Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 13, 2002

This year, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine is really pumping out the shootouts. In addition to bringing our readers event coverage from Fun Ford Weekends and NMRA meets, we've been busy assembling various groups of automobile enthusiasts and letting them duke it out on the 1320, all for your enjoyment.

Now that you've witnessed the Turbo 4 Terrors, we've summoned some of the baddest V6 Mustangs and let them swing it out at Englishtown's Raceway Park. In this business, we're accustomed to seeing enough V8 Mustangs to warrant the use of algebraic equations, but what many people don't realize is that V6 Mustangs represent two-thirds of the total amount of ponies on the road.

Add to that a lower initial cost and decreased insurance rates and one can understand why they are so popular. Back in our May 2000 issue, we tested a V6/5-speed model and came away with a string of low 15-second runs in addition to a 14.9 pass, so stock power output is definitely respectable.

For our shootout, we gathered seven Mustangs that we thought showcased what is possible with these cars. From natural aspiration to supercharging to nitrous injection, we had a good variety of engine combinations and a good variety of performance figures to go along with them. Throughout the day, we let these guys make as many runs as they could. Once the smoke cleared, we tallied up the best six runs of each competitor and took to the typewriter.

In researching this genre of the automotive hobby, we came across some great Internet resources where V6 enthusiasts can get their fill of the American 6-bangers. We found most of our participants inhabiting V6Power.net, which is an extensive site with tech articles, message boards and of course, individual automobiles. Corral.net and Stangnet.com also have V6-dedicated message boards, thus opening many avenues through which the V6 Mustang owner can obtain information about his or her pony. From the little bit of investigating we did, here is some background on the 3.8-liter Mustang.

The 3.8-liter engine was originally offered in the Fox Mustang from 1983-1986, and was rated at 120 horsepower. After 1986, the 6-gun was sidelined in favor of the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder motor until 1994, when it was shoehorned between the fenders of the SN95 chassis. The heavier car benefited from this powerplant, which offered more torque than the 2.3.

For 94-95 horses, the V6 was rated at 145 horsepower and 215 lbs.-ft. of torque. 1996 saw the motor's output increase by 5 horsepower, while torque remained the same, albeit at a slightly higher rpm range.

In 1999, Ford went to a split-port induction, which bumped power output upwards to 190 horsepower and 220 lbs.-ft. of torque. And for 2001, Ford added intake manifold runner control plates to gain 3 more horsepower but more importantly, a stout 25 lbs.-ft. of torque. In addition to these respectable power figures, the aftermarket has stepped up with supercharger and nitrous oxide kits, as well as exhaust components from the headers back. Some companies carry V8 take-off components, so that the V6 owner can upgrade to heavier-duty parts as his/her budget permits.

Bearing all of these facts in mind, MM&FF felt the need to bring out some of the finest and most interesting V6 cars for you to check out. Our invitations stretched as far as Livonia, Mich., home of Pete Campbell and his 2001 4.2-liter Mustang.

Yes we said 4.2-liter. As it turns out, Pete pirated the larger V6 engine from an F-150 and with some parts from the 3.8, was able to drop it in his Mustang without much drama. Add to that a Powerdyne supercharger and one can imagine that it might be quick. We witnessed Pete lay down a 12.64-second run at Cecil County Raceway in Maryland and knew that this was one car we needed to get for our event. Pete also happened to be the first one to contact us after we put out the call in Horse's Mouth several months ago, and had it not been for an evil gust of wind that flipped his hood into his car's windshield, we might have been able to bring you some more of his super-quick times.

About 900 miles south of Pete, we found Brandon Adcock of Cary, N.C. Brandon's 2000 Laser Red Mustang featured the latest aftermarket cylinder heads and intake from Super Six Motorsports. His naturally aspirated combo was something we had heard about before, but never had the chance to test.

d'lo home, we contacted Zach Young, and boy does his name fit. When we first talked to Zach, we were looking forward to having him participate with his nitrous oxide-equipped Mustang. Then we found out he was a mere 16 years of age. Raceway Park, in accordance with New Jersey State law, requires competitors to be at least 17 years of age. Thankfully Zach's birthday was but a week before the event, and his father was kind enough to come with him from their Baltimore home to sign his permission release.

From the Keystone state, we rounded up Frank Osborn's Vortech-blown pony and Brian Bitner's Super Coupe-spec Mustang. Bitner, along with Jamie Hiscoe, took upon the challenge of equipping their cars with the supercharged 3.8-liter T-bird engines, but Hiscoe had head gasket problems that prevented him from attending our event, while Brian joined us and made something like 14 runs. Clint Oteri came down from New York with his Vortech-supercharged steed and Dan Haga brought his wild V6 Stang from Maryland. Haga's car features a set of aftermarket cylinder heads and intake manifold, in addition to a centrifugal supercharger.

