Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Dyno Wars! Part 4 - Shelby American
The 4,715HP Finale
As the competitors unloaded their battle weapons on a brisk Nevada morning at Shelby American near Las Vegas, our staff sensed the electricity and drama building.
They traveled from California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas for the 2012 Dyno Wars finale. For this battle, MM&FF corralled six unique Fords—some old, some new, some wild, some mild. Every owner was gunning for horsepower supremacy and we were about to get it on.
Originally, our plan for MM&FF/American Muscle.com Dyno Wars was to host individual shootouts with "like" combinations—Shelbys versus Shelbys, Windsor'd Foxes versus Windsor'd Foxes, Three-Valves versus… you get the point. That idea morphed into contests of all-out power. What kept our (and hopefully your) interest is the close-up look at each real-world combination and the people who own and drive them.
The rules are loosely based around the MM&FF/Tremec True Street class, with any Ford powerplant and any power adders allowed, so long as said engine is strapped to a Ford or Merc body, and has an exhaust that properly vents the spent gasses. We also require tires rated for the speed (on the dyno) the car will run, plus a driveshaft safety loop.
Our first battle was held at MM&FF headquarters in Tampa, and Julio Don took the crown with his turbocharged '88 GT. Don's Pony busted out 901 rwhp—what made it so cool is that he had no idea what it would make since the GT had only been raced at the track. That impressed us. For the record it runs deep 9s at 150 mph.
Next, we rolled up to AmericanMuscle's home base in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where six tough Ponies pumped out roughly 5,000 hp combined. Justin Burcham of JPC took the title with Clinton Smith's Hellion-turbocharged '11 GT. With 21 psi of boost, it achieved 925 to the tire. Burcham raised the Dyno Wars bar, but we wondered if he scared off future competitors in the process.
Months later we stretched out to Wixom, Michigan, just north of the Motor City to the home of Walsh Motorsports. After two competitors failed to show on dyno day, we tossed in our 2013 GT500 press car and convinced Don Walsh Jr. to run his Hellion-boosted turbo Boss 302. Walsh wanted to fill the tank with race gas and bump the boost, but time didn't allow it. Despite running just 8 psi and pump gas, nothing that day could top his pull of 643 hp. Talk about a cool daily driver.
This brought us to Shelby American in Las Vegas—Sin City, home of guiltless pleasure and guiltless horsepower. Our event took place in November, just days before the SEMA show and on the same weekend the NHRA was in town. Additionally, we invited spectators to come watch—a Dyno Wars first. We even gave them a guided, behind-the-scenes look at the entire Shelby facility as a bonus. Plus, everyone who came had the chance to be on our Dyno Wars 4 video.
The wild array of Fords included a fully modified '93 Cobra (yeah, the one you're supposed to leave alone) with a NASCAR-inspired, ProCharged 358 monster on meth; a liquid-cooled Kenne Bell-pumped drag race Shelby GT500 on E-85; a nitrous-gulping sleeper Three-Valve GT; a show-and-go, Gotta-Have-It-Green twin-turbo Coyote; a strip-ready, blown and nitrous fed Two-Valve GT; and a wicked poked and stroked Boss 429-havin' '69 Ford Talladega NASCAR replica that flat-out stole the show.
Of course, this war, like others, would not have taken place without the great participants, as well as Shelby American and it's accommodating staff, and AmericanMuscle for partnering with us on this great series. Gary Patterson and Gil Nevarez, and the Shelby staff, did a great job and even invited us back for 2013. If you'd like to see more Dyno Wars, please let us know by posting to our FB page or by contacting Marc Christ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of all, fans didn't have to wait long for results, as Shelby had multiple big-screen TVs to broadcast the action, and we posted the numbers and videos moments after each pull to our Facebook page. So, who reigned supreme? Read on and see which Ford was the top dog in Dyno Wars 4.
2005 Mustang GT
If there was a sleeper of the bunch it was the '05 GT of John Carahalis—his Sonic Blue GT was the only non-blown car in the battle. On track it had run a best of 11.01 at 128, showing some big power. Carahalis couldn't make it, so he enlisted his pal Gerson Torres to bring the GT over to Shelby American.
