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Congratulations to @simba47 for being FordGT500’s August 2022 ROTM! Here is his story and his gorgeous Race Red 2021!

Hello all, First I’d like to thank Tim for this opportunity of being ROTM. I never thought my car would be picked, as there are so many nice GT500s here on this Forum.

Well my story starts when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, living in a small town Livermore in Northern CA, I got a ride in a modified 1967 Plymouth GTX with a 426 HEMI, the owner was a friend of my father and he took me for a RIDE. After that, I was hook on hot fast muscle cars, this is around 1969. When I turn 16, we moved to San Marcos, another small town in southern California. I was working already to save money to buy my first car. I started working at 10 years old as a paper boy. By age 16, I was working at a Mobile Gas station. I already knew how to work on cars as my older brother and friends taught me a lot. I was always mechanically incline and loved working and especially modifying cars. In 1978 at 17 years old, I bought a very nice 1969 Plymouth GTX 440 CI. I wanted a HEMI, but those were out of my price range. I started modifying it, first pulling the engine and rebuilding it with performance parts... getting heads reworked with performance parts and porting done. Running a high rise dual plane four barrel intake manifold mostly and a high flowing electric fuel pump. I tried running a dual quad setup, but it was faster running one big four barrel carb. The Engine had 650 or so hp and 700+ torque. Soon after, I had to have the stock transmission rebuilt with performance parts for all that power and the drag racing I was doing. Those 727 torque flight automatic transmissions were very strong, but couldn’t handle that kind of power. I then added 4.30 gear set in the dana 60 rear end with 35 spline Hemi axle shafts. After lots of testing, improving and adjusting the suspension plus adding fatter rubber in the rear, it all started to come together. All this took another year or so, and it was finally a low 10 second car... 10.1’s all day long! Working at the Mobile Gas station in Escondido helped as that lift was very handy along with all the testing equipment and other equipment and tools gas stations had back then.

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I was now strictly a Mopar guy. I liked all other muscle and cool cars... I mean they were everywhere... even the owner's son of the gas station I work at had a 1965 Pontiac GTO with a 389 tri power setup! I also had friends who owned big and small block Chevelles, Camaros, Novas and the Ford guys were out there with their Mustangs, Torinos and Fairlanes etc. I had a friend who had a 1970 Boss 429. Another who had a SHELBY GT350. The GT500s, GT350s and other hot fast cars were all around. The Mopars were well represented with a few Hemi cars and many big and small block cars like Cubas, Roadrunners, Chargers and other GTXs. We drag raced on Frontage Road or at Carlsbad Drag strip. Lots of Grudge matches!

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But I bled Mopars! I knew almost everything about those B Body cars. I eventually joined the U.S. Navy in 1981 at age 20. I was an Aircraft Mechanic and worked mostly on the flight deck of aircraft carriers. I worked mostly on F-14 Tomcats. Anyway I kept that car until 1992. Marriage and kids became my focus plus I was still in the U.S. Navy and stationed overseas (Japan twice, 1st time for 2 years and 2nd time for 3, and the Philippines for 6 years, Guam for 3 more years). I spent most of my 22 years in the Navy away from the USA being station overseas or out at sea. So owning another hot fast car was not in my future and was a distant memory, even though I still loved hot and fast muscle cars and tough Trucks.

I retired from the Navy in 2003 after serving 22 years, moved over to the Philippines and bought a 2000 1500 4X4 Chevy pickup. I modified it a lot as I lived in the middle of nowhere and the roads were mostly dirt and rock... in other words I was off-roading every day! So I did a one ton solid axle conversion on the front end stripping off the IFS system. I put a 20 inch suspension lift and 42 inch tires. I also modified the: engine, transfer case, transmission and added a Dana 60 one ton rear axle. I kept that for the 8 years I lived in Mindoro Philippines. By 2011 my Disabilities from the service slowed me down quite abet as my back and my knees were shot. After knee replacement on both knees and 3 back surgeries, I regrettably had to stop working on cars.

