Michael Galimi
February 1, 2008
Contributers: Frank H. Cicerale Photos By: MM&FF Italian Connection

It looks as if there's a tradition blooming here at Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, in the form of killer S197 Mustang shootouts. In 2007, an open invitation was thrown out to see who had the baddest '05-and-up Mustang. We invited the cars and their owners/drivers to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, where the eclectic and insane group of racers dropped the hammers on the most powerful Three-Valve engines in the land.

Our '06 shootout saw a majority of the cars running a stick-shift transmission of some sorts, be it stock or aftermarket. In 2007, the do-it-yourself gearbox made way for the almighty king of easy shifting-the automatic transmission. In 2006, only one shootout participant utilized an automatic, but in 2007, all of the competitors ran a slushbox of some kind. It seems that as speeds have climbed higher and higher in the past couple of years, the need to control and apply the power has been a job better handled by the automatic.

Look at our entrants closely and you'll notice a mix of both Ford and (yikes!) Brand-X trans-missions in the trans tunnel. We don't really dig non-Ford parts, but that's what the boys are running, so we can't not talk about it. Two cars showcased GM's Turbo-Hydromatic 400 three-speed, three Mustangs sported a 4R70W, and one lone ride wielded the actual stock Three-Valve trans, the 5R55S, despite the recent trend of converting to the 4R70W in high-powered cars.

Another neat factor was that, except for one car, all of the Mustangs had stroker or larger-displacement engines sitting between the shock towers. You can't beat cubic inches, and it showed on the track with routine 10-second passes, as well as a few 9-second rips and one near 8-second moon shot. The power-adders portion of the show was also mixed up between turbos, blowers, and nitrous oxide.

In total, three cars spun a turbo, two utilized a centrifugal blower, and a lone ranger used a twin-screw huffer. We made sure everyone knew that running a hit of the sauce or utilizing methanol injection was legal, but only one racer was brave enough to take a sizable shot of laughing gas.

In the end, we nearly saw an 8-second pass out of a Three-Valve-equipped S197, and we took a long look at a couple of cars that could have passed for 14-second stock GTs. In addition, each power adder held its own as well as breaking into the 9-second zone, as a centrifugal supercharger/nitrous combo ended up First, a positive-displacement twin-screw blower Second, and a turbocharger Third.