Joseph Soleimani went to great...
Joseph Soleimani went to great pains to give his Screaming Yellow '06 GT the general overall appearance of a Shelby GT500, using factory parts at the nose and tail. Then he opted for a GT500KR-type functional ram-air hood from TruFiber, dressed with Shelby hood pins. Thoroughly slammed and wearing 20-inch black/polished rims from MRR Wheels, the visual effect is utterly killer.
Horse Sense: The Autobot badges on the car are there at the request of Joseph Soleimani's two young sons, owing to what he calls their "obsession" with the Transformers movie, and more specifically, its heroic and bright-yellow "Bumblebee" character. Yeah, yeah, we know Bumblebee transformed into a Camaro.
Joseph Soleimani really wanted a GT500, but when he and his buddy Arye Smilovici were looking to hook up with new Mustangs in 2006, the Shelby Snakes were just hitting the market. These guys live in Los Angeles, where the initial GT500s were apparently bringing $40,000-$60,000 markups over list price-"too steep for our blood and for our wives to accept," says Joseph. So they settled on a pair of '06 GTs, yellow for Joseph and black for Arye.
For Joseph, the rationale was partly practical and partly emotional: "The '06 models carried a 0-percent APR for 72 months, which gave us money for mods." That's the practical. As for the emotional, "One of my main reasons for the '06 was that it was the last year for Screaming Yellow." Isn't it funny the amount of energy we spend picking the color of our rides? I happen to be a fan of bright-yellow Mustangs too, so way to go, Joseph. I like black as well, Arye, but only as long as someone else has to keep it clean and polished.
A polished Paxton Novi 2200...
A polished Paxton Novi 2200 H.O. helps extract 430 rwhp, and the rest of the engine bay could serve as a textbook on the art of underhood detailing.
We keep mentioning Arye's black '06 simply because, aside from its hue, it's apparently a clone of Joseph's, with identical mods and upgrades. We should mention that these amigos are both members of the Los Angeles chapter of StangPede Nationwide, as you may have guessed by Joseph's prominent windshield banner.
With visions of GT500s dancing in their heads, the first mods by these West Coast dudes came straight from their local Ford dealer in the form of all the unique Shelby frontend body parts, as well as the GT500 rear wings. Once the parts were painted by SW Customs, everything was installed in Arye's garage over the course of a single weekend. We're guessing it was only later that the KR-inspired, functional ram-air Venom hoods from TruFiber were fitted, along with the company's carbon-fiber chin splitters.
After dropping his Snake-bit GT down a good couple inches from the stock 4x4 height with Eibach's altitude-aggressive Sportline springs, Joseph went looking for ways to fill the wheelwells. The answer came from MRR Wheels in Commerce, California, with its way-cool GT-1 rims. In spoke configuration, these pieces of rolling art bear some resemblance to Ford's GT500 design, but the black centers and highly polished lips create a visual impact all their own. Our man selected 8.5x20s for up front and 10x20s for the rear, the latter having a deep, 4-inch lip. These are wrapped in 255/35 and 295/30 Toyo Proxes 4 performance rubber. The overall effect is road racy and provides just-right contrast to the Screaming Yellow.
Joseph hasn't turned much...
Joseph hasn't turned much attention to the interior yet, but that's a Hurst shifter poking out of the console. One of the nice things about the S197 interior is that it really doesn't need much in the way of improvement, visually or ergonomically.
It's one thing to make a GT resemble a GT500, but all the better if you can make it strike with some of the same serpent-like swiftness. To this end, Joseph made an appointment with GTR High Performance in Rancho Cucamonga (every town should have such a name!) for the installation and tuning of a polished, intercooled Paxton Novi 2200 H.O. centrifugal blower. The resulting 430 rwhp is supported by a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump and 42-lb/hr injectors, and combined with some FRPP 4.10 gears, quite likely has the desired Shelby-esque effect.
Joeseph-a self-professed car fanatic-has owned all manner of hi-po hardware, including across-the-pond offerings from Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, but he proclaims this personalized S197 the most fun of all of them. That comment, off-the-cuff though it may sound, probably goes a long way to explaining why the Mustang has been so enduringly popular. We work long and hard to afford our cars, but the money we lavish upon them is worth every penny if we feel better for having them. We all need fun in our busy lives, but who ever thought "yellow fever" would be a way to achieve it.