Michael Johnson Associate Editor
March 16, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

Jeff Schmell
The last car I drove was the Shelby GT500 of Jeff Schmell, whose name should be no stranger to any 5.0&SF reader. Jeff is a veteran of these pages thanks to his racing exploits with the NMRA. His GT500 was a royal blast to drive. If you ever get the chance to drive a heavily boosted GT500, do it. You'll be able to have the same fun I did at the wheel of Jeff's Shelby.

With the loud pedal down, I am sure Jeff's Shelby would have John Force checking to see if his funny car was running it's that loud. If it were my car, I wouldn't have a license. The cops would know me better than they already do. I don't think I would be able to drop to the next gear and sneak through town, but the Shelby does get a bit quieter when putzin' down Broadway.

Thanks to the instant Whipple boost, First and Second gear are useless on the street, and Third and Fourth are a hold-on-a-thon. Ever the racer, Jeff's clutch pedal travel was greatly reduced, and the car's shifter probably featured the shortest throw I've ever experienced.

A map to Third gear was not necessary. What is needed though, and Jeff's Shelby has it, is a shift light. The rpm comes up so fast, you can't watch the tach and drive at the same time. This sort of acceleration mandates a shift light.

Jeff's car reacted well to driver input, and of course, the brakes are glorious, which was reassuring with this much power on tap. This Shelby hit most of the right buttons, which is reflected in each segment's score, and the overall final score.

Jeff's ride finished with an 8 in the Ride & Drive; by making 775 hp, he finished with a 9 in that category. He had a pair of 8s in the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories; with a 10.66/134 mph pass, he finished with a 9 in the Drag Race category. In the Popular Vote, he finished mid-pack with just 23 votes for a score of 6. Jeff's final score came in at 81.5.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 9
Fit & Finish: 8
Engineering: 8
Drag Race: 9
Popular Vote: 6

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 aluminum block
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Camshafts: Ford stock grind
Heads: Ford ported and polished aluminum with three-angle valve job
Intake: Kinsler eight-stack
Power Adder: Twin Precision turbos
Fuel System: FRPP
Exhaust: SPO stainless steel
Transmission: G-Force six-speed
Rearend: Ford 9-inch with Strange axles

Engine Management:
MegaSquirt II, Power by the Hour-tuned
Ignition: MSD 6AL and distributor
Gauges: Stock cluster and gauges; Auto Meter Phantom boost, oil pressure, and water temp

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Sergio Rojas
The '89 Saleen of Sergio Rojas represented well for the Fox crowd. We thought the days of a Fox-body doing well in the KOTS were long gone, but Sergio's Saleen showed us the old girls aren't going anywhere.

Built primarily at Power by the Hour in South Florida (you'll be hearing more of that name), Sergio's Saleen did well for itself, despite Sergio playing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes during the Ride & Drive. Seriously Sergio, my older brothers would've loved it, but I'm a little more up to date. Ride & Drive points took a hit there (just kidding). The stereo rocked; the song didn't.

The car's seats weren't ready for my big behind, either. I knew I was putting on a few pounds, but the driver's seat told me, "One at a time, please." Thankfully, it was wide enough for me to find a temporary home behind the wheel. The car wasn't used to someone my height, either. However, the seat moved back far enough to remedy that issue.

The car's steering was effortless, and for a Fox car, it had a nice turning radius. The Cobra brakes worked well, and it was nice to have an automatic car without a manual valve body for a change.

Under boost, the transmission shifted like a hot knife through butter, but it ate itself on the dyno during the Horsepower segment, roasting Third and Fourth gears in the 4R70W.

Still, the Saleen's driving experience lived up to the billing. A single-turbo 331 with a silky-smooth automatic is hard to beat for an everyday car. The car ran cool, had functional A/C, nice gauges, and an automatic shifter that looked like a manual. Sergio's Saleen was just missing a couple hundred horsepower, a fully operational transmission, and perhaps a few Fit & Finish upgrades to bring down the vaunted twin-turbo modulars.

As it was, Sergio's Saleen finished with an 8 in the Ride & Drive, a 7 in the Horsepower segment with 767 hp. With a bum transmission he still ran an impressive 11.21, but at just 104 mph to finish with a 6 in the Drag Race segment thanks to the hurt trans. With a 9 in the Popular Vote, Sergio's Saleen most certainly struck a chord with those in attendance.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 7
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 6
Popular Vote: 9

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Dart
Bore: 4.030 in
Stroke: 3.25 in
Displacement: 331 ci
Rotating Assembly: Eagle 4340 crankshaft and rods, Diamond Racing pistons
Camshaft: Cam Motion custom grind
Heads: TEA-ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge 205 with 2.05/1.60 valves and Crane Gold Race rockers
Intake: Edelbrock Victor EFI
Throttle Body: Accufab 75mm
Power Adder: Power by the Hour single-turbo system w/Garrett GT-42R 76mm single turbo, air-to-air intercooler, and 16 pounds of boost
Fuel System: Twin Bosch 392 fuel pumps, 1/2-inch feed, 3/8-inch return fuel lines, sumped fuel tank, Aeromotive fuel rails and regulator, and RCA 75-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Power by the Hour turbo headers and Y-pipe; Magnaflow cats, mufflers, and tailpipes
Transmission: Power by the Hour 4R70W w/Baumannator controller, and FTI 3,200-rpm stall converter
Rearend: 8.8 w/Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, '03-'04 Cobra differential, and Ford Racing 3.27 gears

Engine Management
: DiabloSport Predator
Ignition: Ford ECU with Diablo tune
Gauges: Defi Heads-up gauge display

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