Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
September 22, 2017

When it comes to Mustangs, we don’t buy them to sit in the garage and collect dust. We buy them to collect horsepower to tear up the streets, the nearest dragstrip, or take them open-tracking. Regardless of where we want to exercise them, there’s one common denominator, and that’s horsepower. We want to make a lot of it, and we want to put it to the ground.

Our Pro Dyno Battle at the Beach competition is an opportunity for Mustang enthusiasts to go up against other Mustangs in a fight for horsepower supremacy. We try to include all power adder and engine combinations, but sometimes, because of mechanical attrition we’re not always able to get them all in. For the Battle at the Beach, we usually pick 12 cars because we know some will just be able to make it. So, even if a couple aren’t able to make the competition, we’ll still have a solid 10 cars.

For this year’s competition, we had more attrition than usual. Days before the competition, we had wastegate failures, blown head gaskets, and we also had one competitor whose college professor wouldn’t let him out of a test the day before the competition. That meant he wouldn’t make it to Myrtle Beach until after the Battle at the Beach. Because of this, we were down to 8 competitors, which is still a good solid number.

We still had most of the major power adder companies involved, along with being able to cover both pushrod and modular powerplants. We had centrifugal superchargers, positive displacement combinations, and also turbocharged combinations. We were able to include a few Fox Mustangs with both pushrod and Coyote-swap combinations, and the usual S197 and GT500 iterations.

We had a great competition, and in the end, Austin Holley and his 2013 Boss 302 came out victorious. Austin’s Boss 302 features an Armageddon Turbo Systems’ twin-turbocharger kit, with all the necessary support systems, and a Freddy Brown Performance 4R70W transmission with a Circle D converter. With a stock long-block, Austin’s Boss made over 850 horsepower on Pro Dyno’s portable dyno to take the win.

Even before attrition settled into the Pro Dyno Battle at the Beach competition, Austin Holley and his 2013 Boss 302 was one of the favorites. Mustang Week’s Mike Clay gave us the heads-up on Austin and his Boss, and once we checked out the car, we knew the car was a worthy competitor.

Bringing a Boss 302 with an Armageddon Turbo Systems twin kit into a dyno competition would yield great results every time, but by making 858 horsepower on Pro Dyno’s portable Dynojet, Austin was the winner this time. Austin’s Boss served an Armageddon’s R&D car for the company’s Mustang turbo system. His Boss was the first kit produced for the Mustang market.

With a stock long-block, aside from Triangle Speed Shop oil pump gears, the aforementioned twin turbochargers utilizing a Kooks exhaust, and an Aaron Lail tune, Austin’s Boss is a well-sorted machine. The car gets 16 ½ miles to the gallon, even on E85, so it’s just at home on the street as it is on the track or dyno, and its performance at the Battle at the Beach proves that fact.

We saw Austin at every venue during the week, which proved the car’s street-worthiness, and he put down the most horsepower to win the 2017 Battle at the Beach.

Justin Young, the man behind Mod Motor Mustangs, and his 2013 Shelby GT500 is exactly what we look for in a Battle at the Beach competitor. Justin regularly exercises his GT500 both at the dragstrip, including half-mile and standing-mile top speed events. Plus, his Mod Motor Mustangs following has a lot of Mustang fans watching his every move. Having Justin in the Battle at the Beach made too much sense.

Justin didn’t disappoint, either. His GT500 is a work of mechanical art. Featuring a built 5.8L engine with Darton sleeves, GT500 crank, I-Beam connecting rods, Manley pistons, and billet oil pump gears, the stock crank is double-keyed, with an Innovators West harmonic balancer out front. The heads are untouched, but Comp custom cams are in place with Accufab primary and secondary timing chains, Ford GT secondary gears, and more Accufab pieces in the billet crank gear and sprocket.

The supercharger and supporting cooling components remain largely stock. The engine plays host to the factory intercooler core, the untouched lower intake, and the ported factory TVS supercharger. However, the rest of the intake tract was heavily modified with a Power by the Hour XBA inlet, a 168mm throttle-body, a 1320 Junkie Performance 149mm intake tube, and a PMAS 149mm mass air meter. His GT500 features a return-style fuel system with ID1300 fuel injectors and triple Walbro fuel pumps. In a recent attempt to reduce inlet temps, Justin added an air-to-water tank in the trunk. Since his car is built more for half-mile and standing-mile racing, Justin’s GT500 has a 2.73 gear in it. To keep wheel speed down, Pro Dyno’s Dan DeSio kept the car in 3rd gear on the dyno. For all his hard work, Justin’s GT500 made 838 horsepower on Pro Dyno’s Dynojet.

