Frank H. Cicerale
August 1, 2008
There's Nothing like organized chaos. Tag along as we start a Mustang metamorphosis with our Project Ice Box.

There comes a time in every person's life when change abounds. Whether puberty hits, the wedding bells toll, or the college tuition bill comes in the mail, human beings face change. By nature we are adaptive, so change is accepted, and often we thrive in the new environment. The same thing can be said about our cars. While the looks, power, and other modifications we make may be one person's cup of tea, those things might be different from your own personal preferences when you pick up the car second or third-hand.

That same theory can be applied to any project car. Oftentimes, we run into cars that have been changed around each time to suit the current owner's vices, or the same car, owned by the same person, sees different variations to its being. The ability to adapt our cars to our whims at any particular time is what keeps the hobby thriving.

A high-profile example is our own '01 Mustang GT, Project Ice Box. Since its inception, the car has been transformed from a stock, 13-second, Two-Valve Mustang GT to a supercharged monster that lays down 621 rwhp thanks to a CHP stroker, a Vortech blower, a set of Patriot heads, a JDM tune, and a pair of Comp Cams bumpsticks. As with any project car, it's a rolling test mule for the aftermarket's latest parts. In simpler terms, project cars, at least most of them, get changed a lot. It doesn't mean the parts that come off are bad; it's more about what's new.

During Ice Box's tenure here at MM&FF, the exterior has also been improved upon, namely with the installation of a Cervini's Stalker body kit and a set of aftermarket wheels.

While we weren't in the market to change the looks of our SN-95, the constant pummeling of New Jersey roadways, combined with a few off-track excursions during road-course testing, wreaked havoc on the aftermarket body components. In short, we messed them up bad. Despite the quality of Cervini's pieces, we don't know of any body parts that can stand to be smashed. The front bumper had a huge piece missing-we blame many curbs and a dirt hill-and the left-hand side skirt said sayonara (former editor Campisano will have to explain that one), but at least the awesome-looking hood was intact.

Even the wheels have seen the effects of the salt and grime on the roads, as pitting has abounded. About the only thing that was relatively untouched was the aforementioned heat extractor hood and rear wing. We couldn't let our beloved project car waste away into the land of the unsightly, so thanks to Roush Performance and Motor City Auto Body (Newark, New Jersey), the Project Ice Box makeover began.

Instead of ordering replacement Stalker body components from Cervini's, we decided to go with a different look-again, not a knock on Cervini's, we just wanted a change. We didn't go all Joan Rivers on the car, but we did decide to pull off the torn-up parts and replace them with a Roush body kit, accompanying wheels, and side-exit exhaust system. We're keeping the Cervini's hood and giving the car color-not through the vinyl graphics the car was graced with beforehand, but with a set of contrasting stripes on the hoodscoops (think vintage Olds 4-4-2).

As with any bodywork project, getting the car in and out of paint jail can be an arduous task. Our lives were made a lot easier thanks to Manny Costeira and the crew at Motor City Auto Body. Before the car was left in the knowledgeable hands of the Motor City pros, we decided that not only would we add the stripes to the hood and (obviously) the color to the unfinished Roush components, but we would respray the entire car as well.