The Three-Valve was looking mild with its stock paint and mostly stock interior. But the stock look disappeared when Gerson revealed the built Three-Valve with JPC intake and a Zex nitrous kit. "Most of the mods done to my car came from reading your magazine," said John. "I did most of the laborious jobs in my driveway, or in the garage with jack stands. The tuning, cam setup, and head placement was done by Silver State Motorsports, and tuning was by John Lund. The short-block was actually purchased from NMRA racer Jim St. Charles," he added.
Once strapped down and warmed up, the madness began. The GT auto-equipped responded with a pull of just over 500 rwhp, but the run was not clean. We could hear a small misfire so Gerson got on the phone for tuning advise and began to dial in the GT with a hand-held tuner. He also checked the plugs and swapped bottles.
The Three-Valve cleaned up a bit, but never made a clean full pull. Peak on the graph shows 562, but a closer look at the curve reveal the GT was more likely making just under 500. Since it takes about 600 flywheel horsepower to take a full-body GT to 128 mph, we think 485 rwhp is about what the GT should be making. Had the engine run clean, who knows how much more power it would have produced. Unfortunately the allotted 30-minute window closed ending any chance for improvement.
|John Carahalis' 2005 Mustang GT|
|Engine Displacement||281 w/Manley internals|
|Transmission||Level 10-prepared 5R55S (3,900 stall)|
|Power Adder||Zex Nitrous wet kit: 88/52 nitrous/fuel jetting|
|Cylinder Heads||FRPP ported|
|Camshaft(s)||Comp Cams 490/480 lift, 261/278 duration|
|Fuel Injection System||Stock w/SCT programmer|
|Tires||M/T Drag Radial 275/40/17|
2013 Ford Mustang GT
While every other competitor in Dyno Wars 4 was packing a built engine, the Addco GT was there to show off the capabilities of a daily-driven, bolt-on Coyote. Internally, the 5.0 engine was stone stock, externally it sported boost from a Hellion Eliminator twin-turbo kit, similar to the one we recently featured (Jan. '13) on a Boss 302.
"This 2013 Mustang started out as a base GT and the only upgrades from Ford are the automatic transmission, Recaro seats, and Sync," stated a representative from Addco, a leading antiroll-bar manufacturer for over 51 years.
"Our GT will be featured in the Addco booth at the SEMA show and it now has the handling worthy of the additional power with the solid Addco front and rear sway bars."
In addition to the twins, the GT benefited from 80-lb/hr injectors with an additional Vortech fuel pump and Borla 3-inch exhaust. It also has a host of suspension upgrades from BMR Fabrication and Whiteline. It's appearance was dialed in with Bonspeed wheels and Nitto tires, a 3dCarbon spoiler, and CDC RTR-style splitter and rear fascia. Completing the package is a tricked interior with Katzkin leather chairs with green stitching and a massive Kicker audio system with a unique in-dash iPad for tuning and audio/video.
"John [Uirst of Hellion] yielded incredible numbers on low boost and with the stock engine. The twin-turbo system works efficiently and still allows daily driver ability with excellent gas mileage," he added.
|Addco Manufacturing's 2013 Ford Mustang GT|
|Engine||Stock Coyote 5.0L w/Hellion Twin-Turbo kit|
|Transmission||Stock Automatic six-speed|
|Power Adder||Hellion Power Systems Twin-Turbo Eliminator kit|
|Fuel Injection System||Stock, tuned w/custom SCT tune|
|Max Boost||8 psi|
1969 Ford Talladega
MM&FFreaders might not be familiar with the Talladega, a unique model that Ford built early in 1969 to enhance performance in NASCAR. Only about 750 street-legal models were built. Some of the most prolific drivers of the time wheeled these machines, including Richard Petty, David Pearson, and Benny Parsons, to name a few. Rick Stanton's example replicates Parsons' No. 72 entry and it took nearly a lifetime to create his "dream car" which he not only street drives, but races. It has topped 250 mph!
