1995 Mustang rebuild is one gnarly car

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free PressRon Grist chose an aptly names vanity plate for his 1995 V-6.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

Ron Grist chose an aptly names vanity plate for his 1995 V-6.

For many years the Ford Mustang has been among the top vehicles for enthusiasts to either restore or customize.

Ron Grist of Winnipeg started with a bit of a disadvantage, however. When he bought his 1995 Mustang just outside the city in 2011, it may have been a bargain, but it was also a challenge.

Although the body was straight and rust-free, the Mustang coupe, complete with a V-6 engine and an automatic transmission, was undrivable thanks to a leaky fuel tank and failing brakes.

Grist admitted the first real plan was to get the Mustang running — and stopping. It wasn’t until he attended the International Mustang Meet, held in Winnipeg in 2012, that he discovered there were performance options out there for his car.

The list of upgrades has since been extensive. Grist initially purchased new wheels and added dual stripes to dress the car up. Under the hood he installed a fresh-air kit and underdrive pulley set to give the 3.8-litre V-6 some added performance. While the changes made a big difference, bringing the Mustang to the next level included the addition of an 8.8-inch rear axle with 3.73:1 gear ratio, aluminum driveshaft and Eibach lowering springs and shock absorbers.

Looking at doing some serious performance improvements, Grist found V-6 guru Tom Norana in Ontario to help him get some real performance from the standard V-6 engine. His research led to the selection and purchase of a supercharger, intake manifold and throttle body from a 1989 Thunderbird Super Coupe. While supercharging the 3.8-litre engine would be a straight forward approach, Grist wanted to try something different. “The 4.2-litre V-6 from a Ford pickup is basically a 3.8-litre with a longer stroke and offers more torque,” Grist says. Locally, it had never been done before, so his biggest hurdle became finding someone in town willing to do a supercharged V-6 performance build. He found that in Keith Relf at Extreme Performance Automotive.

“The 4.2-litre engine was never a supercharged engine, so we had to rebuild it to take the added boost,” says Grist. Overbored 0.030 inches, the engine was fitted with forged pistons and connecting rods. The cylinder heads were ported to increase air-flow, and a custom intercooler and tubing installed. To handle exhaust flow, a full dual exhaust system with stainless-steel headers and Flowmaster mufflers was installed, and an aluminum three-core radiator keeps the engine cool.

The four-speed Ford automatic overdrive transmission was rebuilt with a stage-three shift kit and B&M Hammer Shifter to handle gear changes. To stiffen the car, frame connectors tie the front and rear subframes together, and a QA1 tubular front K-member was added, as were new a-arms and coil-over shocks to complete the front suspension. Tying the Mustang to the road is a set of Cobra rims turning 17-inch Nitto 555 radial tires.

Inside, a pillar pod was installed with gauges to monitor boost and wideband air-fuel status for the supercharged engine, along with an added shift light and bucket seats from a 1996 Mustang GT. Visual body changes include ‘96 GT sequential tail lights, hood, front and rear spoilers, quarter window and side scoops. Grist had Shaun Malo at POS Enterprises paint the Mustang in its original Dark Forest Green — with an added pearl ghost mural of a Mustang at full gallop.

While car projects are never really finished, and Grist has some future brake upgrades planned, he’s satisfied with the outcome of his Mustang build. “It’s one very happy six. Sheldon Root at Motion Performance dyno tuned the car and it put out 250 rear-wheel horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque,” says Grist.

Producing numbers like that, it’s safe to say the Mustang lives up to its “1NARLY6” vanity plate.

Grist is a six-year member of the Manitoba Mustang and Ford Association and wants to invite everyone to check out the club’s All-Ford Spring Break-Out Show & Shine on Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Birchwood Ford, 1300 Regent Ave. W.

The show is open to all Ford and Ford powered vehicles, and is free to entrants and spectators.

57ford@mymts.net

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free PressThe original 3.8-litre engine was replaced with a 4.2-litre engine from a truck.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

The original 3.8-litre engine was replaced with a 4.2-litre engine from a truck.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free PressBucket seats from a 1996 Mustang GT were installed.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

Bucket seats from a 1996 Mustang GT were installed.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free PressOne of the initial upgrades made to the car was the addition of dual stripes to give it a more dressed-up look. The upgrades since this addition have been much more extensive.

Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

One of the initial upgrades made to the car was the addition of dual stripes to give it a more dressed-up look. The upgrades since this addition have been much more extensive.