If you’re going to unveil anything at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, you better make the car’s design stand out from all the other debuts hitting the Cobo Hall floor to get some buzz...which is exactly what the 2011 DUB Edition Ford 5.0 Mustang GT did!
For the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, the biggest talk of the show was the return of Ford’s 5.0-liter Mustang GT that many muscle car fanatics can’t wait to see hit showrooms. The anticipation grew even larger when Nelly showed up to debut his 2011 DUB Edition Ford 5.0 Mustang GT. As the FIRST in the world to receive one, he’s also the FIRST to get it specially modified with a widebody! Nelly teamed up with Ford and DUB to create the menacing vehicle that boasts plenty of eye-catching mods, as well as the new, advanced 5.0-liter V8 engine that delivers 412 horsepower and 390 lbs.-ft. of torque, with expected highway mileage of 24 mpg.
Nelly’s Ford collaboration first started out with the Ford Flex, but then evolved into the Mustang after he had an impromptu conversation with Ford’s Vice President of Marketing, Jim Farley. “I was up at Ford in a meeting and Farley stopped in to say hi,” he explains. “For the most part that was gonna be it, but then we got to chatting it up and talking about cars for about 45 minutes. I gave him a little input on where I thought things were headed on the automotive side, and what I thought Ford could do to get back into the swing of things, so to speak, as well as what people are looking for in terms of cars. Not that they’re out of it or anything—come on, they’re FORD. Just about gettin’ a little more in the mix of things with the newer generation.”
Farley said he immediately was struck by Nelly’s enthusiasm for Mustangs. “[Nelly] said something that was really fantastic to me. He said, ‘When are you getting the 5.0 back?’”
He then heard Nelly out and questioned him about the idea really working. “Hell yeah,” Nelly says he told Farley. “I think that at times when you’re unsure in life, it’s easy to go back to the things that you did best so to speak, and I think [the 5.0 Mustang] was one of the things [Ford] did best. I was just happy that he listened and was taking heed to what I was saying. He didn’t have to sit there and take a little guy’s advice from St. Louis about cars.”
It turns out Nelly is no “little guy” when it comes to the topic of cars. His appreciation for them is something that’s passed on from his grandfather, father and uncle. “They also loved cars, which is why I love them now.” And, he can definitely “talk the talk,” especially when it comes to his all-time childhood dream car: the 5.0 Mustang GT. Of course, back then, he couldn’t afford it, but when his rap career took off, he was definitely looking to buy one. But by that time in 1996, Ford switched up the previous 5.0-liter engine in favor of their newer Modular 4.6-liter SOHC V8, which Nelly did not exactly like.
“It was the style, the speed that attracted me,” he recalls. “Back then, it was the hottest car on the street! I remember when I saw it in Menace II Society in that one part when Kane was driving in the one he had just bought and didn’t have any rims on it yet. So, he rolled up on some guy in the drive-thru and jacked the guy’s rims for his own Mustang—not that I’m condoning that—but it was my favorite part of the movie. I was, like, I gotta get me a Mustang!”
It took Nelly a couple of years, but he’s finally got one made to his specifications. After some coordinating with the design team at DUB on ideas for the fully customized Mustang, his dream car is now perfected. “I thought it needed to be mean,” he comments. “I think Ford needs to get a bit meaner; they need an edge. When you think of Ford, you kind of think family cars, nice, safe, economical and things of that nature. You really don’t think edgy, tough, taking risks, you know what I’m sayin’? And, I think that was my whole thing. I was, like, ‘Yo, man, someone here is gonna have to take a shot and loosen it up a bit. The 5.0 Mustang is the epitome of what muscle cars started, where it should end, where it should be, where it should go.”
What resulted was a fierce Mustang sitting low and wide thanks to a custom widebody construction by Topo at Mafia Customs; a sleek Street Scene body kit; and a more aggressive stance via Eibach springs. To complement the look, a staggered set of 22-inch front and 24-inch rear fender-filling TIS Modular TM15 wheels partnered with Pirelli PZero Nero 245/30R22 front and 275/25R24 rear were fitted on the ‘Stang. The factory deep-gloss black paint is subtly offset by the matte-black racing stripe that extends from the nose to the tail, while also being equipped with a blacked-out grille and hood scoop from Street Scene. The taillights were tinted, and the stock lighting was upgraded with ORACLE Halo headlights and fog lights provided by Advanced Automotive Concepts. The interior was refitted with complete suede and leather and also houses a full custom JL Audio system that features premium W3v3 subwoofers, Slash v2 Series amplifiers and their Evolution component systems. Performance additions, at the time of modification, were limited to a custom K&N Aircharger and custom Borla Exhaust system.
“When I saw it, I was, like, ‘Yo, this is definitely what I’m talking about,’” Nelly says. “It’s something that will push the envelope and is a generational must. When you talk about this generation, it’s about the risks and the aspect of the edge—from entertainment, music and beyond. Everything is a bit rougher and tougher, and I think the automotive industry needs to be that way, too.” Digging the widebody aspect of the vehicle, Nelly thinks it sits like a “Rottweiler.” “All that’s missing is a dog collar, you know what I’m sayin’? It looks real, real mean.”
While Nelly’s Mustang is an exclusive commodity, he did mention that he and Ford flirted with the idea of producing the “Nelly 5.0,” but nothing’s final at the moment. “It’s up to those guys, but I appreciate what we were able to put together conceptually.”
Besides his joint venture with Ford, Nelly, who recently ranked third on Billboard magazine’s “Top Artist of the Decade” list, has been hard at work in the studio with acclaimed producer Jim Jonsin, who is behind mega hits, such as Beyonce’s current chart-topper “Sweet Dreams” and Lil Wayne’s seductive “Lollipop.” With Jonsin on board, whatever the Derrty Ent. CEO has in store for us will definitely be bangin’. Nelly also has a few collabos on the joint, including Kelly Rowland, who he partnered with before. Expect other big names like Plies and Chris Brown to be heard on the album, too. “It’s kind of like when you go back to what you’re doing best—although I can never duplicate a past album ’cause that’s just what it was,” he reflects. “I think it’s a thing of having the same mentality and drive going into it and trying to create the same energy.”
Don’t think he’s totally forgoing his movie career altogether. Instead, look out for him in a few “CSI: NY” episodes this year, while he continues researching future movie projects to do next year. “I’m taking my time with movie roles,” he says. “I’m not really rushing it or anything, and ready to tackle movies as they come.”
But one thing he’s ready to tackle is his 2011 DUB Edition 5.0 Mustang GT. “I’m itching to get behind the wheel of my Mustang and really take it out on the streets. I already called my lawyers to get them on deck for more tickets.”
Photos: EA.J. Mueller Photography | www.imageaj.com