William R. "Billy Bob" Taylor's '01 Bullitt manages to present a mostly stock appearance a
Horse Sense: Apparently, an '01 Bullitt ingected with Mach 1 and Terminator genetic code can remain stealthy. Billy Bob Taylor says that at car shows "85 percent of the attendees just walk right by without noticing how special it is."
The era of the modular Mustang began with more of a whimper than a bang, much to the dismay of the 5.0 faithful who had become used to-no, make that spoiled by-the overabundance of affordable performance-boosting hardware available for the faithful, simple, and torquey old 302. The wimpy '96-'98 GTs prompted many to cry for a return to pushrods, but by mid-life of the New Edge design, things were looking up with the well-conceived and equally well received Bullitt and Mach 1 special editions.
However, factory power still wasn't overwhelming. Then, to close out the Fox-4 era in fine form, the menacing '03-'04 Terminator used its Roots-blown Four-Valve heads and beefy internals to put to rest nearly all the complaints about Ford's decision to stick with overhead cams.
Into this mix, we now throw William R. "Billy Bob" Taylor, a Georgia gentleman who waited long past puberty to dive into the Mustang hobby. In fact, by our math, Billy Bob was approaching the half-century mark when he finally bought his first Mustang-a '90 5.0 LX convertible. This was in 1996, about the time the first of those wimpy factory SOHC GTs hit the market. He had been reading Mustang magazines like this one since the late '80s and wryly notes: "You can see I react quickly." A converted Chevy man, Billy Bob soon realized what he had been missing all those years. For his next 'Stang, he reacted quicker the magazine hype and stepped up in March 2002 with an order for a Zinc Yellow '03 Terminator ragtop-a car he still owns, with only 11,000 miles on the clock. The '90 LX went to his brother.
Next-and most important to our story-came this '01 Bullitt, which he acquired used in 2004. Whereas his Cobra convertible is only an occasional driver, the Bullitt seems to get a regular workout. Its first mods included a set of American Racing Torq Thrust II rims mounting Yokohama track rubber, so Billy Bob could assault the Little Talladega Grand Prix road course near the famous Alabama town. The desire for road-course competitiveness soon led to a rash of chassis upgrades, including Kenny Brown subframe connectors, jacking rails, and Extreme Matrix braces, along with Maximum Motorsports' tubular K-member and A-arms with coilovers, front and rear.
Aside from time on the track, Billy Bob likes spending time online, where he read about Evolution Motorsport's TriLink (three-link), and Watt's link suspension packages-both excellent solutions for a Fox Mustang's unruly four-link rear-axle control. These were soon on order, along with Evolution's billet lower control arms and rear antiroll bar.
Although it may be a mutant overall, it's still a Bullitt inside, with only the boost gaug
About when he had worked out the suspension installation schedule with Gordon Land at Gordon's Classic Restorations in Dallas, Georgia, Billy Bob made the fateful decision to do some more poking around on the Internet. As we all know, such computer shopping can result in finds too good to pass up-and it soon did. He stumbled across a complete '03 Terminator engine, tranny, driveshaft, fuel tank, computer, and harness package for sale. Suddenly, Gordon's Classic Restorations had a much lengthier work order.
The chassis mods were a snap, as was the drivetrain swap-for the most part. A Cobra underhood wiring harness was used, but Gordon's retained the stock Bullitt interior harness. Billy Bob explains that the Cobra processor required the additional couple of wires: "Gordon called me late one afternoon and said they had it running. A few minutes later, he called back, saying when they turned on the air conditioning, the engine quit running. About 30 minutes later he called back and said they had reversed the two additional wires, and the problem was solved."