Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 3, 2007
Photos By: Steve Turner
Joey Buquoi's '01 Bullitt did it. The Kenne Bell/Nitrous Pro Flow-motivated Two-Valve mated to a Tremec T56 six-speed was good for 752 hp. Combine that with everyday driveability, a nice exterior, a custom stereo, and a comfortable interior, and you have a car that's a blast to drive. Oh yeah, you also have the '06 Nitto Tire King of the Street winner.

Horse Sense: The '05 King of the Street was a fairly easy competition to judge. Michael Palugi Jr. ran away with it by boasting the highest horsepower numbers, best quarter-mile time, excellent daily driver capabilities, as well as everything else in line. We had strong cars in 2005, but Michael came with the biggest gun.

The Nitto Tire King of the Street competition has grown by leaps and bounds ever since Editor Turner came up with the idea to put the baddest street Mustangs against each other at the same place, on the same dyno, and against our critical judging structure. 2006 marked the fifth KOTS, and we couldn't have been happier with the way it played out. We had more turbo-charged cars and superchargers from nearly every manufacturer on a variety of pushrod and modular combinations. We tried to cover all power-adder makes and manufacturers, but a couple cars that had combinations we would've liked to showcase fell out of the competition at the last minute. Those people simply ran out of time to get their Mustangs ready to compete.

Speaking of competing, for the second year in a row, Nitto Tire sponsored the King of the Street. For its part, Nitto provided each competitor a pair of its 555R Extreme Drag radials in his/her size choice. So, not only did KOTS competitors battle each other on the same dyno, the same dragstrip, and against our critical judging structure, but they also used the same Nitto Extreme Drag radials. This made for a level playing field for all competitors.

Nate Phillips' '03 Cobra eclipsed the horsepower mark from last year's KOTS winner, Michael Palugi Jr., by pounding out 895 hp on DiabloSport's portable Dynojet. Nate's Cobra features a Hellion Power Systems 88mm single turbo.

To ensure power-adder parody, we had centrifugal superchargers and Kenne Bell-fortified Two-Valves. We didn't have any Mustangs using nitrous oxide as a main source of power, but a few participants used it as a supplement. Of the 11 competitors, 4 had turbochargers, 3 had single-turbo combos, and 1 had twins. If you can't find a KOTS contestant with a similar combo to yours or one you'd like to build, it's probably because you drive a Tercel.

One thing we've learned is Dynospeed Racing in Memphis, Tennessee, knows how to build a KOTS machine. By now you know Joey Buquoi's '01 Bullitt is the winner, and guess what shop performed many of the upgrades. That's right-Dynospeed Racing, the same shop that worked on the '05 winner, Michael Palugi's Cobra. We'll get more into Joey's shortly, but for those hoping to compete in the '07 King of the Street, get to work and keep your nose in 5.0&SF magazine so you can see when to send in your applications.

And now, here's how the '06 Nitto Tire King of the Street played out.

We judge the Nitto Tire King of the Street using several categories; some are judged and others are by finishing order. The Fit and Finish and Engineering categories are presided over by the honorable Editor Steve Turner. The Ride and Drive portion is under the ever-discerning senses of Associate Editor Michael Johnson. Dyno Numbers (SAE-corrected numbers), Drag Race, and Popular Vote categories are segments that depend on finishing order for point allowances. This year, since we had 11 competitors, we awarded the winner of these categories an 11; then went down from there. We award certain categories more than others. Here's a breakdown on the categories and the percentage they're worth.

Engineering 15%
Dyno Numbers 25%
Ride and Drive 25%
Drag Race 5%
Fit and Finish 15%
Popular Vote 15%

To arrive at final scores, we take the number each competitor scores in each category and multiply it by the corresponding percentage.

Memphis, Tennessee's Joey Buquoi bought his Bullitt in 2002. It ran 14.0s at 101 mph in stock trim, but Joey had big plans. One of the first things he did was add a return-style fuel system. The Bullitt has had a couple different power combinations throughout the years, but the current setup boasts a BB&T Racing-built short-block with Patriot Performance Stage II ported Two-Valve heads with Comp Cams XE278AH cams in place of the stockers. For power, Joey chose a Kenne Bell 2.2 instead of a centrifugal unit for the bottom-end punch with a Nitrous Pro-Flow 150hp kit as a power supplement. "The Kenne Bell has been the best mod I've ever purchased," Joey says. The KB made the same horsepower as his previous centrifugal combination, but with 270 more lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm.

With the Nitrous Pro Flow kit on board, the total numbers came in at 702 hp. But when Joey heard he was picked for the KOTS, he knew he had to come to Bowling Green with his A-Game. "We decided to push the combo a bit harder, so I ordered a Reichard Racing 2.70-inch pulley," he says. Dynospeed Racing's Joe Beegle and John Bonner pulled late nights to make sure Joey's Bullitt was ready for the KOTS battle.

Boy, was it ever ready. Even sitting still, the car looks as though it's ready to pounce. Its aggressive stance was unmatched by many other cars in the competition. On the Ride and Drive portion, we could tell right away that it was going to be a top KOTS contestant. We only noticed a slight noise from the aggressive Hawk brake pads and an occasional, ever-so-slight hiccup in the tune. But when Joey's Bullitt made 752 hp on the DiabloSport mobile Dynojet, we couldn't have expected better driveability. One unnerving aspect to the car was the lack of a reverse lockout in the T56. We almost went into Reverse at the start of the Ride and Drive portion-at speed. We had visions of T56 guts all over the road. Yours truly already has a reputation for running over things, so destroying a brand-new transmission isn't something I want to add to the list. But once we drove it a few miles, we got used to the transmission; it became a nonissue.

All in all, Joey's Bullitt scored high in every category-except the Drag Race portion, thanks to the new, still-notchy T56. He had trouble shifting the Bullitt, so the best he could muster was a 12.7 at 103 mph, placing Joey second to last. Fortunately for him, the Drag Race category only counts for 5 percent of the final score, so that event didn't hurt him at all.

