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Wider Is Better. This 2007 Shelby S197 Proves It
Though Ford cars have been a staple at the Dunn household for many years, youthful Andrew Dunn went beyond the universal box at first and then directed in his enthusiasm to the core. He says his father and friends “did a frame-off restoration on [a 1972 Camaro] for my high school senior project.” At least Dunn got to watch a lot. Then he went right for the Shelby. He was 15. He got old—real fast. While the Shelby was being built, he acquired a 2016 EcoBoost convertible “for the mileage.”
He gathered troops: buddies Anand, Brendon, Justin, Adam, and Riyad helped him choose the modifications; Cornell Hogan for the sound system and appearance; Eddie Rios at Addiction Motorsports (Canoga Park, California) for the dyno tuning; Jerry Irons at Ed’s Garage in Santa Monica for some muscle when needed; and the Futuris Group for the exclusive custom seats. Further, Dunn was of the mind that his 2007 Shelby should return to its Las Vegas origins for serious engine upgrades and the pertinent bodywork.
Via a Ford 5.0L aluminum cylinder block, the cats at the Shelby Speed Shop grew displacement to 302ci with a forged crankshaft, forged connecting rods, and Diamond pistons. With the ported and polished cylinder heads, they maintained the 9.8:1 compression ratio, which was perfect for the boost level to come. Stage 2XFI NSR Comp cams (0.450/0.450 inch lift, 235/249-degree duration at 0.050, 101-degree centerline) were soon cradled in the cylinder head races.
Moving to the surface, Shelby applied a Roush intake manifold fit with a Ford Performance 65mm throttle-body, a JLT Performance cold air intake, 60-lb/hr fuel injectors, and a Roush TVS 2300 blower that produces 15 psi positive manifold pressure with 3 1/4-inch and 7 3/4-inch pulleys. Superheated air is quenched by a Shelby air-to-liquid aftercooler. Waste is extracted by Bassani long-tubes and X-pipe, and a 3-inch after-cat exhaust system. Eddie Rios then extracted 750 hp and 625 lb-ft of twist at the tire.
To absorb the considerable commotion, Dunn called for a McLeod twin-disc clutch/flywheel setup, and instead of the original five-speed he had it backed with a Tremec T56. Shelby retained the Ford Performance 3.55:1 gears and beefed up the 8.8-inch axle with Moser Engineering 31-spline shafts and a toughie spool. They connected the drive with a Performance Driveshafts 3 1/2-inch diameter aluminum link.
Shelby’s agents changed out the suspension and the brakes and upgraded the chassis. In front they hung Maximum Motorsports upper and lower control arms and adjustable Eibach Pro System-Plus coilover struts, then finished it off with a 1 1/2-inch-diameter antisway bar. They situated the rear axle with Ford upper and Metco lower control arms and settled the rear suspension with the companion Eibach Pro adjustable coilovers and an 7/8-inch antisway bar.
Unsprung weight includes monster Wilwood 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers at each corner, capped with immodest Shelby American hoops, 20x9.5 front and 20x13 rear, holding Michelin Super Sport ZR-rated 275/30 and 345/30 gummies. Prior to its departure from Las Vegas, Shelby keenly adapted Wide Body shoulder flares to shroud the oversize wheels and made it look like the car that rolled off the Flat Rock line was born with them.
Dunn was more interested in his Mustang’s newfound performance than customizing the exterior. Aside from the Ford Black that Shelby applied after installing the wheel arches, they added a Cervini Ram Air Type IV bonnet from AmericanMuscle but left the original air spoiler in place. Dunn reduced interior clutter by deleting the rear seat but enriched his experience with special leather-trimmed racing seats from the Futuris Group. As accompaniment, he included a Corbeau roll bar and companion four-point safety harnesses. But he had to have melodies on top of cool, manufactured air. His pal Cornell Hogan at Auto Image in Columbus, Ohio, installed the stereo.
So nine years after the first blush—and a lot of Benjamins later—Dunn is smiling and rolling heavy. He is happy with his unique automobile; it swivels heads and lays down fierce treads. Most of all, he is appreciative of his family’s involvement for getting him into the car scene and for using the parts for those cars as motivation.
Dunn says that “the car drives like any car with lowered and stiff suspension, rough but it handles and corners very smoothly. I’ve owned the car since it first came out in 2007 and have been modifying it slowly and steadily ever since. It’s caused some headaches, but I love how much of a head-turner it is when I’m driving down the road. I can’t stop thinking about the next upgrade—and I doubt I ever will. It’s a car that is a forever car and will eventually become my child’s.”