"When I was 23 (Stanton is now 66) I sat in a new Talladega on the showroom floor at a dealership, that was the beginning of my dream," he proclaimed. "For over 30 years I have been collecting the parts to build a Boss 429 engine to put in a Talladega that I would someday own. I found my car 14 years ago in a junkyard in California. It was only a body, with very little straight sheetmetal and missing the entire drivetrain and wheels. It was love at first sight, I found the car that had potential to be a street-legal NASCAR clone—I had to have it."
The home-built Boss sports a wicked 672-inch Isky cam with 11:1 compression. It also has Ross pistons, Eagle rods, roller cam bearings to allow the big solid roller to spin freely and there is a dry sump for oiling. Topping the mill is a 1,250-cfm Holley Dominator on a NASCAR Super Speedway single-plane intake with custom step headers feeding 4-inch Spintech mufflers. A prepped Toploader and McLeod clutch get the power to the 9-inch that is geared from 2.50 to 3.31 depending on the event and track.
Once setup, Navaro jammed himself into the tight Kirky seat and he went over the controls carefully. Finally, he floored the throttle and let it eat.
"I was in there [the throttle] forever," Navaro admitted. It was wild with the dyno running that fast and for so long."
Navaro laid on the coals until the dyno shut him down at 228 mph, and the Talladega laid down a whopping 713 rwhp.
|Rick Stanton's 1969 Ford Talladega|
|Engine||Boss 429 bored to 589 cid|
|Cylinder Heads||Aluminum NASCAR D-port 2.40/1.90|
|Camshaft(s)||Isky 0.672, 262/268 duration|
|Fuel Injection System||Holley 1250 Holley Dominator|
|Tires||Goodyear Eagle 27.5x12x15-inch|
|Max Boost||Didn't need any|
2001 Ford Mustang GT
If there was an underdog in the mix, it was Nathan Alleman's Two-Valve GT—though with 821 rwhp, his New Edge won't finish behind many.
MMR built the 325-inch stroker that has ported TFS heads, Stage 3 crower cams and Manley components in the bottom-end. Up top is a Reichard Racing intake fed by a mighty intercooled ProCharged F1-C unit (22 psi), with the addition of single-stage 50hp NOS dry kit for added punch.
"I bought my GT new and have done all the work, except for machining and tuning. I have changed superchargers several times and put a new motor in it, too. Previously it was in the low 10s," he added. Alleman hadn't yet drag tested with the new mill, but track action is the purpose for the GT's existence.
The modular 'plant is backed by an FB Performance 4R70W with a 3.73 cog in the rear. He still relies on the stock ECM with a JMS tune flashed in there. Other essentials include 80-lb/hr injectors, Aeromotive fuel system, BBK twin-65mm throttle body, Kooks headers, Dynomax mufflers and a UPR suspension to hook it up.
"I thought it was a cool event," Allerman stated. "My car performed like I thought it would, we had a good time. I drove over 1,500 miles each way and when I got home I went right to work. The first chance I got I took it to Royal Purple Raceway (Houston) and ran 9.60 at 149 mph."
His GT looks the part of an everyday Mustang, but packs enough punch to run deep in the 9s, or perhaps 8s with tuning. On this day it had enough steam for third place, and that is pretty sporty. He couldn't let us go without thanking his wife and kids, especially his wife, who rode shotgun all the way to Vegas and back to Texas.
|Nathan Alleman's 2001 Ford Mustang GT|
|Engine||MMR-prepared Two-Valve modular, bored and stroked to 325 cid|
|Transmission||FB Performance 4R70W|
|Power Adder||Procharger F1-C/NOS single-stage dry kit (50 shot)|
|Cylinder Heads||TFS Aluminum|
|Camshaft(s)||Crower Stage 3|
|Fuel Injection System||Stock W/JMS tune|
|Max Boost||22 psi|
1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
TEAMMM&FF has known Matt Snow for years—he's the man behind Snow Performance, makers of one of the best-selling methanol injection systems on the market. With that, Snow is no stranger to making horsepower, or dyno testing, and his own '93 Cobra has spun the rollers to some serious numbers.
