5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2006 SEMA Show - Still the One
As SEMA celebrated the past, present, and future of American Muscle, the aftermarket made it clear that Mustang is the present
Horse Sense: Not only is the '07 Shelby GT 500 one of the most coveted Mustangs ever built, but the fine people at SEMA voted the GT 500 as the winner of its Vehicle Design Award for Most Accessory-Friendly Car at the '06 SEMA Show.
Besides being a mixed bag of excitement over new parts and trepidation over aching feet, the Specialty Equipment Market Association show has become a major part of the major automakers' marketing plans. All the manufacturers have large booths spotlighting their newest products and filled with project vehicles showing how those vehicles are friendly to the customizing crowd. It is customary for one of the major auto manufacturers to step up and sponsor the show. In an unprecedented move this year, the Big Three-Ford, General Motors, and Daimler-Chrysler-all sponsored the show in an effort to promote American Muscle.
As such the musclecars from each of those companies adorned the cover of the must-have show guide, a who's who listing of the aftermarket industry. What really stuck us was that the Camaro concept and Challenger concept joined GT 500 reality on the guide's cover. That shows you what a huge lead Ford has in this segment. The S197 Mustang is already in its third model year, and has two specialty iterations available in that model year-the Shelby GT 500 and Shelby GT. That lead came through loud an clear on the show floor where S197 Mustangs were clearly among the most popular show cars. Moreover, there seemed to be a growing contingent of Restomod vintage Mustangs populating the show as well. In all, the Mustang is still where it's at.
Let's hope Ford keeps this positive momentum going while the other manufacturers are still trying to get to market, as the aftermarket parts development follows the popular crowd.
After seeing the show-car crowd strip the anodizing of its beautiful, red fuel pumps, filter housings, and regulators, Aeromotive [(913) 647-7300; www.aeromotive.com] decided to give the people what they wanted-bling. The result is the company's new, fully polished Platinum Series. It's still the same high-quality, high-flow Aeromotive stuff on the inside, it's just shiny.
There are no lack of high-dollar clutches for Fox Mustangs; now ACT [(661) 940-7555; www.advanceclutch.com] has stepped in with a Sport Clutch line aimed at bolt-on cars that could use a nice aftermarket clutch, but not at a defense department budget. Their Fox Mustang FM7 lists for $347 and includes the disc, pressure plate, throwout bearing and installation tool. Two spline counts are available.
Last year Air Flow Research [(661) 257-8124; www.airflowresearch.com]offered their Comp Package on their 165cc Ford small block cylinder head. This year they've got the same extra CNC detailing ready for their super popular 185cc head. The $400 upgrade definitely gives these already exciting heads more urge. Look also for ligher, more flow-friendly 8mm valves in AFR Ford heads. Slightly more expensive, the 8mm valves have proven a big help in ARR's Chevy heads and promise good things for the Ford castings as well.
Makers of everything from shocks, springs, steering, suspension parts, and headers, Afco [(800) 632-2320; www.afcoracing.com] also offers aluminum performance radiators. For S197 Mustangs they now offer a 2-row, 2 1/4-inch thick core radiator with all stock fittings. A tight fit, Afco says theirs is a "close tolerance" radiator as required in the new Mustang. Because it can hardly be seen once in place, this unit is not polished. Retail is $549.