Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
April 1, 2004
Photos By: Steve Turner, Chuck James

Ed says that although the Vortech kit ran well, he wanted to get a custom tune on the engine for maximum reliability and performance. While his goal was to have a powerful car, he also wanted to make sure he could hop in it at any given moment and take off for parts unknown. Ed's search led him to Chris Johnson at JMS Chip. Prior to the 900-mile trip from West Virginia to JMS' Mobile, Alabama location, Chris sent a mail-order Autologic chip to Ed, along with 42-lb/hr injectors and a recalibrated mass air meter. Once at JMS, that chip allowed the car to make 390 hp at the wheels. After a conservative optimization Chris had the car up to 405 at the wheels. "If you've never seen your vehicle screaming at full throttle on a platform 4 feet off the ground, be advised it's not for the weak of heart," Ed says.

Once again taking advantage of his Garmin Street Pilot III navigation system, Ed drove the car to Need-4-Speed in February 2003 for a built bottom end. Drawing on his past experiences with Tony, Ed said, "I felt it was worth the 1,400-mile drive to leave the vehicle in the hands of someone I trust."

Need-4-Speed added a built short-block using a stock block, forged ModMax 17cc pistons, forged Manley rods, and a Cobra crank. Up top, the stock heads were treated to a Fox Lake Stage 3 port job, stock cams, and ModMax valves and valvesprings. Enhancing intake chores even further is an Anderson Ford Motorsport Power Pipe, an Accufab throttle body, and a Bullitt intake. With the increased intake airflow, the exhaust needed updating as well, and those needs were met using new Bassani Mid-Length headers and a new X-pipe.

While he was at it, Ed had Tony add 3.73 gears, a Cobra billet-steel flywheel, a Spec Stage II clutch, and a Steeda adjustable cable and clutch quadrant for greater holding power and clutch engagement. With all the improvements, Ed made what had to be a fun 1,400-mile trip home in June 2003.

Ed took the car to Borchardt Speed Automotive in Milwaukee for a couple dyno runs. He was a little disappointed when the car made "only" 425 hp to the wheels, but he removed the three temperature probes within the intake tract and-bingo-464 hp.

Now that's what we call compound interest.