"I want to thank Dynospeed Racing, Speed of Sound, and my uncle Sonny for getting me into custom cars as a child," Joey says.

Here's a breakdown of Joey's winning score:

Engineering 10
Dyno Numbers 10
Ride and Drive 8
Drag Race 2
Fit and Finish 10
Popular Vote 8
Final Score 88

Tech Specs
BlockAeromotive A1000 fuel pump and regulator,
Stock Bullittcustom -8 feed/-6 return fuel lines,
Displacement Steeda Autosports fuel rails, {{{Ford}}}
281ciRacing Performance Parts 60-lb/hr injectors
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
Stock crankshaft, {{{Eagle}}} rods, JE pistons,Bassani Xhaust mid-length headers and
ARP fasteners throughoutoff-road x-shape crossover, stock Bullitt
Cylinder Headsmufflers and tailpipes
PI Two-Valve, Patriot Performance Transmission
Stage II portedTremec T56, SPEC Stage 3 clutch, stock
Camshaftspressure plate, Steeda Autosports, Tri-Ax
Comp Cams XE278AHshifter
Intake Manifold  
Mass AirEngine Management
SCT BA2400 Big AirStock Computer, SCT X-Cal 2, custom
Power AdderDynospeed Racing tune
Kenne Bell 2.2, 18 pounds of boost, Ignition
Four Seasons heat exchanger, NitrousStock, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Pro-Flow 150hp nitrous systemGauges
 Auto Meter tach, Speed of Sound gauge pod

Another Memphis, Tennessee, Mustang owner, Dale Hawkins grew up in the '60s in the middle of the Southern California drag-racing scene. Regular trips to Lions, Pomona, and Orange County International cemented Dale as a speed junkie. But similar to many people of that era, he stopped hot-rodding to get married and have a family. He had no desire to get back into the performance scene until he drove this '05 Mustang GT. "This is the first performance vehicle I've owned or wanted in 35 years," Dale says. "The day I drove it off the lot, I instantly began looking for more power."

As if Dynospeed Racing's work on Joey's KOTS-winning Bullitt wasn't enough, that shop provided more power to Dale's car as well. It was the first S197 to come into Dynospeed's fold, and the car couldn't be a better representative for the performance shop. "I trust no one else with my baby," Dale says. Featuring a relatively simple yet powerful combination, the car boasts a Dynospeed Racing-built bottom end, an upgraded valvetrain, an SCT Big Air 2400 mass air meter, a Vortech SQ S-Trim supercharger, and a Nitrous Pro-Flow 125hp shot of nitrous, Dale's GT was good for 576 hp on DiabloSport's Dynojet.

When Dale found out he was selected for KOTS, he stepped it up a notch by adding the built bottom end, the nitrous, and a new Speed of Sound nitrous control panel that should be on the market by the time you read this. Friendships like the ones Dale has developed with the guys at Dynospeed and Speed of Sound have caused his ever-supportive wife to get jealous of all the time he spends at the shop. "The shop has become like my second home," Dalesays.

Rest assured Mrs. Hawkins, Dale's time at the shop has paid off. His GT is so easy to drive, even a 5.0&SF sales guy could drive it-and fast. We thought someone swapped the GT for a stock automatic. It features a mostly stock 5R55 five-speed automatic transmission, but it was outfitted with a TCI Street Fighter 3,500-stall converter to raise launch rpm. Still, all that was needed to drive Dale's GT was to drop the stock shifter into drive and hit the gas. We didn't have to shift anything. We didn't have to hit any buttons. We didn't have to climb over any bars to get in the car. It was the easiest KOTS car to drive, possibly ever.

Combine that driveability with quarter-mile times in the 11.50s, and you can see why Dale's GT did so well. "Because of this car," he says, "I'm having the time of my life." We can see why.

Here's how Dale scored in each category and his final score

Engineering 9
Dyno Numbers 6
Ride and Drive 10
Drag Race 7
Fit and Finish 8
Popular Vote 6
Final Score 78

Tech Specs
BlockTwin '07 Shelby GT 500 fuel pumps,
Stockstock lines and rails, 60-lb/hr injectors,
Displacementdual {{{Ford}}} PCM fuel-pump controllers
Rotating AssemblyJBA Headers long-tube headers, off-
Stock crankshaft, {{{Eagle}}} connecting road H-pipe, after-cat exhaust
rods, CP forged pistons, Clevite Transmission
piston ringsStock, TCI Street Fighter 3,000-stall
Cylinder Headsconverter, Powerhouse Automotive
Stock, Comp Cams valvesprings with one-piece aluminum driveshaft
titanium retainers 
Comp CamsEngine Management
Intake ManifoldStock computer, SCT X-Cal 2, custom
StockDynospeed Racing tune
Mass AirIgnition
SCT BA2400 Big AirStock, Granatelli Motorsports coil-on
Power Adderplug system, Autolite HTO spark plugs
Vortech Superchargers SQ S-Trim, 14 Gauges
pounds of boost, Dynospeed Racing- Auto Meter {{{Cobalt}}} gauges, Raptor shift
fabricated '03 Cobra heat exchanger, light, Speed of Sound gauge pod,
Nitrous Pro-Flow 125hp nitrous kit with nitrous control panel
a bottle heater and purge kit 

There have been KOTS contestants in the past that have been intimidated by shop-built Mustangs, as well as performance-shop owners or workers that participate in the competition. Even though we recognize the benefit of working at a performance shop, it's not necessary in order to build a KOTS-winning Mustang. We don't care who built it or tuned it, we just want to see it, drive it, and watch it go down the track.

One Mustang we couldn't wait to see was Nate Phillips' '03 Cobra. He's one of the guys other KOTS owners worry about. Working at the side of John Urist at Hellion Power Systems in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and having an inside track to the latest turbo-charger technology has its advantages. Leading up to the competition, Nate thought his Cobra would be capable of eclipsing the mark of Michael Palugi Jr., the '05 KOTS winner-and it did, pushing the KOTS horsepower record to 895 hp. Michael's '03 Cobra made 851 hp in the '05 KOTS.

