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thetrex's 2001 GT Street/AutoX/Track Build

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Hey ALL, I'm making the switch from the forums to the source, so I will be updating my build thread over here! -thetrex

I purchased the car in January of 2009 during my senior year of high school. It was traded in at the local ford dealer and needed some work. The head gaskets were "no bueno" and oil had seeped into the cooling system. However, the price was right and it had the three options I found necessary at the time, a V8, 5 speed, and gawd awful yellow paint. With the help of my parents a week or two later it was in the driveway. 

Moral of the story:

This car has been a ton of fun. Worth every penny I paid… and every penny I borrowed from the college fund. We’ve gone everywhere together. I’ve road tripped it, drag raced it, done smoky burnouts, and cruised many miles on the weekends. I even learned how to drive a manual in this car. Now she’s ready for her next phase, handling. I'd like to do a little Auto-X and participate in some track days.

Current Mods:
The car was purchased with welded in Flowmasters, a MAC short throw, Eibach pro-kit springs, AR 200s wheels, 3.73 gears, a dented passenger fender, and banged up front bumper. Since then it hasn’t changed very much. I recently added some Magnaflow Magnapacks dumped at the rear. 

Before purchase, at the trade in lot, circa 2009. Photo taken with the original OG iPhone. 


During head gasket replacement.


This is how it currently sits today. I replaced the bent passenger fender, added a mach 1 grill delete, mach chin spoiler, and a 95 style Cobra R hood with stripe. Disclaimer: I may have a large Mach 1 fetish.



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In December of 2014, I decided to finally pursue my dream of autocross.


So, I purchased a bunch of parts during the Christmas time sales. #cheap


1. Nitto NT05's [275-40-17 fronts & 315-35-17 rears] 

2. MM XD LCA's


4. Koni SA shocks and struts


After it warmed up a bit in March 2015, I installed everything right before the  AutoX season started. It took a little while dodging rain storms, but I finally got it done. And the car handled 10x better than before. 

Nothing like working in the great outdoors… at night… in the dark... with a big light.

Mmmm new struts going in.

PHB and LCAs installed and accounted for. 

The NT05's have a lot more grip than the Sumitomo's I'm used to running and I can't say enough about this panhard bar… the back of the car feels so planted and predictable. Its great. I did 2 autoX's and a test n' tune with this setup at the beginning of the season and enjoyed every minute of it. Not to mention, I was surprisingly competitive in CAM-C at my local level…. even with my lack of seat time. That being said, the car still has some body roll due to the Eibach springs and with my staggered set-up the front of the car has a ton of push. 

I signed up for Auto X practice since I'm new to this kind of thing. It took me a few runs and some instruction to get the hang of it. 


At the first auto X I ran I came in 3rd out of 9 cars in CAM-C. I was shocked when they announced results at the end of the day. Then, at the second auto X I placed 2nd [lost 1st by a tenth!]. I was planning on running a few more events after this, but I made poor decisions… I ended up purchasing a 240Z unexpectedly and shortly after that I had to go to California for school/work. Needless to say, my racing budget for the year was shot. 

Rockin' the painters tape look. 

The $500 240Z that I couldn't pass up... and ruined racing for 2015. [Hopefully this car will debut at an autocross sooner than later]

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Fast forward to 2016.



"My goal for 2016 is to run at most of the auto X events in this region and I'd also like to participate in a few track days with the local mustang club." Goal partially achieved.


With all of the good deals available during Christmas, I've already started gathering parts. I will be changing spring rates and want some more adjustability in the front of the car. I have some C/C plates that need installed and I just received some front coilovers from MM. MM recommended 275 # springs in the front with lowest rate TA springs in the rear to balance my setup. Hopefully I can get a larger front sway bar as well. The spring rate in the front seems a little soft, but I'll see what happens. With the coilovers, spring rate seems infinitely adjustable. 

Here she is… waiting for love and new parts.




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Still 2016...


Finally updated the front suspension in the yellow car over spring break. Installed the front coil over setup with 275# springs, $60 craigslist control arms with Del-A-Lum bushings & Steeda Ball joints, MM C/C plates, and urethane front sway bar bushings, prothane end links, and some HP+ pads in front with new blank rotors.


With the wheels I'm running I ended up needing a 1/4" spacer at the front to keep the tires from rubbing on the coilover sleeve and they installed without the need for longer wheel studs. Mucho bueno. 


To match the front spring rate MM recommended a change in the rear spring rate... so I installed some of their least aggresive TA springs in the rear. Then I did a home alignment with -2 deg camber, around 5.5 deg of caster, and 0 toe. 

Took it out to Auto-X test n' tune and ran pretty close with a new GT350. The car has a lot more in it, but I need to improve my driving skills as I am the slowest part of this combination. With the mods the front end has a lot more grip and seems more responsive to steering inputs. It also seems to rotate better than before. 


Can't wait to autocross this thing for the 2016 season. It is so much more fun to drive.