One car we didn’t have any experience with prior to the Battle at the Beach is Erik McDonald’s 1991 coupe. Erik owns Midway Mustang, a Mustang parts outlet in De Witt, Iowa. Therefore, he has access to a lot of parts and pieces with which to build a Mustang. The Mustang Erik chose to build is this 1991 Mustang LX coupe. Erik isn’t really sure of the car’s color, but he says it’s close to a Dark Shadow grey. Either way, we were super jealous once we saw the car in person.

We were glad to have Erik’s Fox coupe in the competition, and with a turbocharged Coyote engine under the hood, it was the perfect candidate. The engine is a stock 2014 GT Coyote with CG Fabrication hot side tubing and a custom cold side arrangement. The turbochargers are Precision 67mm examples, and behind the powerplant is a Tremec T56 with a McLeod RXT clutch, and a built IRS with Driveshaft Shop Level 5 axles and 3.55 gears.

Erik told us he literally finished the car days before the Battle at the Beach, but he must’ve finished it right because all he needed was one hit on the dyno. Erik knew the car gave it everything it had on the first pass by turning over the coupe’s True Forged wheels to the tune 776 horsepower on the Pro Dyno portable Dynojet.

When it comes to dyno competitions, pushrod combinations have a hard time keeping up. The Four-Valve Terminators, Coyotes, and GT500s of the world have taken over competitions such as our Battle at the Beach. However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to forget about the girl that brought us to the dance. We love good ol’ fashioned pushrods, especially when a centrifugal supercharger is shoving air into the combustion chambers.

From Howell, New Jersey, Jeffrey Miller’s 1989 Mustang LX notch (Since he’s from Jersey) presented us an opportunity to showcase a Vortech supercharged 363-inch pushrod combination. Jeffrey’s engine was built by Majerus Garage’s Jamey Swanson, and features a Scat crank, RaceTec pistons, Eagle connecting rods, and a Brian “Freezy” Friedentag custom cam. A Melling oil pump provides the engine its lifeblood, while a Canton pan contains everything down below.

Jamey Swanson also handled the massaging of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, which play host to a Holley SysteMAX intake with an Accufab 70mm throttle-body. All Out Automotive’s Kris Mustaccio tunes the combination using a Holley HP EFI system, 60-lb/hr injectors, and an Aeromotive Stealth fuel system. Jeffrey’s power adder of choice is a Vortech V7-YSi trim supercharger, shoving 18 pounds of boost into the Twisted Wedge heads thanks to a 3.12-inch upper pulley. An MSD ignition lights the candles, while BBK long-tube headers and X-pipe work with a Flowmaster after-cat to evacuate the exhaust. Jeffrey’s notch follows the recipe for a Jersey street car with its stroked small-block and a Vortech hanging off the side. Furthermore, the combination made about what is usual for a Jersey street car, that being 652 horsepower at the wheels.

When we put together the Battle at the Beach, we try to have representation from each engine and power adder combination. Leading up to the competition, we didn’t have a Roush combination in the mix, so we contacted Dustin Ivey to see if he was interested in getting on the fun. Although his Coyote-swap Fox coupe has been together for over a year, he wanted to get the combination tuned before agreeing to enter. Fortunately for us, the tuned worked out, and he was in.

Dustin’s 1989 Mustang LX coupe features a 2012 Coyote engine with Triangle Speed Shop billet oil pump gears, a Walbro fuel pump, a VS Racing regulator, and 80-lb/hr injectors. Dustin used BBK Performance Coyote-swap headers, a custom X-pipe, and Borla Stinger mufflers. The cherry on top was the addition of a Roush TVS 2.3L supercharger. Behind the Coyote-swap combination is a Tremec T56 with a 26-spline input shaft, a Spec Stage 3 clutch, and an aluminum driveshaft. Dustin had Bob Kurgan go over the tune prior to the Battle at the Beach, and on 10 pounds of boost, the combination made 537 horsepower on Pro Dyno’s portable Dynojet.

