5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2010 American Muscle King Of The Street - Word On the Street
Is that the 5.0 & SF readers never fail to disappoint at our annual competition
We're always wary of the King of the Street competition hitting a plateau. After each year's competition, we think there's no possible way it can be better the next year, but somehow Mustang guys always step up and impress us with new cars every year. Last year, we reached several milestones we originally thought unreachable. We had our first 1,000hp car and our first 9-second KOTS competitor. Better yet, different cars conquered those plateaus. In short, last year's event was a tough act to follow.
Fortunately for us, 5.0&SF readers once again dug deep to build several Mustangs capable of equaling and surpassing the performances of the prior year's KOTS competition. I know--we shouldn't be surprised, but each year we wonder how it could possibly get any better. It's lucky our forecasting skills are as reliable as your local weatherman's.
While the competition's basic structure remained the same, we had to shake a few things up. First off, we had a new sponsor in AmericanMuscle.com. You have to know AM is one of the largest suppliers of Mustang parts and pieces on the planet, ascending to this stature in a short period of time. We can't thank the company enough for joining in on the fun.
Because we no longer had a tire sponsor, competitors were able to run any tire they wanted as long it was DOT-approved. Plus, they had to run that chosen tire-and-wheel combination for the duration of the event. Because of this, we were able to see how different tire compounds and brand names would work within the competition.
We also relocated our dyno segment to the scene of the original crime. We held the first King of the Street competition in its entirety at Holley Performance Products; this time around, we returned to Holley for the dyno portion of the competition.
Holley really stepped up and made the dyno segment an event by itself. Besides hosting the dyno portion, Holley reps took competitors on a tour of its facilities to give an up-close look at the daily goings-on inside a performance conglomerate. They even fed the entire motley bunch a pizza lunch.
Holley's in-house Dynojet served as the perfect match for our KOTS cars. In years past, the competition has been plagued by tire spin. Thankfully, Holley's big-roller Dynojet was able to harness the enormous power laid down by our competitors.
So enough about the ins and outs of the competition--let's get down to the business of ranking this year's competitors.
Horse Sense: Is there a changing of the KOTS guard? The KOTS competition has been dominated by '03-'04 Cobras, but as you can see by the latest edition, the S197 Shelby GT500 is poised to put the Terminators out to pasture. Who's going to answer the call for next year?
2010 King of the Street
2008 Shelby GT500
Coming into every King of the Street, there's a clear favorite. Last year it was Tom Darnell's House of Boost-built '03 Cobra, which did, in fact, end up winning. This year it was Tony Alm's Shelby GT500 coming in as the odds-on favorite to win. It was his competition to lose. We knew the car made huge power, but would it have the rest of the goods to bring home the prize?
Since you already know Tony's Shelby GT500 is the King of the Street, you know his car didn't trip before reaching the goal line. We've known about Tony's Shelby for a couple years now. He was almost in the last year's KOTS, but suffered mechanical maladies just prior to the event, which kept him from competing.
He's been trying to perfect his Shelby's compound-boost combination. After searching for the ideal blend of brutal horsepower and everyday driveability, we think he's truly got the best of both worlds. With a Hellion Power Systems Hellraiser kit multiplying the factory Eaton supercharger, one thing was for sure--it was going to make sick power.
One of the keys to this animal's streetability is that it runs on E85. The Hellion Hellraiser kit on Tony's car featured upgraded twin Turbonetics 64mm turbochargers to reach the power level it did.
When we first saw Tony's Shelby in person, our impression was one of a nice car. It's devoid of stripes or graphics, which possibly hurt his Fit and Finish score, but thanks to a tight mechanical ship, Tony's Shelby did well in the Engineering category.
In the all-important Ride and Drive, Tony's did better than expected, and at that point we didn't know how much power it was going to put down. Even so, it did well on our test loop through Bowling Green.
When we witnessed the power it made on the dyno, the car's street manners were that much more startling. How could a car with this much power be so docile on the street? There was no doubt that Tony's Shelby was the frontrunner.
The car features a rollcage, but the swing-out door bars make entry and exit stock-like. Also, it has both the stock seatbelts and the required harnesses, as well. The car boasted ice-cold air and the stock stereo was still in place, which worked as designed. On the downside, the car did suffer from slight suspension racket and featured a spool'd 9-inch rear, which was a tad clunky at low speed, but nothing even a slight turn of the volume knob wouldn't quiet. Plus, you don't spend much time in this car ... at low speed.
As is the case with turbo cars, the exhaust on Tony's Shelby was relatively quiet, but with one click of a button, a pair of electric exhaust cutouts open to let the 5.4-liter Four-Valve wail. We rolled out with a closed exhaust and later loosed the cutouts. The first punch saw 38 total pounds of boost, and the second with the cutouts open saw 40 psi. I only know the boost level because Tony told me--I was too busy watching telephone poles fly by. The second hit brought tire spin at around 100 mph. The sheer acceleration of Tony's Shelby is ridiculous. Cars like his are why I can be bored in a 500hp car.
