I've owned many Mustangs in the past. They were all Fox-bodies except for one '97 Cobra.
The last Mustang I owned prior to this '06 GT was a low-mileage '85 Mustang LX 5.0 coupe. Somehow Editor Evan Smith convinced me to sell it to him versus finishing the build—which was to be a Coyote swap. At least he took my plan to heart. In reality, with a new house, I had less time for building and I wanted to spend more time behind the wheel.
My choice was to grab a mostly stock S197 Mustang I had my eyes on. Once I had the car home, I thought about what my goal was and decided which modifications I wanted to perform to achieve the desired outcome.
I bought this '06 GT in 2010 for $2,000 below book value with low mileage in stock form, the only modifications being an aftermarket cold-air intake kit and Ford Racing Stinger axle-back mufflers. Like my other Mustangs, this one didn't remain stock for long.
After a couple of weeks, I was ordering parts and really got to know the UPS driver. Initially, I began with handling and stance by focusing on suspension, wheels, and tires. When I was ready to make more power, I knew my suspension mods would enable my Mustang to put the power down.
Since my goal with this car was to build something that could tear up the corners, I spent most of my money and time modifying the chassis and suspension. With the larger staggered 20-inch wheels and tires, I decided it would need more grunt, so I installed 4.10s and bought a tuner to dial in the mild performance mods.
In 2011, Ford released the '11 5.0-powered Mustangs. Thoughts of selling my GT came to mind, but I decided to stick with it since I had already put a lot of time and money into it. The handling of my S197 had improved quite a bit, and the 4.10 ratio gears gave me a little more grunt off the line, however, I knew it was time to add some hot rod power and attitude to my Three-Valve GT.
I was really happy with the Ford Racing Handling Pack, so I turned to Ford Racing again, this time for more power. What also got me fired up was the first time I heard Ford Racing's Hot Rod cams. They make good power and have an aggressive muscle car sound. I also decided to go with the Ford Racing composite intake manifold; polished, CNC, billet-aluminum 62mm throttle body; and cold-air kit, since it was all designed and developed by Ford Racing to work well with the cams.
The modifications would be pulling a lot more fuel and air into the engine, so I knew the stock exhaust wouldn't cut it. I turned to Kook's Headers for my exhaust system power needs. Kook's long-tube headers and high-flow, catted X-style mid-pipe would help me to expel hot gases, make more power, and amplify the rowdy sound of the Hot Rod cams. Best of all, these are simple mods that will add power, but help the GT retain excellent manners.
With all these modifications, some of them being beyond my wrenching capabilities, I would need help with getting these parts installed and my Mustang tuned. Lucky for me, I live close to Evolution Performance (Evo), I've heard great things about them, and have seen their Mustangs tearin' it up on the dragstrip. A couple phone calls discussing the project with Fred Cook we set a date.
Once I arrived at Evo, Chuck Wrzesniewski spun the wrenches on my Mustang, and Jon Lund of Lund Racing tuned it. The install was done in a day, and with the new tune the power is amazing. The 4.10s give it the pickup of a newer GT, and the FRPP intake, along with the Three-Valve cam covers, give the engine a great hot-rod look. But best of all, the engine picked up 76 rwhp, plus the cams and exhaust give it an aggressive sound.