Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 1, 2009
Photos By: The 5.0&SF Staff, Dan Schoneck, Alan Hurley, Scott Spandet, Matt Simonds, Jerome Shumate, Matt Knab, John King, Cory Harris, Andy Barth, Chuck Hamstra

Matt Simonds
We didn't know much about Matt Simonds' '03 Mach 1 prior to the Nitto Tire KOTS. Pretty much all we knew was that it had made over 900 hp, and it was a pretty nice car. The exterior was stock Mach 1, but that didn't bother us. The fact that it had a stock exterior intrigued us even more as to what was under the hood and how the car was able to make over 900 hp in the first place. It looks like a stock Mach with Cobra R wheels. We were curious.

When we first saw the car at the event, we weren't blown away. The car wasn't the cleanest, but Matt blew us away when he told us he drove the car to the event from his home in Nashville, Tennessee (just over an hour away). Yeah, it's just an hour, but that gave us an indication of why Matt's car seemed the most road-weary. It didn't surprise us to hear Matt drives the Mach on a daily basis. When I took the car out for the Ride and Drive, I found out why.

Matt's was the fifth car I drove for the Ride and Drive, and it was truly a breath of fresh air. It was a piece of cake to drive, truly was like driving a stock Mustang. The Steeda Autosports/QA-1 suspension setup is perfect. The Mach's driveability is stock-like, and it has a friendly gauge layout, a nice stereo, and cold A/C. With no cage in sight, it's easy to get in and out of it. The shifter is nice and the clutch is easily familiar. Obviously Matt's Mach impressed on the Ride and Drive.

When we had the competitors draw names to decide the running order for the Horsepower segment, Matt drew the short straw to be the first car on The Horsepower House's Dynojet. We're hesitant to call Matt's dyno session a guinea-pig test run because the runs did count, although we learned a couple extra hundred pounds of ballast would be needed in the trunks of the KOTS cars.

The turbocharged cars like Matt's come up on boost so fast and the tires hit so hard that the tires were spinning on the dyno. Matt's first pass resulted in tire spin, but he was able to make a complete dyno run on his second pass. However, he wasn't too happy with the dyno showing "only" 802 hp, but that's what the dyno read. Everyone had to run on the same dyno, so no one was getting preferential treatment. If one car was down, it has been our experience that every car would be down as well, and this KOTS competition was no different.

All told, for basically a daily driver, Matt's Mach represented itself very well. After making 802 hp, Matt's Mach scored a 5 in the Horsepower segment. With an 11.69/129-mph pass, he scored a 5 in the Drag Race segment as well.

Since Matt's car is a daily driver, his car wasn't as detailed and clean as some of the others. Therefore, his Mach took a hit in the Engineering and Fit and Finish categories, scoring a 6 in both. Because of the car's driveability, it scored a 9 in the Ride and Drive category. And thanks to relative close proximity to home, Matt enjoyed somewhat of a home-field advantage scoring an 8 in the Popular Vote category. Matt's Mach 1 finished with a final score of 67.5.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINintercooler, dual wastegates
BlockFuel System
2004 Cobra iron03 Cobra tank, Walbro dual fuel
Displacementpumps, -8 feed, -6 return fuel lines,
302 cibillet fuel rails, 65 lb/hr injectors
Rotating AssemblyExhaust
Modular Mustang Racing forgedHP ceramic-coated with 4-in
3.75i stroke crankshaft, Manleydown pipe, Bassani tailpipes
Pro Series billet rods, MMR/Transmission
Manley pistons, Speed Pro rings,Tremec TKO II, SPEC Stage 4
ARP boltsclutch, Hurst shifter, custom steel
Stock Rearend
Cylinder Heads8.8 w/ 3.55 gears, Stock
Stock Four-Valve, intake sidedifferential, Moser 31-spline axles
ported, Comp Cams valve springs, 
stock size valvesELECTRONICS
Intake ManifoldEngine Management
'03 Mach 1, portedStock EEC-IV
Throttle BodyIgnition
Accufab Twin 62mmMSD
Power AdderGauges
HP twin 57mm turbo kit withAuto Meter Lunar series