Chris Hemer
January 1, 2000

Step By Step

View Photo Gallery
P76447_large 1993_Ford_Mustang Front_Passenger_SideP76475_large 1993_Ford_Mustang EngineP76476_large 1993_Ford_Mustang Rear_Passenger_Side

Every once in a while, you'll read about someone who claims to have the world's fastest this or the world's quickest that. Usually, however, the self-proclaimed title is qualified with a description that places it in it's own special category--the world's fastest normally aspirated; the world's fastest stock chassis; the world's fastest single turbo, etc. But does anyone really know it for a fact?

John Mihovetz does, because he's got the world's quickest and fastest mod-motored Mustang in the world--period--no limitations on category or configuration. With 8-second capability at more than 150 mph in the quarter-mile, John's car is simply the quickest and fastest, without exception.

Contrary to what you might think, John didn't have a '93 coupe just sitting around and decided to stuff a Cobra motor into it. The car came that way. "Ford's development on the mod motor really started in the early '90s," John explains. "The car is actually one of two development cars built by Ford Motor Company with a Cobra drivetrain in it. I bought the car from another racer who was working on a normally aspirated program. That was back in early 1995."

The car, which had been raced and already had a 10-point cage and subframe connectors in place, was a perfect launching pad for John's own endeavors. As the owner of Accufab in Ontario, California (manufacturer of quality billet throttle bodies), John makes it a point to keep up on Ford's latest offerings, and knew the 4.6 was going to be the wave of the future.

"The first plan was to make the car go faster," says John, matter-of-factly. "We slowly progressed and took it step-by-step. We didn't just click our heels and have a 9-second car." The first plan of attack was to Extrude Hone the stock heads, build a set of long-tube headers, and fit the motor with a Kenne-Bell supercharger. The T45 was replaced with an Art Carr C4 transmission, and the car went 10.60s. "That was the end of the season for us because we couldn't go any faster with that combination," says John.

The following season, John stepped up the program again. The 8.8 rearend was narrowed by Performance Motorsports (Ontario, California) and fitted with Strange 4.56 gearing, a spool, and 31-spline axles. John built the mini-tubs himself to accommodate a pair of 29x12-inch Goodyear Eagle slicks. Global West lower control arms and AVO coil-overs aid in traction, while Strange discs on all four corners provide the stopping power.

A new engine was assembled, featuring a lightened Cobra steel crank, custom-made Cunningham steel rods, Arias forged pistons, Total Seal rings, and Phil Threshie camshafts. Tuning help was provided by Mark Sanchez at Advanced Engineering West (Ontario, California) and mod-motor guru, Sean Hyland of Sean Hyland Motorsport. A Vortech S-Trim supercharger producing 15 psi of boost was bolted on, and the car broke into the nines, with a best of 9.91 at 136 mph. "Then we reached the limit of the EEC V computer," says John. "We couldn't rev the motor any higher than 7,000 rpm."

The following season John fit the engine with his own air-to-air inter- cooler and even bigger Hooker step-headers, which step from 1-7/8 inches to 2 inches, to 2-1/8 inches, then dump into 3-1/2-inch collectors and exhaust pipes fitted with Hooker Max Flow mufflers. The S-Trim was replaced with an R-Trim making 21 psi of boost, and an Electromotive engine management system (calibrated by Lance Nist of Pantera Specialists in Santa Ana, California) was added. "I think the Electromotive system was the biggest gain of all," John comments, "because it allowed us to take total control of the engine and increase the rpm range up to 8,800 rpm, which is where it makes power." These changes put the car in the 9.20s at more than 153 mph, and the combination remained the same for two seasons and "at least 100 passes," says John.

At the J&P Performance Shootout in London, Ontario, Canada, John's coupe was still ripping off 9.20's, but by Saturday afternoon started exhibiting signs of fatigue. That night John trailered the car to Sean Hyland Motorsports in nearby Langton, Ontario, to install a fresh motor that already had been built for the car. This latest iteration consists of a lightened Cobra steel crank, Sean Hyland Motorsport rods, pistons and rings, and the same heads fitted with SHM stainless valves and valve springs. The Phil Threshie cams were retained, and the intake manifold was fitted with one of Accufab's polished billet 90mm throttle bodies. The engine is now backed by a Performance Automatic-built C4, with an Art Carr 6,300-rpm converter and a Performance Automatic trans brake. A bullet-proof aluminum driveshaft by Inland Empire Driveline Service, also of Ontario, California, handles the shock load generated by the high-rpm launches. On a recent trip to Pomona Raceway in Pomona, California, the new engine propelled the coupe to an astounding 9.09 e.t. at 154 mph in the summer heat.

"We know the car can go much faster than that," says John. "That's 8-second mph (speed indicating 8-second capability), and we haven't even begun to lean on it yet. With bigger injectors, a T-Trim, cog belt system, and some more chassis work, we'll go mid-eights."

Having garnered the title of world's quickest and fastest mod-motor car, you might ask what John plans to do for an encore. "The next step after this is going to be twin turbos and a 'Glide," he says. "I don't know whether it's going to be a 4.6 or a 5.4 yet, but I have both on hand. The goal is to continue our reign of terror and stay the fastest mod-motored car in the world--period. We'll do whatever it takes to stay ahead of the pack. No one's gonna catch us at this point."