April 1, 2005

What is it about Mike Murillo that makes every Mustang he touches so special? Even semi-retired from the rigors of NMRA Super Street Outlaw racing, he still finds time to crank out inventive, creative, clean, trick, stirring 5.0 Mustangs that transcend the hobby. Perhaps what makes Mike so special to the 5.0 faithful is his dedication to the street scene. We all remember his "Star Car" tearing up drag strips across America, but his taste for fine Mustang street cars seems even sweeter.

Some 5.0 Mustang super fans will remember his stint with a Vortech-blown modular GT that left the San Antonio street racers breathless. Before that, he built a titanium GT that ran high-8s in True Street trim. And, after being pressured by the locals who stop by Murillo Motorsports [(210) 946-1199] just to see what Mike has going on, he's built another street car that is sure to leave you breathless. So, here, in all of its high-tech, fast wonder, is the story of his latest creation-a turbo-charged GT that's as nice as they come.

Mike's formula for winning, street 5.0 Mustangs (and his formula for attracting the eye of Mustang magazine editors) goes a little something like this: Take one near-original Mustang, lay out your plan for the finished product, and then don't stop until that car is a reality. Above all, Mike doesn't ever get sidetracked with add-ons and doodads that don't really do anything for the car. Of course, his years of experience wrenching on Mustangs of all variations has a great deal to do with his success, but his eye for what hits the hobby is where he's a winner. In this car, he's showcasing his skills with a street-style turbocharger system-something that is still hard to do, no matter how many shops bring out turbos.

Mike's kit is sourced from Pro Turbo Kits, a local San Antonio house of speed. Mike's kit consists of custom headers, a Precision Turbo 76 GTS turbo, and 18 psi of boost. Top that off with a 125-horse, "in case it's close," nitrous shot, put it on a good 310-incher, add a custom Murillo tune with a FAST system, and you've got some magic happening. At the time of our photo session, the car was making 784 hp and 760 lb-ft of torque at the wheels, but Mike had the Trick Flow High-Ports ported, and the exhaust changed, so that the latest combination increases those numbers by a conservative 100 hp and lb-ft.

So, what do you do with a street car that makes over 800-rear wheel horsepower? Well, Mike drives this thing-a lot! "I'm having so much fun with this car," Mike proclaimed. "It's so innocent. People don't believe what it has. I built the thing for a match race here in town-it's called Midnight Madness. It's the street scene brought to the track. I promise, there will be no street racing this car. I had a lot of people talking about racing me, but since I built this car-since it started running eights-they've stopped talking! But, tell your readers, I do drive this car on the street, mostly cruises and just having a lot of fun."

About the only problem Mike faced with this car was that it was shockingly fast already. He's run 8.90s at over 153 mph with 1.33-second short times, but the little GT wants to stand on its back bumper something fierce. "I built the car to have something on the scene," Mike told us. "People kept asking what I was going to build next, so I tried to show them something. The car looks innocent, but, man, it's as wild as all hell. But, this thing will always be a street car-no wheelie bars. [laughs] My back bumper has been my wheelie bar lately!"