From our list of competitors, it is very evident that these are serious automotive enthusiasts. While many may balk at the thought of starting a car project with anything less than a V8, many of these V6 enthusiasts will give those naysayers a run for their money. So read along and you might just have second thoughts when that Mustang with the running pony on its fender pulls up next to you.

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Dan Haga bought his Mustang simply because he liked the way it looked. After getting harassed by V8 guys, he threw on nitrous and a blower and squeezed the 3.8-liter until it gave up.
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A rebuilt motor with fortified internals has propelled this pony past many a V8 car now, so Dan turned his attention toward other aspects of his vehicle by adding things like an Erebuni ground effects kit and Corbeau Forza seats.
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The Nitto drag radials and E-town surface couldn't make enough traction for Haga to run what his mph indicates is possible, but he did manage to take home the number one prize with a mercurial 13.35 at 108 mph.
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From the moment he bought this V6 pony, Brian Bitner had plans to drop in a supercharged Thunderbird motor between the fenders. After saving the money for the swap, Brian found a low-mileage SC engine in California and had it shipped back east where he disassembled and inspected it, and then replaced the bearings and added ARP studs.
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Realizing the effectiveness of an intercooler on a supercharged application, and not finding a financially feasible aftermarket unit, Brian took two Super Coupe air-to-air intercoolers, cut off one end on each one, and then TIG-welded them together. Brian also TIG-welded the intercooler piping, which is a work of art on its own. Brian had just finished this combination and hadn't been able to do any tuning.
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As it were, the Mustang was running too rich, which hurt performance. So did the traction-challenged 16-inch rubber, but Brian says he has more tuning, more boost and 12-second elapsed times on the way.
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Frank Osborn's first couple of runs did not happen as the blower discharge tube kept coming off. Once he was able to fix that with a longer sleeve, he took to the strip like a pit bull on a postman.
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Judging from the times that he posted, Frank has a bit of tuning to work out, as his previous best ET was accomplished without the new cylinder heads and intercooler.
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Once he has the performance sorted out, Frank plans to add some Weld XP Draglites and possibly a new paint job, and then get back to bracket racing at his home track of Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania.
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Inheriting his love of Mustangs from his parents, Clint Oteri wasted no time in getting one of his own.
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His 1997 horse has received a '99-spec engine transplant, as well as boosted atmosphere from a Vortech supercharger.
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As the majority of Clint's modifications have been engine oriented, he has plans to install a Bullitt Mustang suspension beneath his pony in the near future.
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A mere 18 years old, Brandon Adcock made the trek from North Carolina to the Garden State to show us just what his naturally aspirated 2000 Mustang could do.
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With help from Super Six Motorsports and True Blue Performance, Brandon has cut his elapsed times down quite a bit, but went the extra mile during our event, going so far as to remove the windshield wipers and rear wing for a better ET and a hint of mph.
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Brandon received his Mustang for his 16th birthday and has been modifiying it as funds permit.
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A youthful Zach Young purchased his Mustang to satisfy his long-standing desire to own one of Ford's ponies. Not wanting to throw away money by paying the higher insurance costs that V8 cars bring, Zach picked up this V6 model and bolted up a nitrous kit for V8 power.
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Even though Zach has been spraying the 3.8-liter for over a year, his nitrous system failed to work for our event. He later found a bad fuse to be the culprit.
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We asked Zach's father about letting his 17-year-old son pilot a car with nitrous oxide and he told us that Zach maintains a 4.0 average in school, and since he spends his money on his car, it keeps him out of trouble that an otherwise idle teenager might get into. Sound like a good reason to us.
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We were saddened to see the damage to Pete's car, which was caused by a gust of wind in the pits. After driving from Michigan to Jersey, Pete would spend the rest of the day arranging for a replacement window to be installed so that he could make it home.
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Bought as a daily driver, Pete first added a Traction-Lok rear to make the Mustang handle better in inclement weather. Soon after that, the Mustang received a new exhaust system and then the Powerdyne blower. Pete's fiance drives the car daily these days, and while she's always willing to show people just what the car can do, she still lets Pete wring it out on the weekends.
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We were quite impressed with the 12.64 Pete ran in Maryland, and were hoping to see more at our shootout. Should we do this next year, we'll definitely bring him back, but Pete says he's looking for a Lincoln Mark VIII to modify. Can anyone say Luxobarge?