From the body kit to the chevron...
From the body kit to the chevron stripes, Desiree and Ryan Lenker's '95 GT looks the part of a period-correct Saleen Mustang. Looks can be deceiving, however, as the car is the product of years of steady modification.
Horse Sense: While 1995 was the final year of the beloved 5.0 engine in Mustangs, it also marked the debut of the GTS and the second coming of the Cobra R. The GTS was a stripped-down model that harkened back to the old 5.0 LX, as it featured the 5.0 V-8 but few other options. Meanwhile, the one-of-250 Cobra Rs also featured few interior options, but the performance options were plenty, including the long-requested first appearance of the 351W in a Fox-based Mustang.
It's amazing how Mustang ownership takes us on a flight of fancy. These cars always start out as our daily drivers and end up something much different. For Desiree Lenker, a mother of two from Halifax, Pennsylvania, the journey of her '95 Mustang GT started like so many other street-car drones. After a year on the road doing its duty like most any other street driver, the bolt-on bug bit Desiree and her husband, Ryan. It started out innocently enough, with exhaust, pulleys, ram air, gears, a shifter, and a chip. And suddenly the car was taking flight at the dragstrip.
"I loved it," Desiree exclaimed. "I was hooked. It was running 14.20s consistently. That's the year I won the Century Nationals at Beaver Springs."
Well, you can see where this was headed. After 52 passes, which finally resulted in a broken axle, it was time for-what else-more speed parts. That's when the stock engine gained the Trick Flow heads and intake, as well as a cam and 30-lb/hr injectors. All told, the new naturally aspirated combo was good for 12.70s at 109 mph. We all know speed tastes like honey, so why not try more.
The Lenkers scored a used Powerdyne for a bargain price on one of the popular Internet sites. The budget boost dropped the car's e.t. to a 12.16 and put the horsepower up to 497 at the rear wheels. Then the couple had black stripes added to the car's paint job, and that look led the younger CJ at CJ Pony Parts to give Desiree a new moniker-the Bumble Bee Lady. But when Desiree started buzzing at the track again, the used blower finally surrendered its Kevlar drive belt.
While not a real Saleen, Desiree...
While not a real Saleen, Desiree and Ryan's Saleen-alike goes as far as having a bumper number just like the real Saleens. Instead of a serial number, this one indicates the engine's displacement.
Desiree and Ryan don't lack...
Desiree and Ryan don't lack for confidence.
Out back, the taillights are...
Out back, the taillights are a departure from the Saleen aesthetic, but the wing and wheels are all Saleen. Clearly, SN-95s adorned with the Saleen regalia are some of the most attractive of the era.
This is the point in the story where you'd expect the Lenkers to go full-bore into a race car, but that's not quite how it worked. Yes, the breakage did lead to yet more speed parts-essentially all the parts listed in the accompanying 5.0 Tech Specs and more-but the list stopped short of taking the car into full-race-car territory. It was time to step up to the FPS 331 stroker and top it off with 10 pounds of boost from a Paxton Novi. Of course, all the necessary fuel system, suspension, and other support hardware came along for the ride.
Instead of heading to the track right away, Desiree and Ryan took the car to Weida Brothers body shop, where owner Tim Deitrich did his thing on the magazine-photographer-attracting three-layer paint job. The base paint is the factory Canary Yellow, but it gained depth and brightness after being slathered in Lamborghini Yellow and topped off with a Pearl topcoat. In short, the Bumble Bee lady's yellow GT is fit to fly on the track, but could just as easily take the queen-bee crown at the car show. That's our kind of car.
While the car's outward appearance...
While the car's outward appearance is all street, opening its door reveals a more sporting intent. Corbeau Forza seats replace the factory front buckets, while a rear-seat delete takes care of the rear-seat weight. A 'cage welded by Desiree's father, Emory Cook of Cook's Welding, envelops the whole package. Pop spent 18 hours welding up the eight-point beauty from S&W-that's attention to detail!
Now we're talking. Underhood...
Now we're talking. Underhood is an FPS 331 topped off with Trick Flow induction hardware and fed by a Paxton Novi 2000. Based on a stout early 302 block, this 331 stroker consists of an Eagle forged crank, Eagle forged rods, and Ross pistons, resulting in a blower-friendly 8.5:1 compression ratio.
Did we mention the Saleen...
Did we mention the Saleen look is sweet on the SN-95 body? Of course, the triple-layer paint job on Desiree and Ryan's car doesn't hurt either.
|5.0 Tech Specs|
|ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN||Gauges|
|Block||Auto Meter Phantom|
|Early 302|| |
|Displacement||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|331 ci||Front Suspension|
|Eagle crankshaft and connecting||Ground Pounder tubular|
|rods, Ross pistons||A-arms|
|Cylinder Heads||Ground Pounder tubular|
|Trick Flow Twisted Wedge||Springs|
|Camshaft||Ground Pounder coilover|
|Anderson Ford Motorsport B-451||Struts|
|Intake Manifold||KYB AGX|
|Trick Flow Track Heat||Wheels|
|Paxton Novi 2000||Tires|
|FRPP short-tube, Bassani||Brakes|
|X-shape exhaust crossover,||13-inch Cobra w/ cross-drilled|
|and Borla after-cat||rotors|
|Fuel System||Rear Suspension|
|190-lph in-tank pump, 255-lph inline||Springs|
|pump, Aeromotive regulator,||Granatelli coilover|
|Aeromotive fuel rails, and MSD ||Shocks|
|50-lb/hr fuel injectors||KYB AGX|
|Tremec 3550 w/Centerforce Dual||Hotchkis upper and lower|
|Friction clutch, FRPP aluminum||Wheels|
|driveshaft, and Pro-5.0 shifter||Saleen|
|8.8 w/Auburn differential, Superior||Nitto 285/35-18|
|31-spline axles, and 3.73 gears||Brakes|
| ||Cobra w/cross-drilled rotors|
|Engine Management||Cook's Welding-installed S&W|
|Western Motorsports SDS||eight-point 'cage|
|MSD Digital 6|| |