However, even with all that power, anyone that knows how to drive a stick car could jump into Tony's Shelby and drive it to California. In Sixth gear at 80 mph, the compound-boosted 5.4 is loafing along at 2,000. Tony's Shelby truly embodies the well-rounded personality of a KOTS winner.
So read 'em and weep--here are Tony's winning numbers. We'll start with the Ride and Drive portion, in which Tony's Shelby scored an 8. On the dyno, Tony's Shelby made 1,138 hp the first pull and 1,139 hp the second to secure a 10 in that all-important category. Tony's attention to detail paid off with a 9 in the Engineering category, but the lack of exterior excitement saddled him with a 7 in the Fit and Finish category. With a 9.704 at 153 mph, Tony secured the quickest and fastest pass of the competition, giving him a 10 in the Drag Race category. The only category Tony laid an egg in was the Popular Vote. We can only reason Tony's Shelby didn't have as much wow factor to get votes from the World Finals spectators. It's puzzling, but it is what it is, with Tony scoring dead last in that category with a 2.
Final Score: 70.9
This car is simply ridiculous, and it is the 2010 King of the Street.
Engine and Drivetrain
Rotating Assembly Stock crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods, CP pistons, stainless piston rings
Heads Stock w/Manley valve-springs
Mass Air Pro-Mass
Throttle Body Stock
Power Adder Hellion Power Systems Hellraiser turbo kit w/Turbonetics 64mm turbo-chargers, stock Eaton, 3.25-in blower pulley, and an Afco heat exchanger
Transmission Stock T6060 w/SPEC clutch and Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft
Rear Ford 9-inch w/Strange Engineering spool, 35-spline axles, and 3.70 gears
Exhaust DynoMax mufflers and tailpipes w/electric cutouts
Fuel system MagnaFlow 750 fuel pump w/custom lines, fuel rails, Injector Dynamics 212-lb/hr injectors, and an Aeromotive regulator
Computer Stock, Predator-tuned by Thunder Autosports
Ignition Stock, NGK plugs, WOT box
Gauges Stock, boost gauge
Andrew Greene Jr.
2008 Shelby GT500
Evolution Performance has quickly become one of those shops capable of supplying three to four KOTS contestants. We try to spread the wealth, but if the cars are good, the cars are good.
Andrew Greene flies the EVO flag, and his Alloy '08 GT500 is deserving of the KOTS invite. At the competition, Andrew told us the car is actually his son Andrew Jr.'s car. Calling Andrew Jr. one lucky kid would be a huge understatement. Andrew Jr. is most definitely going to be the big man on campus in high school.
Junior's GT500 was one of our favorite KOTS cars. Big Andrew even had Evolution install gauges on the passenger side so Andrew Jr. could keep tabs on his car's goings-on. Plus, given the car's street nature, the rollcage featured swing-out door bars. And with a Kenne Bell 3.6LC supercharger atop a prepped short-block, this car makes stupid power, as well. However, with a Jon Lund tune on-board, the car's driveability was top notch.
There was one huge drawback to Andrew's GT500, though. We almost didn't allow the car to compete; we've kept cars out of the competition with this drawback in the past. That one knock is the fact that his car features a non-overdrive transmission. It's been a few years since we allowed a non-overdrive transmission into the KOTS, and to be frank, I was against it. However, since everything else on the car was top-notch, we decided to let it in and let the chips fall where they may.
Despite this, I went into the Ride and Drive with an open mind. In practice, it wasn't too bad. Would I want to drive the car from Florida to California? No! Could it be done? Sure, but it would take forever, and there would be a million gas stops. The car's TCI Outlaw shifter works superbly, but the "Evo-matic" possessed a manual valvebody, which means manual shifting into each gear.
As a city car, Andrew's GT500 would be a blast. With the Kenne Bell-boosted 5.4, throttle response is right now, and the ferocious exhaust lets everyone know this car is for real, and with 20-inch wheels at each corner, his GT500 has no problem in the curves. All in all, this GT500 was a blast to drive, and it might've changed our views of reintroducing non-overdrive transmissions to the KOTS competition ... maybe.
As for scoring, Andrew's GT500 did well across the board. By making 828 hp, it scored a 7 in the Dyno portion, and even with its non-overdrive transmission, it did well in the Ride and Drive, also scoring a 7. Even with its envy-inducing 20-inch Evo Series II carbon-fiber wheels and Nitto NT-05R treads out back, the car ran a jaw-dropping 9.813 at 142 mph. That run was the second best of the competition behind Tony Alm, earning a 9 in the Drag Race category. KJ gave the car an odd 8.5 in the Engineering category, while the ever-tough Editor Turner gave the car an 8 in the Fit and Finish category--even with the envy-inducing carbon-fiber wheels! (Since Editor Turner is such a carbon fiber nut, we thought Jr.'s car would score at least score a 9!) However, the voting public really liked Andrew Jr.'s GT500, as it overwhelmingly won the Popular Vote category, scoring a 10.