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At the beginning of the year an AutoX friend was very kind and made me some magnetic numbers. When I tried to put them on the back half of the passenger door they wouldn't stick.... I had no idea that my passenger door is full of body filler! haha


Some pics from the 1st two AutoX events of the year with my white numbers.




Thanks to Jessalyn Adams for the pics!

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Recap for the 2016 season: 


As the autocross season has come to an end, I figured this thread needed an update. Overall the car ran very well and I seemed to get faster with more seat time. The driver still needs a lot of work though! I ended up attending 10 events this year from OKC, NEOKLA, and Texas region SCCA. 


On wide open courses like Texas Motor Speedway the car seemed to handle much better and had very limited understeer. However, on tight courses it understeered like crazy. This needs to be fixed ASAP as a majority of local events have very tight low speed turns. Also, the ABS has been completely wonky and hasn't been working for the entire season. Needless to say I've had issues locking up the front tires when they don't have enough heat in them. For my first full season of autocross, I fell like I've done pretty good. 


Had to battle a GT350 all year and finally beat it at the last event (probably luck). But overall, I was anywhere from 1-1.5 seconds behind it all season. Still, not too bad considering I have a stock drivetrain and some suspension mods. This little car has really surprised me. I thought it would be underpowered on long tracks, but it seemed to keep up with higher horsepower cars if I keep my foot in it. 

Thank you to Justin Williams for the photos!

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Offseason report: 


During the offseason I will be trying to:
1. Increase front grip
2. Fix the ABS issue
3. Decrease body roll. 

First and foremost, to increase front grip I would like to start running a square setup for tires. This means I will be running a 315 on the front and rear of the car. After measuring 3 or 4 times, I finally have an idea of what I'll need to accomplish that. I ordered my tires the other day and they were on my porch this evening. Look at all that 315 goodness. 


Since I've had good luck with the Nitto NT05's, I decided to order another set. There are much better autocross tire options available, but to get a 315 I would need to upgrade to an 18" wheel and I can't afford that. Also, the RE71R doesn't come in a 3XX size and the BFG Rival S has availability issues. And both of those tires cost an arm and a leg. Being a newbie, I am still learning things and I think the NT05 fits the bill for now... they are only $198 a piece compared to the $300+ Rivals. My last set of NT05's is now 2 years old and they have ~151 auto-x runs on them from 14-15 events/practice days (& 3,400 miles) and they still have life left... they just aren't as grippy as they used to be.

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So you wanna run a 315 square setup? Holy moly it's a lot of work. 


Fitting the 315’s: What I’ve learned so far. 

After tons of measuring and scheming I finally got to test the 315’s on the front of my car this week! The proper way to get a 315 on the front would be to order a custom wheel offset. However, I'm cheap and wanted to try this theory out without breaking the bank. If it ends up failing I will go back to a 275 square setup.

Generally speaking a 315mm tire fits best on an 11” wheel. However, there weren’t many cheap options for me in 17x11. So, I settled on the generic 17x10.5” sizes that most mustangs run in the rear. Not ideal, but it should do the job. I was able to buy 4 17x10.5” Bullitt replicas from American Muscle for a grand total of $260 when they went on sale. What a deal.

Wheel Specs from AM:

17x10.5” 6.8” Backspace (174mm) Offset +28

Weight: 24.6 pounds (More like 26-27lbs on my scale. Ouch.)


To correct the backspacing to fit the front of a sn95/new edge you will need a some type of spacer. There are two types: slip on or bolt on.

Slip on: spacers range from ¼” to ¾” with the largest spacers requiring the addition of longer wheel studs.

Bolt on: Spacers range from 1” to 1 ¾”. The smallest bolt on spacers allow the stock wheel studs to protrude and may need to be trimmed to fit the chosen wheel.


I want no modification of the stock wheel studs! Someday I might return the car to stock. So, after measurement, the stock wheel stud measures just a little less than 1 3/8” with the brake rotor on. Theoretically, you would need a bolt on spacer around that size to clear the stock wheel studs without modification (if you are running a wheel with a flat mounting surface with no reliefs).

However, I was very lucky! The Bullitt Replica wheels have very large reliefs in the mounting surface between the bolt circle that allow room for protruding studs. This allows me to run a spacer smaller than 1 3/8”. Look at all of that room!


Backside of the Bullitt replica. Reliefs are indicated with yellow arrows. With this wheel I can run a bolt on spacer smaller than 1 3/8”. *****in’.

Now, lets take a look at my American racing 200s wheels. The mounting surface is flat and there are no recesses. This type of wheel would require a 1 3/8” bolt on spacer to fit or trimming of the stock wheel studs.


After all considerations and measurements, I ended up ordering a 1” bolt on spacer recommended by Maximum Motorsports. On the website they indicate that it is made by H&R. However, the ones I received were from Eibach. They look similar and they’re both German. What could go wrong?