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I eventually moved to Subic Bay in 2011 as my daughter started college there and I sold the truck and got a 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 series which I still have to this day. The itch for hot fast cars started to hit me again though. I made a few new friends here who owned GT3s and other Porsches. I saw Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other high end cars. I went with them a few times to their cars & coffee events where a saw a beautifully restored 1968 GT500 and a nice 1969 Camaro. I also talked to a guy from Germany who restores older cars and he had a 1966 Dodge Coronet with a built 440 in her. We struck a deal and I was hook again! This was around 2016.

My Journey to my 2021 GT500... it was long and frustrating!

I saw a 2017 Dodge Hellcat in a dealership in Manila. American car companies have been here for at least the past 15 to 20 years. This was 2017 and they wanted 135K for this Hellcat, which was way more than I could afford just living off my pension and the money I saved to retire. I did retire at a young age of 42. I thought about going to work at one of the military industrial companies, but that isn’t a real retirement. I was 50 years old when I moved to Subic Bay Philippines. I still live here now.

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My good friend Arvin brought me into his business in November 2018. I invested 50K, making an extra 5 to 6k every 45 to 60 days importing shipping containers. By this time I went to a Ford dealership. The new 2019 GT Mustangs were 68K for the premium models which is all they have here or the Eco boost model. I eventually found a 2017 used GT for 45K in January 2019. It only had 7000 miles on it.

I sold the Coronet... it was a blast to drive, but a little scary to drive hard on the street as it had almost 700hp and 700+ torque! The suspension was still 1966 technology. She can get sideways fast and scare the you know what out of you!

I still had my GT Mustang and it was a nice runner. I started getting some parts to modify it like CAI a Borla Exhaust and a few other things. After I had it a couple of months I started thinking to have it supercharged and modify the 6R80 in it. I was also regretting I didn’t get a 2019 Model as those were better. I started becoming a big fan of Fords also!

I bought a Subscription to Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords and in June 2019 issue it had the article about the New GT500 which would debut in 2020 model year. I read everything I could find about this New GT500, I FELL ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with it! I asked Arvin, who imports stuff, if it was possible to get one. When I saw the SEMA unveiling of this masterpiece, I only wanted it more! I was driving everybody around me crazy, my wife my friends everybody! I even was quoting the magazine saying it’s the super car slayer! Remember most of my friends like Arvin and others own super cars. I was always talking about this car every chance I got!

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When I saw the MSRP of 74K, I said hell I can afford that, but before I knew it, my bubble was burst! I saw the markups in the states and Arvin said the cheapest we could do it would be 200K as to import a car here you have to pay the shipping, insurance, 30% duty and 12% VAT. So I told my wife if we have too we’ll move back to the good old US of A!

Then a friend of Arvin, who does lots of importing of cars for all the rich people here in the Philippines, said he brought in two 2020 GT500s base models. He said he knew I wanted one and that he would help me out some on the price. He told me 185K, I said thanks but no thanks. I didn’t have that kind of money yet. My investment in Arvin’s container business was just starting and I just couldn’t afford it. Car Loans here are roughly 25% interest. So getting a loan was not an option!

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I started to think I’ll never get one here... not brand new anyway. I started thinking to just modify my 2017 GT, even sell it and get a 2020 GT and modify that. I put my parts list together and contacted the best car guys and tuners in Manila like Car Porn racing (considered the best modern car modifying and engine builder in the country). This all started during the COVID19 pandemic, which made it more frustrating as I could not travel to Manila since it was Restricted. Most of those restrictions went all the way into May 2021, which maybe was a blessing in disguise as I had to wait. I didn’t want to order any major parts like a supercharger until I saw and talk to people who knew how to modify these newer cars and to make a real plan ETC.

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In August 2021, I had to take the GT down to Ford for a relay issue. The manager there, who I knew well, said hey we’re going to get a GT500 in here next month! I said really how much? He said around 8 million Pesos which is roughly 160K. Later I found out it was 7.760 or about 155K and if I use Arvin’s business license (called a Locators license) I don’t pay the 12% VAT, (Value added Tax) which brings the price down to around 6.830 million pesos or 136K for a base model.

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Needless to say I was excited and saw Arvin to ask him if he help me out, he said Sure No problem.