Final Score: 63.04
Engine and Drivetrain
Rotating Assembly Stock crankshaft, Manley connecting rods, Diamond pistons
Heads Ported w/Manley valve-springs
Camshafts Comp Cams/Evolution Performance Stage 3
Intake Ported Stock
Mass Air Kenne Bell
Throttle Body Kenne Bell dual 75mm
Power Adder Kenne Bell 3.6LC supercharger w/3-1/2-inch pulley, 22 pounds of boost, and C&R Racing heat exchanger with dual fans
Transmission Evo-matic three-speed w/3,000-rpm stall converter, TCI Outlaw shifter, and Dynotech 3-1/2-inch driveshaft
Rear Evolution Performance-built Ford 9-inch w/35-spline axles, spool, and 3.70 gears
Exhaust American Racing Headers 2-in long-tube headers, w/off-road X-shape crossover and Magnaflow axle-back exhaust
Fuel System Kenne Bell Competition dual Boost-a-Pumps, stock fuel lines, Evolution Performance fuel rails, Ford Racing Performance Parts 80-lb/hr injectors
Computer Stock, Jon Lund-tuned
Ignition Stock, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Auto Meter Nexus
2003 Mustang Cobra
Coming in with the KOTS blueprint, Williamsburg, Virginia's Shane Shiamone traded a 10-second Lightning for his '03 Cobra. It was exactly what he wanted with the exact modifications he wanted. However, he broke pretty much everything in consecutive trips to the dragstrip so he started back at square one with a Fox Lake Power Products-built Four-Valve taking boost from a Hellion Power Systems twin-turbo kit. With a lot of help from Horsepower Solutions, and a lot of patience from his girlfriend, Peggy, and his kids, Shane made it to the KOTS.
Showing he had been paying attention to our predilections, Shane's Cobra featured swing-out door bars, stock seatbelts, a Speed of Sound gauge pod, stock-like clutch-pedal effort, effortless braking, cold A/C, and excellent handling characteristics.
On the street, as we've become accustomed, the twin-turbocharged Cobra drove well. However, like other so-equipped Cobras, Shane's suffered from a low-rpm bucking issue, but also like others we've experienced, that problem cleared up with increased rpm. Also, Shane's car suffered from readily apparent front-suspension racket, and it was rather exciting when under orders to get moving. In other words, Shane's Cobra wanted to put us in the ditch when pushed. It took equally specific orders to keep it on the road. Fun? Yes, loads of it, and once we saw the power Shane's car made, this personality trait didn't shock us at all.
However, scaring women and small children and making a truckload of power are not the car's only strong points. According to Shane, the car also is capable of knocking down 26 mpg on the highway thanks to its Magnum T56 transmission and 3.73 gears. We didn't have a need to check it on the KOTS Ride and Drive loop, but Shane's Cobra boasts an Altronics Red Alert EGT monitor to make sure the combination doesn't eat itself. This little component is obviously to keep past mechanical mishaps in the past.
But speaking of the present, Shane's Cobra vindicated itself in the KOTS. It scored 8s in the Engineering, Fit and Finish, and Ride and Drive categories. With an impressive 991 hp on the Dynojet, he scored a 9 in that all-important category. In the Popular Vote, Shane's Cobra was middle of the road with a score of 5. On track, his 11.086 at 142 mph, which garnered a 5 in the Drag Race segment.
Final Score: 60.45
Engine and Drivetrain
Block '98 Cobra Teksid aluminum
Rotating Assembly '03 Cobra crankshaft w/Oliver billet connecting rods, Diamond pistons, and Total Seal piston rings
Heads Fox Lake Power Products Stage II-ported '03 Cobra w/Livernois Motorsports valvesprings
Camshafts Comp Cams/Modular Performance custom grind
Intake Ported long-runner '01 Cobra
Mass Air Shelby slot-style w/DiabloSport MAFia
Throttle Body Accufab
Power Adder Hellion Power Systems twin-turbo kit w/Turbo-netics 61mm turbos
Transmission Tremec T56 Magnum, McLeod RXT clutch, Fidanza aluminum flywheel
Rear 3.73 gears
Exhaust Factory exhaust manifolds w/Bassani Xhaust 3-in X-shape crossover and Magnaflow mufflers
Fuel System Triple Ford GT Supercar fuel pumps w/custom lines, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, and FRPP 80-lb/hr injectors
Computer Stock, Horsepower Solutions-tuned xCal 3
Ignition FRPP coils w/Kenne Bell Boost-A-Spark, MSD 2-step, and NGK spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Speed of Sound gauge pod, Aeroforce Interceptor OBD-II gauge, Innovate wideband, Altronics Red Alert EGT monitor, and methanol controller
2007 Shelby GT500
As an interested spectator last year, David Shea was ready to step in and compete if we had anyone drop out at the last minute. Seeing David's GT500 in person made us realize his car was ideal for the KOTS, and we made sure to save him a spot this year.
