeromotive A1000 pressure regulator. To ensure accurate and powerful ignition performance, Matt selected a Mallory Hi-Fire 6 digital ignition controller and Crane Cams Fireball ignition coil. A custom exhaust was fabricated to connect the Hooker Super Comp headers through to a pair of Magnaflow 3-inch mufflers. Driveline upgrades along the way included a S.P.E.C. Stage 3 clutch when the tranny was changed over, as well as a Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft and Hurst short throw shifter.
At this point in time, the turbochargers remain to be installed, but the car gets closer every week. Matt tells us that "The pipes and lines have been fabricated and the accessory locations have been modified to allow clearance." He has chosen to go with a third party engine management system and is spending his time learning the ins and outs of that before bringing on the adders. "Then the turbos can be installed and tuning for them begin," he added. Interior changes aren't too radical up to this point in time, unless you consider having a Playstation 2 close at hand to be a little out there. The center stack fascia has been replaced with a custom molded piece to allow for a seven-inch LCD display and a Pioneer head unit with 6-disc changer. Not far away sits an Auto Meter five-inch Monster tach. The red-and-black interior theme is carried through in the red-faced gauge cluster overlay and the original seats that Matt dyed red himself.
As far as works-in-progress go ... and we've seen a few ... this one is pretty close to complete. The car is already distinctive enough to have taken home a couple of trophies from the All Ford Nationals in Carlisle, PA, and we've no doubt that there are more in its future. Perhaps a bigger trophy shelf should be the next project? Matt entertains that option after this one is complete. But maybe it's already a work-in-progress.
Matt Chronister's 1995 Mustang GT
Ford cast iron 5.0-liter V8
Mallory HiFire VI digital ignition controller, Saleen Vortech intake manifold, mildly ported; Professional Industries 75mm throttle body, ARP main bolts, Mr. Gasket cylinder head gaskets, Comp Cams dual valve springs, Ford Motorsport 19 lb/hr fuel injectors, 8mm ignition wires, E303 camshaft; Probe Industries roller rocker arms, Bosch 255 lph fuel pump, Aeromotive A1000 fuel pressure regulator, Hooker Super Comp headers, custom 3" exhaust system using MagnaFlow mufflers, Nitrous Works' wet plate nitrous system, 150-175 shot, modified OE oil pan
Hurst short throw shifter, Tremec T-56 manual transmission, S.P.E.C. Stage 3 clutch disc and pressure plate, Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft
Saleen Y2K rear bumper cover, side skirts, Ford Y2K Cobra R front bumper cover, Own vinyl striping, ABC Exclusive Cobra R rear wing, Projector headlamps
Auto Meter 5" monster tach, Pioneer head unit with 6-disc changer, custom molded 7" in-dash monitor, PlayStation 2, original seats with upholstery dyed red
Blue Oval rear control arms, KYB replacement strut dampers, with adjustable shock absorbers at rear, Dropzone lowering springs
Wheels And Tires
Pacar 20 x 9" wheels; Nitto Extreme 555 tires, (f) 245/35-20 (r) 275/35-20
340 RWHP, 361 RWTQ
Best Et To Date: 12.91 @ 107.9 mph
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me with the car: my parents for putting up with the tinkering while I was in high school when this was my only mode of transportation; members of my car club, Extreme Illusions and TurboMustangs.com for all the information I've found, making some of the build possible.