Andrew took what started out...
Andrew took what started out as a burgundy-Mustang Melvins would probably scream Medium Cabernet-Saleen clone to the next step by moving it up to Saleen SC status. We doubt a Saleen SC was available in this color, but that fact further drives home the clone persona. For the car to look the part, Andrew outfitted it with the proper Saleen SC decals, and he even has a set of Stern three-piece wheels tucked away for show duty. Andrew prowls the streets with the Saleen Speedline replicas, and track duty calls for Centerline Telstar joints.
Horse Sense: We should probably do Andrew a favor and relay the huge thanks to his wife, Genese, for standing by him during the car's construction process. "In nine months, I built my dream car the way I wanted," Andrew says.
So you meet the girl of your dreams, and everything is great. The courtship goes well, she doesn't mind hanging around with you and your juvenile friends, and she tolerates your parents. She appears unfazed by your magazine collection and your unorganized sock drawer, which she doesn't volunteer to organize. Such behavior causes you to want to lock it down for life and ask her to marry you. The planets align for one night, and she's actually crazy enough to say "yes." You exchange vows and go on a honeymoon to a beautiful island in the Caribbean where you bask in the rays and each other's glow.
After listening to Andrew Grundman's story, we left out one crucial part of the honeymoon process: talking to your new bride about getting a Mustang. What were we thinking?
"During the honeymoon, I started talking to my wife about getting another Mustang," Andrew says. "By the end of it, she gave in." Specifically, Andrew wanted to get back into a Fox-body. "I have never been interested in '94-and-up Mustangs," he says. "They don't do it for me." Since he previously owned an '86 and a '92 GT, it's also what he knew. "I wasn't looking for perfection because I didn't want to spend $10,000-$12,000 for a car." Andrew's thinking was to buy something cheap and fix it, if need be.
At the same time, Mike Romano was ready to go in a different automotive direction. He had come to a fork in the road with his '90 LX Saleen clone. The car reached the point where Mike was wary of driving it because it had become unreliable. It made enough power to break components, which didn't bode well for Mike's wallet with a new baby in the house. The Vortech S-Trim'd combo was good for 500 hp at the wheels, but with a stock block and an already rebuilt T5 in the tunnel, the car was a ticking time bomb. Mike was ready to take a step back.
The two came together on eBay, with Andrew offering $7,000 for Mike to end the auction. Mike agreed and the deal was done, but that's just the beginning of this story.
We have a soft spot for custom...
We have a soft spot for custom seats and so does Andrew-it's called his big behind. A pair of Corbeau A4 seats takes position up front to give Andrew the view of a collection of Auto Meter Phantom gauges to monitor mechanical events. When Andrew purchased the car, it featured a six-point rollbar, but he wanted more safety so he enlisted Hell Bent Race Cars to construct a new eight-point bar. Andrew was looking for the car to receive a 10-point rollcage, but that would've taken out the car's heater, and Andrew isn't ready to take that step. Since he lives in New York-where it can get really cold-he thought not having a heater would take away from the car's streetability.
Andrew made the three-hour trek from his home in Cortlandt Manor, New York, to Mike's New Jersey residence with a rented U-Haul trailer to pick up the car. Between the car's lowered suspension and Saleen ground effects, Andrew and his buddies couldn't get the LX up on the trailer no matter what they did. They even tried removing the Saleen front air dam, but that didn't work. "Coming back for the car was out of the question," Andrew says. "The car was leaving one way or another." With no other available options, Andrew threw the car's title on the dash and his buddy's license plate on the back, and hopped back on I-95 for home.
Remember Andrew and his buddies removing the front air dam? Well, they reattached it-or so they thought-for the trip home. Andrew says it seemed secure before they left. "Within a minute of getting on I-95, we heard a serious clunking and scraping," Andrew says. "I thought the tranny blew." Nope, the air dam came off in the wind, broke into pieces, and lodged itself under the car. [Been there, done that, got the plaque. -Assoc. Ed. Johnson] "I was actually relieved," Andrew says. He could just see himself explaining why he was broken down on the side of I-95 with no insurance or registration in a high-performance Mustang, but he ripped off the rest of the air dam and got back on the road. Fortunately, the rest of the trip home was uneventful.
While most of us usually have a plan in mind when buying a Mustang, Andrew didn't. "I honestly had no intentions of touching the car when I bought it," he says. "It had made 501 hp on the dyno. After not driving a fast car for years, it felt fast." That is, at least for the first week. He had to add a new Saleen air dam to replace the shredded unit, so he took the car to have the new one painted, but matching slightly weather-beaten paint to new paint is difficult. The body guy suggested just leaving off the air dam, but that would make the car look silly, and Andrew couldn't have it. That's when he uttered the words that took the car past the planning stage and into project territory: "How much will it cost to paint the car?"
So it began. Every panel came off, and every inch of it was stripped to provide a solid starting point for the new paint scheme. Instead of rebuilding back to "regular" Saleen-clone status, Andrew upgraded its clone persona to Saleen SC specs. "I loved the look of the '90 Saleen SC, so I built an SC clone," he says. He ordered all the requisite decals, including "Supercharged 302" stickers for the hood, but with the new 2 1/2-inch cowl hood, the stickers were too small, so he came up with the idea to give the car the name Supernatural. "I figured it looks like it says 'supercharged' at first glance, and the car really is supernatural-a supercharged, abnormal, freakish monster."