David's GT500 is the first Mustang he's ever owned, and the first car he's owned making over 300 hp at the wheels. Of course, he realized that goal the day he bought his GT500. After learning about the re-launch of the GT500, David knew right then he was going to be all over it. However, with the mark-ups when the cars first came out, they were a little out of his price range.
After waiting for the right price, David made the move. "I drove the car home that night," David says. He considered himself lucky to own such a car and vowed to keep it stock. Of course, that didn't last long; after 350 miles and some nasty wheelhop, the mods started in earnest and didn't stop until he was satisfied.
David is proud to say that he performed 98 percent of its mods himself. Even the stuff other people did, he went back over what had been done to make sure it was to his level. There's basically nothing David hasn't touched on his Shelby, from the custom parts he made, to the countless hours of polishing he performed on all the aluminum. David's Shelby wears no chrome. He hand-polished all the bright work on the car to appear chrome. All that work paid off in the Engineering, and Fit and Finish categories.
His GT500 scored well in the real world thanks to swingout door bars, cold A/C, stock seatbelts, no warning lights or chimes, and the like. The only driving shortcoming was the car shutting off a couple times during our loop. Other than that, David's GT500 sounded like a NASCAR racer with its American Racing Headers/Bassani Xhaust combo.
David and I are of the same mind when it comes to shifter handles since his GT500 boasts a pistol-grip knob. That is my shift knob of choice, and David's GT500 makes you feel like a rock star when bangin' through the gears. David's GT500 handled great, braked well, and with a Kenne Bell 2.8-liter supercharger, reaching your happy place was just a throttle stab away. The throttle response was instant, but that's the nature of positive-displacement, twin-screw superchargers so that was of no surprise.
His car was a little cramped, but he's not tall enough to be an NBA water boy. I was just visiting--he's the car's primary inhabitant so he didn't lose any real points because of that. Had it not been for the stalling issue, David's car could've scored a perfect 10 in the Ride and Drive, but that was a big hit to an otherwise perfect ride.
Thanks to David's attention to detail and tireless polishing, his Shelby scored a 9.5 in Engineering and a 9 in Fit and Finish. Due to the unfortunate stalling issue, his Shelby scored an 8 in the Ride and Drive, and with a 10.572/135-mph pass, David's Shelby scored a 5 in the Drag Race category. In the Popular Vote category, it seemed David's work went sadly unnoticed with a 4 in that category. In the all-important Dyno category, his Shelby's 762 hp was only good for the middle of the KOTS road, scoring a 5.
Final Score: 53.14
Engine and Drivetrain
Block Stock GT500 iron
Rotating Assembly Stock w/Innovators West 10-percent overdriven dampener
Mass Air Kenne Bell Stage 3 128mm
Throttle Body Kenne Bell dual 75mm
Power Adder Kenne Bell 2.8 LH supercharger w/Afco Racing dual core heat exchanger
Transmission Stock T6060 six-speed w/SPEC Super Twin clutch, Steeda Autosports shifter, pistol-grip knob, and Dynotech aluminum driveshaft
Rear Currie 9-inch w/ARB air locker, 35-spline axles, and 3.70 gears
Exhaust American Racing Headers long-tube headers w/Bassani Xhaust 3-inch X-shape crossover, Bassani axle-back, and 4-inch tips
Fuel System Stock GT500 fuel pumps w/Metco Motorsports Solutions/Evolution Performance polished fuel rails and modified 72-lb/hr injectors
Computer Stock, Jon Lund-tuned using SCT software
Ignition Stock, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges Stock w/Speed of Sound gauge pod, Auto Meter boost and fuel-pressure gauges
1989 Mustang GT
We always try to get a worthy Fox Mustang into the KOTS, and this year doing so was pretty difficult. Michael Davenport has been trying to get his Fox GT into the competition, so this year we extended the invitation to him to see what his car was all about.
The paint on Michael's GT is second to none, but frankly we weren't big fans of the car's overall styling. Plus, in the photos he sent to us, the car boasted Lambo doors and diamond-plated floormats. We could maybe look past the Lambo doors if they were left down, but he had to leave the diamond-plated floormats back home in Texas. He was cool with that so we told him to bring it.
