By nature, human beings are diverse creatures. We all have traits, personality, and character—some more than others. Most follow trends, some set trends.
In our parallel world of hot rodding, we know there are also trends, especially in the genre of customization and personalization. In the '70s, it was all about traction bars and Cragars. The '80s brought Pro Street, and the '90s were filled with small-tires and big power. The epitome of late-model Mustang trends was a Fox-body with a cowl hood (usually unpainted), a monster tach, and Weld rims.
At age 68, Rick Andersen has seen lots of trends. The Torrance, California-resident has worked in the automotive audio field for over 40 years and has owned an amazing 192 cars and trucks, and most have been modified. So he knew exactly what to do with this '06 GT.
"Ever since I was a kid I played with cars, it's always been my interest," he tells us. "I like all cars, but I've always tried to stay current. I got this Mustang new in 2005 and before it had 400 miles on it, I ripped it apart."
Rick got his start working for Craig Audio back in the eight-track days, but currently works for Audiobahn, so he knows a thing or two about building automotive sound systems. "I've worked in car audio since 1969 and I'm still in it," says Rick. "I wanted to make this Mustang like a hot rod with loads of custom touches, not just stuff ordered from a catalog."
The GT is eye-catching, with old-school flames and billet Boyd Coddington rims with 18-inch Toyo T1-R tires. Kent Garcia applied the pinstriping and shading for the flames, and Merzee's Custom Paint and Body laid color on the mirrors and moldings. Merzee's also removed the stock spoiler.
Many aspects of the car draw your attention, so you have to look close to notice some of the details, such as the smoothed rear deck lid with the third brake light relocated to the trailing edge of the CDC glass roof. The faux gas cap has also been deleted and the area refinished. A back-up camera was installed and peeks through the passenger-side taillight as well. The GT also wears a grille from Cervini's.
Not to be overshadowed by the bold exterior, the interior is like nothing we've ever seen. Working in his home garage, Rick, along with his son, Rick Jr.; his brother, Marc; and Regin Pastror, gutted and then rebuilt the entire interior. Starting up front, the dash was smoothed from end to end and all the switchgear was hidden. "It took so many hours to work on the dash, over 40 wires had to be extended and moved," Rick stated. "We filled the defroster vents, filled the hole for the headlight switch, and re-shaped the dash-panel opening. And we moved the heater controls to the glovebox."
Using ABS plastic, Rick made a template for the billet dash grille, then Precision Grille in Sante Fe cut the final product. "I wanted the dash to flow from one door panel to the other," he adds. And it really works, as it gives the interior of the S197 a different look. Rick then used a digital dash that glows behind the billet, which he admits is tough to see, but overall it works.
While the dash was out, Rick and his crew smoothed the console, filling the cup holders, and they fabricated a one-off speaker enclosure where the rear seat once lived. Stitchcraft removed the headrests and recovered the seats to match. A Torch Red rug was sourced from ACC to finish the colorful cabin.
Naturally, a slammin' audio/visual system was created. It's comprised of a Clarion head unit with AM/FM/DVD/CD/iPod all on a touch-screen interface. It also features navigation, a back-up camera, and Alphasonik amps and speakers. There is a four-channel amp, twin class-D mono-block bridged amps, Alphasonik woven-glass fiber three-way and two-way speakers, and two 12-inch subwoofers. Reducing vibration from the bass and road noise is over 200 pounds of Hushmat.
The tricked GT is a bit heavier than a stock GT, so Eibach springs were added, along with power mods from Vortech, Diablosport, and Magnaflow. It rolled out 486 rwhp, in case you're wondering, so it can garner your attention with the flames, tunes, or a heap of burnt rubber.