However, not every kid is handed a brand-new car at 16. Some, like Juan Farias of Sacramento, California, had to work to buy the car he loved.
Juan's first car was a '90 Thunderbird Super Coupe, which he's quick to describe as "slow." He planned on modifying the T-bird at first, but changed his mind after talking to the owner of a modified '03 Cobra. "His Cobra had about 800 hp, so I asked him, 'How do I make this faster?' He laughed and said, 'Man, you need to start with a muscle car first.'"
Fast-forward a few years to 2003. Juan was driving to visit his parents in Modesto, California, and came across a used-car dealership with two Mustangs for sale. Having been in pursuit of a GT for a while, he stopped to look at them. The two were a '98 and a '99, and he knew immediately which one he wanted. "I knew the '99 had more power but I fell in love with the '98's body."
Juan purchased the Atlantic Blue Mustang and drove it stock for two years. In 2005, he decided to begin modifying it. Being a school bus mechanic by trade, Juan already had a clue when it came to the basics. Calvin Earle at Pearl Performance in Sacramento ported the GT's stock heads, and built a bottom-end capable of handling up to 800 hp. The rotating assemble consisted of an FRPP Cobra crankshaft, and connecting rods and pistons from Probe Industries.
A Trick Flow Track Heat intake manifold was chosen to sit atop the long-block, and a Vortech T-trim producing 12 pounds of boost is also nestled under the hood. Bob Kurgan of Kurgan Motorsports in Braselton, Georgia, helped Juan with the blower and other goodies he needed, including a 7.5-inch harmonic balancer for higher boost. With Hooker long-tube headers responsible for propelling exhaust gases through a Hooker X-style mid-pipe and MagnaFlow mufflers, Juan's GT sounds as fierce as it looks.
To provide smooth handling when cruising, Juan installed Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors, and UPR A-arms, caster/camber plates, and K-member. Lakewood shocks reside in the front and rear of the GT.
Once power was handled, Juan decided it was time to give his Mustang the vicious look he envisioned. He already loved the color of his beloved Mustang, so he sent it to Marcos Navarete of Macros Paint and Body, also in Sacramento, to give it a fresh coat of Atlantic Blue. He also ordered two-tone leather Corbeau seats to give his interior a facelift, and upgraded from stock wheels to 10th Anniversary Cobra-style wheels.
Finally, Juan made arrangements with KC Gager of BRG Racing in Pacheco, California, to have his beast tuned by Chris Doing. On a street tune, Juan tells us his Stang produces 460 rwhp at 12 pounds of boost, and runs 11.6 at 122 mph in the quarter-mile with a 1.52-second 60-foot.
Although Juan describes his Mustang as "homebuilt," he says he wasn't alone in carrying out his plan. Friends Frank Victorial, Jeff Glover, and Jerry Glover were of huge assistance in building his dream GT, giving him a lot of advice and guidance throughout the five-year project.
"It drives like a new car, and I only take it to the track four or five times a year with friends," says Juan. For now, Juan and his Pony live the good life, cruisin' in the California sunshine.