With a single-turbocharged 331, we really didn't know what to expect from the car performance-wise, but we were willing to find out. The car didn't have a cage, and it was all Fox, all the time. Since the car was a devoid of a 'cage, we didn't think it would make waves on the dyno or on the track. Coming in, we knew the car's primary use was on the show field--most show cars don't make power, and they're certainly not that quick at the dragstrip. We would be half-right about those assumptions.
Without a cage, Michael's GT started out the drive on a good note. The presence of Cobra seats continued that trend. Stock seatbelts, Auto Meter gauges in a stock-style cluster kept the hits going, as did an awesome stereo. A Pro-5.0 shifter connected to a Viper-spec T56 made us wonder why we didn't choose Michael's car sooner. Sometimes driving is believing.
The Cobra brakes worked extremely well. Unfortunately, a Fox-Mustang chassis isn't as compliant as later-model Mustangs, especially the S197 chassis, so it's hard for a Fox car to rule the drive portion. Michael's GT was a bit bumpy, which is a byproduct of an aging Fox. The car didn't have much foot room, and the driver-side kick panel wasn't securely fastened, either. Michael's car was truly a mixed bag from a driving standpoint. The car was tight, but the bumpy suspension and various vibrations detracted from the overall driving experience.
Overall, Michael's GT exceeded our expectations. No one imagined the car would make 989 hp to score an 8 in the Dyno segment. However, that number didn't translate over to the dragstrip, as the car was only able to muster an 11.768--but at a ridiculous 141 mph--to score a 3 in that category. The chassis kept the car from scoring high in the Ride and Drive with a 7 in that category. With a couple questionable exterior mods, Editor Turner gave the car a 7 in the Fit and Finish category, while Tech Editor Jones gave the car a promising 8 in the Engineering category. For the Popular Vote, we always know a Fox Mustang will do well. The Fox Mustang still holds a special place in Mustang fans' hearts, and that fact was further proved with Michael's car scoring a 7 in that category, as well.
Final Score: 51
Engine and Drivetrain
Block FRPP Boss 302 w/D.S.S. Racing Level 20 prep-work
Rotating Assembly D.S.S. Racing steel crankshaft w/Eagle H-Beam connecting rods, Twisted Wedge Pro-X pistons, and Sealed Power plasma-moly piston rings
Heads AFR 205 with 2.02/1.60 valves, Crane Gold roller rockers, and Comp Cams valvesprings
Camshaft Comp Cams custom
Intake EFI Super Spyder
Throttle Body 75mm
Power Adder Modified Garrett GT45R single turbocharger w/HP Performance intercooler
Transmission Viper-spec T56 w/SPEC Stage 3-Plus clutch, Pro-5.0 shifter, and D&D aluminum driveshaft
Rear 8.8 w/31-spline Traction-Lok, Moser axles, and 3.73 gears
Exhaust HP Performance manifolds and Bassani Xhaust side-exit exhaust
Fuel System Twin Bosch fuel pumps w/Aeromotive fuel lines, Edelbrock Super Victor fuel rails, 120-lb/hr injectors, and Aeromotive regulator
Ignition AEM w/LS1 coils, MSD spark plug wires, and NGK spark plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
2003 Mustang Mach I
Actually hoping to get into the last year's KOTS, Matthew Wadel didn't even remember sending us an email application for the competition. We had to nudge his memory a bit until he remembered sending it. Although he was a tad late getting his 2009 submission to us, we held on to it until this go-'round. Fortunately, he still had the Mach 1 and was ready to compete.
Matthew has owned the Mach 1 since he returned from the sandbox, which is military slang for Iraq/Afghanistan. In the seven years since he's owned it, the Mach 1 has turned into a 600hp daily driver, capable of handling Matthew's 90-mile round-trip commute in Washington, D.C.
Part of a recent Mach 1 trend, Matthew outfitted his with an '04 Cobra engine, transmission, and wiring harness, but we knew coming into the KOTS that Matthew's Mach would have a tough go on the dyno. Many of our KOTS cars represent a small segment of the Mustang hobby; Matthew's Mach is a more real-world example. Matthew's combination can be easily sourced and sorted with repeatable results. Furthermore, this combination is somewhat affordable for a more broad range of Mustang enthusiasts, unlike other KOTS combinations.
Like other KOTS cars, though, Matthew's Mach featured swing-out door bars for the rollcage to make for easy entry and exit, and stock seatbelts to make buckling in as easy as stock. Matthew's Mach also featured a nice gauge layout and cold A/C. The stock stereo provided the tunes to try and cover up a mysterious noise emanating from the 8.8 rear.
Another byproduct of Matthew's daily use of the car is the brake wobble. It seemed the front brake setup could've used a do-over before the KOTS, but the Baer-Eradispeed-rotor/Hawk-pad combination was responsive, so it was a wash. The car's steering response was also spot-on. While other cars, with their big 'n' little combinations, suffered ill-handling characteristics, Matthew's Mach could handle the corners with ease.