I chose the 1” bolt on spacer because:

1. It allowed me to retain my factory wheel studs if I want to go back to stock.
2. With coilovers I had to move the wheel further outboard to avoid hitting the spring perch. (At minimum a ¾” to 1” spacer required with this type of replica wheel when running a Coilover.)
3. I wanted to decrease the overall track width at all costs. Currently the front has a wider track than the rear.

This picture gives you an idea of how much the factory wheel studs stick out from the spacer. Just a smidge.


Here she is in all of her glory. With the spacers and wheels bolted up you can see that I will need some bodywork in the future. Cause this thing needs a little-bitty flare to fit that fat tire. Since the body tapers at the fender the tire sticks out more in the front of the wheel opening than from the rear. It looks awkward, but it felt really really good on some back roads. It’s the first time I’ve never felt it push.



Final thoughts:
With the 315's installed in front I will need to get some rack limiters to keep the tire from contacting the sway bar. Additionally, the tire also contacts a portion of the inner fenders, so they need to be trimmed or modified to avoid that. Also, I need to widen those fenders.

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I bit the bullet and finally got some vinyl numbers from Solo Performance Specialties for the mustang (Numbers are 10" and class letters are 5"). Put them on this afternoon since it was finally warm enough. Very nice quality, but next time I'll use the wet method when installing them as they have some air bubbles. Still, not terrible for my first decal install.


Enjoy the crappy low-lighting cell phone pics. Tried to lighten them up, but I think I "over-instagrammed" it a bit. 



And... thanks to an autocross friend I have a new/used passenger seat. I installed it the other day with a new double locking bracket from Corbeau. The blue doesn't quite match everything else, but it will work for now. And it'll keep my passengers from sliding around and giving my door panel the death grip. 


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Got bored with always having polished wheels on the yellow car and wanted to try something different. First time using plastidip..... Gotta say this stuff is awesome.  



I’ve done three autocrosses in 2017 so far with old yeller so far and it feels a lot better with the new setup and wide tires in the front. Even with upgrades, it is still a mid-pack car at large events. But it is a blast to drive, and that’s the main point.


Before Event 1 I increased the front spring rate from 275 to 325 in an attempt to decrease body roll. I also added an Eibach 35mm sway bar up front at the last minute.


Then I took it to the local drag strip in full autocross trim to put it on the scale and see what heavier tires would do to acceleration. With a half tank of gas it weighed 3270 and ran a 14.4 @ 95.3 mph. Down 2 tenths and 1.5-2 mph from its best ¼ mile times in similar weather.



Need to do some more fine tuning with the shocks and suspension. And I need to install the Maier spoiler that’s been sitting in my closet for a couple months. But, at this stage, the car is great and I’m just looking forward to completing the local autocross season. 



I also love this GT500 and now this build thread is up to date. 

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6 hours ago, ttocs said:

welcome to the forum.  FYI a lot of use use the dark themed forum version so your grey writing looks neat on the standard/bright only shows up if we highlight the areas = PIA.

Thanks for the heads up Scott. I just copy and pasted from the other site without thought of the formatting. 

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Recently, after a  local autocross event, I broke the plastic gas pedal from pressing it a little too hard. So I ordered a replacement Bullitt/Mach/Cobra set. For some reason Ford doesn't sell a replacement black pedal without buying the whole throttle assembly... Go figure. 




I received and installed the gas pedal just in time to caravan down to the Texas CAM Challenge in Mineral Wells with a couple of autocross friends.




When we showed up Friday I was greeted by a bunch of cars I've only seen and read a about online... like Kyle Tucker's camaro and the Dusold Designs tube chassis Camaro. It was like being in muscle car heaven. And the best part was working the course while they were running. Win. 








My car felt a little less special compared to all the others, but I stickered up and was ready to roll for the weekend.




Ended up 20th out of 28 drivers in CAMC on Saturday. Not as good as I hoped! On the first run I pushed way too hard on cold tires and spun the car, which made me a little more hesitant throughout the first sessions. Then in the afternoon I got the tire pressure, shift points, and line figured out and improved my times. With the day finishing earlier than expected we were able to sign up for fun runs and it gave me a much needed opportunity to practice.




On Sunday we had 3 runs in the morning to qualify us for the Challenge Bracket rounds. On the second run i set my best time for the event and made it into the Challenge! Then, I proceeded to get knocked out in the first round... as expected!  Overall, for a very novice driver in a  stock powered car on NT05's it did pretty good. There were some really fast cars and I need to spend a lot more money and get a lot more seat time if I want to be competitive. I'm really grateful for this event and it was one of the most fun autocross courses I have ever run. At home I never get into 3rd gear.


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I've had a Maier racing fiberglass spoiler sitting in my closet for about three months waiting for the attaching hardware to be delivered. This past week I finally got it installed. Probably slows my car down even more... but I think it looks cool. 




Got 1 more support rod to install in the middle and then some paint and I'll be happy. These FTR support rods are top notch!!!





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