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SBN Mustang Project Update: “High Gear” Gets Custom Paint Job and More

SBN Select Committee Member Susan Carpenter standing alongside the Mustang during a chassis dyno session at Edelbrock headquarters. 

The SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women has completed week three and four of its eight-week build, and progress is beyond everyone’s wildest expectations. For those of you just tuning in to this historical project, Ford Motor Co. donated a ’13 Mustang GT to SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN), and the vehicle is being modified entirely by SBN members. The project is designed to shine the light on women working in the automotive aftermarket and to encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry.

 The vehicle will be auctioned on eBay, with proceeds benefitting the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, thereby helping to foster the industry’s next generation of leaders. The satin-black luxury Mustang concept, designed by Jennifer Seely of Ford and known as High Gear, was adopted after an intense period of Internet voting by Source Interlink Media readers and an ambitious, detailed build schedule was developed.

During weeks one and two, the Mustang started out at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California, where the entire underhood area was transformed from its factory white to a sleek all-black finish to match Seely’s vision. Of course, every component hindering the perfect paint job had to be meticulously removed, labeled or taped up, then reinstalled or uncovered. The Mustang was then moved to Source Interlink Media headquarters in El Segundo, California, to the Hot Rod garage where the powertrain team went to work installing the Edelbrock E-Force supercharger and other engine improvements. A chassis dynamometer test, courtesy of the folks at Edelbrock, revealed that the power to the wheels was now 489 hp and 424 lb.-ft. of torque.

Week three was reserved for the interior team, which consisted of Team Leader Kristin Cline of Cie Studios, Rachel DeBarros of Purple Star Media, Liza Sheen of Kizuna Kustoms, SBN Chairman Marla Moore of Hypertech, Crew Chief Kellie Colf of Colf Creative Resources, Jessi Combs of Precious Metals, JoAnn Bortles of Crazy Horse Custom Paint, Michelle Perez and Genevieve Saxton, both auto tech students at Skyline College and Heart Wrenchers Car Club members. Their first step was to pull out all the seats and carpet in order to install the DEI sound-deadening material in preparation for the Kicker stereo installation, then on to the Wilwood brake installation.

“I was especially impressed with Missy Perez and Genevieve Saxton, the two students from Skyline College and the Heart Wrenchers Club,” stated Marla Moore, SBN chair. “Not only was their enthusiasm infectious, but seeing these young college women’s passion helps all of us see that tomorrow’s industry leadership is alive and well.”

Lisa Kubo of K&N stopped in to see how things were going and provided and installed their billet oil filter and K&N air filter. Other visits included new SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Mark Heffington of Hypertech, and former SEMA Board of Directors Chair Corky Coker, as well as the news media.

Crew Chief Kellie Colf stated, “What an incredible week we had. Not only did we get the work done, but also had the privilege of being interviewed by both CBS and the local Fox News station as this historic women’s build unfolds. We were truly honored that these newsmakers recognized the significance of our first all-women’s vehicle build and the precedence it sets for this industry.”

Week four saw High Gear move back to L&G Enterprises for final paint preparation. Team members included Team Leader Theresa Contreras of L&G Enterprises, Addi Van Osdel and Sara Morosan of L&G Enterprises’ Custom Truck Shop Division with assistance from Lisa McCarley of Chicago Pneumatic, who provided the air tools to disassemble the vehicle. Once in the staging area, all exterior and interior parts were removed, holes were welded up and bodywork and prep intensified. With prep complete, the team began the arduous task of masking up the vehicle, and finally by week’s end, the spraying began.

The SBN vehicle build task force is comprised of Task Force Chair Rose Kawasaki (Exports International), Project Vehicle Coordinator Sherry Kollien (Ford Motor Co.), Crew Chief Kellie Colf (Colf Creative Resources), PR/Media Coordinator Camee Edelbrock (Schiefer Media Inc.) and Product Coordinator Susan Carpenter (JR Products). Advisors include Mike Spagnola (Street Scene Equipment), Joel Ayres (Bedslide/Takit) and Marla Moore (Hypertech).

To learn more about the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women, visit, or contact Bryan Harrison, SEMA's senior manager of councils and the build's project manager at Follow the build progress at and