Horse Sense: Naturally, Barry Grubb is a member of the Yellow Mustang Registry (www.yellowmustangregistry.com). The registry is home to more than 6,000 members, and they can even display their YMR member number on their own yellow Mustangs. YMR members have various gatherings at several shows across the country each year, including Carlisle where Barry likes to take his GT.
Men sometimes have ulterior motives when it comes to gift giving. For our sons, we buy them toys we want to play with ourselves, but would otherwise feel embarrassed to buy on our own. The same holds true for our significant others. When it comes to cars, this magazine is filled with stories of guys buying Mustangs for their girlfriends/wives with the thought that someday it will be theirs. Most women are on to this idea, but they let us have our fun anyway.
For Sykesville, Maryland's Barry Grubb, it was probably accidental, but he bought this '99 GT convertible for his wife Jackie on Valentine's Day of the same year; it became his a few months later. Jackie wanted an extended cab pickup truck instead, so Barry took the Mustang, and he doesn't appear to regret his wife's change of heart.
Barry's first mod involved changing something Jackie didn't like, either, and that was the stock wheels. They were tossed in favor of '98 Cobra wheels with Michelin Pilot treads. Next on the docket was improved performance via a Bassani Xhaust X-shape crossover and after-cat exhaust system, a cold-air intake, and Steeda Autosports' underdrive pulleys. "The modifications have kept coming throughout the years," Barry says, "a little at a time."
After attending the Carlisle All Ford Nationals in 2005, one big modification had to be made. Barry noticed the engine making a knocking noise, which is never good. Having already purchased plenty of components from JPC Racing, Barry knew that's where he needed to take the GT for a thorough diagnosis. The crew informed him that one of the engine's rod bearings had gone south for the winter, never to return.
Barry talked about his options with JPC's Justin Burcham, and the two decided on a plan. Barry wasn't sure about going the supercharger route right off the bat, and he and Justin wanted to see what they could make by going the naturally aspirated route. "Never one to pass up an opportunity to improve my car," Barry says, "the work began."
JPC Racing sourced MV Performance for a built short-block, Fox Lake Power Products for a pair of ported PI heads, Anderson Ford Motorsport for a couple N-42 camshafts, Accufab for a 75mm throttle body, and C&L Performance for a mass air meter to get Barry back on the road. Bassani Xhaust components stretch from the engine all the way to the Xenon rear valance. To get Barry down the road fast, JPC had Woodbine Motorsports tune the car using SCT software to the 300-rwhp mark on pump gas. With the sweet-smelling brew in the tank, the GT makes 333 hp to the wheels.
What Barry likes about his GT is the fact that it makes good power. What he really likes is that he can add a blower and make really good power. All it will take to make the switch is a bit of persuasion.
Barry's GT boasts an MV Performance-built short-block topped with BBK cam-covered Fox Lake Power Products Stage II-ported PI heads and an '03 GT-style intake with an aluminum water jacket. The ported heads feature Anderson Ford Motorsport N-42 cams, Ferrea valves, and Manley valvesprings. The 283ci Two-Valve was built with natural aspiration in mind, so it has a 10:1 compression ratio, but the parts are stout enough, should Barry choose to add boost to the mix. Using a Mustang Dynamometer, Woodbine Motorsports [(410) 259-8737; www.woodbinemotorsports.com] tuned the car using SCT X-Calibrator software. Base numbers came in at 268 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, but after tweaking the timing and fuel parameters, peak numbers came in at 300 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. With race fuel in the tank and the appropriate race tuning, those numbers jump to 333 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque.
Barry's Chrome Yellow GT convertible wears stock paint on the factory panels, but as you can see, it also boasts a few aftermarket body panels. They wear Sikkens paint. When it came time to pick his exterior upgrades, Barry combined components from a few different manufacturers to get the look he desired. His GT convertible wears a Cervini's Auto Designs ram-air hood, a Roush Stage 3 front bumper cover, Saleen side skirts and sidescoops, a Xenon rear valance, a Bullitt fuel door, and a Classic Design Concepts honeycomb rear panel. The factory spoiler was moved back 3 inches to give it a more aggressive appearance, while '03 Cobra mirrors smooth out the door-pillar area.
Looking inside Barry's GT can cause a sudden onset of sensory overload. First, there are the Flo-Fit leather seats and the upholstered-to-match rear seats. Take an up-close gander at the Auto Meter Lunar-series gauge cluster, along with the dashpod with corresponding fuel pressure and air/fuel gauges. Then there are the carbon-fiber appointments, the Sullivan Racing aluminum pedals, the UPR Products El-Glo A/C panel, and a Ford Racing Performance Parts FR500 steering wheel. Not one to forego the audio mods, Barry added a Pioneer Premier MP6400 head unit to the existing Mach 460 amps and speakers, but he also supplanted more sound with a JL Audio 12-inch subwoofer in the trunk powered by a Pioneer Premier 800-watt amp.