Amie Williams Associate Online Editor
June 9, 2015
Photos By: Henry DeKuyper

After 12 years in the Army serving our country, including tours in the Middle East, Rey Rivera was medically retired with injuries sustained in Iraq. But that didn’t deter him from his passion for performance. “Throughout all of the road bumps with deployments and health issues, I was able to campaign the first purpose-built 2V car in NMRA’s Factory Stock class,” Rivera tells us. “That all came to a screeching halt when I received news that I was no longer a member of the Armed Forces.”

Rivera, now owner of Juggernaut Power in North Reading, Massachusetts, decided that it was time to focus on his health and his future. His wife, Shannon, decided to surprise her husband with a 2011 Performance Red Mustang as an Army retirement present. Rivera was ecstatic, and he couldn’t wait to get back into the game.

Like all Mustang enthusiasts around the world, Rivera was anxiously waiting for the covers to come off of the all-new global 2015 Ford Mustang dubbed the S550. He says, “As soon as they dropped the cloth that morning, I called up my buddy, John Bowen from Bowen’s Garage Incorporated Ford dealer, and he got the ball rolling on my dream car.”

Before the delivery of his car, Rey reached out to performance companies to see if they needed a beta car. In June he received a call from Neil Tjin from Vortech and the Tjin Edition Road Show, who was looking to get a team together to build up his car. “The car was going to represent Vortech at the 2014 SEMA show,” Rivera says.

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Meanwhile, John Bowen and his father, Steve Bowen, were busting their tails to get the car, now called Project Juggernaut, out to Oxnard, California, to get it ready for the biggest automotive aftermarket trade show in the world. That’s when the magic began. Vortech outfitted Rey’s ride with its prototype V-3 SI supercharger kit for the new S550. For added rumble and airflow, the car was outfitted with a MagnaFlow Competition Cat-Back exhaust system provided by Rich Waitas.

Adding to aesthetics, Forgestar provided a set of custom gunmetal black textured F14 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT05 competition rubber. The killer stance was finished off with Steeda springs as well as front and rear sway bars. Redline Tuning provided its coveted hood struts to open up the engine bay for a cleaner, meaner appearance.

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For stopping power and an aggressive look, large 15-inch Baer brakes were installed. “I opted to have the Tjin Edition logo engraved on the calipers to say thank you to Neil Tjin for his efforts, mentorship, and friendship,” says Rivera.

“A highlight of the show was having Dave Pericak ask if he could look at my car and take a picture of it and myself,” Rivera tells us.

Shannon also owns her own business, a photography business called Through My Lenz Photography. She was available to show off her expertise at SEMA with Vortech.

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Now that the modifications have been added, Rivera is enjoying having a show-stopping S550. He says, “The car keeps pulling on the top end with tons of power, but a nice relaxing drive is always available.”

After SEMA, Rivera decided it was time to start something he has wanted to do for years. He started a company and performance website that sells Ford Mustang performance parts called Juggernaut Power. He asked his childhood friend, Ken, another diehard Mustang fanatic, to go in on the business. Although Ken is still on active duty, he plans on coming home as a full-time owner when he retires in a couple of years.

“Keep an eye out,” says Rivera. “We are currently building a Juggernaut Power Stage 3 engine to throw in to Project Juggernaut. It will be companied by the heavier-breathing V7 Vortech head unit.”

Juggernaut Power owns a vehicle design department called TVG (Track Vehicle Group). “TVG designs and builds a line of turnkey, street-legal race cars based off of the S550 platform, and we’re planning to unveil at SEMA,” Rivera explains.

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For a grand opening, Juggernaut Power rented out the entire Thompson Speedway in Connecticut for a power track day and car show to promote homeless veterans awareness. All of the proceeds from that day is to benefit the local New England homeless veteran shelters.

Rivera has owned many American muscle cars throughout the years, including a 1999 Mustang GT that ran in NMRA’s Factory Stock, a 1993 coupe, a 1995 GT, a 2001 Mustang GT, and a 2011 Mustang GT, just to name a few. We can’t wait to see what he and Juggernaut Power have in store for the upcoming SEMA show.