If you haven't noticed by now, Nate was unable to carry the '06 KOTS with that number, and we'll tell you why. First off, Editor Turner and I used Nate's car to get lunch on Sunday of the NMRA World Finals, the site of the '06 KOTS. "That exhaust is going to drive me crazy" were the first words out of Editor Turner's mouth, hurting the Ride and Drive score. Maybe more than the exhaust, the oil leak that sprung from either the cam covers or the borrowed 88mm turbo hurt the car's Ride and Drive score. The oil leak made the car smoke like a steam-powered freight train, especially after we gave it the wood.

The freight-train analogies don't end there, but this is a positive one. Nate's Cobra is fast; this thing will freight-train just about anything on the road. We weren't sure if we were in Nate's Cobra or a Boeing 747 cleared for takeoff. The power was linear, and it kept building into a crescendo, making us look for the end of the runway. But the aforementioned smoke show had us watching the gauges to make sure we didn't lose anything while reentering the atmosphere.

Similar to a few of the other KOTS competitors, Nate was up on the rev limiter to get the car done in time. Being a crew member for John Urist also meant even more time away from the Cobra. Lack of time back home meant testing at Bowling Green just prior to the KOTS competition. Nate disintegrated the factory IRS, which sent him scrambling to find a replacement rear. He ended up at Delk Performance in Lebanon, Tennessee, about an hour-and-a-half south of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Instead of adding another IRS, Nate installed a solid-axle 8.8. That's a big change a day before the competition. During the Ride and Drive, the solid axle was a nonissue. On the track, Nate struggled since he had no time on the new rear setup. Another reason for a poor showing was that he hurt a piston during the Drag Race portion-although he's not 100 percent sure because as of press time, he's been too busy to tear the car apart. He has a couple of smashed spark plugs, so that's his best guess.

Despite the exhaust and the smoke show, we were shocked at how easy it was to drive Nate's car given the amount of horsepower it made. For an 895hp car, anyone who knows how to drive a stick could easily drive it. It features a McLeod Industries twin-disc clutch. The pedal pressure was comparable to that of stock clutch units. The car also possessed a nice solid shifter feel from the Pro-5.0 shifter. All in all, Nate's Cobra wasn't far from winning.

Here's a breakdown of the score:

Engineering 7
Dyno Numbers 11
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 1
Fit and Finish 7
Popular Vote 7
Final Score 77

Tech Specs
BlockTwin Weldon 600A, -8 feed/-6 return,
StockWeldon regulator, Sullivan Performance
DisplacementProducts fuel rails, 83-lb/hr injectors
Rotating AssemblyStock exhaust manifolds, Bassani Xhaust
Stock after-cat
Cylinder HeadsTransmission
Stock Tremec T56, 26-spline input shaft,
CamshaftsMcLeod twin-disc clutch, Pro-5.0 shifter
Intake ManifoldELECTRONICS
StockEngine Management
Mass AirStock computer, DiabloSport chip
Stock, DiabloSport Mafia chipIgnition
Power AdderStock, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Hellion Power Systems The Beast Gauges
single 88mm turbo kitStock

We didn't plan on having Jason Kelly's Fox LX at KOTS, but thanks to a last-minute dropout, the House of Boost boys brought it instead of the car they originally entered. Dorian Comeau called to let us know the original entrant wouldn't be competing as he had a case of cold feet. But Dorian's fellow HOB representative Erik Andre called Jason, told him his car was needed for the weekend, and headed to Bowling Green. Of course, the HOB duo had to find a truck and trailer, but that was accomplished with a couple more phone calls. With everything lined up, Dorian and Erik made the all-nighter to join the fellow KOTS competitors at Beech Bend.

We featured Jason's LX hatch a couple years back ("Cammer Commuter," Feb. '05, p. 94), but this was yours truly's first glimpse of the car. As is most often the case, pictures didn't do this car justice. The red pops, and even though most '91 Mustangs now have their moldings painted the same color as the body, the fact that those on Jason's car were still black didn't offend us at all. They match the car's smoked headlights and add contrast to what Jason refers to as "the stuff that looks red." He's talking about the paint, but the interior is also red, which spells "ugly" for most Mustang aficionados. But his car runs so well and is so well-balanced that it renders the interior color a nonissue.

Jason drives his LX as much as possible and says the car handles well in Wal-Mart parking lots, something we can vouch for. The car's top also held our Wendy's Biggie Cokes while other cars were being dyno'd. In our notes, we wrote that it was a blast to drive. What's better than a Fox car with a ProCharger F-1A-supercharged Four-Valve underhood? We saw 25 pounds of boost on our test loop, and the ProCharger is capable of 32 pounds. We didn't rev it high enough on the street, but we also didn't want to blow it up before the Dyno and Drag Race segments. Combine a centrifugal supercharger with a high-rpm engine, and it's pure adrenaline all the way to redline.

We were impressed with the street capabilities of Jason's LX, so much so we gave it a nine for the Ride and Drive portion. We didn't have to climb over a cage, and the car featured a nice Kenwood-powered stereo system. These are all traits of a House of Boost-built ride. HOB was well-represented last year by Erik Andre's Cobra, and many of the same characteristics of his car are implemented into Jason's LX. The clean exterior, the industrial underhood personality, the linear power delivery, and the civilized street manners were all traits carried over into Jason's LX. Its ride wasn't as good as Erik's, but that's the difference between a Fox and an SN-95 Mustang. During the Ride and Drive, we got the sense we could drive the car to California and beat up on some expensive machinery on the way.

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what Jason and Erik did during the recent Buffalo Run (www.kcrally.com), a 350-mile rally spanning Kansas and Missouri. It attracts high-end import and European performance cars, but Jason's LX represented the Mustang well. There are several European performance enthusiasts who competed that will never look at a Mustang the same because of the performance of Jason's LX. Thanks for the ride.

