Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
February 1, 2009
Keith Doughty of K Dezines dreamed up this enclosure for our Pioneer Premier in-car entertainment. The red LED treatment is courtesy of three strips of Plasmaglow's Lumaflex (PN 10671; $89.95). On a switch so it can be set aglow for display purposes only, it's meant to mimic the Ambient lighting and doorsills in the interior. The paint matching is courtesy of Vanderpools Auto Body.

Horse Sense: If K Dezines sounds familiar, the company is best known for its Mustang rear-seat-delete kits. The company offers them for Fox to present Mustangs, including the S197s. That kit is designed to interface cleanly with the trunk kit seen here.

For me, cars and loud music have been intertwined since the day I got my driver's license. A car offered the freedom to leave home, and the venue to play my music as loud as I wanted. In fact, my first traffic ticket was for violating the City of Clearwater's noise ordinance while cruising the strip alongside the beach-and that was all from a cassette deck, an amp, and a pair of 6x9 speakers. That practice, like my first car, is long since gone, but even after I finally got my first Mustang, I still loved to blast my tunes at high volume, and to do that properly usually means aftermarket audio.

Most every car I've owned gets an upgrade of some kind, be it better speakers, a head unit, or at least a plug-and-play satellite-radio unit. You know I love Mustangs, but I love music, too. They are my vices, and thank goodness I sometimes get to feed both of them on the job.

That brings me to my latest obsession, Project Vapor Trail. It's hard not to get worked up over a GT500, but it's a bit easier to be nonplussed by the factory audio offerings. You can either get Shaker 500 or the bass-heavy Shaker 1000. At least they have aux audio inputs these days, but still no Sync for iPod control.

Granted, the Shaker systems are head and shoulders above the old "Premium" sound systems, but the lack of Sync availability made me take a hard look at the aftermarket options for PVT. Some might ask why I'd go to the trouble, but that's like a non-car guy asking why you "need" 600-plus horsepower. For some of us, stock just isn't good enough. That's why we love Mustangs in the first place. They were made to modify, and fortunately the Mustang audio system is still relatively easy to replace.

The best part of Keith's creation is that it all disappears beneath this factory-appearing false floor. While it gives up a bit of depth, the K Dezines arrangement levels out the trunk floor and leaves plenty of usable space while protecting the audio gear from harm.

After a quick look at the audio landscape, I was afforded the opportunity to check out Pioneer's latest F-series navigation head units. These technological wonders store navigation data on a solid-state drive, so the CD/DVD drive is free to play, plus they connect with your cell phone over Bluetooth and offer voice control over your iPod. Sound familiar? Moreover, the F900BT I picked out adds the cool MSN Direct palette of features, which not only directs you around area traffic jams, but also shows you gas prices, movie times, and weather. Furthermore, you can upgrade it for Satellite radio, HD radio, or both. For a gadget freak like me, this unit is perfect.

As a longtime fan of the Pioneer brand-Pioneer built those 6x9s that garnered me a ticket-it made sense to round out the system with Pioneer's top-of-the-line Premier gear.

You already saw in the previous PVT installment that I first installed the F900BT with the factory amps and speakers with a kit from Crutchfield. To take the system to the next level, I needed help, and that help comes from Keith Doughty of K Dezines. You might recall that Keith worked his magic on KJ's T-top Coupe project, and this time around I encouraged him to expand his talents to the S197.

I think you'll be as impressed as I was with how it looks, and the sound is out of this world. This is by far the best audio system I've ever had in a Mustang. There's nothing quite like have 600 hp under the loud pedal and 2,400 watts behind the volume knob-it goes to 11 now.