The '04 Cobra Four-Valve's corresponding T56 transmission made shifting a breeze, but an area that had us up in arms with Matthew's Mach was the exhaust. It wasn't super ridiculous, but there's no way Matthew is able to sneak through any town with his Mach. We could just imagine driving Matthew's Mach through a downtown district with the exhaust echoing off tall buildings. Anyone within 10 blocks would hear it--and that would be under normal acceleration. Hammer the throttle, and not only are you met with instant power from the Whipple-fed Four-Valve, but the exhaust will let you--and everyone else in town--know that triple-digit velocity is approaching. The exhaust had a distinct, angry sound; to some, it was too loud and obnoxious. We'll let it slide this time, Matthew.
Overall, our assumptions were correct with Matthew's Mach. We thought it would be on the lower side in the dyno rollers, and it made 598 hp to finish with a 4 in that category. With an 11.674 at 124.96 mph, he also scored a 4 in the Drag Race category. The Engineering and Fit and Finish categories were kind to Matthew with 7s in both. Even with the loud exhaust, Matthew's Mach did quite well otherwise in the Ride and Drive portion, scoring an 8 in that category. And, of course, with girlfriend, Leslie Madigan, in tow, Matthew excelled in the Popular Vote category with a 9.
Final Score: 44.4
Engine and Drivetrain
Block '04 Cobra
Rotating Assembly Stock '04 Cobra
Heads Livernois Motorsports Stage 3 ported
Camshafts Houston Performance custom
Intake '04 Cobra
Throttle Body Whipple
Power Adder Whipple 2.3-liter supercharger w/Gords Ford dual-fan heat exchanger
Transmission '04 Cobra T56 w/SPEC Stage 3 clutch, and Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter
Rear 8.8 w/Auburn Pro differential, Moser 31-spline axles, and FRPP 4.10 gears
Exhaust BBK Performance long-tube headers and X-Shape crossover w/Magnaflow Magnapack after-cat exhaust
Fuel System '04 Cobra fuel tank w/dual Ford GT fuel pumps, Bosch 60-lb/hr injectors, and a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump
Computer Stock Mach 1, SCT chip
Ignition Stock '04 Cobra, NGK spark plugs
Gauges Stock, Auto Meter Lunar series tachometer with Shift-Lite
2006 Mustang GT
One of our favorite people from this year's KOTS is Nick Burch from Farmington, Missouri. Since he owns two Domino's Pizza franchises back home, he quickly became known as Pizza Guy. He had to suffer through some competitive pizza at Holley for the Dyno portion, but he didn't look any worse for wear.
Nick represented the home-built side of the KOTS fence rather well. And we can say for certain Nick's GT sees regular street duty back in Missouri. After driving the car we can see why. Rolling down the road, we noticed the car didn't have a cage, or harnesses. Not remembering any of the details from Nick's application we took that as his car wouldn't be offering much in the way of performance and horsepower. We would be proven way wrong.
Right off the bat, Nick's GT simply doesn't turn. This was a byproduct of Nick's use of big n' littles, just like many of the other KOTS competitors. As we exit Beech Bend Park on our drive loop, the road has more curves than Sofia Vergara. Go ahead, we'll give you a minute to Google her. Anyway, Nick's car won't win any slalom races, and the steering wheel was off-center, but he didn't build it to carve corners and he's probably not worried about a "centered" steering wheel--he built it to be fast. And that it is. Our loop contains two long straightaways, and I made use of the power when I had opportunity. The amount surprised me, and made me question Nick's sanity for not having a cage and harnesses. This car moves.
However, the front end made a bunch of racket. I was actually a tad worried about the integrity of the front end. The Aerospace brakes on Nick's GT worked great, as did its 4R70W, but it too made a nice "clunk" when going into overdrive. Fully operational A/C and a nice stereo helped restore street cred, though. Plus, the exhaust was rather subdued, which is not surprising with it being a turbo car. Nick's car represented well for a DIY effort. With a tighter front end, a little more detail, and paint touch-up, Nick's GT would've finished higher. As it was, the stripes' real fire flames done by KCL Design were awesome, but the paint's shortcomings on the front splitter looked like it was my car, and it cost a couple Fit and Finish points.
As it is, though, Pizza Guy surprised us in the Dyno portion by making 823 hp to score a 6 in that category. Then he followed up that number by running an impressive, cage-defying 9.82 at 139 mph to score an 8 in the Drag Race category. There's no such thing as a late pizza from one of Nick's stores. In the Engineering and Fit and Finish categories, Nick's GT suffered with 6s in both, and then he really took a hit in the Popular Vote category with a 3. I guess no one knew he owned a Domino's. In the Ride and Drive category, the drawbacks knocked his score down to a 7.
