Rob Ruska's '90 GT
Photos by: Lue Creative
I can remember back when I was as young as six years old, toy cars were life. I had a big collection of matchbox cars, micro machines, Transformers, and anything else that had wheels or an engine. As I got older, I moved on to building models, RC cars, and started to tinker with my bike and skateboard. I was pretty well doomed to be a gearhead from the beginning. One vivid memory I have was trying to figure out how to "jack up" the rear of my Hot Wheels, to make them look like a race car. Whenever I built my model cars, I would always lower them, smoke out the lights, and any other custom idea I could think of. I had no idea at the time that it would shape my adult life, and have me totally hooked on building and racing cars. I was just a kid in the 80s, using my imagination.
Back in '90, Rob Ruska's father ordered this GT brand new. Ever since Rob was ten years old, it has been his dream car. Growing up having a father with a killer car, it was inevitable that he was going to be a car guy as well. Sadly, Rob lost his father in 2011, and inherited the GT. Bittersweet for sure, Rob was grateful to have the car that held so many memories of his father, and childhood.
Later that year, Rob decided to give the aging GT some attention. He originally planned to just rebuild the engine, and give her a fresh paint job. After getting the car torn down, he found quite a bit of rust on it, and decided that if he was going, he was going all the way. Loving the front end of the GT, but not the rest of the ground effects, Rob decided to mix the LX and GT styling. The nose would stay all GT, but the sides and rear would resemble a LX. Rob also shaved the moldings off the sides, for that ultra clean look. He then added a Cobra R hood, and it was off to the paint booth for a few coats of Dupont Candy Apple Red. Pictures do the color no justice. In the sun, it's truly stunning.
Under the hood, Rob had his work cut out for him, literally. The frame rails, shock towers, and fender aprons all had to be cut out due to the rust. Once the rot was gone, Rob custom made all of the panels for the engine bay, and painted it a satin silver metallic. Filling the engine bay, is a fresh 347 stroker built by Prestige Motorsports. Rocking a forged Eagle rotating assembly, Edelbrock E Street heads, Edelbrock cam, and Edelbrock intake; she's plenty beastly. Making over 470 horsepower on the engine dyno, the forged 347 has been known to give Rob an evil grin or two.
The drivetrain of Rob's GT consists of a stock T5 with a McLeod clutch, and while it is on borrowed time behind the stroker, it's performed flawlessly. Out back, the stock 8.8 received Moser axles, and 4.10 gears, making tire smoke the norm in any gear.
Up the skirt, a full host of Maximum Motorsports suspension pieces were brought on board. Including: caster/camber plates, panhard bar, adjustable control arms, subframe connectors, and coilovers. Last but certainly not least, a Team Z k-member keeps the 347 in place, and sheds some weight from the front end. For stopping power, Rob contacted Manir Karim at Our Dream Auto (a foxbody mustang expert). After a lengthy discussion about his goals for the car, Manir recommended a Wilwood four wheel disk brake kit. Not only did the kit add big stopping power, it also converted the car to five lug. The switch to five lug offers a wealth of options for rolling stock, and after much debate, Rob settled on Terminator 10th anniversary wheels. Measuring 17x9 up front, and a meaty 17x10 in the rear, the new shoes give the GT an ultra aggressive stance. The matte gray finish of the wheels ties in perfectly with the engine bay, and offer a nice contrast to the candy paint.
I think it goes without saying that Rob will own this car forever. Having been in his family since new, and now totally restored to his exact preferences, there is a whole lot of nostalgia here. Despite the car looking different, and being quite a bit faster, Rob can still remember those days, twenty-seven years ago, when his father brought home his dream car; a fox body Mustang. CR