April 1, 2004

If aliens landed on Earth and asked us what this whole "5.0 Mustang thing" was all about, we'd have them take a look at this clean little white notchback owned by Matt Honea from Dripping Springs, Texas. For us, this car embodies everything you need to know about the 5.0 Mustang in one nice package. Matt's creation remains true to its roots with a fuelie 302 underhood, a Vortech S-Trim screaming away, and low-10-second capability at the drop of the hat. The fact that it retains its 100,000-mile-young short-block and T5 transmission is just icing on the cake.

"Four years ago, I bought the car bone stock from a doctor who was selling it because the baby seat didn't fit well," Matt says. "He told me he would sell it to me as long as I didn't race it. Boy, if only he could see it now!"

Within a year of ownership, Matt added the exhaust, the rocker arms, and a 125-shot nitrous kit. With those parts the car would run 12.21s at more than 109 mph all day long. After going through what Matt describes as "pounds and pounds" of nitrous, he bought a used Vortech S-Trim. With blower and 3.55 gears, the car ran 11.83 seconds at 115 mph. Then, one night while Matt was street racing the car, the head gasket let go. He was at a crossroads. As is typical of these situations, what began as a mild rebuild turned into a wild little trip through the 5.0 Mustang parts books.

For Matt-and most 5.0 Mustang enthusiasts-finding the right camshaft/ head/intake combination is what separates the hobbyist from the guy who is really kicking some butt. The Vortech intake, the Edelbrock heads, and the Comp Cams pieces that Matt finally put together have really worked well. Good tuning with the stock computer, 30-lb/hr injectors, and a Cartech FMU have allowed him to push many stock pieces further than most would dare. Once everything came together during a long eight months of downtime, the hard work and cash outlay definitely proved worthwhile.

Something we want to stress to those of you contemplating a similar "stock component" setup is that Matt runs this car hard. It isn't a once-a-year dragstrip queen that ripped a 10.40/133 pass on a miracle hit. Matt is a regular who loves nothing more than tossing a good gear in his 10-second street car. And, with this car's light base weight and good torque, it has plenty of punch. We went for a ride in this LX with Matt, and we walked away with a revitalized respect for what a stock component car can be all about. With the exception of the camshaft, this is a combination that makes your understand just how amazing the 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Real Street cars are.

Matt realizes he's pushing things and that in his search for a 9.99-second timeslip, the stock short-block may be a casualty. He's already making plans for a built bottom end (and four-bolt race block, please) with the addition of a Vortech YS-Trim supercharger.

If you're new to the 5.0 Mustang game, we hope you take a close look at this car. It harkens back to simpler times when you had to use your brains and technical skills-more than your pocketbook-to make a 5.0 Mustang the baddest car in town. For us, Matt's '91 notchback is a true classic in every sense of the word.