Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Street-Legal Stick-Shift Shootout - Dropping Bombs
Eight cars came to our street-legal stick-shift shootout. One lived.
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The pretense for our street-legal stick-shift shootout was simple. Find eight of the baddest, clutch-activated Mustangs, have the drivers row the gears to the best possible elapsed time, and then run the cars on a chassis dyno to gauge which one made the most rear-wheel horsepower. The problem is, a thing called carnage got in our way. To make a long story short, there were more bombs dropped on the starting line at our host track, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, than the U.S. Army Air Corps dropped on Germany during all of World War II. Trust us, that's a lot of boom.
When it comes to putting together a street-legal, wicked-fast, stick-shift street car, there are a lot of things to take under advisement. Generally, an automatic street car leaves softer than a stick car, making traction an issue with a do-it-yourself gearbox. Getting the power to the ground yet keeping the car driveable on the street requires the perfect setting of the suspension components and proper tire selection. In addition, choosing the right clutch is also key to splitting hairs and finding the fine line between ultimate track potential and great street manners. Finding the right clutch that will allow you to drop the hammer hard on the starting line yet being able to live with it on the road makes it difficult to go fast with a stick. As you can see, there's much more than meets the eye in terms of going fast and rowing through the gears.
Things were good until we started running the cars. Go figure. By the end of the day, we had seven busted Stangs, with breakage coming in the form of snapped axles, fragged clutches, torched heads, fried transmissions, clunking rears, and one hurt motor. In the end, though, Tommy Godfrey's IRS-equipped Cobra (yes, we said IRS) made it all worthwhile when he laid down a stout 10.01-second pass. In addition, we were able to get three cars on the dyno. By the time the smoke cleared and the day was done, we had a nice mix of nitrous-snorting, supercharged, and turbocharged Mustangs that duked it out before broken parts and pieces took them out.
Justin Burcham from JPC Racing brought two cars to the shootout, the GT finishing in Third Place being one, and this ultracool Fox-body being the second. Unfortunately, Justin lifted a head gasket and torched a head on this car in the burnout box on the first run when a fuel injector went bad.
Special thanks go out to Paul Vaughn and DJ DiVigenze from Modern Muscle Motorsports for bringing the company's portable chassis dyno to Raceway Park for us. While we were able to get only three cars on the dyno, the guys stayed with us all day.
To be honest, we on the MM&FF staff were quite shocked when the lone remaining Stang in our stick-shift shootout happened to be an IRS car. Tommy Godfrey ripped up the Raceway Park asphalt in search of a 9-second elapsed time and came oh-so-close with a 10.01-second effort. He enlisted the help of Johnny Lightning Performance and JPC Racing to supersize his snake. The mod motor was bored out to 283 ci, and the factory Eaton blower was switched for a Kenne Bell 2.8 huffer. Tommy's Terminator was one of the three cars that made a dyno pull, and the rollers spit out a horsepower number of 726, with a rear-wheel-torque figure of 638.
Stick SpecsOwner: Tommy Godfrey
Hometown: Sunderland, MD
Driver: Tommy Godfrey
Car: '03 Cobra
Weight w/Driver: 3,754 lbs
Engine: 0.020-over block, stock crank, rods, JLP custom forged pistons
Built/Tuned By: JLP/JPC Racing
Power Adder: Kenne Bell 2.8 supercharger pushing 28 lbs of boost
Best ET/MPH: 10.015/139.79