Then Ford Subic calls me up and said someone already bought the GT500... I mean it was the next day! I didn’t even have time to put any money down on it as I needed to know if Arvin would do it and work out the details.

As it turns out the Subic Manager explained this GT500 program wrong. We found out around New Year’s Eve that you order them though Ford dealerships. This program started In August 2021 where the customer or the dealership can order 2021 GT500s

Arvin, who knows the owner of dealership very well, said he may give him a small discount, so he said to me lets go down there after New Year’s. So New year’s eve night me and my family were celebrating New year’s at Arvin’s house up the street and me and Arvin (or as I call him Vino) started discussing a plan of getting this GT500. Little back ground of Arvin he’s very rich, but very down to earth. He is a big car guy he has 14 cars from a F8 Ferrari and also a very modified 2021 Nissan GTR also a 2017 RS GT3 Porsche just to name a few. We went to Ford Clark on 6 January 2022. I am Very excited to say the least! I am so excited for a few reasons one is I never bought a new car before ever, two it is a GT500! When we get there, we start the process to order my Twister Orange GT500... that is when the Dealer said you can’t get a Twister Orange as they aren’t taking orders on 2021 models anymore. It has to be a 2022! I said fine no problem, but I really wanted a Twister Orange GT500. I still believe that color is just very nice.

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I then decided to order a Rapid Red or Shadow Black. He then tells me it won’t get here any earlier than October 2022 or maybe even January 2023. I was slightly disappointed, but I said its fine.

About that time a friend of Arvin calls him and says there’s a 2021 brand new Race Red GT500 at Greenhill’s Ford dealership in Manila which arrived 22 December 2021 and they’re only asking 7.200 Million Pesos or 142K. So we drove the 3 hours one way to see it. The story goes the guy who order it back in August 2021 changed his mind and Ford Greenhill’s could discount it as he lost his deposit. It was ordered with the vinyl racing stripes and the Recaro racing seats.

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Before anyone could buy it, we struck a deal which included them trailering it to Subic! Once she arrived a few days later, I ordered some mods... they all haven’t arrived yet but here is my list:

1. JLT Rock Blockers
2. Polished Aluminum Overflow tank
3. Ford Performance Oil Separator same as from the factory
4. Kong CAI System
5. Bemaro SHELBY GT500 Side Strips and Rain tray Snake stickers also other Shelby, GT500 Stickers.
6. Carbon Fiber Track pack Wing
7. Shelby Floor Mats
8. Shelby Trunk Mat
9. PPF and Ceramic coating
10. Racing Helmet. No Gloves yet and Nice set of Sunglasses
11. GT500 Car Cover and an Indoor Cover I double cover my Mistress
12. Window Tint
13. I had Ford imaging do my GT500 photo with VIN and name plate it hasn't arrived yet

Parts that are on the way

Carbon Fiber interior kit
H-Pipe Resonator Delete

Future plans

1. Kooks Headers,
2. And asking you Guys the best way and easiest way to get 850 to 900 WHP. Then go to car porn racing. HAHA.
3. Adding More Carbon Fiber to the exterior of the car.

I Love this GT500! Best Car I ever own! I love the looks I get when I take her out and everyone wanting to take pictures of her! She’s a head turner for sure! Here in the Philippines, I was told by a few car people here that there is only 7 to 8 2020 + GT500’S in the country.

My new mistress is the best car I have owned EVER! I still love my old MOPARS, but this beast is unreal. She’s a looker, and drag strip beast, but she is a real track car! We have a speedway at Clark Freeport Zone, a few car & coffee events and have done a couple short road trips.

I haven’t tracked her yet as I am still waiting on my helmet to arrive, I want to learn how to track this car, not to beat anyone or to win anything. No just to enjoy everything this car can do.

This GT500 makes me feel young again!

I am happy I found this forum as you are all helpful and I am learning a lot from you all. I will stay active here and post photos of my mods as I do them. Again I feel honor to be chosen Ride of the Month!

Thank you and God bless you all.

Thomas from Subic Bay Republic of the Philippines.

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