Mustang body styles are often embraced by a particular generation. This magazine's demographic is dominated by dudes around the age of 40. Sure, we also have female readers, but the majority of our stalwarts are guys that grew up on Fox Mustangs. As of this writing, 63-year-old Jim Pennington's son Jon fits our demo, but this '95 GTS is Jim's, not his son's.
You might assume Jim would have a Mustang more inclined for our sister publications Mustang Monthly or Modified Mustang & Fords. Both of those are dedicated to early Mustangs. But that's what you get for assuming, as like us, Jim hasn't grown up, just grown older.
This isn't his first Mustang, however. Jim had a '93 coupe at one time, but when someone asked if it was for sale Jim threw out a number. Regrettably, the guy came back with the money so Jim was left without a Mustang. He then bought an '89 GT, which he still has. Jim says the GT is just as nice as this car, and features a built 306 with a Tremec.
As for the GTS, Jim simply likes the SN-95 body style. He likes the Foxes as well, but the more he looked at the SN-95s, the more he wanted one. Like every new Mustang body style, it took a while for Jim to warm up to it, but once he made up his mind, he decided to go ahead and get him one.
Jim purchased this GTS out of Asheville, North Carolina. Jim lives in nearby Franklin, so the drive wasn't too far to immerse himself in the SN-95 culture, which he has discovered isn't as easy as with Fox Mustangs. He's found it's much harder to modify an SN-95 than a Fox, but that could be the biggest reason he made the purchase in the first place.
Jim is a big fan of pushrod power, and knowing the '95 was the last year of the pushrod 5.0, that was another selling point for him.
The GTS was in decent shape and had just over 50,000 miles on the odometer. It had just over 73,000 when Mr. Rosner snapped these shots. The car was originally Laser Red, and Jim says it was arrow straight. However, Jim's son Jon painted the car Candy Apple Red using a paint mixture similar to that of a '10 Taurus. Brian Sellers then added the Saleen stripes on the fenders and doors on each side. Since the GTS didn't come with a rear spoiler, one found its way to the trunk lid before Jim bought it.
Jim's plan was to run the GTS in True Street-style events, but since the car came together as such a looker, he's switched his focus to the show field. As you can see by the burnout photos, the car and Jim are capable of putting on a smoke show.
Even though it may never see a dragstrip, Jim knows the car is built to last for generations. "I built it to stay together," Jim says.
Horse Sense: Jim retired in February of 2010, so he had plenty of time to talk about his car. Jim was the director of engineering for a hospital in Franklin, North Carolina, for 17 years before joining the Jackson County school system as the director of maintenance.
Engine and Drivetrain
Block Summit Racing B50
Camshaft Comp Cams hydraulic roller
Cylinder Heads Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum, 2.02/1.60 valves
Intake Manifold Edelbrock Performer RPM w/Edelbrock 70mm throttle body
Fuel System Stock w/Ford Racing Performance Parts 24-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust MAC long-tube headers with H-pipe, Flowmaster one-chamber mufflers
Transmission Tremec TKO 600 w/Ram clutch
Rearend 8.8-in w/4.10 gears
Engine Management Stock
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter
Suspension and Chassis
Springs Steeda Autosports
Wheels 17x9-in Cobra R
Tires Sumitomo 245/45R-17
Springs Steeda Autosports
Control Arms Stock
Wheels 17x10-1/2-in Cobra R
Tires Sumitomo 315/35R-17
As I talked to Jim about his...
As I talked to Jim about his Mustang, we were on the same page since I also have an SN-95 Mustang. At least we were until I came to the photo showing Jim had swapped out the factory ’94-’95 taillights for ’96-’98 units. That’s when I gave him a ‘C’mon son.’ “I just like them better,” Jim responded. Must be a generation thing. (Jim did the right thing!—Ed.)
The last time I saw crank...
The last time I saw crank windows was in that crappy rental I had a couple events back. Regardless of the fact that Jim’s GTS features manual windows and cloth seats, the SN-95 interior was designed as an upgrade over the Fox Mustang. That could be an all-day argument, but Jim’s GTS makes use of Auto Meter gauges in addition to the stock cluster, which is augmented with a white-face overlay.
Jim summoned David Wilson...
Jim summoned David Wilson to machine a Summit Racing B50 block as the basis for the car’s 331ci stroker, which plays host to an Eagle stroker crank and rods, and JE pistons. The stroker boasts a stout 10.5:1 compression, along with a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller with the same kind of machismo. Up top, Edelbrock’s finest, in the form of Performer RPM heads and intake, breathe in outside air and turn it into combustion and horsepower. An MSD ignition lights the fire when Jim wants to kick the tires over, while a Fluidyne radiator keeps things cooler than the other side of the pillow.