Dale Amy
January 8, 2010

Okay, so we'd all like a brand-new, fully personalized Mustang as our daily driver, but dollars and (common) sense sometimes put a choke-collar on our enthusiasm. But there are fiscally responsible options. With the introduction of the restyled 2010, we're starting to see some pretty attractive prices for pre-owned S197s, especially '05s and '06s. If you've been lusting after one of these modern classics, now might be an affordable time to pick one from the multitude of V6s and GTs starting to appear on the used market, some priced as low as ten-grand or less. Or, maybe you already have an S197 that you've finally finished making those pesky monthly payments on, therefore freeing up some cash for "embellishments."

In either case, the way to give that stock, early S197 some fresh and aggressive attitude may be as simple as a visit to Classic Design Concepts' website (classicdesignconcepts.com). It's amazing how some well-chosen parts can quickly and affordably sharpen an otherwise-stock Mustang's personality, and we've always found CDC's offerings to be of OEM quality, easily installed, and a great bang for the buck.

To demonstrate that an early S197 need not look "used," the crew from Classic Design came up with a plan. Last August, in the week before the annual Woodward Cruise, they took a trailer-load of parts to the Mustang Memories show put on by the Mustang Owners Club of Southeast Michigan (MOCSM), just up the road from CDC's Novi, Michigan, headquarters. They had put the word out: One lucky attendee with an unmolested early S197 was going to receive a free "two-hour makeover"-or at least his or her car was. CDC would bolt on a selection of their parts to show what kind of transformation could be achieved in a very short span. We were there to document the proceedings, and went looking for a likely candidate. Collectively, we decided on just such a candidate, but then ran smack into a brief and amusing delay before the makeover could begin. It seems the car we chose-a startlingly stock Torch Red '05 GT ragtop-had been brought to the show by Darrell Bazman, but had actually been owned since new by his wife, Sandra, who wasn't at the show. So Darrell ended up having to spend some quality time on the cell phone, first in hunting down Sandra, and then in frantically convincing her that her GT really needed a makeover. And here everyone thought giving away free parts would be easy...

Once Darrell got the spousal thumbs-up, the CDC crew launched into action, ultimately taking just over two hours to morph this stock, used GT into a Classic Design. Have a look at our photo captions and sidebar descriptions for the details. We think you'll find that even in these financially trying times, CDC can give new life to any S197 - without excessive investment of either money or time, and either in one fell swoop or done piecemeal, as time and funds permit.

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