Joe Greeves
September 18, 2008
The high-performance Steeda Mustang fleet (plus one Focus) lined up, ready for the team of journalists just prior to the cloud burst. Can you imagine the disappointment?

If you're a Mustang fan, you're probably already familiar with Steeda. Your one-stop source for a full range of aftermarket parts, Steeda has been making Mustangs (and other Blue Oval products) accelerate faster, stop quicker, and corner flatter since 1988. Located in Pompano Beach, Florida, the parts performance company is proud of winning more races, setting more records, selling more parts, and engineering more components than all the other builders combined. What makes Steeda popular with enthusiasts is its wins and records occur with the same parts you can buy from the company's catalog. That means your production vehicle can be capable of genuine, world-class performance. All Steeda components are designed in-house and meet standards that exceed current industry requirements. While prototype components are initially evaluated for effectiveness on the Steeda dyno, the real pass-or-fail tests occur on the track during its active racing program. Once a product is tested under the toughest conditions, it's then made available to you in Steeda's Performance catalog.

Steeda's Dario Orlando and Bob Adams, Steeda's Business Development Manager, seem to be pondering the insanity of turning journalists loose in their treasured collection of Mustangs. Mother Nature intervened with a deluge that probably saved the fleet!

As you can imagine, when Steeda announces new performance additions to its product line, it gets everyone's attention. Everything was perfect at Steeda's press conference. Dario Orlando and his staff invited a dozen journalists to an elegant sit-down dinner in Pompano Beach, Florida, where Bob Adams, Steeda's Business Development Manager, explained the new Adaptive Performance Calibration technology and Whipple Gen II supercharger package recently released by the company. The next day a fleet of Mustangs was on hand at Florida's Moroso Raceway for some firsthand driving impressions of the new vehicles. Unfortunately, that's when the level of perfection dropped a bit and Mother Nature let everyone know who was really in charge. After having completed just a few laps on the already wet road course, the rain came down with a vengeance and the testing was done for the day.

Although the product testing portion was a washout, the products themselves were exciting. My two laps in the Mustang Q650 before the rain was quite an experience. Steeda's Glen Vitale, VP of Operations, expertly piloted the car through Moroso's still wet road course with the car's suspension magically straightening the curves and the potent 650hp powerplant making me thankful for the headrests whenever Glen blasted out of the corners. When I commented on the car's performance, Glen confided that this leisurely pace was only about half of the car's potential and he was at least one gear too high in every corner, a prudent approach under the circumstances.

Traveling in formation with Steeda drivers behind the wheel, the latest crop of high-performance Mustangs became the perfect photo op. Unfortunately, the track soon became too wet to continue.

The seamless power stems from the synergy between Steeda's new Adaptive Performance Calibration tuner and Gen II Whipple supercharger. Let's begin with the tuner. Ford's powertrain control module is an extremely sophisticated system that monitors multiple engine sensors and driver inputs to ensure maximum torque when you hit the throttle. For those wanting more performance, there are static tuners on the market that shut down key sensors or falsify sensor input to trick the engine into another level of performance. Unfortunately, this approach can jeopardize the integrity of the engine management system and can lead to expensive noises since the Ford drive-by-wire engine management system is not known for being aftermarket friendly. In addition, when you change any of the parameters programmed into your static aftermarket tuner-like adding a cold-air intake-you have to reflash to make it work. Steeda's Adaptive Performance Calibration (APC) takes a different approach, thanks to its ability to analyze engine, fuel, and atmospheric parameters about 60 times per second. Unlike other static tuner manufacturers, Steeda benefits from a long association with Ford and has access to Ford's Advance Engineering division. Combining this ultimate connection with its own years of experience with Ford performance products enabled the company to create completely new computer instructions that are guaranteed to be compatible with the factory systems. Their new unit always maintains the engine at peak horsepower, instantly adjusting for variations in everything from octane to ambient air, all done on-the-fly. Designed for 4.6L V-8 manual transmission Mustangs built from 2007, the APC also reacts to upgrades without the need to reflash, instantly adjusting to the new cold-air induction system you add today, the exhaust changes that you make next month, or the supercharger you get as a birthday present. Its functions are fully automatic and controlled by only one input source, reacting directly to how heavy your foot is on the accelerator. More importantly, the computer automatically determines the maximum amount of horsepower and torque your engine can safely deliver while ensuring that levels never exceed the capacity of your fuel pump, injectors, mass air meter, or cooling system. The $399 calibration will add approximately 100 hp to your normally aspirated engine with future calibration updates handled via a removable memory card. How do you get the new upgrade? Send your ECM to Steeda in a prepaid FedEx box and the reflashed ECM will be returned to you within two days.

Here's the view from the passenger seat of the Q650. Even driven sedately, because of the marginal track conditions, the car's acceleration and handling were breathtaking.

The Adaptive Performance Calibration is designed to work seamlessly with the Steeda's new high-efficiency Whipple Gen II supercharger. If you followed our recent series dealing with the myths surrounding superchargers, you know that a blower at fifteen pounds of boost can effectively double the horsepower of your engine. Even more important, it works throughout the rev range, unlike a turbo that must spool up or nitrous that works only during full throttle bursts. Forced induction is nothing new at Ford. It was a favorite way of increasing horsepower and goes back to the flathead days when a McCulloch Supercharger was fitted to '37 Ford 85hp engines, taking them to a neck-snapping 124 hp! McCulloch centrifugal superchargers were used in the '57 Thunderbird F-models, resulting in an impressive 300 hp. Shelby added a Paxton blower to his '66 Mustangs to keep them ahead of the competition. Today, with increasing government regulations and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards forcing auto manufacturers to downsize engines and vehicles, supercharging is the best way to create increased torque and horsepower throughout the rev range.

Steeda's research, using more than 100 parameters and its own custom designed data acquisition system, has led to a Whipple Generation II Twin-Screw supercharger that flows more air, operates at a lower temperature, and has less parasitic drag than any other supercharger on the market. The carefully designed 3/5 rotor profile maximizes low-end torque as well as top-end horsepower. The precision-cut helical gears mean whisper-quiet operation, the cast-aluminum housing allows for more effective heat dissipation, and the advanced seals have 100,000-plus-mile reliability. The combination of the Whipple forced-induction system and Adaptive Performance Calibration gives you the best of both worlds, with approximately 600 hp available. Add the Steeda Hardware Kit Upgrade (105mm MAF, 60 lb/hr injectors, revised supercharger intake, and oval throttle body) and you can expect more than 700 reliable horsepower. If your Mustang already has a blower, you can still experience all the horsepower and protection benefits from Steeda's Adaptive Performance Calibration since the versatile package works with any supercharger on the market. For more information on either of these two new products, check out www.steeda.com or call (954) 960-0774.

The Steeda Spec Racer is designed to compete in SCCA Pro 1 category. It begins with a stitch-welded body in white and uses parts from the Steeda catalog. It will produce between 650 and 700 hp. Helping to plant that awesome power are fully adjustable Tokico struts and a new Watt's linkage that allows simplified raising or lowering of the car's roll center. Up front, the car has a new heat exchanger which is 130 percent more efficient. Both the air dam and the rear wing have been wind tunnel tested for aerodynamics.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery