Steve Statham
May 1, 2002

Horse Sense: Trent's stout engine, combined with the Cartech kit, spun the chassis dyno to 600 lb-ft before his torque converter let go. So, we don't have final numbers yet, but they should be big.

Ford hasn't built a 5.0 Mustang since 1995, but that doesn't mean every Ford enthusiast is ready to jump to the 4.6 modular-motor camp. There are plenty of pushrod V-8 fans still willing to sink good money into the nation's aging 5.0 Mustang fleet.

All of which is a roundabout way of explaining why Cartech is reintroducing a turbo kit for a car that hasn't been built in seven years. The company recently returned to the drawing board to update and reengineer its turbo package for the '94-'95 5.0 Mustang GT and Cobra. Enthusiasts such as Trent Huffman of Denton, Texas, owner of the '95 Saleen pictured here, are still sold on the time-less small-block and will spend what it takes to boost the 5.0 to dyno-smokin' levels.

You can be forgiven if you hadn't noticed Cartech's '94-'95 kit the first time around. The package was quietly released, then pulled from production after perhaps a half-dozen kits were sold. Sometimes even established businesses have to drop back and punt, and in this case Cartech figured a few improvements were in order.

The new kit incorporates those changes. Specifically, the wastegate was relocated, as the previous location proved problematic on lowered cars. Cartech also moved the turbo flange and relocated the bypass valve for better street reliability. The company replaced the one-piece downpipe with a two-piece downpipe, easing installation considerably.

Cartech has engaged in another slow rollout of the new kits, with Trent's Saleen being one of the first recipients. His yellow '95 is certainly built to take advantage of the turbo's added thrust.

Trent enlisted Total Performance in Danville, Illinois, to assemble the fundamentals. The balanced and blueprinted 331ci stroker motor's component parts are plenty stout, specifically an R302 four-bolt-main block with billet steel crank, rods, and pistons. The cam is a turbo-spec piece from Bennett Racing. Trent teamed the Trick Flow Street Heat heads with a Trick Flow intake manifold.

The switch from the car's previous supercharger to a turbo system was a bit of wish fulfillment for Trent. Although only 21 years old, he has wanted a turbo for several of his young years. For his Saleen, he didn't take the conservative route. Cartech hooked up a honking T-76 turbo for his combination, which could support about as much horsepower as he'd ever want. The T-76, however, is a custom deal for Trent's car. Cartech plans to offer the T-44 as the standard turbo for the '94-'95 kit, with a T-63 optional.

To feed the beast, Trent stayed in the Cartech family with a Stage III fuel system. He selected a PMS piggyback processor to keep everything under control.

Trent was trying to strike that hard-to-find balance between street driver, road racer, and drag car with his Saleen. "We did, between a drag racer and road racer," he says. That strategy explains why he selected drag-ready parts such as a manual valvebody C4 transmission with a 3,500-stall speed and transbrake, and then left the 3.55 gear in the rearend.

Rather than switch to drag skinnies up front, Trent left in place the special-option magnesium Saleen wheels, 18x10 inches in the rear and 18x8.5 inches in the front. "I tried to keep as much Saleen as possible," he says. The rollcage-a combination of off-the-shelf parts and fabricated pieces installed by Total Performance-is appropriate for both dragstrip and road course.

The car's tubular front end retains the Saleen emphasis on handling with coilover springs and chrome-moly upper and lower control arms with urethane bushings. Trent had an antiroll kit installed in the rear suspension.

With all the various new boost gauges, rev-limiter readouts, and whatnot, Trent had Total Performance fabricate custom instrument mountings, generating a few double takes from spectators in the process.

In the short term, Trent plans to attend various Ford events and car shows with the Saleen, along with assorted cruising. For other '94-'95 owners thinking about making the jump to a turbo, Cartech's turbo kits are still produced on a built-to-order basis, so customers can expect to receive the parts six to eight weeks after ordering. Installation time at the company's new shop (see New Digs sidebar) is about 15 hours of labor (three days in real time) or roughly $900-$1,000, depending on whether you pull up in a stock GT or over-the-top project car. The base price for the '94-'95 turbo kit is $3,780.

New Digs
At a time when the economy is grinding to a halt, and talk of war leads the average enthusiast to keep a flinty two-handed grip on his wallet, it's encouraging that at least some performance businesses are expanding. Cartech [(830) 438-2890; www.cartech .net] recently branched out from one aging location in north San Antonio, Texas, to two new facilities on the outskirts of the Alamo city.

These moves now allow Cartech to offer installation services for its turbo kits, along with a full range of other performance services. In the past, Cartech manufactured turbo kits and performance parts aimed almost exclusively at the mail-order do-it-yourselfer. But ever-increasing numbers of customers who wanted someone else to turn the wrenches persuaded the company that too much business was going elsewhere, says Mike Montgomery, Cartech's marketing and promotions director. Thus, the new installation facility in Universal City [(210) 945-0352].

Cartech will continue to build and ship turbo kits to industrious souls across the globe, but the company can now also bolt on the good stuff per "factory" specifications. Mike Neace, formerly with Texas Jam Racing, is the main technician at the new shop, with Alan Strack fabricating the custom wiring and helping with sales. Cartech's line of products will be engineered and produced at a new facility in the Kestrel Airpark in Spring Branch, north of San Antonio.

When we visited Cartech's tidy, new installation shop in Universal City in October, one week after the facility opened, everything was so new and unlived-in that a Dell computer box was the major furnishing in the customer area. That probably won't last. Cartech's Mike Montgomery says they hope to run about five cars a week through the facility.