Here's how it scored:

Engineering 9
Dyno Numbers 7
Ride and Drive 9
Drag Race 8
Fit and Finish 9
Popular Vote 4
Final Score 77

Tech Specs
BlockBosch dual pumps, Aeroquip -8 fuel
Stock '98 Cobralines, Magna fuel rails and fuel-pressure
Displacementregulator, 83-lb/hr injectors
Rotating AssemblyBBK long-tube headers, custom MAC
Cobra crankshaft, Manley rods, ProChamber, MagnaFlow after-cat
Mahle pistonsTransmission
Cylinder HeadsTremec TKO, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch,
Stock Four-ValveSteeda Tri-Ax shifter, FRPP aluminum
Stock Four-Valve 
Intake ManifoldELECTRONICS
Stock Four-ValveEngine Management
Power AdderF.A.S.T.
ProCharger F1-A, 3.{{{90}}}-in pulley, 26 Ignition
pounds of boost, custom twinMSD DIS 4, NGK TR6 spark plugs
 Auto Meter

Up to this point in the KOTS finishing order, it shouldn't be surprising to know that only one car (Dale Hawkins' '05 Mustang GT) has never been photographed or featured in 5.0&SF. It's nothing against Dale's GT; we just never had a good opportunity before the KOTS. Ben Ripstein's '03 Cobra feature is sitting in Editor Turner's file cabinet awaiting its appointment with superstardom. But it looks as though the car will make its editorial debut as the Fourth Place KOTS car.

Ben initially took the Cobra to his local Ford dealer because of a transmission problem. When it was fixed he asked the service manager to build the Cobra into a 10-second car. The service manager said that was more than they could do, but one of the dealership's technicians would probably be able to help Ben accomplish his performance goals. The technician was NMRA racer and overall crazy man Mark Magnuson. He knew the direction to take. Over a few adult beverages at Hooters, Ben, Mark, and Mark's friend John Galway discussed the project, mapping out a plan. First up was a single turbo, which was good for a while. From that point on, the car snowballed, and Ben wanted it to be as extreme as it could be. With further improvements, the car ran a 10.50 at 127 mph on drag radials and a 10.18 at 129 mph on slicks.

At the '06 World Ford Challenge, a tuning mistake took out a couple pistons, but Ben didn't care; he was hooked, and the project hit high gear. In went an MV Performance short-block, a set of Rich Groh Racing ported FR500 heads and custom cams, a Sullivan Racing Products intake, and Behind Bars Race Cars fuel rails and larger intercooler. To remedy the tuning issues, Mark simplified it by adding a Big Stuff 3 engine-management system, which was wired to work with the stock gauges. LSR Performance tuned the car, and at that point it was ready for track testing in preparation for the KOTS competition.

Before we go any further, we're sure Mark will disagree with the car's finish, but it is what it is. We really don't know what that phrase means, but this seems like the perfect place to use it.

The reason for the disappointment is because of all the work done to the car two weeks before the KOTS. On the first test pass, a faulty ball joint let go, sending the car into a tailspin. Mark did his best to keep the car off the wall, but this happened going through the traps at around 130 mph, making him lose control. The car hit the wall, wrecking the right side. It took out the front and rear bumper covers, all four tires, both right-side wheels, and the front and rear suspension components. Fortunately, Mark was OK. Unfortunately, the car was far from it. Over more-and stronger-adult beverages at Hooters, the boys had to think of another plan involving a complete rebuild of the car in two weeks-time to make the competition.

Trust us when we say Ben and Mark called in all their favors to get the job done, and we don't have enough room to list everyone involved. Even if we did, based on the tech sheet Mark gave us for this article, we're sure everyone's name would be misspelled. We'll try to fill in the blanks, though. Dave Gagnon cut off the quarter-panel and inner fenderwell, and Adam's Auto Body gave the boys full access to its body shop. UPR Products stepped in, providing all new rear-suspension components. Strange Engineering followed suit to replace the axles and differential. Ben also wants to thank his girlfriend, Joanna, for her patience.

To give you a timeline, Mark wrecked the car Saturday, September 16; the KOTS was September 28-29. By Thursday, September 21, the bodywork was finished, and the car was rolled into the paint booth at 11:30 p.m. It rolled out with new paint at 3:00 a.m. At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 23, it was at Behind Bars Race Cars for new intercooler tubing. By that afternoon, the car was back at the body shop for wet sanding and buffing and reinstallation of the interior. On Monday, September 25, Mark took the car to work so it could be aligned and the pinion angle set. That night the car was dyno'd, and the next day is was cleaned and loaded in the trailer for the tow to Bowling Green for the KOTS competition. On its second dragstrip pass since the accident, Mark ran the quickest KOTS pass with a 10.31 at 132 mph. Great job, guys.

Here's how Ben's Cobra fared score-wise:

Engineering 9
Dyno Numbers 3
Ride and Drive 9
Drag Race 11
Fit and Finish 9
Popular Vote 9
Final Score 76

Tech Specs
BlockMagnaFuel fuel pump, Aeroquip fuel lines,
Teksid aluminumSullivan Racing Products fuel rails, 83-lb/hr
Displacement fuel injectors, Weldon fuel-pressure regulator
Rotating AssemblyStock exhaust manifolds, Bassani
Cobra aluminum crankshaft, H-beam Xhaust mufflers
rods, CP custom pistonsTransmission
Cylinder HeadsDr. Evil Performance Transmissions-built
FR500, Rich Groh Racing-ported4R70W, Ultimate Converter Concepts 3,500-
Camshaftsstall converter, stock GT automatic shifter,
Rich Groh Racing custom-designedStrange Engineering aluminum driveshaft
Intake Manifold  
Sullivan Racing Products, Rich Groh ELECTRONICS
Racing portedEngine Management
Power Adder Big Stuff 3
Hellion Power Systems single-turbo kit, Ignition
Turbonetics single 76mm Q-Trim turbo-Big Stuff 3, LS1 coils, MSD spark-plug
charger, Behind Bars Race Cars 1,000hp-wires, NGK spark plugs
capable intercooler, Innovative Turbo Gauges
Boost controllerStock

Easily the wildest KOTS combination ever, Dan Schoneck's '84 1/2 GT350 convertible embodies the personality of its owner. Dan runs an Outlaw-style, seven-second Mustang.

