Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 1, 2008
Photos By: The 5.0&SF Staff
Jeff Mingledorf's '03 Cobra convertible is the '07 Nitto Tire King of the Street winner. The Modular Powerhouse-built monster made 932 hp on the Dynojet with a twin-turbocharged Proline Racing Engines Four-Valve engine and an upgraded T56 six-speed. It possessed daily driver-capable driveability, stellar looks, and the cleanliness we look for in a KOTS winner. Congrats to Jeff and the Modular Powerhouse gang.

Horse Sense: As we were writing this, Modular Powerhouse's Tim Barth sent us spy photos of an S197 Mustang GT destined for the KOTS 2008. If initial photos are any indication, it will be a strong group. One thing we learned this year is that we will need to find a dyno capable of more than 1,000 hp for the '08 event. The KOTS 2007 was basically a contest to see who could get as close to 1,000 hp without going over.

The Nitto Tire King of the Street has grown by leaps and bounds since the first competition was held in 2002, appearing in the May '03 issue. That first King of the Street article covered 12 pages, but it was in black and white, mostly due to the forces of nature raining on our parade during the competition. John Garner's '90 Mustang GT convertible won the inaugural competition and made 607.5 hp with 638 lb-ft of torque. "In the end," Editor Turner said, "what impressed us most about this car was that you could toss the keys to someone, and they could drive it without the usual list of dos and don'ts required by most big-power street cars." Funny--that's exactly what we still look for in a winner.

These days, John's GT would be 300 hp shy of current Nitto Tire KOTS top dogs. That's how far this competition has come. Now we have 800-900hp cars featuring the same characteristics of John's car, with better driveability thanks to improved tuning technology.

CJ Williams' Fox GT made the least horsepower during that segment of the competition. However, it still made 512 corrected horsepower via an Automotive Engine Specialties 347 with a small shot of the good stuff. That's nitrous to those not in the know. CJ's was the only Fox Mustang in the KOTS, and also the lone competitor using nitrous as its only source of additional power.

Back then, of the five cars, only two of them were modular-powered. For '07, of the 10 competitors, only two cars featured pushrods. It's safe to say the modular engine has taken over with the '03-'04 Cobras getting a lot of the credit for making available gobs of power at the fingertips of many. For that reason, the majority of entries revolve around Four-Valve modular Mustangs, with '03-'04 Cobras dominating the application list. It almost gets to the point where we get bored with all the twin- and single-turbo Cobras out there, but as you can see from the '07 competitors, it's not run-of-the-mill anything when it comes to Nitto Tire King of the Street competitors' cars. Here's a closer look at the '07 Nitto Tire King of the Street. We can't wait until next year.

Scoring at Home

We have several categories we judge when finding a Nitto Tire KOTS winner. Their percentage of importance breaks down as follows:

Horsepower: 25 percent
Ride and Drive: 25 percent
Engineering: 15 percent
Drag Race: 5 percent
Fit and Finish: 15 percent
Popular Vote: 15 percent

Many KOTS competitors use nitrous as a power supplement to superchargers and turbochargers, and many possess aftermarket audio systems, but what you won't find are hasty installation tactics. As a case in point, this is the trunk of Fred White's Cobra. Notice the clean installation of the nitrous bottle, amps, and subwoofers. Details like this go a long way in the judge's eyes on who scores what in the Engineering category, judged by Tech Editor KJ Jones.

All these add up to 100 percent, and they're graded as such according to their percentage. As you can see, the Horsepower and Ride and Drive categories are more heavily weighted. However, no one will ever win the Nitto Tire KOTS by concentrating only on those two categories. Most often, the KOTS winner performs well in all 6 categories, but the last two winners have laid an egg in the Drag Race category. It's not as important as the more heavily weighted categories, and many competitors treat it as such.

What we do to arrive at final scores is tabulate each competitor's score in every category and do the math. We come to the competitor's score just as your teacher did in high school--on a 100-percent score scale.

Horsepower (we use SAE corrected numbers, as you can see), Drag Race, and Popular Vote are all scored according to how the competitor finishes in those categories. However, the Ride and Drive, Engineering, and Fit and Finish categories are scored at the discretion of the 5.0&SF staff. Don't worry--we're subjective, and we don't take bribes featuring free Mountain Dew 24-packs, Dickies apparel, or Just for Men hair coloring. This is all in good fun, but we take the KOTS just as serious as the competitors who build these cars. Sound like fun?

Tires are Pretty

For the past few KOTS competitions, we've had the pleasure of Nitto as the event sponsor. We like to use Nitto tires for the KOTS because they offer an excellent transition from the track to the street, and they have a lot of Mustang fitments. We've heard many people realizing a lot of miles with the Nitto 555R Extreme Drag radials, which is what Nitto provided for the rear of every KOTS competitor's Mustang. However, Nitto also has a full lineup of street and road race tires as well. We've also heard Nitto is testing a more aggressive Extreme Drag radial, as well as a new line of drag slicks. Hopefully we'll see them on the market soon, as well as a new ultra-high-performance tire in 2008.

The 2007 King of the Street Class

For 2007, Jeff Mingledorf made the most of the Nitto Extreme Drag radials by putting 932 hp to the Nittos, and scoring well in almost every other category to take home the Nitto Tire King of the Street. Will you be in the 2008 King of the Street? Will you be able to try out Nitto's Extreme Drag radials for our cameras? Get your Mustang ready--we'll be calling you soon.