July 1, 2004

If you're trying to build the ultimate street 5.0 Mustang, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Where do you begin? When do you realize you have too much power for safe street cruising? How do you know if you've crossed the line of where the street cars stop and the all-out race cars begin? And when do you just have to say "enough is enough"?

Because a majority of our reader-ship struggles to answer these same questions, we try to provide solid examples of real street cars that have a ton of power but that also keep their owners happy while in the driver seat for more than a quarter-mile stretch of road.

Blaine King's '90 GT is an excellent example of what the typical 5.0 Mustang enthusiast strives to build. Through years of experience, and trial and error, Blaine has assembled a combination of parts that add up to much more than the sum of their being. This isn't just a silver GT with a Vortech. Blaine paid particular attention to the little things. The air conditioning, the power accessories, and all the options still work. And, just as important as having a lot of power under the hood, the engine starts every time, it idles just fine, and it doesn't overheat-all while making close to 600 rear-wheel horsepower! While those driveability issues aren't frequent concerns for race-car builders, they are things that street-car builders must fret over.

"I've been racing Mustangs for 12 years," Blaine says, "starting back in 1992 with a '91 LX five-speed. Unfortunately, someone decided to pull out in front of me, causing a collision and the totaling of my first Pony with only one payment left on it. Since then, I've owned nine Mustangs. I built this particular car because I wanted something to be proud of, and to ride around in style in what I grew up with as an 'old-school Pony.' When it was finished, I was making 10-second passes and driving it to the track in street trim. All I did was lower the pressure in the ET Streets, pull up to the starting line, and bust off a 10.96 at 127 mph. After some cooldown, the car went on to run a 10.6 at more than 129 mph. All this was done in street trim with a race weight of more than 3,500 pounds!"

How did Blaine do it? Well, it's not magic. He followed a simple but proven recipe for getting a 5.0 Mustang well into the 10-second zone without degrading the streetability one bit. Fortunately, as the 5.0 Mustang has grown up, aftermarket manufacturers have followed suit. They've developed high-performance parts that do not detract from functionality. In Blaine's case, he selected time-tested parts such as the Vortech S-Trim supercharger, AFR heads, a Cobra intake, and a custom cam from Ed Curtis, all of which are proven performers on the street and on tracks all across America. The best part is, these parts are readily available, and you can assemble them into a winning combination just as Blaine did.

Once your ultimate street Mustang is finished, Blaine has some further tips on maximizing its "shock" value. "I decided on no cage because I was-and still am-an outlaw street racer. When you have a cage, everyone expects it to be a race car. So I opted for the no-cage sleeper look-so much so, the boys at a local Cobra specialist were surprised by this car one night! Let's just say that looks can be deceiving, and they thought my car was a normal blower car that would run low-12s at best. Boy, were they wrong!

"At the track, I launch this car softly, since I still have the 28-spline axles in the rear. This has resulted in a best 60-foot time of 1.48 seconds. I shift at 6,000 rpm according to the stock tach, which I knew was wrong but I corrected in my mind on the dyno with com-parison [to an accurate tachometer]. I didn't want a big shift light or tach in the car, so I relied on the stock pieces. I shift the car without ever letting off the gas. The best tip in my opinion for the ET Streets is that they need a good break-in. Once this is done, they will allow for better off-the-line performance."