Let's face it; most of us can only fantasize of being given carte blanche to build our ultimate Mustang. We either fall short in terms of money, resources, time, or all of the above. To actually build your dream Mustang, you either need to have a ton of cash available or a job that somehow allows you to do it for a living. The good news for Steve Carpenter is that he has the latter. Steve is the sales manager for Galpin Auto Sports, the performance division of Galpin Ford, which happens to be the largest Ford dealer in the United States. It's also the same Galpin that modifies vehicles on the Pimp My Ride television show. While Steve's personal car may be void of excess television monitors and spinning wheels, it certainly has no shortage of aftermarket upgrades.
Of course, building this Mustang wasn't only fun for Steve, but part of the job as well. "It gives me a chance to test all of the new bolt-ons out there and see what works," he says. He uses his firsthand experience to help GAS customers decide what's right for their Mustangs, and since Steve has owned two S197 Mustangs before this car, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with this one. "The goal with this project was to build a car that you can drive every day that was reliable, wouldn't overheat, and could go fast, both in a straight line and around corners." From sampling this beauty ourselves, it appears Steve has very much accomplished his mission.
Given the late-model Mustang movement has been with us for nearly two decades and the technology now available, it has become relatively easy to make big power with the Three-Valve modular found in S197 Mustang GTs. Adding a supercharger or a turbocharger can safely net up to 200 additional ponies without replacing any internal engine components. Going without forced induction, however, makes it quite a bit harder. "Anybody can put a supercharger on a new Mustang, but to make horsepower without one is a lot more difficult," says Steve, who admits he wasn't afraid of a challenge. To achieve the power level he wanted while still keeping the engine normally aspirated, he enlisted the help of Ford specialists JDM Engineering of Freehold, New Jersey, who shipped out a brand-new Three-Valve engine to the West Coast, complete with an eight-bolt JDM stroker crankshaft, Manley forged connecting rods, and Manley forged-aluminum pistons, resulting in an honest 302ci mill. The stronger internals also allowed for Comp Cams Stage 3 camshafts, a JDM cold-air intake, Steeda underdrive pulleys, and Granatelli Motor Sports coil packs. Helping the V-8 to breathe better are ported cylinder heads and a full Bassani exhaust system, including long-tube headers, high-flow cats, and Bassani's street mufflers. The setup is good for 420 hp at the wheels, and Steve also added a 200-shot of Nitrous Pro-Flow giggle gas just for good measure. "The nitrous is fun to use," he says. "Sometimes it's like having somebody lunge a baseball bat in your back while at other times it's like taking the traction control off and all hell breaking loose."
With all that extra power, a beefier driveline was a must. The Galpin crew installed an RPS aluminum flywheel as well as an RPS 10.5-inch carbon-fiber clutch with a billet-aluminum housing. An aluminum one-piece driveshaft from JDM helps keep things spinning quickly while knocking off a bit of mass in the process.
Wanting to make sure his Mustang could take on the curves as well as a straight line, Steve went all-out on the suspension and chassis upgrades. "We set it up for road racing and aggressive street driving," he says. "It's like having your own Ferrari/Porsche/BMW but wrapped in a Mustang body." Tokico adjustable D-Spec shocks and Steeda competition springs both front and rear ensure the car stays flat while cornering, and Ford Racing front and rear sway bars reduce body roll even further. Not one to do anything halfway, the Galpin team added Ford Racing billet lower control arms, Steeda triangle braces to help stiffen the chassis, BMR polyurethane bushings, and a Saleen Gen-2 Watt's-link system. Stopping power is provided by Baer 14-inch front brakes with two-piston calipers.