The latest Shelby GT500s are ideal for dyno competitions. First, they make really good power right out of the box. Second, their horsepower ceiling is higher than little brother GTs. Third, they already have a supercharger from the factory so GT500 owners are already ahead of the curve from the onset. For those reasons, GT500s tend to do well in dyno competitions.

Danny Taylor’s 2011 Shelby GT500 left the factory with an aluminum block 5.4-liter Four-Valve engine producing 550 horsepower at the crank. Danny has outfitted his Shelby with a JLT Performance 123mm cold air intake, Kooks 1 7/8-in long-tube headers with the corresponding X-pipe, a Ford Performance/Borla Stinger axle-back exhaust, a Metco 2.6-in upper pulley and 90mm idler, an Innovators West 10-percent overdrive balancer, and a Rick Erdman (Amazon Tuning Solutions) tune.

Danny’s GT500 represents many Shelby owners who perform the same upgrades to arrive at more power at the wheels. When it was all said and done on Pro Dyno’s portable Dynojet, Danny’s GT500 made 533 horsepower at the wheels.

Unlike Shelby GT500s, which are taylor-made for dyno competitions, Two-Valve Mustangs are the total opposite. Introduced into the Mustang line-up in 1996, the Two-Valve engine hit the streets with a tire-shredding 215 horsepower. For 1998, power was bumped to 225, and then 260 horsepower for 1999-2004 New Edge Mustang GTs (265 horsepower for 2001 Bullitts).

When it comes to Timothy Arnold’s 2000 Mustang GT, he traded a Ford F150 for the car, and has steadily built it into the stellar street car you see here. One of the things Timothy likes best about his car is the Melvin Shanteau-applied Bright Atlantic blue paint.

What we like best about his car is the ProCharger-blown Two-Valve under the hood. DAM Racing Engines built the engine using a 1997 Romeo block, a Scat crank and rods, Probe pistons, and an 8.9:1 compression ratio. The 302-inch engine benefits from Ford Performance oil pump gears, an MMR windage tray, and ARP hardware throughout. Ported and polished Windsor heads reside up top, with Cushman Motorsports cams within. An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake replaces the factory plastic intake manifold, and uses a Professional Products 75mm throttle-body, 60-lb/hr injectors, and an On3 Performance fuel pressure regulator.

The ProCharger Timothy uses is a D-1SC supercharger, and that is augmented by a 100-horsepower shot of nitrous. The exhaust consists of Kooks long-tube headers, a BBK Performance X-pipe, and a Borla cat-back using Atak mufflers. The combination is tuned by PSI Speed’s Frank Soldridge using the stock computer, while behind the built Two-Valve is a Dave Jones-built 4R70W automatic transmission with an FTI stall converter, a Derale cooler, a Performance Automatic shift kit, and a Hurst shifter.

On 12 pounds of boost, Timothy’s 2000 GT made 476 horsepower on Pro Dyno’s portable Dynojet.

Unfortunately, in competitions like this, someone has to finish last. We didn’t think it would be Manir Karim’s 1984 Mustang, but that’s just how it worked out. Manir is a custom car/restoration specialist at Our Dream Auto Restorations located in Moorseville, North Carolina. You can see Manir’s work all over his car, and the craftsmanship speaks for itself.

Manir’s Mustang features a 357-inch Windsor with a stock crank, H-beam connecting rods, SRP pistons, a Ford Performance F303 cam, a Melling oil pump, and a Fox swap oil pan. Ford Performance aluminum heads live up top with a Trick Flow intake bolted on to tie everything together. Custom turbo headers lead into a Y-pipe, then onto MAC Flowpath mufflers. Turbo headers are needed because Manir’s Mustang uses a Master Power 72mm single turbo with a Stinger Performance PiMPXS engine management system with Wes Kiser on the keyboard.

All that sounds like it would make great power, but Manir’s Mustang seemed to suffer from a failed wastegate at the Battle at the Beach. During dyno passes, it didn’t seem like the combination came up on boost at all, and a quick test-drive by Manir confirmed that thought. With zero boost, Manir’s Mustang made 351 horsepower at the wheels on Pro Dyno’s portable Dynojet.