Final Score: 39.35
Engine and Drivetrain
Block '04 Cobra iron
Rotating Assembly MMR 900 short-block w/Kellogg crankshaft, Manley Performance connecting rods, and Manley pistons
Heads Stock Three-Valve, Manley Performance valvesprings
Throttle Body Stock
Mass Air Meter SCT BA5000
Power Adder HP Performance single-turbo kit w/Precision 76mm turbo and Tial 50mm blow-off valve
Transmission 4R70W w/Precision Industries triple-disc, 3,800-rpm stall converter; Baumannator transmission controller; SFI flexplate; and custom one-piece driveshaft
Rear 8.8 w/stock 3.31 gears, stock axles, and Detroit Locker differential
Exhaust Stock exhaust manifolds w/Corsa axle-back exhaust
Fuel System Lethal Performance Ultimate Pro Fuel System w/twin Ford GT fuel pumps, 80-lb/hr injectors, MMR fuel rails, and custom lines
Computer Stock w/SCT tune by Dynospeed Racing
Ignition Stock w/Autolite spark plugs gapped at 0.028-inch
Gauges Stock w/Speed of Sound dual gauge pod and radio pod, Raptor shift light, and Auto Meter Cobalt gauges
2006 Mustang GT
If you've been following the NMRA Racing scene lately, then you know Joe ... or at least, you should. This Joe is Joe Cram or Dyno Joe. He's not quite an Internet sensation just yet, but it's not for lack of trying.
Joe is one of those rare Mustang personalities having a fervor about the Mustang drag racing hobby. He's a regular at NMRA racing events across the country, and he even owns his own shop, Dyno Joe Performance in Houston, Texas. We've heard everything's bigger in Texas, and Joe's personality certainly backs that up.
Joe's GT was used to test Saleen performance parts, and at one time was supposed to have a Saleen serial number, but that deal fell through, so for all intents and purposes, Joe's GT remains exactly that--a GT.
It is a race car first, and a street car second. We knew that coming in, but we wanted to see how a genuine race car would do against a field of street cars. Joe said his GT was a street car, but we don't see too many street cars wrapped in sponsor regalia at the grocery store. As a matter of fact, we've never seen that. I would imagine swinging bags of groceries over a rollcage with fixed door bars would be tough. Not to mention trying to stuff said bags into a trunk with a battery box, more rollcage bars, and the like.
Speaking of those door bars, they did make getting into and out of Joe's car just like getting into and out of ... well, a race car. The car did feature stock seatbelts in addition to the harnesses. However, with Joe making several mechanical changes to the car leading up to the KOTS, there were several street-oriented items that didn't work due to time constraints. Joe ran out of time getting everything back in working order before the competition, which in the end really hurt his finishing position.
Of the street items not working during the Ride and Drive were the car's 4R70W's overdrive and lock-up functions, and the A/C. Both hurt the Ride and Drive score, but hoping to redeem some of those lost points, Joe did have Kid Rock in the CD player--and not the new Kid Rock. It was old Kid Rock, and since the car's Shaker 500 stereo works really well, "Cowboy" sounded great.
Another concession to the dragstrip made in Joe's car is the 4R70W's manual valvebody. Yes, a manual valvebody is designed to enable the driver to control where the transmission shifts. With many rpm-controlled shift points, if a car goes into tire spin, that could cause the transmission to shift into the next gear prematurely. A manual valvebody allows the driver to control when the car shifts via the shifter. In Joe's case, he chose a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter, which is easy to use, but the uninitiated would be lost. Luckily, I've been down this road before. The GT's brakes were also race-oriented, which means they're a little noisy compared to street-style brakes.
One impressive characteristic of Joe's car is its throttle response. With an Edelbrock E-Force supercharger atop a built Three-Valve, go time is right now. Unlike an Arby's drive-thru, there's no waiting. However, Joe's car didn't have an axle-back exhaust on it, so it was very loud--too loud. One of Joe's primary sponsors is Magnaflow, but Joe felt his car was better served with an open-type exhaust, which might've helped him on the dyno ever-so slightly, but on the Ride and Drive, not so much.
As it was, we think Joe's car proved a race car could do well in the KOTS, but he ran out of time to make sure those things were in order. If the transmission, A/C, and exhaust were more street-friendly, Joe's car would've been up higher in the finishing order. But as it was, Joe's GT suffered mightily in the Ride and Drive category, scoring a 6. Even with fresh paint on many of its panels, Editor Turner gave it a 6 in Fit and Finish, as did Tech Editor Jones in the Engineering category. All of Joe's NMRA buddies, including Conrad Scarry, came over to vote for him the Popular Vote category, giving him an 8. Conrad made sure to sign his vote card so Joe would know he voted for him.
