With the expanse of today’s performance aftermarket, there is no shortage of car enthusiasts, especially those with dreams of making a car exactly the way they want it. That could mean styling upgrades or performance enhancements, or a nice blend of both, which is the case with this Torch Red ’06 Mustang GT, owned by Frank DeFeo.
The car features styling accessories throughout and just enough performance enhancements to make this pony really get up and go. But, mind you, it’s not an all-out performer as much as it is a balanced package. While a lot of attention has been placed on the car’s appearance, it’s the mixture of mods that we think makes this Mustang a super rod.
Modifications aside, the Mustang is flawless—DeFeo takes pride in displaying a clean car and is a perfectionist when it comes to detailing. The hard evidence of this comes from just a glance at his bright red Ford. Obviously, the car didn’t start out in this condition; DeFeo’s plan for “the perfect Mustang” involved taking the car to the guys at Radical Rides in Mooresville, North Carolina, to have several of the new accessories installed. DeFeo installed some of the components himself and is responsible for the cleanliness of the car, as he owns 3-D Performance, a detail shop in Mooresville.
This process started soon after DeFeo purchased the car in July 2005, as he immediately began personalizing it. Bought as a basic GT, this Mustang is now anything but basic, as the vast combination of aftermarket components is the key to making this car a standout wherever it goes.
The SN197 body style is slightly bulky and somewhat tall from the factory, so the original springs were tossed in favor of a set of Eibach springs, which lower the stance and greatly enhance handling, thanks to a higher spring rate. Another nice addition to DeFeo’s Mustang is the drilled and slotted rotors, which help keep the braking system cool and functional, while also looking awesome behind the Bullitt-style five-spoke wheels. Yokohama tires surround the black-centered wheels and fill the fenderwells nicely, while also providing plenty of traction. A friend of DeFeo’s, Mike Mashburn of Rim Zone in Mooresville, supplied the wheel-and-tire package to fit the car’s style and performance needs.
A look under the custom shaker-style hood reveals yet another perfectly clean and detailed aspect of this ’06 Mustang. Power comes from the original three-valve DOHC 4.6-liter engine, but several bolt-on parts give it more than the factory-advertised 300 hp. Slight gains in throttle response and power came from installing the K&N cold-air induction kit, which features a less-restrictive cone-style filter.
With the increased incoming air, DeFeo wanted a free-flowing exhaust, so he had the folks at Pypes Exhaust build a custom cat-back system that features stainless steel mufflers and allows the mod motor to exhale better and make more power. The new exhaust also gives the car an aggressive exhaust note, which makes the ’06 Mustang sound as mean as it looks.
As for engine electronics, an SCT calibrator from American Muscle is programmed for maximum performance on 93-octane pump gas. Steeda under-drive pulleys grab a few more ponies, while a plethora of accessories add style to the Mustang engine bay. Chrome valve covers from Ford Racing add to the under-hood shine, and the California Special plenum covers and fuel-rail covers from Midwest Auto Gear finish it off nicely. Also from Midwest Auto Gear, the shock tower covers, radiator covers and radiator cover extensions add to the perfectly detailed engine bay, without being too flashy. Behind the mod motor is the stock five-speed transmission that DeFeo controls with a Hurst shifter, and farther back is the stock limited-slip differential and a 3.55:1 gear set.
Moving on to the exterior, DeFeo wanted his Mustang to have a look all its own, so a host of accessories and bolt-on components found a home on the bright red Ford. Starting with a pair of smoked headlights from Blue Oval Industries and a more aggressive chin spoiler from Classic Design Concepts, DeFeo’s Mustang was quickly transformed. A billet grille adorned with a tri-bar pony emblem adds to the look, while black stripes are a perfect contrast to the Torch Red paint. McClure Collision of Charlotte is responsible for the paint and trim work, and it did an awesome job with the finish. Additional contrast to the bright red paint comes from the 20-percent window tint, applied by Solstice Window Tinting of Charlotte, while a pair of Anzo smoked taillights brings up the rear.
Inside, there’s no shortage of modifications, either, even though the original Mustang interior had a cool, retro appearance. Tan-and-black is a perfect match to the Torch Red exterior, and an awesome audio system rides along if DeFeo gets tired of the notes played by the 4.6-liter engine. A Pioneer CD player sends tunes to the Alpine amplifier and an assortment of JL Audio speakers, all of which were installed by Audiomasters.
Without question, DeFeo has one of the finest Mustangs around, but it’s not a huge engine with tons of power that makes it so—it’s the style and the pride he takes in his car that make it special. No area was left untouched, and we’re sure he has a few more mods to make before he calls it complete.
A proud member of the Ford Owners Association of the Carolinas, DeFeo displays his Mustang at many shows in the region around North Carolina, and he has a pretty strong record so far. So, while this car doesn’t make gobs of power like others featured in this special late-model performance issue of Super Rod, it more than makes up for it in styling, cleanliness and all the smaller details, which is exactly what’s important to DeFeo, and what he hoped for when it all started. SR