Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 1, 2009

Horse Sense:
The CS69 is but one of the wheel designs available from the Carroll Shelby Wheel Company. They also offer the CS40, CS56, CS66, and CS67. All are modern wheels designed for the S197 Mustang, yet feature classic styling that works with the car's retro theme.

The quickest and most noticeable way of upgrading your car's looks and performance has long been swapping the wheels and tires. In ye oldern days, it was simple to find a wheel with the right bolt pattern and diameter, add the tires of your choice, and swap them out as often as you like.

Ah, the good old days, but those days are behind us, and swapping wheels is a bit more complex in the modern era. That doesn't make the job impossible-there's just a bit more to it.

Talk about a big difference. Not only do the CS69s provide a styling upgrade, but the massive 20x9 front rims and 20x10 rears help fill up those massive S197 wheelwells. The big wheels actually make the car look lowered, but it hadn't been dropped in these photos. That will come in our next installment after a trip down to Steeda Autosports.

In recent years, a federal mandate requires that vehicles have a tire-pressure monitoring system onboard to protect everyone from those that don't take the time to periodically check their tire pressure. Sure it's nice to get a warning before you have an imminent blowout, but it does complicate adding new wheels to your ride. You can put on a new set of rims and tires without installing the TPMS or reprogramming the sensors to work with your ride. However, you'll be staring at an annoying flashing light on the dash and miss out on the benefits offered by the system.

Well, I couldn't leave the wheels on Project Vapor Trail alone. Finding just the right wheel-and-tire combo for the car sent me on an extensive web surfing mission, but in the end, I came back to my love-at-first-sight hoops-the CS69s from the Carroll Shelby Wheel company. Not only do they offer a retro-modern theme that meshes with the retro-inspired S197 look, but they were also designed to fit the S197, and more specifically, the GT500's big brakes. It doesn't hurt that the man himself had a hand in the design and specs on these wheels. Let's face it-Shelby wheels on a Shelby has a nice ring to it.

Even though I knew the CS69s were the right move, I still had to pick the right finish. While I was on the phone with someone at the Carroll Shelby Wheel Company, I was told of a new limited-edition version of the CS69 with chrome spokes and blacked out insets. He emailed me a shot of the wheel and it was love all over again.

Designed specifically for S197s, the CS69s are also built to clear the larger GT500 brake package, and do so with style. While the CS69s are available with chrome, hyperblack, and black spokes, only the limited-edition wheels feature the unique center cap, the chrome/black finish, and the Shelby name in the rim face. Of course, all are approved by Carroll Shelby himself, and the chrome/painted wheels feature a two-year warranty.

Of course, I knew all along that I was going to mount Nitto's new 20-inch drag radials out back to harness PVT's power; the traditional Nitto 555s round out the package out front. I think you'll agree that the wheel-and-tire combo really gives PVT a whole new look-and boy, do those Nittos grip the road.

To get the job done, I headed over to local Carroll Shelby Wheel Company dealer Tampa Bay Shelby, where Steve Naeger and company did the deed.

New Jewelry
As you know, a project car is never done until you don't own it anymore, so PVT is constantly evolving as the robust GT500 aftermarket continues to introduce great new products. The latest gear added to the car comes from a pair of GT500 specialists. These two companies are on the forefront of development for GT500 performance and appearance gear, and the Lethal Performance engine caps and JLT Performance brake-duct bezels add a touch of class to PVT.