Gabriel Villagomez of El Centro, California, did just that when he stocked up on exterior parts for his dream car--a brand new '06 Mustang GT. And when his wife questioned the contents of the boxes in the garage, his palms started to sweat as he told her they were "just empty boxes." Little did Mrs. Villagomez know that what her husband was hiding would be the starting pieces of Gabriel's three-year-long project on a car he didn't even have.
Gabriel spent most of his life dreaming what it would be like to own a '67 Mustang GT fastback Eleanor clone, which some consider to be the cream of the crop when it comes to specialty vintage Mustangs. But getting one at a reasonable price is impossible.
After giving up on finding a classic Mustang, Gabriel's son, Gabriel Jr., suggested he buy a new S197 GT and transform it into his own Eleanor dream car. Those words stayed on his mind for a long time, and after much thought, it was off to a SoCal Ford dealership, where Gabriel Sr. found his shiny new Pony--a loaded-to-the-brim, Performance White '06 Mustang GT coupe. At last he purchased a car to go with those parts in the garage.
The gears turned in Gabriel Sr.'s head as he wondered what the first step should be to build a totally unique Eleanor. He started slow and bought each Cervini's body part piece-by-piece, until he eventually had everything needed to transform this everyday Steed into a head- turning, jaw-dropping, drool-inducing show car with enough heart- stopping performance to scratch any horsepower itch.
And it wasn't long before Mrs. Villagomez was on to his little white lie about those "empty" boxes in the garage, but he pleaded his case and received her blessing on his beloved project.
In the Mustang world, we see a lot of the same thing again and again, so it's important to think outside the box and dare to be different. We all know the standard Eleanor look consists of Mineral Gray paint with black stripes--it's been done many times--but this one had to be in a league of it's own, and the inspiration for the Tungsten Grey and silver-striped theme came from one of his 600 diecast cars.
The soon-to-be Eleanor went in for it's major overhaul at Starbucks Custom Designs in Riverside. They aren't brewing coffee there--instead, they're brewing up very serious custom rides. Gabriel Sr. gave the Starbucks crew explicit instructions on exactly how he wanted the end result to look. It had to be the end-all, be-all of Eleanor Mustangs.
A grueling six months later, Gabriel Sr. got the call that his dream car was complete. His ordinary S197 had been revolutionized into a one-off Eleanor with a wicked twist. Something so spectacular needs a fitting name, but neither he nor his son could come up with anything fitting. That was until they pulled into the Starbucks Custom Designs parking lot and realized the Tungsten Gray Pony that sat out front was theirs.
In absolute awe, Gabriel Sr. couldn't believe his eyes; his import-loving son was officially and instantly converted into a Mustang lover for life. He took his bold new mare out for it's maiden voyage and when he finally pulled it back into the parking lot, he saw a .50 caliber brass casing from a high-powered rifle sitting on the ground in front of the car. It was at that moment that his new Eleanor stallion earned the name 50-Cal.
The project was far from complete, however, as Gabriel Sr. still needed to add horsepower in order to give his animal more bite than bark. So 50-Cal's next stop was Citrus Motorsports in Ontario, California, where it underwent a fusion of Saleen-powered boost, driven by a built Ford Racing Three-Valve and a mild fuel setup with 39-lb/hr injectors. The rearend housed Ford Racing 3.73 gears inside the stock 8.8 with a Ford Racing differential cover to add strength and looks.
The nasty stance is the result of a few minor adjustments to the suspension and wheels. Steeda springs provide the perfect grounding with a 1-inch drop in the front and 1-1/4-inch drop in the rear, as well as Steeda upper and lower control arms to improve the overall suspension geometry--just in case Gabriel Sr. needs to plant the rubber on the road for a little launching action.
Looks are everything and a well thought-out project like this needs the perfect wheel-and-tire combination, which is why they chose staggered 20-inch Carroll Shelby CS 40 wheels and Nitto tires for all four corners.
The bold red leather interior boasts embroidered ponies on both front headrests. It also has some additional goodies--custom gauges, switches, and knobs show just how much personality a car can have; a GT500 steering wheel gives a racier feel over the stocker. The Alpine touch screen adds a little extra luxury that Ford didn't offer it at the time. The Pro 5.0 short-shifter makes it hard not to bang gears in this head turner. Lambo doors finish the look with a massive wow factor. It is truly a showstopper, inside and out.
As far as acceleration, it was important to Gabriel Sr. to keep this combination mild. He had no real intentions of drag racing this show car, but he wanted enough under hood ponies to roll into the throttle for a thrill on a dull night. The Saleen Series VI twin-screw supercharger adds just enough power to make this Stang a real top gun. This smoking barrel exhales its exhaust through JBA headers with Magnaflow mufflers, and boasted 500 rwhp after Citrus Motorsports worked its magic with a custom Diablosport calibration.
For an up close and personal look at this Tungsten 50-Cal bullet, try and catch this one-of-a-kind pristine Eleanor clone at many local SoCal cruise nights and/or car shows in the area. It's a seriously personalized Pony and you'll probably never find another one quite like it.