It takes a crazy person to run sevens on a true 10.5-inch slick, and Dan has that personality trait covered in spades. He hails from Minnesota and makes use of his area's corn crops every day-his '84 1/2 runs on E85, and corn is the primary material for ethanol-fuel production. E85 has an octane rating of 105, so you can see the benefit compared to pump gas. Besides, it's cheaper in Dan's neck of the woods, and it's relatively easy to find. Because of his fuel choice, Dan and his buddies earned the nickname Children of the Korn. Dan wanted us to spell corn that way, and that should be a hint at his out-there personality.

At the same time, Dan has a zest for building fast cars, and his GT350 embodies that spirit. Thanks to his racing endeavors, he has a good relationship with the folks at ProCharger. To that end, his GT350 boasts an F-1R supercharger to make the car sound as though an F-18 is coming right at you. The blow-off valve is obnoxiously loud, but it befits the car's personality. In our notes after the Ride and Drive, we wrote that Dan's GT350 was a "truly brutal street car!" If there has ever been a Mustang that screamed brutal speed, this car does it. It makes no apologies for being an in-your-face sledgehammer.

But the car also blew the fuel-pump fuse during the Ride and Drive, which didn't help his score. "Thank goodness for the 85-year-old man," Dan says. The 85-year-old man let him borrow a pair of channel locks so the blown fuse could be extracted. Fortunately, Dan had a spare fuse-doesn't every Mustang owner have those?-so we were on our way five minutes later. It would've been a major scoring detriment if we had to walk. When the car was fully operational, we noted the brakes were first-class and provided great feel, as well as the ability to bring the car back to legal speeds at an unbelievable rate. Another drawback, as well as a necessity, the Clutchmaster unit was stiffer than many other KOTS cars. Dan has been through his share of clutches, and the unit proved necessary.

Also due to his personality, we gave Dan the name Cornholio, which was Beavis' alter-ego from the show Beavis and Butt-Head. When Beavis consumed too much sugar or other stimulants, The Great Cornholio would emerge, which would entail Beavis pulling his T-shirt over his head, random marching, and a loud and boisterous personality. It's entertainment at it's finest [Trust us, kids. -Ed.], which is exactly what Dan was at the KOTS.

This car can reach illegal speeds in a few scant seconds. With the aforementioned ProCharger F-1R, a wicked little beast of a 306 with a Boss 302 block, a T56 trans-mission, and 3.73 gears, this GT350 moves immediately. We knew it was going to be a screamer from the Ride and Drive, but when DiabloSport's Willie Figueroa strapped Dan's car, the controversy began. DiabloSport's mobile Dynojet is rated for 1,000 hp, and on both of the initial dyno pulls for Dan's car, it stopped recording power output. Willie said that only happens when the dyno is pegged. Does that mean the GT350 made 1,000 hp? We don't know for sure. Dan put a larger pulley on the F-1R so we could get a reading and it made 713 hp, landing him a score of nine in the Dyno Numbers column.

Because of the E85 ingenuity, Editor Turner gave Dan a 10 in the engineering category. The car scored a seven in the Fit and Finish category, with a five in the Popular Vote category. Evidently, there weren't many Children of the Korn fans at Bowling Green.

Here's an overview of Dan's score:

Engineering 10
Dyno Numbers 9
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 5
Fit and Finish 7
Popular Vote 5
Final Score 75.5

Tech Specs
BlockMagnafuel EFI Tuner Series 750 fuel
Boss 302pump, -8 feed/-6 return lines, 96-lb/hr
Displacementfuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
Boss 302 crankshaft, {{{Eagle}}} rods, JEMAC long-tube headers, ProChamber
pistons, piston ringsH-pipe, MagnaFlow after-cat
Cylinder HeadsTransmission
Trick Flow Street Heat, {{{Fox}}} Lake Power T56rebuilds.com T56, ClutchMasters
Products Stage 1-ported, T&D shaft clutch and pressure plate, Pro 5.0
rockers, Comp Cams valvesprings shifter, PST carbon-fiber driveshaft
and lifters 
Anderson {{{Ford}}} Motorsport solid-rollerEngine Management
Intake Manifold F.A.S.T.
Edelbrock Victor EFIIgnition
Power Adder MSD 6AL, NGK No. 9 spark plugs
ProCharger F-1R, three-core sheetmetal Gauges
intercoolerAuto Meter

Every Mustang starts out stock, but when a performance enthusiast gets his/her hands on it, the car can be made to perform beyond stock parameters. Such is the story of Tom Burns and his '03 Mustang GT.

When Tom purchased the car, he began with the usual bolt-ons. When he found Modular Powerhouse in Marietta, Georgia, the GT took a turn in the performance direction. Tom purchased a Vortech T-Trim Mongoose kit from MPH, and installed it at his Reston, Virginia, home with technical help from MPH's Tim and Andy Barth. "After it was installed, I drove the car to MPH for a fine-tune, and they got 413hp and 421 lb-ft of torque out of an otherwise-stock combination," Tom says.

Roughly a year later, he was back at MPH's doorstep in need of more power to make the car more dragstrip-oriented. The transformation entailed a twin-turbo installation, an MPH-built 4.6, a built automatic transmission, and an equally strong 8.8 rear. That combo rang the bell to the tune of 600 rwhp. After a couple years, Tom decided to go back to a more streetable setup, ending with the current power adder and a Kenne Bell 2.6 Mongoose kit installed by MPH.

On the Ride and Drive, we almost ran out of room in our notebook since we had so much to say. There was a lot we liked about Tom's GT. The 'cage featured swing-out door bars, making entry and exit a breeze. The exhaust was also the perfect combination of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: quiet when you were just putzin' down the street, but loud when your foot is in the water pump. Off the throttle, the exhaust was one of the quietest in the bunch.

