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Mustang
© 2011 by usatrains.ch  
It all started in mid 2009 when me and my wife visited a friend who owned a Pontiac Trans Am and who was (and still is) into US muscle cars. We ended up coming home with a couple of DVDs of the hottest muscle cars of the late 60s and early 70s. After doing some research on my own, I found a bunch of hot cars that drew my attention - names like Buick GSX, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Charger, Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Olds 442, Plymouth Barracuda or Pontiac Firebird and GTO, just to name a few. There were only 2 problems - first, all the cars that I wanted seemed to be wanted by a gazillion of other people too, so prices for perfectly restored cars have skyrocketed through the roof. Secondly, I am not a skilled mechanic, and these 40 year old veterans certainly would demand their share of mechanical attention..... Fast forward to November 2009. Another trip to California was ahead of us, but rather than being only a railroad themed trip like it was the years before, checking out a few dealers selling hot muscle cars was on our list too this time. While being on our way from LA to our friends place in Tehachapi, CA, we drove past a Ford dealer in Mojave, CA, where a brand new Mustang Shelby GT500 was parked at the cost of $ 42’000. Our friend knew the dealership well and arranged a test ride with one of the two second hand Mustangs (S197 model) that were for sale as well. We were not allowed to ride the Shelby, unless we really wanted to buy it, but that wasn’t our intention yet at that moment. Anyway, after the test ride, we knew that we liked the late model Mustang (although I’d rather had a 69 Boss 429) and felt that it made more sense for us than a 40+ year old car with a 7 litre engine. However, both cars that were for sale looked very basic and neither did seem to have a lot of features, not even leather seats, so buying one of these was not an option. We knew it had to be a Mustang though, and we started to mail back and forth to a friend of ours who was experienced in importing cars to Switzerland,  and he could give us an idea about the cost. A few days later, we drove from our friend in Southern California to our other friend in Northern California, with a planned night stop in Dublin, CA, where Kassabian Motors was located (www.myhotcars.com). They seemed to have quite a promising collection of muscle cars according to their website, therefore it was a must for us to stop by. Going through their inventory, a red hot Mustang drew our attention. It was a low mileage, black striped 2005 Mustang GT with fat rear wheels, a nice (non stock) front fascia and an awesome throaty exhaust sound. We were close to buying it, however, the exhaust sound and the wide rear wheels raised a few questions whether the car was (or could be made) street legal in Switzerland. We told the sales guy that we were going to check that first and be back the next day provided that there were no issues with that.  We drove off from Kassabian’s premises, heading North to our friend in Rocklin, CA. We were riding on Interstate through Benicia, CA, when we saw a roadsign of Specialty Sales Classic & Exotic Cars (www.specialtysales.com). We went off on exit 61 in the last second, and a minute later, we were on Specialty’s property to check out their inventory. Here, two Mustangs were of particular interest for us - a black 2005 GT with golden stripes, and a black Shelby GT500. We were allowed to test ride both of them, and opted for the black/gold GT in the end because it was a monetary issue as well ($ 24’900 compared to $ 42’000). The car apparently was made up as some sort of a Hertz Shelby clone and lacked a rear spoiler. My wife agreed on the car, but she insisted on a rear spoiler, no big deal! We started to talk to one of the sales representatives, were able to negotiate the price down to $ 24’000 and signed a pre-contract, since arrangements for financing had to be made first before the deal could be finalized. After everything has been discussed, we continued our journey to Rocklin, arriving a couple of hours later than anticipated. After the financing could be clarified the next day with the help of my parents, the deal was finalized. We had bought a Mustang in the USA!! Next day, while still staying at our friends place, we made a trip down to the local Ford dealer in Roseville, where we ordered the rear spoiler for our Mustang. Two days later, we left our friend and continued our trip as planned, however, I spent a heck of a lot of time on the laptop getting the transport and other things organized that should leave the US with the car. While waiting for these items, the car was stored at Specialty’s warehouse until it was picked-up and shipped in mid December 2009 and hauled to Long Beach, CA, from where it was shipped to Bremerhaven, Germany. Unfortunately, our car arrived in Europe during the worst week in January 2010, heavy snowfall and icy roads were common all over Europe . Being loaded on the lower level of an open auto carrier, our Mustang arrived in Switzerland on January 15th, 2010, full of road dirt, salt and oil which must have leaked from the car loaded above it. Even worse, I had a business meeting that day and wasn’t able to attend that “historic” moment.....  After a documentary issue (a missing Registration Card) which delayed the acceptance from the Swiss DMV for about a week, the car hit the road approximately 2 weeks after its arrival in Switzerland. With so many aftermarket parts available for the Mustang, it is hard not to individualize one’s Mustang. I initially wanted to keep the car as original as we bought it, but it was too hard to resist after having met a couple of other crazy guys and seing their rides and modifications. The very first modification was to change the orange front blinkers against white ones. Basically not because of the looks, but because the Swiss law doesn’t allow parking lights in another color than white. If I wanted to keep the orange blinkers, I would have been required to drill holes in front of each headlight and install a bicycle bulb, which looks fairly ugly when taking a closer look. As already mentioned in the story, my wife wanted a rear spoiler, and so the car went to the body shop shortly after its arrival for painting and installation of the spoiler.  