Michael Johnson Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
July 2, 2014
Photos By: Nate Hassler

The weekend of April 21, 2013, this author was living a dream. I had the keys to a ‘13 Shelby GT500, and I was in LA. Life couldn't get any better. I was driving an amzing car on perhaps the most amazing roads in America. Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway, Mulholland Drive, and the like, were on the GPS more than once that weekend. I played ball at Venice beach, ate at In N' Out Burger, sat in traffic on the 405, walked Hollywood Boulevard, among many places. However, I did have to do some work that weekend, which involved attending the Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott's Berry Farm, which is the first time I was able to attend that show.

I was in a euphoric state. Life couldn't get any better. I was driving the baddest Mustang ever built in the coolest city in America, but Brett Madsen's little Two-Valve Mustang you see here stopped me in my tracks.

We use the term aero package when referring to Brett’s Roush, because it’s functional, not a ground effects package designed to make it look cool. The list of mods is long, so keep up. Brett’s Roush features a Steeda Autosports cowl hood with custom heat extractor vents, rolled fenders, a Roush-Yates NASCAR COT carbon-fiber rear wing (with a reinforced trunk lid) and front splitter, Agent 47 Vortex Generators, Wicked Motorsports rear diffuser, and the factory Roush ... ahem, ground effects. For rolling stock, Brett’s Roush employs ’00 Cobra R wheels with BFG R1 treads.

Sure, you can see why it stopped me in my tracks, what with spoilers here and aerodynamic aids there. I'm probably lucky, and so is Brett, that I didn't trip on and destroy the car's splitter. I do have a history of destroying splitters. But no, it wasn't so much the car's body mods that stopped me in my tracks as it was the engine of choice under the Steeda Autosports Q400 fiberglass hood. It wasn't an exotic Four-Valve or built pushrod engine—it was just a humble Two-Valve making 388 rwhp and 385 lb-ft of torque. Hold on a second—what?! How is this car making that much power? The engine looked amazingly stock, which made a head scratcher out of the dyno sheet propped up in the engine bay. I snapped a couple pics, and car owner Brett Madsen walked from behind the car to investigate the dork holding the camera.

At the time, I was about to jump into a Two-Valve engine build on my former car, an '01 Bullitt, and seeing the power Brett's car made with simple factory pieces gave me hope that I would be able to replicate those numbers. (I wasn't able, too, but I digress.) There are several keys to the power of Brett's Mustang, but let's pump the brakes and get to know Brett before we get all technical.

"I've known since I was a child that all I wanted to do was race," Brett says. At the impressionable age of two weeks, his parents had him at Englishtown, New Jersey, to take in some drag racing. Brett's dad has always been into all forms of motorsport, and the race fuel didn't fall far from the can. "As I grew up my passion for racing began to grow, and being a '90s kid, the first Mustang I remember seeing and remember pointing out to my parents from the back of our mini-van was the '96-'98 Mustang," he says. From then on he became obsessed with SN-95 Mustangs.

The interior of Brett’s Roush resembles that of a weekend race car. The seats look like expensive name brands, but are actually replica units with g-Force six-point harnesses. An OMP Racing steering features a NRG quick release and Momo hub to further drive home the car’s true nature.
The A/C is gone, as is the stereo (you probably wouldn’t hear it over the side exit exhaust, anyway). The rear seat has been pitched, too, as has the carpet from the from the rear area. There’s also a custom progressive shift light, a gutted dash, Florida 5.0 delete panels, a custom HVAC panel, and a DetRiot gauge cluster with an Auto Meter oil pressure gauge and PLX DM-5 wideband.

Fortunately, this magazine was there to help sort everything out for him, and his obsession turned into ownership at 16 when he purchased a '98 V-6 Mustang. "It was nothing special, but it didn't stay stock long," Brett says. The '98 would become the first car he would take to the track, and at the end the V-6 had been punched from a 3.8-liter to a 4.2-liter stroker with lots of suspension mods. Brett tells us under his tutilage, the V-6 was an "absolute blast," but after having a Porsche blast past him at 140 mph, he knew he wanted a car with a little more oomphto it.

It would take Brett another two years of saving his pennies and dimes for a little-old-lady-driven '99 Roush Stage 2 Mustang off Craigslist. The car had been kept in a storage unit, was bone-stock, and had just 60,000 miles on it. The little ol' lady part is a stretch, but Brett does say it had an "elderly owner." The color, Dark Green satin, was a rare hue on a Roush. Most Roush owners want their car to stand out in a crowd; for one to escape in a more subdued tone makes for a rare Mustang. "Needless to say, I test-drove it, fell in love with it, and took the '99 Stage 2, Roush-built #3115 home," Brett says.

Since the day Brett bought the car back in January 2010, it was his goal to build the Roush into a NASA American Iron car. However, as all of us can attest, sometimes our budget curtails any big modifications, making us choose carefully what is done to the car to keep it street-friendly, but progressing towards our ultimate goal. Brett's girlfriend, Natalie, was also competing for his attention, and frankly, the same dollars, which often put the car on the back burner. "Ironically, she calls my car ‘the other woman' in our relationship," Brett says.

However, as both time and money intersected, Brett steadily worked on the build and documented his progress on several Mustang forums, with the engine build becoming affectionately known as Project: E85 Torpedo. Brett's plan was to find a cheap, light, reliable, and powerful setup that he could run.