Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 28, 2011

Well, it's been quite a while since you last saw our Street Smart Windsor project car, but we've blown the dust off and have several upcoming tech articles planned for it, including this month's custom paint and bodywork, courtesy of North Deland Auto Body.

To bring those unfamiliar with the project up to speed, we picked up this 100-percent stock '89 GT for a paltry $950, and promptly pulled the engine. It ran just fine after fixing the fusible link, but we wanted to do something a bit different. So we called up Latemodel Restoration Supply and ordered one of its budget 351W short-blocks. We then topped it off with RHS cylinder heads, a Trickflow intake, and a custom camshaft from Comp that featured a stock-like duration, but as much lift as we could fit given the pistons and valves we were using. Our latest dyno pulls netted 325 rwhp and 382 lb-ft of torque, with a smooth idle and through a pair of converters. Said power production propelled our GT to a 13.09 quarter-mile time, and we plan to improve upon that with an upcoming differential and gear swap-going through the traps at 4,200 rpm in Fourth gear isn't really optimal.

If you saw our last drag test, though, you probably noticed the cracked windshield, lack of hood, and general crappy disposition that our GT offers. Aesthetically, it had been banged up at all four corners, and a bad custom paint job left the clearcoat peeling on the horizontal surfaces. To rectify that and the Windsor-specific hood clearance issue, we decided to enlist the services of North Deland Auto Body to straighten out our GT, and bring it up to date with a custom look. The skilled staff at North Deland Auto Body had already upgraded one of our sister magazine's rides, so we knew we were in good hands.

The staff handles everything from ho-hum dealer repairs to one-off custom work on a daily basis, and steered us toward the Matrix System line of finishing products for paint. You can spend days, hours, weeks, or more trying to pick a color, and we logged quite a few hours on the Internet looking at various shades. We were leaning towards a metallic red and in the end, our painter, Robby Novak, showed us his custom Silverado sprayed in a luscious shade called Raspberry Metallic-we were sold. The Raspberry Metallic is a color from Matrix's custom FX Pearl MPX-P line of finishes, and while it looks like a candy paint finish in various lights, it utilizes your basic clearcoat, which makes it easier to refinish should you get nicks or dings down the road.

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As they keep North Deland Auto Body stock up on a regular basis, the fine folks at Another Option Paint and Body Supply (Deland, Florida) provided us with the Refinish Solutions Fast-Build Urethane Primer/Sealer (RSP-160) and Activator (RSP-165), as well as the Matrix FX Raspberry Metallic and clearcoat to finish the job.

With the shop and paint finishes lined up, we needed to address the general body issues that we had with the Street Smart Windsor. Both the front and rear bumper covers were shot, and the stock hood would not fit anymore with the taller Windsor motor now resting between the framerails. To that end, we used a combination of parts from Latemodel Restoration Supply and Cervinis Auto Designs to replace the damaged pieces, and give the GT a more distinct appearance.

Once the Street Smart Windsor rolled out of the paint booth for the final time, we were absolutely in love with the color of the car, and the finish was superb. The stock Pony wheels just don't do it justice, so we've teamed up with Billet Specialties and Baer Brakes to give project SSW a custom set of hoops and binders that won't break the bank. You can read about that in an upcoming issue, along with some of the other performance-related modifications that we have planned. In the meantime, check out the captions to see how the paint and body project came together.

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