But what detracted from the car's daily driver, throw-the-keys-to-anyone status was the race-derived Lentech Racing AOD-E transmission, manual valvebody, and reverse lock-out. A manual valvebody means you must shift the car into the next gear using the shifter; it doesn't go by itself. We found it difficult to get accustomed to since our cars don't have them. Of course, to Tom it's not a big deal, he's used to it; if you're not, you probably won't get it right the first trip down the street.

The other item that counted against Tom was the fact that the car loaded up when we put the gas pedal through the water pump. It was kind of our fault in the first place. Since the power and rpm come up so quickly in First, it has to be shifted almost instantly. We bounced it off the rev limiter, causing the computer to load the engine with fuel to keep the engine's innards inside. We had to sit on the side of the road while the computer reset itself enough for us to restart.

One aspect we loved about the Lentech AOD-E is the transbrake. If you've never experienced a transbrake, you need to because it's a blast. In a nutshell, a transbrake lives up to its name-it stops the transmission from moving the car until the arming switch is let off. It's mostly a race-only piece, but it's a lot of fun on the street. With the switch armed, you can rev the engine while the transmission is in gear, but it still gives the engine resistance, helping turbocharged combinations. Tom's GT didn't need a transbrake with the instant boost made by the Kenne Bell-supercharged combination, but combined with a Continental 5,000-stall converter, it was that much more fun.

What hurt Tom's score in the end was the car's 440hp number and the manual valvebody. The Dyno Numbers and Ride and Drive segments are the two most important categories, and these were Tom's weakest point showings, hurting his final score.

Here's a breakdown of how Tom's GT did:

Engineering 9
Dyno Numbers 2
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 9
Fit and Finish 9
Popular Vote 10
Final Score 69

Tech Specs
BlockDual {{{Ford GT}}} fuel pumps, -10 fuel lines,
Mach 1 aluminumCPR fuel rails, 60-lb/hr injectors
Displacement Exhaust
284ciKooks long-tube headers and H-pipe,
Rotating AssemblyMagnaFlow after-cat
Cobra crankshaft, Manley Performance Transmission
connecting rods, Ross pistons, Mahle Lentech Transmissions AOD-E,
piston ringsContinental 5,000-stall converter, manual
Cylinder Headsvalvebody, B&{{{M}}} Racing ratchet
Modular Powerhouse Race PI shifter, Strange Engineering driveshaft
Two-Valve heads 
Modular Powerhouse customEngine Management
Intake Manifold Stock computer, SCT X-Cal 2, Modular
Kenne BellPowerhouse-tuned
Mass AirIgnition
Lightning 90mmKenne Bell Boost-A-Spark, NGK
Power Adder spark plugs
Kenne Bell 2.6 Modular Powerhouse Gauges
Mongoose system, 19 pounds of boostAuto Meter

Eric Lozowski's uncle was the original owner of this '89 Mustang GT, and he ordered the car with an AOD and a 3.27 gear. In 1992, Eric's dad bought the car when it had a 3.73 gear, a Paxton SN-89 supercharger, and 1.7 rockers. He knew Eric wanted it but couldn't pull off the purchase at that time. It was 1995 before Eric was the title holder, but he's made good use of the car since then. The car and a dog brought him and his wife together, and they used the GT instead of a limo for the wedding-at his wife's request. Eric found a keeper, just like his GT.

He converted it to a stick soon after, but now it boasts a Viper-spec T56 with a Paxton Novi 2000, replacing the SN-89 supercharger from back in the day. With a heads/cam/intake package with the supercharger and transmission, Eric regularly ran low 11s, but he switched to a 351 Windsor-based 392. It transported him and the GT into the mid-10s on slicks and horsepower in the mid-600s, making it easy to pick him for the KOTS competition. The fact that Eric raced the car and then drove it home with his two young boys in the back seat sold us even more on including the GT.

Eric's GT featured a 'cage without door bars, so it was easy to get in and out. The GT featured Auto Meter and VDO gauges, which were easy to read. Not only did it feature a functional ashtray door, but the ashtray switch panel controlled a variety |of performance accessories. We love the pistol-grip shifter knob atop the Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter, and the T56's Sixth gear drops the cruise rpm when on the highway. Eric scored well in the Dyno Numbers category and the Drag Race portion, but other cars did better than his GT in other categories, including the Ride and Drive and the Popular Vote.

The things that detracted from the car's Ride and Drive score included a loud exhaust, noisy shifter operation, and slight bucking at lower rpm. And the Popular Vote, well, Eric just needed more friends to show up and vote for him.

Here's a breakdown of Eric's scoring:

Engineering 7
Dyno Numbers 8
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 10
Fit and Finish 7
Popular Vote 3
Final Score 68

Tech Specs
BlockBosch 420 fuel pump, -10 and -8
FRPP 351Wfeed/-6 return fuel lines, Downs {{{Ford}}}
Displacement fuel rails, Delphi 72-lb/hr fuel injectors,
392ciAeromotive fuel-pressure regulator
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
King forged 3.85-in stroke crankshaft, Hooker Super Comp 1 3/4-in long-tube
Lunati billet connecting rods, JE custom headers, Custom H-pipe, Bassani
pistons, Total Seal piston ringsXhaust mufflers with turndowns
Cylinder HeadsTransmission
Brodix Track 1, CNC-ported, 2.08/1.60 Viper-spec T56, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch,
valves, Comp Cams Pro {{{Magnum}}} Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter,
rockers, valvesprings Dynotech aluminum driveshaft
Howard Cams solid-rollerELECTRONICS
Intake Manifold Engine Management
Edelbrock Victor 5.8Stock computer, Anderson Ford
Mass AirMotorsport PMS
Pro-{{{M}}} 83mmIgnition
Power Adder MSD Digital 6, Blaster coil, MSD spark-
Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, 3-in plug wires, Autolite spark plugs
pulley, 17 pounds of boost, SMC Gauges
methanol-injection kitAuto Meter, VDO

Lawrenceburg, Kentucky's Jacob Lamb thought he could take over his wife Constance's '93 Cobra when he sold his former '91 LX, but he was mistaken. Instead, he had to find his own Cobra to play with. This Teal example is what he found, and Jacob says he's owned upwards of 25 Mustangs. He favors the Fox bodies, and arguably the pinnacle of Fox-body Mustangs is the '93 Cobra.