With a 302 underneath the hood and a suspension set up for the racetrack, it was only natural that the exterior would mimic a classic '69/'70 Boss 302. To start things off, Steve added a Classic Design Concepts front spoiler with a custom carbon-fiber splitter from Automotive Dezignz. The painted billet grille and custom hood are also from CDC, complete with a Shaker system that feeds cool air to the intake. Other exterior pieces include Agent 47 retro race mirrors and rear-quarter window NACA ducts, 3d Carbon headlight splitters, and Cervini's lower sidescoops and pedestal rear wing. To complete the retro look, Steve turned the car over to M&M Autoarts who painted the car Ferrari Rosso Red, a color that looks right at home on a modern musclecar. The red is complemented by low-gloss black paint on the hood and rear wing as well as black Boss striping. The Boss Eagle two-piece aluminum wheels have also been powdercoated to match the car and are wrapped with Nitto Invo tires.
The interior of this Mustang is just as impressive as the rest of the car. A color-matched six-point rollcage from Autopower Industries keeps occupants safe, and custom two-tone leather Cobra seats keep them comfortable as well. Driver controls have a sporty look and feel-the custom Momo steering wheel is handmade with black and red leather, the Hurst T-handle short-throw shifter bangs out gears with ease, and the engine can be ignited by the red starter button in the dash. Keeping tabs on the engine are Auto Meter gauges on the A-pillar and the dash.
So what does Steve think of his ultimate Mustang? "You know, when I think about it, the finished result is exactly what I had in mind," he says. "I was able to bring back the old-school Boss look, yet it drives super nice on the street-no shakes, rattles, or squeaks."
So is he finished with the car? For now, but Steve still has some plans for the future. "I think I'll have a look at installing twin turbos soon, just for fun." So, much like Galpin Auto Sports, it appears things are never static when it comes to Steve Carpenter's own personal Pony.
Steve Carpenter's '07 "Boss" Mustang
Engine Ford 302ci SOHC Three-Valve V-8 Engine built by JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey Manley forged connecting rods Eight-bolt JDM stroker crankshaft Manley 11.5:1 forged-aluminum pistons Comp Stage 3 Camshaft with 494 lift/292 duration Ported cylinder heads JDM cold-air intake Steeda underdrive pulleys Granatelli ignition coil packs Nitrous Pro-Flow 200hp nitrous system 420 rwhp, 630 rwhp with nitrous
Transmission Tremec TR-3650 five-speed RPS aluminum flywheel RPS carbon-fiber 10.5-inch clutch with billet-aluminum clutch housing JDM one-piece aluminum driveshaft
Rearend Stock 8.8 axlehousing 4.10 gears
Exhaust Bassani long-tube headers Bassani x-style crossover with high-flow catalytic converters Bassani axle-back exhaust with dual street mufflers
Suspension Front: Tokico D-Spec struts, Steeda competition springs, Ford Racing sway bar, adjustable K-member, Steeda triangle brace Rear: Tokico D-Spec shocks, Steeda competition springs, Ford Racing sway bar, BMR polyurethane bushings, Ford Racing billet lower control arms, Saleen Watt's link
Brakes Front: Baer Racing, 14-inch rotors, two-piston calipers Rear: Baer Racing, 14-inch rotors, single-piston calipers
Wheels Front: Boss Eagle Alloy two-piece aluminum, 20x9 Rear: Boss Eagle Alloy two-piece aluminum, 20x9
Tires Front: Nitto Invo, P275/40ZR20 Rear: Nitto Invo, P275/40ZR20
Interior Autopower six-point color-matched rollcage, Cobra custom leather seats front and back, Steeda gauge pillar, Auto Meter gauges made to match the dash, handmade Momo steering wheel, Hurst short-throw shifter with T-handle
Exterior Ferrari Rosso Red paint by M&M Autoarts, CDC/Foose hood with Shaker system, CDC front spoiler with custom carbon-fiber front splitter, Agent 47 retro race mirrors, Agent 47 rear quarter-window NACA ducts, 3d Carbon headlight splitters, CDC billet grille (painted), Cervini's pedestal rear wing (painted), Cervini's lower sidescoops