Featured: Bill Switzer’s supercharged 2006 Mustang GT
Bill Switzer knows what it’s like to be young and own a Mustang. He purchased his first at the age of 19, a bright red 1985 GT hatchback. “It didn’t take too long before I started modding it. I installed a bigger cam, carb, and intake manifold along with headers, cat delete, and nitrous,” he remembers. “It was a fun car!” More Mustangs soon followed including a 1988 Saleen hatchback that Bill bought brand new and then a white GT hatchback in 1990.
Fast forward fifteen years to 2005 and Bill decided that he wanted to get another Mustang, although this time it isn’t for himself. “The main reason why I bought this Mustang is to give it to my son Chris, not 20 years down the road, but as soon as he gets licensed,” he explains. He also knows that not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, considering his son’s age. “I understand people’s concerns when they tell me it’s too much car for a teenager, and I have to agree with them, to a point. My objective was (and is) to spend time washing, cleaning, modding, and taking care of this car with him, not to abuse and be wreckless with it. As the years are passing, he understands this more and more.” In 2006, father and son decided together on a Vista Blue GT, although after seeing a Mustang in Torch Red at the L.A. Auto Show, they soon changed their minds. Bill headed down to Mossy Ford in San Diego, CA and ordered a Torch Red Mustang GT.
At first, Bill and his son had every intention of keeping the Mustang stock, but that soon changed. “Like everyone else that joins a Mustang Forum, we got bitten by the mod bug,” he says. “So then I thought, this might be a fun way to get Chris involved with the car, a more hands-on approach.” Chris hasn’t helped with every project, but he’s been involved in quite a few.
Sometimes less is more, and Bill’s Mustang is proof of that. He’s made just a few changes to the exterior that go a long way, making his Mustang unique without being overdone. A Classic Design Concepts chin spoiler provides an aggressive look to the front end, and a set of DG Custom Auto rear quarter window louvers and a functional shaker hood scoop add to the retro appearance. A set of 12-inch white vinyl stripes with custom fading rocker stripes finishes off the look.
The inside of the car is relatively stock with just a few practical upgrades. Auto Meter Ultra-Lite II gauges can be found in the cupholder gauge/switch panel as well as the triple a-pillar mount, both from Speed of Sound. A Raptor shift light with a custom billet mount, Escort Solo radar detector, and Autovation racing pedals have also been installed. The sound system has also been upgraded, with an Alpine IVA-205 in-dash CD/DVD receiver that’s connected to an Infinity Basslink subwoofer in the trunk. Finally, an MGW short-throw shifter with a composite race knob makes changing gears a breeze.
Bill didn’t go overboard on the suspension system either, modifying the Mustang just enough to handle like a true sports car but still be compliant on the street. A set of Steeda Ultralite lowering springs and Steeda lower control arms keep the car composed during cornering, and the Nitto NT-555 tires wrapped around Shelby Razor wheels provide plenty of grip. Finally, a set of 14” Saleen front brakes with 4-piston calipers ensure there’s always enough stopping power.
The one thing Bill didn’t hold back on is the engine. He turned to Modular Mustang Racing of Venutra, CA who provided one of their 4.6 Street Mod 800 Ford Racing blocks to ensure the car could handle plenty of power. The package includes Manley forged pistons, forged H-beam connecting rods with ARP bolts, forged steel Cobra crankshaft, Mahle Clevite tri-metal bearings, and ARP main studs. Why the need for such strong internals? There was a forced induction future for Bills Mustang in the form of Vortech’s V-2 S-Trim centrifugal supercharger system. Installing the engine and supercharger was a little above Bill’s technical level, so he relied on Racers Edge Tuning in Downey, CA for the installation. RET also fitted a set of JBA ceramic-coated shorty headers, Fluidyne aluminum radiator, Meziere electric water pump, Fidanza billet aluminum flywheel, Centerforce DF clutch, and created a custom tune for the car.
Bill took on many of the other drivetrain upgrades including the Ford Racing CMCV delete plates, Prothane motor mounts, Coast 1-piece 4-inch driveshaft aluminum driveshaft, and BMR driveshaft safety loop. When everything is said and done, Bill’s Mustang puts out 401 horsepower and 367 lb-ft torque at the rear wheels.
Modifying the Mustang also led to Bill being one of the more famous members of several Mustang forums. What started as a way to reference the different steps of installing a set of Steeda lowering springs led to the famous “How-To” articles by Bill under his screen name TacoBill. “At first, I had no intentions at all in writing a tutorial,” he says. “With the aid of my Brother-In-Law Kevin, we took pictures at key steps if the installation only because we wanted something to refer back to incase we couldn’t put something back together!” When Bill posted the photos on a forum, it became an instant hit. Other members of the forum began inquiring about the installations and many now reference the photos as a guide when installing the parts themselves. Even so, Bill doesn’t consider his work anything special, and maintains that if he can install the parts, then so can anyone else with tools at hand. “There’s no better way to get in touch with your car,” he says. “I promise.”
While it’s been nice becoming a well-known member of the Mustang community, Bill’s favorite part of building the Mustang has been the way it’s improved his relationship with his son. “It has served as a catalyst in creating a great father and son bond,” he says. “It’s something my son will cherish for the rest of his life, whether or not he still has the car in the future. Our Mustang has already done its job.”
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