June 1, 2004

Horse Sense: If you want more information on Ken's car, you can usually find him hanging out with his modular-hip friends at www.modulardepot.com.

Since 1965, the Mustang GT has been the meat and potatoes of the Ford Mustang lineup for any given year. Sure, there are always going to be the limited-edition Mustangs with their striped paint schemes, bigger rims, custom suspensions, or bigger motors. But the average enthusiast can always count on the Mustang GT to provide a cool ride that won't bore him or her to death on the way to and from work.

With lots of preparation, a good track, outstanding air, and wild driving, Ken spiked an 11.72 e.t. at 116.35 mph, establishing his car as the quickest naturally aspirated Two-Valve 4.6 Mustang in the country that still displaces the stock 4.6 liters.

That's what Ken Bjonnes, a 29-year-old instructional-pilot, video producer from Cincinnati, was looking for when he bought this '00 GT from his local Ford dealer. As a new car, the GT served him well for almost two years. Then, Ken slowly began making modifications. At first he was more interested in making the car handle and look better. Then he visited the local dragstrip.

"I'd never been to a dragstrip in my life," Ken says. "I met Vinny Changet from www.stangbangerz.com, and he convinced me it would be cool to have a quick car in the quarter-mile. There were a lot of other GTs there, so I figured with a few more parts and a drag suspension, I could have the quickest GT in town."

Ken also met Brandon Alsept and Gene Fine who, being fellow modular junkies, would team together with Ken to introduce a Web site (www.modular-depot.com) that would help promote modular performance. Oddly, as Ken's car received more and more attention on the Internet, it spurred him to pick up the pace, teaching others as his own car became modified for straight-line battle.

It's what you don't see here that's impressive. Mid-11s have come without the benefit of a supercharger or a shot of nitrous. Digging into the motor, Ken had the stock heads ported by Ron Robart at Fox Lake Power Products. Cams are from Comp Cams, but the bottom end remains as stock as Ford delivered in 2000. Heads also carry the trick, new spring and valve package from ModMax designed for these cars. Until Fox Lake releases a final version of its much anticipated P-51 Two-Valve intake, Ken has to make do with a Bullitt intake and throttle body that has been ported by the Modular Depot. A Pro-M mass air meter and air filter deliver the fresh atmosphere. A Ford Focus pump and 24-lb/hr injectors are under the constant control of a Jerry Wroblewski Superchip Custom Tuning tune-up. Hooker long-tubes and DynoMax mufflers help to round out a package that's good for 318 rwhp and 317 rwtq.

With full-length headers and exhaust, a drag suspension, a C&L mass air, and 4.10 gears, Ken's GT was running 12.80s at more than 105 mph. Setting his sights on taking the '03 Modular Shootout in Columbus, Ohio, he became serious about removing weight from the car. He replaced the stock seats with lightweight Kirkey racing buckets. He also ditched the air conditioning, the heater, the rear seat, the bumpers, and as much of the insulation and nonessential items as he could unbolt from the car.

But since a light car doesn't always win the race, Ken began working out how to get more power. He decided it was time to dig into the motor-the top end, as the stock short-block was going to remain in service. Fox Lake was called upon to port the stock heads as well as stuff them with oversized ModMax valves and a custom ModMax valve-spring package to gain some rpm. For cams, Ken went with Comp Cams XE270 units. Topping off the motor is about the only intake that was available at the time-the Ford Bullitt intake with a stock throttle body. Together with a custom Superchips Custom Tuning chip, the car was good for 318 hp and 317 lb-ft at the wheels, or almost 100 hp more than when delivered.

At the Modular Shootout, Ken's naturally aspirated GT impressed everyone in attendance. While he lost the final to John Edwards by only 0.007 second, Ken did get the e.t. of the event with a 12.22 at more than 112 mph. Being a trained pilot and well versed in the effects of air density on engine performance, he calculated what the GT would run in better (denser) air. As it turned out, the corrected elevation for the 12.22 pass was 3,243 feet-not good for power.

Ken was sure that as the fall months came around and the Midwest weather turned cooler, the power would go up. On a 700-foot-air-density day in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the NMRA World Finals, the car ran an 11.99 at 112.5 mph. On a 1,100-foot-air-density day, the little GT really turned on, rewarding Ken with a blistering 11.72 e.t. at more than 116 mph (1.59-second short time). While Ken is quick to point out the Two-Valve 4.6 engine isn't more susceptible to bad weather than any other performance motor, it does show what waiting for the right conditions in which to run your car does for the bottom line.