KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
December 1, 2005
Photos By: KJ Jones, Courtesy Of ATI Pro Charger

"We finished our supercharger kit for the six-cylinder '05 Mustang three days ago. We don't have any idea what it'll do, but we want you guys to come test it." That statement, made by Dan Jones of ATI ProCharger, was just like one of those irrefutable propositions you thought only happened in gangster flicks. The mere idea of the V-6 '05 Mustang getting love from ProCharger-in the form of the same P-1SC supercharger and a two-core, air-to-air intercooler that have more than proven themselves on 4.6 and 5.0 V-8s-had us scrambling to get to Kansas right away, to be the first members of the Mustang media to check out the setup in person, and to flog it on the strip, street, and dyno.

It's difficult to dispute the notion that '05 Mustang GTs shot to the top of the affordable-sports-car heap the instant they went on sale. For just about $26,000 on a base-model GT ("Deluxe" as Ford calls the entry-level trim), enthusiasts can own a Mustang with more horsepower (300 hp, advertised) and better handling than in any other non-Cobra 'Stang prior. And, it's a car that instantly ranks new owners a few notches higher on the cool scale with friends, family, and other envious souls the moment they get behind the wheel, thanks in part to its much ballyhooed retro styling.

But the high cost of fuel these days and-more importantly-the large sums of dough GT owners have to fork over each year to keep their pride-and-joy insured, can put a major kink in the whole "affordability" scheme for some folks, namely the age-25-and-younger set, leaving them no recourse other than to dream of winning Lotto one day soon. Aside from its lower, $19,215 base price, the Deluxe six-banger 'Stang is every bit the same as its V-8-powered brother in a general sense. But two cylinders and 90 less horsepower (210 hp, advertised) do make a huge difference in terms of overall cost to own, especially when the driver's age and insurance costs are factored into the equation.

Our proposed test plan was simple. First, we would take ProCharger's blown V-6 '05 and make a few time runs at Kansas City International Raceway, to see what the P-1SC and 'cooler would or wouldn't do for the car in terms of dragstrip performance. Once we had the with-supercharger data, the plan was to have ProCharger's performance technician Dorian Comeau remove the assembly and return the surprisingly small assortment of stock components to the engine. Dorian would also use DiabloSport's Predator handheld flash tuner to reenter the stock fuel and timing program to the PCM (a Predator is included with each Stage 2 P-1SC kit and has easy-to-enter calibrations stored, which eliminate any tune-up guesswork or need for a dyno to dial in the blower). We would close out the track study by making another series of passes, with the 'Stang in naturally aspirated, bone-stock trim.

With the exception of the blower kit, Nitto drag radials, and the acquired-at-the-last-minute American Racing rear wheels, with backspacing that made the car look totally stink-bug, the Screaming Yellow '05 was absolutely stock. The car was driven to the track-not trailered-and our jockey, KCIR's track manager Jeff Martin, had explicit instructions to not, under any circumstances, give the car special treatment of any sort.

All the track testing went off without a hitch. Jeff did a fine job of maintaining consistency, yet drove the 'Stang like he stole it every lap. We noted the numbers, and then we called it a wrap from KCIR and headed over to ProCharger headquarters and our date with the dyno-the second phase of our evaluation.