Michael Johnson Associate Editor
August 1, 2004
Photos By: Steve Turner

The story of Tim Matherly's NMRA Real Street Mustang is not an uncommon tale. A shop performs upgrades on a customer's Mustang. Then the owner of the car runs into some sort of financial trouble and needs to sell said car quickly. Familiar with the car's mechanical background and knowing the upgrades performed, the shop owner buys said Mustang and finishes the work. If you've been around Mustangs for any length of time, you've heard this scenario before.

Tim's NMRA Real Street '01 Bullitt Mustang started out as a body-in-white. Originally, Parkway Ford performance parts specialist Joe Charles purchased the car from Roush for a turbo-charged Two-Valve project destined for modular competition. Joe, already an MV Performance customer, took the car to co-owner Tim Matherly's Statham, Georgia, shop for the transformation. There, Tim's business partner, Kainnon Vilminot, installed a rollcage and subframe connectors. But shortly after beginning the car's ride to modular glory, Joe needed to downsize his automotive occupation. Guess who stepped up to help Joe out of his predicament? You got it-Tim.

Tim immediately sent the body to Cook's Custom Paint in Chilhowie, Virginia, for the signature Tim Matherly scallop-type paint scheme. Tim's old coupe that he raced back in the day served as the template for the paint scheme.

With the body and paint done, it was time for Tim to decide what to do with the car. "I found interest in the NMRA's Real Street class because it related pretty much to what we do for our customers on a daily basis," Tim says. And since 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords sponsors Real Street, Tim knew he would receive a lot of press with the car. From the outset, Tim thought he would be at a disadvantage compared to the pushrod cars with which he would be competing. "Considering the rules and the lack of aftermarket Two-Valve modular parts," Tim says, "I knew I would have to rely on my knowledge of the modular engine and my tuning ability."

Tim began putting together the combination he felt would be competitive with the pushrod cars. Drawing from his modular experience, he started with an aluminum 4.6 block, added a Cobra crank, and sourced ModMax Racing for its rods, pistons, and piston rings. With the only heads available and legal for modular applications being OEM and Ford Racing Performance Parts pieces, Tim chose '99-up PI heads with stock cams, ModMax valvesprings and valves, and a Bullitt intake. The ModMax valvetrain allows Tim to rev the Two-Valve into the stratosphere to get the most out of the ATI-ProCharger P-1SC2 supercharger. To get the air out of the engine as fast as it entered, Tim chose FRPP headers, a Bassani X-pipe, and Magna-Flow mufflers with dumps.

Tim made his Real Street debut at the '03 NMRA World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Although he didn't make it out of qualifying before hurting vital parts and ending his day, a 10.14 at 133 mph might as well have been the shot heard 'round the world. Adding fuel to the fire prior to the '04 NMRA Bradenton opener was a rumor that Tim had run 9.60s at 140 mph in testing. Adding even more hype was that prior to the race many an Internet rambling had Tim qualifying at the top and winning Real Street at Bradenton. Tim knows nothing about those numbers, but he did have a set of Four-Valve heads he tested on his Real Street short-block, and he didn't even run those numbers with those heads on the car. The Four-Valve-head test session was to help show the NMRA how to make the modular cars more competitive with the pushrod cars.

Instead, the NMRA allowed ported Two-Valve heads, which seems to have done the trick. At the NMRA Bradenton opener, Tim confirmed the pushrod crowd's worst fears with a 9.91/137 mph qualifying hit to land in the third spot. Just in case anyone thought those numbers were a joke, Tim ran a 9.85, a 9.86, and a 9.89 (all three at more than 136 mph) to signal the arrival of a truly competitive modular Real Street car, and to win the first race of 2004.

With his Bradenton performance in the books, maybe those 9.60s weren't so far-fetched after all.

Block {{{Ford}}} aluminum 4.6
Displacement 281 ci
Rotating Assembly Cobra crank, ModMax Racing rods, pistons, and piston rings
Cams Stock
Heads ’99-up PI Two-Valve heads ported
by Scott Milner, ModMax
valvesprings and valves
Intake {{{Mustang}}} Bullitt
Throttle Body Stock Mustang Bullitt
Mass Air Pro-{{{M}}}
Power Adder ATI-ProCharger P-1SC2
supercharger, Anderson Ford
Motorsport Power Pipe
Fuel System Weldon 2035 fuel pump and
regulator, steel braided fuel lines, UPR
fuel rails, FRPP 42-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust FRPP headers, Bassani
X-pipe, MagnaFlow mufflers
Transmission Pro Motion Powertrain– prepped Tremec T5 w/G-Force gearset,
Ram VDS clutch, Pro-5.0 shifter
Rearend Moser 8.8, FRPP differential,
Moser 33-spline axles, 4.30 gears
Engine Management Stock EEC V,
DiabloSport/ChipMaster Revolution chip
Ignition MSD DIS-4, stock coil,
FRPP wires, NGK plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
K-Member QA1 tubular
Control Arms QA1 tubular
Springs QA1 coilovers
Struts QA1 12-way adjustable
Caster/Camber Steeda
Brakes Aerospace Components
Wheels Bogart Force 5
Tires Mickey Thompson Drag Front
Rear Suspension  
Springs Stock
Shocks QA1 12-way adjustable
Traction Devices Metco Motorsports
upper and lower control arms,
Chassis Engineering antiroll bar
Brakes Aerospace Components
Wheels Bogart Force 5
Tires Mickey Thompson E/T Drag
Chassis Stiffening MV Performance cage
and through-the-floor subframe connectors