Joe Magro
July 1, 2008

Mustang owners are a rare breed. Where most people research emissions, safety equipment, and residual value when buying a new car, Mustang owners need look no further than under the hood.

One of the most appealing characteristics of this particular Mustang, however, was that the original owner purchased a seven-year Ford factory warranty. Clearly he had planned on keeping the car for some time, but after starting a family with his girlfriend, he was forced to trade in his beloved car out of familial necessity.

Although having the peace of mind of a full warranty was no doubt one of the selling features, this meant a limited amount of modifications could be made to the car without voiding that documented reassurance. Of course, while that immediately ruled out any supercharging potential or intrusive mods that would add some serious punch to this Pony, there were other options available to squeeze out a few horses here and there.

The proud owner of this 40th Anniversary Mustang GT convertible, Dustin Woods, begins by confessing that he had not originally intended on buying a Mustang at all. "I grew up in a General Motors family," he says. "My dad has owned Suburbans as long as I've been alive, my mom has always driven a Buick, and my sister a Pontiac. I just figured I would buy a Camaro or Trans Am when I was old enough to afford one."

A combination of factors drove Woods to the decision to step away from his family affiliation with the General. "First off, GM discontinued production of the F-body back in 2002. Despite getting better engines and improved performance through the '90s, frankly I thought the last two generations were hideous." When the time came to put his money where his mouth was, Woods surprised his friends, family, and neighbors by pulling into the driveway with this Charcoal Gray Mustang. "She caught my eye as I drove past the Ford dealership," he says, "so I decided to go for a test drive. As soon as I cranked her over and heard that rumble, I fell in love instantly."

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A BBK cold-air intake was installed that likely added a few horses without any negative repercussions. Another common project known to add power and presence is an exhaust-system upgrade. It was that modern muscle sound that sold Woods on the first Ford in his family, so he was originally reluctant to change the familiar notes he knew and loved. He decided on a Borla Performance Cat-Back system after hearing a number of recommendations and personal confessions about the company. A quick perusal online proved that the company did indeed manufacture a system for the '04 4.6 V-8 Mustang GT. A phone call later, and a big box from Borla was on its way.

Having some automotive know-how but not owning a hoist or dyno, Woods went to SG Motorsport to have the system installed. The local shop had a good reputation for being honest and affordable, which is often hard to come by in this industry. Owner Sasha Anis personally worked on this project, as he previously had little experience with Mustangs. "I mostly work with sport compacts, but I love getting the chance to work on different cars," he says.

The first thing Anis did, of course, was strap the Mustang to his Dynapack dynamometer for a baseline reading to see what kind of numbers the car was currently putting to the tire, so we could measure the Borla system's improvement. After warming up the car and running through a few good pulls, Anis was satisfied with the initial reading of 218 hp and 238 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. With a baseline established, it was off to the shop lift for the actual R&R work.

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