Joe's GT prospered where you would think it should--in the Drag Race category--with a stellar 10.13/132-mph pass following a 10.14/132-mph pass. With those performances bettering four of the other KOTS cars that made more power, Joe was clearly making the most of the available ponies. With his 10.13 pass, Joe scored a 7 in the Drag Race category. However, since his car made "just" 551 hp, it scored a 3 in the all-important Dyno category.
Final Score: 33.35
Engine and Drivetrain
Block 4.6 aluminum
Rotating Assembly Kellogg crankshaft, Manley Performance rods and pistons
Heads FRPP Three-Valve, DynoJoe Performance-ported
Camshafts Comp Cams
Throttle Body Edelbrock 85mm
Mass Air Meter PMAS Power Adder Edelbrock E-Force supercharger
Transmission Circle D Transmissions-built 4R70W w/manual valvebody, billet 3,200-rpm converter, Hurst shifter Rear 8.8 w/4.10 gear, Moser 31-spline axles, and Detroit Truetrac differential
Exhaust Kooks headers w/Magnaflow exhaust
Fuel System Shelby GT500 w/Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump and FRPP 80-lb/hr injectors
Computer Stock with SCT/DynoJoe Performance tune
1994 Mustang Cobra
Since we like to have a variety of powerplants competing in the KOTS, we couldn't wait to see Robert Hogan's '94 Cobra. With a Paxton Novi 2000-fed 427ci Windsor, the car had all the makings of a KOTS spoiler. I was hoping the SN-95 would come in and dominate. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be the case.
Built at Southeast Turbo in Dallas, Georgia, the Cobra was plagued with issues from start to finish. The Cobra had a mysterious miss the whole weekend, and no matter what Southeast Turbo's Paul Rogowski did, the miss remained. In its KOTS application, Paul said the car was 800hp capable, but due to the issues, it left a few ponies back in Georgia.
The Cobra had all the good stuff. A D.S.S. 427ci Windsor with AFR 225cc heads, an Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake, an MSD ignition, a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, a Tremec TKO 600 transmission, a Moser 9-inch rear, and much more. We're not the only ones wishing the car was at full strength. Everyone in attendance wanted to see the car succeed. As it was, though, everyone had to forge ahead with the hand we were dealt, meaning the show had to go on.
With the issues, Robert's Cobra suffered a great detail. The car was devoid of a cage and featured stock seatbelts, which made it easy to get in and out of the car. However, once inside, the seatbelts weren't fully operational, the A/C didn't work, the driver-side window was out of order, and the cruise was inoperable. Plus, Robert's Cobra featured manual brakes and steering. When you're used to both of these accessories in a power mode, and then you drive a car with manual brakes and steering, a ditch is surely in your future if you don't pay attention. Even the TKO's shifter was a little awkward, but the most unfortunate aspect of the car was that it was just way off.
Not all was bad. The Cobra's Nordskog digital gauges were easy to read and the seats were comfortable. However, we thought the Cobra designs on the seats were a bit over the top. The car's exterior did have nice paint, but here, too, we thought some aspects were over the top. The Cobra competes in car shows all over the Southeast, so we guess the designs work in those environs.
Unfortunately, Robert's car didn't do well overall. Obviously running a miss, the Cobra scored a 2 in the Dyno category, and Paul didn't see a reason to risk damaging the engine on the dragstrip so he didn't make any passes, which also resulted in a 2. Since the car did feature a well-chosen combination, KJ awarded it a 7.5 in the Engineering, but Editor Turner was obviously not a fan of the graphics or interior, giving it a 5 in the Fit and Finish category. With all its troubles, Robert's Cobra scored a 4 in the Ride and Drive. Helping to restore some respect to the car, it did garner a 6 in the Popular Vote category.
Final Score: 24.79
Engine and Drivetrain
Block Dart 351 Windsor
Rotating Assembly D.S.S. Racing stroker short-block w/D.S.S. stroker crankshaft, H-beam connecting rods, Extreme XR pistons, and ARP bolts Heads AFR 225cc w/roller rockers
Camshaft Custom grind
Intake Edelbrock Super Victor EFI
Throttle Body BBK Performance 75mm
Power Adder Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger w/front-mount intercooler
Transmission Tremec TKO 600 w/FRPP clutch, Fidanza steel flywheel, and Driveline Specialties aluminum driveshaft
Rear Moser Engineering 9-inch w/31-spline axles, and Strange Engineering 3.73 gears
Exhaust Southeast Turbo custom long-tube 1-7/8-inch headers, 3-inch exhaust with custom H-pipe, Flowmaster mufflers
Fuel System Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump w/Aeromotive fuel rails, Aeromotive regulator, Earl's Prolite fuel lines, and 83-lb/hr injectors
Gauges Nordskog digital, Auto Meter boost and fuel pressure gauges in A-pillar pod