5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
Joe Hutchins' 1994 Mustang
A Normally Aspirated, Mod-Motored Mustang Shoots For The 10s
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It used to be unusual to find a supercharged car on the street, or even the track. After all, superchargers were expensive and bulky--and while they could conceivably produce big power numbers, they usually created overheating, surging, and other driveability problems. Electronic fuel injection and engine management changed all that. Now, it's odd to find a fast car--especially a Mustang--that isn't supercharged. Joe Hutchins not only has an 11-second normally aspirated Mustang, but it's powered by a mod motor to boot.
Joe knew from the beginning that he wanted to build a race car, something decidedly different than anything else at the track. To this end, he purchased a '94 V6 automatic Mustang and a Cobra drivetrain out of a wrecked car, and dropped both on the doorstep of Sean Hyland Motorsport (SHM) in Langton, Ontario, Canada. There, Sean Hyland sat down with Joe, and discussed his options. They finally settled on a normally aspirated four-valve motor that would push the car into the high-10s or low-11s.
First, the '94's V-6 and drivetrain were cast aside,then the original suspension was removed, and the interior was gutted. The Cobra 8.8 rearend was fitted with 4.56 gears amd Moser 31-spline axles and spool, and bolted into place along with Steeda lower control arms, Kenny Brown TracKit, Eibach drag springs, and Koni shocks. Up front, the Mustang features a tubular K-member, tubular lower control arms, Flaming River manual rack and pinion, and Koni struts, with a coil-over kit. Tying the two halves together is a pair of Kenny Brown Extreme Subframe Connectors.
Extra braking power is provided by a rather unique, four-wheel disc system. "There isn't room for the standard power booster found in the two-valve and six-cylinder cars," Hyland explains. "And we couldn't use the Cobra Hydra Boost system either, because it operates off the power steering pump, which we had removed to keep the weight down." The answer was to custom-fit a manual brake master cylinder to work in conjunction with Aerospace Components 12-inch rotors and billet calipers in the front, and stock Cobra brakes in the rear, to bring the Mustang to a safe stop. The wheel/ tire combo is unique as well; Complete Custom Wheel manufactures the handsome three-piece aluminum wheels, which are shod with 28x10-inch Goodyear Eagle slicks in the rear. Firestone vintage road race tires are up front.
While the chassis was being completed, Sean was hard at work completing the engine program. "We did the bottom end of the engine the same way we do high-horsepower supercharged engines," says Sean. This includes a stock block, which is line-bored, decked, and honed .020 over. "These [Cobra] blocks have a tendancy to move around a lot," Sean explains, "and we've found we get better results by simply honing them to size." Next, Sean installed main studs, a micro-polished Cobra crank, his own billet rods, and forged 12:1 Wiseco pistons with 1.5 mm moly top, cast second, and 3mm oil rings. Hyland's own main-stud girdle (3/16-inch-thick, T6 aluminum billet) is slipped over the main studs, fastened with jamb nuts, then sandwiched between the pan rail and the oil pan, significantly reducing torsional block-flex.
Up top, the engine features SHM-prepped, fully ported and polished four-valve Cobra cylinder heads, which were fitted with SHM stainless steel valves, springs, titanium retainers, and Stage II cams, which measure .474 lift intake, .452 exhaust, and 286/276 degrees of advertised duration. "We think we can get about another 40 hp with different cams," Hyland comments. "We were a little hesitant to go big until we knew what the engine really wanted. It turns out that it makes peak power at 7,000 rpm, when it should peak at 8,000."
The top end is finished with a custom-fabricated, sheet-metal manifold, fitted with 42-pound injectors and a single 90mm Accufab throttle body. Ignition is provided by an Electromotive engine management system (with SHM harness and crank trigger), and the resulting exhaust gasses exit through a set of SHM headers with 36-inch primary tubes that step from 1-7/8-inches up to 2-inches. This combination produced 456 hp at 8,000 rpm and 331 lb-ft of torque at 6,300 rpm, sending the car to a best of 12.0 at 114 mph.
Shortly after these photos were taken, however, the engine was fitted with a set of experimental heads and an even more unique, individual-runner intake manifold that features one 52mm throttle body above each runner. This combo produced 479 hp at 6,900 rpm and 364 lb-ft of torque at 6,400 rpm, and sent the 3,000-pound Mustang to an 11.15 e.t. at 122 mph in summer heat and humidity. The engine is backed by an Art Carr C4 transmission featuring a 2.84:1 low gear set, trans brake and 4,000-rpm converter, plus an aluminum flex plate and Ultrabell bellhousing.
"The way this car sits right now, it will go in the 10s in good weather," Hyland promises. "Next, we'll install different cams, which should get it into the 10.70s. I'm not aware of anyone running a mod motor that fast without a power adder." We wouldn't challenge him on that, either.