5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt First Drive- The Sequel
Ford's second shot at re-imagining Steve McQueen's machine hits the bull's eye
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We couldn't wait to get the '08 Bullitt to the dragstrip to see what its combination of Ford Racing induction, tuning, and 3.73 gears would deliver on the quarter-mile. As such, we headed to Bradenton Motorsport Park (www.bradentonmotorsports.com), home of the NMRA Spring Break Nationals, to drop the hammer. While it's always a lot of fun to see how quick a car will run on its stock street tires, it does require experimentation. Finding just the right combination of launch rpm and clutch disengagement to get the car to hook without bogging is what the doctor ordered. Usually, street-tired cars present the problem of trying to launch at a low enough rpm, but the Bullitt went against the grain.
Sure, there were some big-tire cars laying down rubber before we ran, but the all-season BFG KDWS flat-out hooked. Associated Editor Johnson and I took turns blasting the Bullitt down the track. Johnson fancies himself a hot shoe, so I let him run after me on all but one run, so he had the disadvantage of a hot engine. We started out launching the car around 2,000 rpm and shifting it at 6,000, but we quickly raised the launch rpm and shift points as the day went on. After hovering around the 13.70-13.80 range for most of the day with the best 60-foots in the low 2.0s , I didn't really think there was much left on the table. We iced the throttle body during our 45 minute cool-downs between laps, but time was running out, and the truck was coming to take the Bullitt back to Ford. We had time for one last set of runs.
After cooking the KDWS, I staged and revved the car up to 5,000 rpm and quickly released the clutch. The tires squealed while clawing for traction. They spun for about three revolutions, but the car was moving forward. I thought I'd killed the 60-foot and wasted the run, but I angrily power-shifted through Second and Third. The happy combination of 3.73 gears and the Bullitt's extended 6,500 rpm rev limiter meant an e.t.-killing shift into Fourth wasn't necessary. Everything felt good but the launch. As I rounded the corner, Johnson gave me his best down-and-out look and asked me how it felt. Then he handed me the timeslip. Our ninth run of the day yielded a 13.48 at 101.79 mph! I was shocked and pleased. The car liked spin and still yielded a 1.99 short time. Given the 90-degree temps on our late-October test day, we were happy with the results. Of course Johnson tried to beat the number and ended up missing second.
If you're curious, we didn't drag test Brad Kramer's '01, but he said his all-time best run was a 13.72 and the average runs were in the 13.90s.