Jacob's Hellion Power Systems' single-turbocharged '93 Cobra took the high spot in the Popular Vote category, and who could argue? Look at the car-it's easy to see why people loved it. First off, it's a Teal '93 Cobra, and you don't see those everyday. Second, it boasts a single turbo, and everyone loves turbos these days. Home-field advantage didn't hurt, either.

Driving Jacob's Cobra was intoxicating. The power on board and the familiarity of a well-done Fox Mustang made us feel at home. The exhaust was quiet, andeverything worked as intended, except for the cruise, but '93 Cobras didn't come with it, so we didn't penalize Jacob for that. The car possessed nice driveability manners, but slight upper and lower control-arm racket and a stiff transmission kept the Cobra from scoring one notch higher in the Ride and Drive category. Dale Hawkins set that bar, and we scored everyone in comparison to him.

A couple of items stood out on Jacob's Cobra. One was a remote-start feature, which is way cool and something rarely seen on a Mustang, much less a stick car. The other item we loved was the stereo system, which was a basic setup with a nice head unit, quality speakers, an amp, and a well-sealed subwoofer box, but it got the job done with room to spare.

Another item that got our attention was the bracket Jacob made for the Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS. Jacob is a machinist by trade, and we could see the expertise at work on the bracket. And, we think Saleen wheels look amazing on a Fox car, and the Cobra further drives that point home. In Florida, we think nothing of driving our Mustangs everyday, but Jacob says as long as the weather's decent, he's driving the Cobra. If that's every day, that's what it gets.

What it needed after the KOTS was a new clutch. Jacob blistered it during the Dyno and Drag Race portions of the contest. Not surprisingly, he scored poorly in those two areas. The Drag Race segment didn't hurt him as much as the Dyno Number since it's worth more, but in the KOTS, every little bit helps the final score. The clutch kept the Cobra to 379 hp, 534 lb-ft of torque, and 11.50 at 119 mph. That's not bad, but with a good clutch, the car would've shined in both categories. It would've also scored a lot higher if the horsepower was where it was supposed to be.

Here's a breakdown:

Engineering 7
Dyno Numbers 1
Ride and Drive 8
Drag Race 6
Fit and Finish 8
Popular Vote 11
Final Score 64.5

Tech Specs
BlockTwin 255-lph external fuel pumps, Dual
FRPP {{{A4}}}-6 feed/-6 return fuel lines, Glenn's
Displacement Performance fuel rails, 60-lb/hr injectors,
331ciAeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
Scat 4340 forged-steel crankshaft and Hellion Power Systems exhaust,
H-beam connecting rods, {{{Probe}}} Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers,
Industries pistons, Childs and Albert polished 2 1/2-in tailpipes
piston ringsTransmission
Cylinder HeadsTremec TKO {{{600}}}, Centerforce clutch,
AFR 205, CNC-ported, 2.05/1.60 valves, Pro-5.0 shifter with stock handle, FRPP
1.6-ratio roller rockersaluminum driveshaft
Stock 5.0 hydraulic-roller  
Intake Manifold ELECTRONICS
Holley SysteMAX II port-matched Engine Management
to headsStock A9P computer, Anderson Ford
Mass AirMotorsport PMS
Professional Mass Air Systems 3-in Ignition
blow-throughCrane Cams HI-6, LX92 Coil, FRPP spark-
Power Adder plug wires, Autolite 3922 spark plugs
Hellion Power Systems single Gauges
Turbonetics T76, 15 pounds of Auto Meter boost and fuel pressure
boost, Hellion intercooler 

Canadian Todd Watson's goal was to make the KOTS contest with his '92 LX, which he has owned since 1999. He began prepping the car during the winter of 2003 by adding a twin-turbo kit he purchased online. As was the case at that time-and even today in some instances-installing the kit was a nightmare, and Todd only used portions of the piping. The rest was custom fabricated, but he also upgraded the fuel system and other areas at that time. With any turbo kit, tuning issues seem to stay at the forefront. We picked him because it was an intriguing combination.

True to form, Todd had trouble ironing out the combination, and he spent several months chasing blown head gaskets, overheating issues, spark-plug wires, clutch cables, and so on. All the things that are an afterthought with most applications move to the front burners with a twin-turbo due to the location of the turbos and exhaust piping. Because of these issues, Todd has about become personal friends with his local towing businesses. "There have been several occasions where I have gone on quick trips only to come home 'on a hook' several hours later," he says. "I had all but given up on the car for 2006 when my buddy Jeff Langdon called and said I was selected to compete in the King of the Street."

With new life breathed into his performance lungs, Todd jumped back into the car to finish it for the KOTS. He again endured head-gasket issues, but the car went back together at the ninth hour in time to leave Canada, for Bowling Green, Kentucky. When the car was strapped on the DiabloSport Dynojet, it was the first time the engine was under boost since its rebuild. Todd didn't have a chance to tune the Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS for the KOTS, so he was flying by the seat of his pants. Todd dialed in the boost at 12 pounds with the hopes of being able to take the car back to Canada in one piece. He was simply trying to save Gould Automotive in Virgil, Ontario, Canada, from working on the car again when he returned. Brandon Gould even made the trip with him to make sure everything ran smoothly, even providing the shop dualie and enclosed trailer.

Because of the unknown tune-up, Todd's LX didn't have a spectacular finish in the Dyno Number category, but he did receive some tuning assistance from other KOTS contestants for the Drag Race portion. He was leery because of past instances, so he didn't show everything in his hand. The car ran 129 mph in the quarter-mile, so you know the power is definitely there. Todd's LX still made 533 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque, but that was toward the back of the pack.

The Ride and Drive met us without any heat, which was surprising for a Canadian car. But we're sure Todd's LX doesn't get driven in the winter, so why have it? The car had a slight driveline vibration, detracting from the overall driving experience. The interior in the car is mostly stock, so he didn't score any extra points for that.