Snow's mount is a fabulous SVT Cobra that has loads of appeal, but is far from factory. The heart of Snow's street and track beats is an Ernie Elliott-built NASCAR-style 358-inch Windsor with an F2 ProCharger that's normally pulley'd for 24 psi.
The ultra-clean appearance and attention to detail is seen from the engine bay to the back bumper. He races the Cobra—hard—whenever he gets the chance and of course, uses it as a test bed for his meth systems and controllers.
Before loading the Cobra to Shelby's Dynojet, Snow pulled me aside and confessed he hurt the engine (a little) preparing for our shootout. "I knew we hurt it on the dyno. We were past just 1,000 [hp] and we pulley'd down and buzzed the blower, and quite honestly it was too much. We went from 24 to 32 and we lost two cylinders," he explained. "I couldn't miss this opportunity, even if it didn't make as much as it normally would," explained Snow.
I thought there would be a 1,100hp car there and we wanted to match it. It's a great, reliable 1,000hp car, but were trying to push beyond what it was designed for."
We could see the disappointment in Snow's eyes, as he knew his Cobra wasn't giving its all. The 358 stumbled when it came up on the revs, but still produced big power. It spun the rollers to the tune of 860.24 rwhp.
The pull moved Snow into Second Place, and no real chance to top the Shelby, he called it quits, but promised to return with more power.
|Matt Snow's 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra|
|Engine||Ernie Elliott-built NASCAR-style 358 Windsor with a dry-sump with Jesel valvetrain|
|Power Adder||ProCharger F2|
|Cylinder Heads||Yates/Elliot aluminum (NASCAR)|
|Camshaft(s)||Custom blower cam with reduced overlap|
|Fuel Injection System||Big Stuff 3|
|Tires||Nitto NT01 315/35/17|
|Max Boost||Over 30 psi|
2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Whenwe announced the location for the final battle, Mark Meiring was the first to respond. Actually, Jim Bell of Kenne Bell Superchargers cast his vote for Meiring's GT500 that sports a Mod mill massaged by Mihovetz (John that is of Accufab), backed by a T400 trans and a Steeda suspension. With its parachute, drag wheels and full cage, there is no denying its purpose, but just how potent would the Shelby be in this challenge? It's been 8.15/170 in the quarter, but that's no guarantee it would spin for the win.
Upon cranking up the 5.4 it was apparent the engine was a beast. Its Pro Mod-like cackle was devilish and on the first pull bystanders jumped back and jammed their fingers in their ears.
Thanks to Chris Groves, who was there, Meiring's mount was tuned well and it spit out an angry 1,056 hp on the first hit. With massive torque, the dyno spun up quickly and Nevarez was out of the gas in short term. Not satisfied, and still with 25 minutes to play, the team jumped to action, checking plugs and replenishing the ice for the intercooler.
After a modest cool-down, Nevarez and Groves climbed in and gave the Shelby another try. With the fluids fully warmed and fresh ice chilling the intercooler, the monster released another hundred ponies—for a total of 1,125—a full 200 more than any Dyno Wars competitor and 365 more than anyone in Vegas.
Meiring jumped skyward in elation and the crowd fist-pumped and cheered at the new record and quadruple-digit score. Even Nevarez was taken back, as was the MM&FF and Shelby staff on hand.
"We leaned it out to make the power and it was right where I'd though we'd be. Considering the auto trans, it kind of flat lines on the dyno. On the track you can feel it lock up, but not on the dyno. I have hopes for 7s in the quarter now that it's tuned so well."
|Mark Meiring's 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500|
|Engine||5.4L modular built by John Mihovetz|
|Power Adder||Kenne Bell water-cooled 4.2L supercharger, 3.5-inch pulley|
|Cylinder Heads||Stock, ported by John Mihovetz|
|Fuel Injection System||Big Stuff 3|
|Max Boost||27 psi|