Tom Wilson
January 23, 2006
What are demonstrators for, if not big burnouts? Vortech's ride had the mid-11 stuff to back up the big smoke.

Horse Sense: Fun as it's been, by the time you read this, Vortech's '05 demonstrator will have hit the auction block-very low mileage for whoever gets it.

Who has more fun at Disneyland? The children seeing the Magic Kingdom for the first time or their parents watching them? It must be something like that for us enthusiasts and Vortech. We get the thrill of driving boosted '05 Mustangs for the first time; they get to prototype new kits.

Following that reasoning, Vortech has been having some serious fun with its in-house '05 GT demonstrator. Essentially a stone-stock '05 Mustang GT sporting Vortech's V-2 SQ T-Trim High Output kit, this car has been fitted with various combinations of Vortech options and the necessary aftermarket supporting items-wheels and tires, for example-to prove itself a standout in truly varied tests. We're seeing it here in drag-racing form; but, a few weeks before, it ran more than 179 mph during Road & Track's standing-start mile contest (and 192 mph running out the back door during the same run). Before that, it logged 150-plus chassis dyno pulls, so this one is well broken in.

As a dragster, Vortech's Windveil Blue machine is equally impressive. The goal was mid-11s, and they got it-the car ran a corrected 11.58 at 122.43 mph in front of us during testing at California Speedway. Gifted with M/T slicks on a not-recently prepped dragstrip surface, the best runs came using generous wheelspin in First gear. As the pictures show, the car transfers weight well and, with 12 pounds of air in the slicks, does a proper job of wrinkling the sidewalls. Put on a truly sticky track, 0.3 quicker e.t.'s are no doubt possible, but given the stock powertrain and 552-rear-wheel horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque, we'd say parts breakage would also result.

Driving was Mike Regan, longtime Vortech engineer and this car's primary handler. Equally important was Lance Keck, one of those multitalented guys in the shop who can wrench, fab, electronically tune, and, most importantly here, prototype. Mike reported the car is a real squirrel with its combination of radial front tires and bias-ply slicks. Furthermore, with the powertrain trapped between its own supercharged torque and sticky slicks, shifting was a challenge. Let's not forget-half the shifter is mounted to the chassis and the other half on the transmission with the '05 cars, and getting this car into Fourth gear was impossible at first. Pushing the shifter sideways, Mike eventually "tried to shift into Reverse, and that worked."

With the front sway bar disconnected, slicks, and a few suspension bolt-ons, Mike Regan hinted at picking up the heavy Mustang's front end. Fontana's strip is fairly good, but wasn't prepped during our test day, and the air was summertime warm, so this is good stuff.

As a demonstrator, Vortech's GT runs a combination of parts that are close to standard Vortech offerings, but not exactly. We suppose the intake plumbing running through the left headlight bucket might have been a good clue something was up, but we thought we'd at least put it in the record.

It starts out innocently enough with Vortech's '05 GT kit, upgraded with a T-Trim supercharger. An eight-rib drive system was found necessary and, while Vortech has already released its eight-rib kit as you read this, Lance put this one together by picking through stock Ford offerings. The only troublemaker was the air-conditioning pulley, but with enough meat available, Lance was able to machine more grooves into the stocker to turn it into an eight-rib unit.

The inlet side of the blower is pure prototype hand fabrication or, as Lance put it, "probably the most expensive cold-air kit on the planet." The issue is the '05 Mustang, which is so crowded with hardware and complex shape between the front wheels and headlights that there isn't any space to run intake plumbing-at least not without resorting to radical, one-eyed solutions such as this. Using various 4-inch elbows and pipes from other Vortech offerings, Lance cut and welded the cold-air kit to snake from behind the bumper cap to the blower.

To make 17 pounds of boost, Vortech found its T-Trim blower was the way to go. A hot-rodded S-Trim made a valiant effort, but eventually failed in the task, while the T-Trim proved bulletproof at high boost.

Positioning the mass air meter on '05 GTs is occasionally troublesome. Lance noted this one wasn't too temperamental, but if moved closer to the inlet, fan wash was an issue; if moved several inches closer to the supercharger, wash from the bypass caused erratic behavior. Clocking the meter's element in the 4-inch tubing was also no problem as long as it stayed in a 45-degree arc from stock.

Speaking of the bypass, Lance chose Vortech's plus-sized racing bypass to handle the high-volume T-Trim blower. Combined with the two bypass elbows in the stock plastic inlet pipe, this meant fabbing a Y from aluminum tubing to plumb everything together. The stock inlet has two bypass elbows because it's also used on Paxton kits that use twin bypass valves, and hence have two bypass hoses.

Vortech offers its street kits with only the single, normal bypass valve-not its big racing bypass-so this part of the installation will remain prototype only.