You certainly will have noticed that the previous owner of the car had made it look like a Hertz Shelby, but a couple of things were incorrect such as the front fascia, which is different than the one of the standard Mustang. So it was obvious that it was not a Shelby. Also, the “SHELBY” lettering was supposed to be spaced when applied to the center of the trunk lid. Apart from that, we felt a little uncomfortable with a Mustang GT being a Shelby clone without the additional performance of a supercharger and all the other goodies. It is like buying a BMW 318 and putting M3 emblems on. So it became clear one day that the Cobra emblems, the GT500 rocker stripes, the faux fuel cap and the “SHELBY” lettering had to go and be replaced with GT emblems. The new rocker stripes caused some troubles because the gold tone could not be matched with the GT stripes since the latter ones were painted while the rockers were decals. Nevertheless, since we wanted to keep the look of the car, we had the rocker stripes applied, although the colors did not match.  Apart from that, the front grille was a concern as well since most of the hooks that were locking it in place were gone, and the grille was found to be fixed with a cable binder instead. We therefore ordered a new grille, but unfortunately, we were unable to locate the vendor of exactly the same grille like the one that was currently installed on the car. Furthermore, the Swiss law did not allow the functioning of the fog lights because of their location, therefore they had to be deactivated. In order to be street legal, we ordered a pair of PIAA driving lights which should have been accepted by the Swiss law. All these changes were made in one go, here are a couple of  comparison pictures how the car looked like in May 2010. After a photo shooting in August 2010, we started to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the very different colors between the GT and the rocker stripes, and it became clear that the latter ones had to go. They were removed in fall 2010. Meanwhile, it became clear that we wanted to give the front of the car a more agressive look, therefore, a CDC chin spoiler was the next item on our radar. Also, a more sporty looking fuel door was ordered from the local performance shop. Furthermore, the replacement grille together with the PIAA driving lights wasn’t as sharp looking as we hoped, therefore, also this portion needed to be worked on again. After a thorough research, we finally found exactly the same grille that was initially installed when we bought the car. Together with a couple of other items, this was ordered in the US and stocked at our friends place until we visited him in November 2010. It was like an advanced Christmas, but we were challenged to get all the parts stuffed into our suitcases. While on vacation, our car was already at the body shop where the chin spoiler and the fuel door were installed. After returning back home, all the items brought along were transferred to the body shop for installation: new grille with original Ford fog lights, Pony grille emblem, small 14” antenna, prepainted mirror covers and a Shelby 5 speed short throw shifter. When we finally were able to pick-up the car with all modifications, winter had just arrived and the car was parked during the winter season. What else could one do than surfing the Internet on long, cold winter nights, and something that had been in our mind were new rims. The Bullit style Torq Thrust  wheels were standard wheels that came with the Mustang, but we wanted something different. Also, the tires had to be larger than the stock 235/55R17.  After checking out several websites, we always ended up on the Shelby American homepage - the black Shelby CS 66 wheels were our favourites. We wanted them in 2 different sizes, so we ordered the 18x8.5” and the 18x9.5” rims with Falken FK452 255/45 ZR18 up front and 275/40ZR18 tires at the rear. The wheels arrived in late February 2011 already, and the tires were ordered in early March accordingly. After rubber and metal was united, the complete wheels were installed on March 18, 2011. This is what the car looks like today.......                                                We liked the new look of the car, nothing more else that we wanted to “bolt on” in order not to overload it with too many additional parts. Except for one small piece of equipment that had to be exchanged: the 3rd brake light. This was done in November 2011. Now that the car looked perfect from the outside, some styling also was necessary under the hood. Although not visible for the general public, the stock valve covers looked ugly and had to go. We found nicer ones, sold by Action Automotive Accessories in Scottsdale, AZ, painted in glossy black with a blue Ford logo and red “RACING” lettering (FORD RACING). The valve covers were mounted in late April 2012 together with a JLT oil separator, both brought along from our last US vacation in early April 2012.      Ok, what does one do when more or less everything legal has been done on your car? Remember that we live in Switzerland, a place not as car friendly as the USA and where everything that influences noise and emission (Mufflers, CAI’s, Cams, Throttle Bodies, Superchargers and other stuff) has to be approved by the Swiss DMV, what they hardly do if they do it at all. An idea I had in mind for quite a while was a foto shooting under the motto “fast cars and beautyful women” as many guys will know from car magazines and exhibitions or racings. Below are a couple of pictures shot by my friend Dewi from DCL Photography.  Due to time constraints, only the first 4 pictures were photoshopped by DCL, the remaining pics have been slightly touched up by myself. The pictures have turned out great and I hope you think the same way, go check them out here:    
Modifications
grille before replacement, original fog lights new grille, PIAA driving lights GT500 rocker stripes and Cobra emblem..... ....replaced against new rocker stripes and GT emblem Shelby lettering and faux fuel cap..... lettering removed and faux fuel cap replaced different gold tones
Info Make: Ford Model: Mustang GT Year built: 2005 Engine:   281ci 4.6L V8 Horsepower: 305 Transmission: manual  
Ford Mustang GT - the story
Many thanks for making this possible to: Dewi from DCL Photography (www.dcl-photography.ch) Tanja and Michelle for modeling Swissterminal Niederhasli (www.swissterminal.com)
Mustang Mustang