We did like the two small turbos, which promised quick spool times and minimal downtime waiting for power to come on-board. Todd's LX featured a mostly stock braking system, which is crazy for the power it makes. Overall, Todd was just a few details and a lot of friends to vote for him in the Popular Vote category short of doing well in his magazine debut.

Here's a breakdown of the score:

Engineering 9
Dyno Numbers 5
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 3
Fit and Finish 7
Popular Vote 2
Final Score 58.5

Tech Specs
BlockAeromotive A1000 fuel pump, regulator,
FRPP R302and voltage booster, custom fuel lines,
DisplacementAeromotive fuel rails, FRPP 42-lb/hr
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
{{{Eagle}}} 4340 stroker crankshaft and Gould Automotive custom headers and
H-beam connecting rods, JE pistons, H-pipe, Flowmaster one-chamber
Mahle piston ringsmufflers with dumps
Cylinder HeadsTransmission
Edelbrock Victor Jr. port-matched by Tremec TKO {{{600}}}, Lakewood scatter
Gould Automotive, 2.02/1.60 valves, shield, Fidanza Stage 3 clutch, Tremec
Comp Cams roller rockers and triple-shifter, FRPP aluminum driveshaft
spring valvesprings 
Comp Cams custom-grind solid rollerEngine Management
Intake Manifold Stock computer, Anderson Ford
Edelbrock Victor 5.0, port-matchedMotorsport PMS
Mass AirIgnition
C&L Performance 76mmMSD 6AL, Performance Distributors
Power AdderScreamin' Demon coil, MSD 8mm
T3/T4 hybrid turbochargers, Turbonetics spark-plug wires, NGK spark plugs
Raptor blow-off valves and Evolution Gauges
wastegates, 26 pounds of boost, Auto Meter
Spearco 3-inch intercooler 

Before people say we're picking on a girl because of Amy Stewart's finishing position or say we didn't want to rename the competition Queen of the Street, look at the facts. First off, we like Amy-she's the first female KOTS competitor, so we give her big props. She has big dreams within the automotive realm, and serves our country as part of the Marine Reserves, meaning she could probably beat our tails. Even she thought she was outgunned when she saw the level of cars competing. If we remember correctly, she questioned our sanity, but her car was worthy of competing alongside them.

Appearance-wise, Amy's car needs TLC, but the damage we saw was from the car getting keyed, which is the ultimate kick in the teeth for a Mustang owner. Even with that damage, Amy's car is still nice. It's too bad the car is black-the keyed areas are easily seen. For that reason, Amy's GT didn't have the greatest Fit and Finish score.

The Ride and Drive segment spelled more bad news for the car, which carries the nickname Betsy. We deducted points for the car having that name, too-just kidding.

Though Amy's used to it, one thing for us to get accustomed to was the rollcage. Origami specialists we are not, and that's how we felt when trying to get in and out of the car. We felt like a tooth wrapped in nerve endings and in need of extraction, like someone needed to grab a really big pair of pliers to pull our behinds out. OK, maybe that's extreme and exaggerated, but the point is that the 'cage is not daily driver friendly. Neither is the clutch in the GT. We're not sure if it's actually the clutch or the cable, but it was stiffer than an Orange County Chopper rigid frame.

The aforementioned 'cage made for an uncomfortable driving position for us. It would've been fine if you're Justin Burcham, but this is surprising since Amy is 5 feet 11 inches, and Associate Editor Johnson is 6 feet tall. The bar that runs behind the front seats keeps the seatback from reclining, so the gangsta' lean is impossible. This seating position is good for racing, but not for a daily-driver. The A/C didn't work, either, which counted against Amy.

Another aspect of the car we weren't too fond of was the exhaust. It's alarmingly loud. If you were drive it into a five-story parking garage, every car alarm would go off on every floor, and that's staying on the first level. We're sure SLP is proud of that fact, since it did name the after-cat a Loud Mouth system. It lives up to its name-and then some-on Amy's GT. What was impressive about the exhaust was the absence of leaks, so all the sound was out the back. If you were at the front it wasn't so bad, but get behind it and you wouldn't be able to hear a train coming if you were standing on railroad tracks. The exhaust doesn't resonate while going down the road, but you won't be able to sneak through town with it, and forget playing around on the street.

Like a few other KOTS cars, her '98 GT was not totally running at the top of its game, and it still had a couple tuning issues to be addressed. The major issue was that the rev limiter was still set at 5,500 rpm. That hurt her car's finish in the Dyno Number and Drag Race portions. She still ran an 11.67 at 123 mph and made 524 hp and 519 lb-ft of torque on the DiabloSport Dynojet. Since then, the rev limiter was opened up, and Amy's GT makes more than 100 hp more than it did, but it is too late to be counted here.

Check out Amy's score below:

Engineering 6
Dyno Numbers 4
Ride and Drive 7
Drag Race 4
Fit and Finish 6
Popular Vote 1
Final Score 49

Tech Specs
BlockAeromotive A1000 fuel pump and regulator,
Stock Two-Valvecustom -10 feed/-8 return fuel lines,
DisplacementSteeda Autosports fuel rails, 60lb/hr-
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
Cobra crankshaft, Manley rods, BBK long-tube headers with corresponding
Diamond Racing pistonsH-pipe, SLP Loudmouth after-cat
Cylinder HeadsTransmission
PI Two-Valve, Renegade-ported, Tremec TKO, SPEC Stage 3 clutch,
ModMax valve springsFidanza flywheel, Steeda Autosports
CamshaftsTri-Ax shifter
Intake Manifold ELECTRONICS
Stock Two-ValveEngine Management
Mass AirStock computer, SCT chip
Pro-{{{M}}} 80mm blow-throughIgnition
Power Adder MSD DIS 4, MSD coil packs, FRPP 9mm
ProCharger D-1SC, 3.2-in pulley, 16 spark-plug wires, NGK TR6 spark plugs
pounds of boost, ProCharger three-core Gauges
sheetmetal intercoolerAuto Meter