5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2001 Ford Mustang GT - Undercover Magnum
Though Well Concealed, This Is One Powerful Bullitt
Whenever we photograph a potential 5.0&SF feature car, we hand out a tech sheet-a six-page form that allows the owner to dial us in on exactly what features, components, and modifications his or her ride is armed with, and to provide us with any additional info about its history, performance, or just about anything else that might be of interest to our readers. This tech sheet therefore usually provides the primary basis for us to write our story about the car. Thought of another way, this material generally serves as written evidence as to why we chose to feature the subject 'Stang in the first place.
Now, I didn't shoot this particular '01 Bullitt belonging to Sarasota, Florida's Ron Shoenberger, so I've never seen it in person, but I was given his tech sheet and a few photos, along with orders from the boss (that would be Editor Turner) to write the feature. As usual in such circumstances, my first step was to leaf through the tech sheet data, reviewing the modifications listed, to get a feel for the car and find a "hook" around which to write the story. My first reaction? This was going to be an awfully short article.
Here's why. Under the section describing the body, all answers read: "Stock." OK, fair enough, but this trend continued with the front suspension. Other than an Anthony Jones K-member, all hardware was stock, right down to the springs and struts. Out back, the suspension data was much the same again. With the exception of Steeda control arms and some unspecified subframe connectors, everything was just as the UAW had assembled it, including factory wheels, brakes, and springs. The photos revealed the car's OEM ride height-rarely seen, we probably need not point out, in our library of feature cars-and confirmed this written information.
Elsewhere on the tech sheet are places to brag about a feature car's best e.t. and trap speed. Yet both were left blank, so, alas, I could report nothing about this Bullitt's muzzle velocity. The section inviting the owner to provide additional information beyond a mere listing of hardware was also left completely blank. By now I was really beginning to wonder just why Associate Editor Johnson had shot this car in the first place, since it's not our normal practice to feature stock 3-year-old vehicles. But suddenly his reasoning became clear when I finally came to the section of the form asking about rear-wheel dyno figures (forgive me, Michael, for doubting you). When I saw figures of 683 hp and 532 lb-ft of torque, I knew I had my storyline-this was the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.
It wasn't always this wolfish, however. The Highland Green '01 came to Longwood, Florida's LaMotta Performance outfitted with a turbo kit, installed by a firm that is no longer in business but which will nonetheless remain nameless to protect the maybe not-so-innocent. Beneath an Innovative T-60 turbo and its supporting cast of hardware lay the smoking, dismembered hulk of what had been the Bullitt's stock short-block-destroyed, we're told, by the same company that had fitted the turbo.
LaMotta's first order of business was therefore to have modular engine-whiz Al Papitto construct a new short-block based on a production iron block, but with 0.020-over, 9:1 CP pistons, and Manley rods spinning a Cobra steel crank. The heads were ported by Champion Cylinder Heads and reassembled with stock cams. When LaMotta's crew refitted the turbo kit, they were dismayed to find it producing "barely 500 hp," much of which apparently had to do with a downpipe design that was causing no less than 15 psi of backpressure. And so began a two-month task to sort out the previous kit's assortment of shortcomings. In the end, only the Dawson headers and Spearco intercooler remained from the previous kit, and one of Innovative's T-76 turbos had replaced the previous unit.