Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 1, 2009
It's tough to beat a TVS'd GT500 engine to turn heads, but adding some choice gear from JLT, MGW, Moroso, Optima, and Steeda turns things up a notch-nothing too over the top, but enough to say it doesn't look stock anymore.

As a group, we Mustang fans are never satisfied. Perhaps that's why we fell in love with Mustangs to begin with. They serve as the perfect vehicle to consummate a project-car love affair. From a clapped-out four-banger Fox to the latest S197, there are so many aftermarket options available to customize our cars that it can be dizzying. That's why we often emphasize planning a project before beginning on one in these pages, as those choices can take you on tangents which sometimes go beyond the scope of your budget or intentions.

Such things are easy for me. The second I decide to buy a car--after fretting for weeks about how to pay for it--I instantly start forming my project car plan. It was no different when I finally took the plunge on Project Vapor Trail--an '08 Ford Shelby GT500 painted Vapor Silver.

While the overall styling of an S197 interior is good, it can get a bit dark and dull in there without a few accents. Crutchfield, Ford Racing Performance Parts, Pioneer Electronics, MGW, Shelby Performance Parts, and Silverhorse help brighten up PVT's interior. It's easy to get carried away with the bling, so remember that a little is tasteful and a lot is overkill.

When you buy what is at the time the top of the line Mustang available, you may be asked why you would modify it. Some guys are content to put these monsters in a bubble hoping they might be worth big bucks later; others would turn them right into race cars. I don't fall in either camp, I just looked at the GT500 as a bolt-on dream come true. Take a great foundation, add just the right bolt-ons, and enjoy a great car.

My goal for PVT is to make it into an ultimate street car. If you've been following our stories so far, you know it has plenty of power already and more than a few cool custom touches, not the least of which is Classic Design Concepts' Glassback roof. For our next phase, it's time to doll up the interior and engine compartment. After all, there's nothing worse than showing up at a cruise night or car show to see another car that looks just like yours.

Check out the caps and snaps to see the list of mods I dreamed up right after placing the order for PVT with Anderson Ford Mercury. Best of all, most of this gear will fit any S197 Mustang, not just the GT500.

The toughest part of installing Moroso's sweet aluminum tanks is trying to avoid making a mess when removing the old ones. We cheated a bit with the supercharger coolant tank (PN 63493) as Justin Starkey of VMP Tuning (www.vmptuning.com) did the dirty work while the intercooler system was drained for the AFCO heat exchanger ("The Invisible," Nov. '08, p. 96) from Lethal Performance (www.lethalperformance.com). When doing the other tanks this time, I used a siphon pump to drain out most of the fluid; then placed a small towel under the fittings to soak up any spills.

PVT has worn FRPP chrome cam covers since it left Anderson Ford Mercury, so the stock oil cap hasn't been cutting it for a long time. I selected a snake-logo'd, triple-chrome cap ($39) from MGW to continue the theme.