There are two 5.0 Mustangs in my girlfriend's apartment complex, let me tell you they're are quite alluring.
Fully agree with your approach OP. I drove my car for over a year stock figuring out what I wanted to fix and whittled it down to the pillowy suspension. Why change every part ASAP I just paid msrp for?
Professional wiener dog herder/craft beer drinker
Patiently waiting for my next batch of projects
There is one detail that I forgot to mention in my write-up: traction/stability control.
It's a great thing to have for normal driving, I have to say. I don't have to worry about taking something too hot or getting in over my head, as the system Ford has put together works very well. BUT, when purposely driven hard, I have mixed feelings. When driving the car moderately hard and just trying to get the rear to come out a couple of degrees under moderate throttle, you can rotate the car more than I thought you'd be able to.
This changes however, when you're a bit more aggressive with the throttle. So you're saying to yourself, "Hey idiot, just turn the tractional control off!" Well, that's certainly an option. But like on many modern cars, the mustang has a 4 position traction/stability control ( all-on, tc off, sport mode, all-off), with sport mode representing the almost-full off position. It's designed to give the driver a bit more freedom to slide/spin the tires, but still reel in the car if things start to get out of hand. I have to say, that I can't really tell the difference between all-on and sport mode. I just can't get the car to rotate with the throttle input and steering angle I've been using. I don't know exactly how advanced this system is, but it's certainly in the realm of possibility that the car is quickly calculating that the combination of steering angle (the mustang has electric steering) and throttle position would automatically cause the car to spin out and carnage (aka: crubs & fents) would ensue, so the computer simply won't lift the stardard threshold found in the all-on position. I have no idea, but whatever's going on, it's kind of annoying.
The other scenario I've run into and it's more of a, "damn, I didn't expect it to work that well" situation, was on the highway. I've done a few, **ahem**, highway pulls on this car. And each time, without fail, I completely forget that the traction/stability control is on. In previous cars, this was really never an issue, so that's probably why I forget about it now. But let me tell you, when going hard through 3rd and trying do the same in 4th, things get very violent with electronic nannies fully engaged. Violent in the same way that the driver of a funny car must feel at the end of his run when the parachutes open. On a straight road, full throttle in third, the tach needle at redline, followed by a very quick shift to forth for more of the same, the car slows down and slows down quickly, to the point that my seat belt locks! It must be like going 300 mph and a parachute suddenly deploys out of the back of your car. Or like the force you experience on a passenger jet liner upon landing. If the car felt it was that imperative to shut down the fun so quickly, I can only imagine what it's like with the nannies in the full-off position.