Horse Sense: You, too, can make yourself eligible to be Babe of the Year (presuming, of course, that you're a babe-we're kind of picky that way) by first becoming Babe of the Month, an honor bestowed each issue only after intense scrutiny of all entrants' photographs by the highly professional 5.0 &SF staff. It's a serious judging ritual that demands the best magnifying loupes the art department can afford.
People sometimes envy our jobs here at 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords, and every once in a while, that envy is justified. For instance, completely unbeknownst to me, one of my assignments at the '03 NMRA race at Columbus was to photograph our first Babe of the Year with her Mustang GT. Who says the best surprise is no surprise?
Say hello (again) to 25-year-old Cristy Butler, who originally warmed our hearts in the December '01 issue. Cristy was officially crowned Babe of the Year by you, the discerning readership by way of an online poll-admittedly more than a year ago-at our Web site (www.50mustangandsuperfords.com).
Truth be told, this photo session (ostensibly to feature Cristy's car) was supposed to happen at the '02 Columbus NMRA event as her prize for taking our inaugural BOTY honors. The trouble was, Cristy ran into a little problem on the way to that event-she got thrown in jail for eight hours due to an unpaid ticket she thought her lawyer had taken care of. Since I wasn't even at the '02 Columbus race, as far as I'm concerned, the year's delay in scheduling the shoot was clearly to my benefit (note to editor: I want all my photos back!).
This year, Cristy managed to get to National Trail Raceway unscathed. She knows the way well, since she's a fre-quent participate in test-and-tune sessions there on Wednesday nights. To prevent unnecessary salivation, associate editor Mike Johnson informed me of my assignment at the last possible minute. So the lens covers came off for what could have been a sizzling session. Except for the weather. Cristy regrets that the unseasonably cold and damp spring of 2003 didn't exactly provide us bikini weather for our shoot, so we had to make do with a slightly warmer ward-robe (not that we would have minded the goosebumps).
Obviously more than just a pretty face, Cristy is endowed with hard-core enthu-siasm for her hobby. When it comes to Mustangs, she's just one of the guys. Her GT (yes, there is a car in some of these photos) is a '98, bought new as a leftover in March 1999 because Cristy preferred its softer body style over the New Edge version. She didn't take long to begin making it her own. "I waited about a month," she says, "before I started playing with my car and customizing it the way I wanted. I like to be unique with what I do, but it's kind of hard to do with a car."
So far, her personalization of the GT has been mostly cosmetic, with those 18-inch chrome Cobra Rs contrasting nicely with the Rio Red body, which is suitably dropped with Eibach progressive-rate springs all around. Up front, a billet grille takes center stage, surrounded by clear side-marker lenses-matched out back by euro taillights. Gone is the factory antenna, replaced by one of billet aluminum, and since Cristy avoids subjecting the GT to rain, the wipers are also MIA.
Inside, she's had "GT" embroidered onto the headrests of the factory cloth buckets, she added a BBK white-face gauge appliqu, and she surrounded herself with an extensive billet-aluminum interior dress-up kit.
"Beauty and the Beast" would have been the easy title for this article, but-despite working two jobs to support her Mustang habit-Cristy hasn't yet raised the necessary funds to install the supercharger she so badly wants, so her SOHC cammer is still a bit shy on beastliness. When we did our shoot, she had not yet installed the underdrive pulleys, the cold-air kit, or the 70mm throttle body, so the engine room was almost entirely stock, save for the omnipresent K&N filter. But a MAC off-road H-pipe and the unmistakable tone of two-chamber Flowmasters assure she gets noticed while cruising around her Galloway, Ohio, hometown. Not that getting noticed should ever be a problem for Cristy.