Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
May 1, 2005
Photos By: E. John Thawley III

OK, we're just gonna go ahead and say it, Mustang Bullitt, Mach 1, and '03-'04 Cobra owners are a different breed from the status-quo '89 LX notch Mustang owner. Until these specialty cars, we only had ultra-rare Cobra R models that basically no normal Mustang fan could own. Because of the Cobra R's limited production numbers, you hardly ever see one or have the opportunity to talk to the proud owner. But, with the introduction of the Bullitt, Mach 1, and '03-'04 Cobras, we've found that the owners of these cars are really proud of them.

The '01 Mustang Bullitt was the first of these specialty cars to come down Ford's assembly line, and it started the trend of buying a Mustang for status or social standing. Back in the day, no one ever bought an '89 notch to impress his or her neighbors, but these specialty cars have done exactly that. With these cars, most owners are quick to point out the car's production number at a whim, but who cares about the production number of an '89 LX (a former four-cylinder car)? Well, at least most of us don't care-those who do care are affectionately known as Mustang Melvins.

We bought '89 notches to terrorize the neighbors, and that's what Poway, California's Michael O'Donnell has done with his '01 Mustang Bullitt, number 1005. He's built it for speed. He's built it to handle. He built it to terrorize everything else on the show field, and that's why you're reading about the car right now, not because it's a Bullitt.

"I saw the Bullitt prototype at the San Diego Auto Show in 2001," Michael says, "and went straight to El Cajon Ford and placed my order for a Dark Highland Green [DHG in Bullitt-speak] '01 Mustang Bullitt." Right away he knew the factory 265 hp wasn't going to fit the bill. Michael did his homework before deciding how to make his Bullitt live up to its past reputation. "I found Allen Engine Development in Ventura, California, and went up for lunch," Michael says. AED offered to use Michael's Bullitt as a testbed for a Bullitt supercharger kit, and the car appears in AED's Bullitt instruction manual. AED recommended its 7-pound supercharger kit until he is able to fortify the Bullitt's bottom end with stronger components. Even so, Michael's Bullitt shot 100 more bullets down the road with the AED Eaton M90S Roots-style supercharger in its holster. With a Superchips 91-octane tune-up in the chip, Michael says the Bullitt really came alive.

Just as he did with his supercharger quest, Michael did a lot of homework before deciding what suspension system he wanted to add and who should do the adding. Michael asked around, which led him to GRC Performance in Mission Viejo, California. "I went and met with GRC reps to talk full-race suspensions," Michael says. The GRC owner recommended Maximum Motorsports' Maximum Grip in a Box in order to get all 335 horses to the pavement. GRC followed the Maximum gear with its own subframe connectors, and Kenny Brown jacking rails, matrix bars, and rear shock tower brace. Maximum Motorsports also supplied one of its six-point rollcages with swing-out door bars for easy entry and exit traits.

While GRC had the car up in the air for those suspension and chassis improvements, it was also a good time to install BBK long-tube headers with a corresponding X-pipe with cats, Ford Racing Performance Parts 3.73 gears and aluminum driveshaft, an Auburn differential, Superior 31-spline axles, an FRPP differential cover, and a Lakewood driveshaft safety loop.

With all this performance on tap, Michael couldn't resist stepping up the Bullitt's excellent braking prowess. He contacted D&D Motorsports for a set of Baer Eradispeed rotors and Hawk Performance brake pads. Russell braided lines also fortify the brake package, which still boasts the original PBR calipers.

The car was completed just in time for the International Bullitt Owners Club (www.imboc.com) 2nd Annual Bullitt National show as part of Fun Ford Weekend at Firebird International Raceway in November 2003. On the way to the show, Michael stopped at Brothers Performance Warehouse for a Mustang gathering. Of course, Michael couldn't resist seeing what his Bullitt would do on Brothers' Dynojet 248C chassis dyno. Of the two pulls, the Bullitt made 335 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque.

Once Michael made it to Firebird, he needed to dust off the 30 years of drag racing rust and take the Bullitt down the track, which resulted in a best of 13.26 at 110 mph with a 2.13 60-foot time on BFGoodrich Drag Radials. Michael's eighth-mile time was an 8.73.

Of course, the trip to the strip only ignited Michael's passion for more speed. He added a Speed Direct Amerex Halon fire extinguisher for safety, an SLP line-lock kit, a Raptor Performance shift light, and Bogart Drag-On Star 2 wheels, front and back, to reduce rotational weight. The Bogarts combined with Hoosier Racing tires (28x10 slicks out back) took 100 pounds off the car, and a subsequent trip to a local eighth-mile track rewarded Michael with an almost half-second elapsed time reduction, down to an 8.28 at 84 mph with a 1.85 60-foot time.

Michael was far from done, however. He once again did his homework and decided to go with an NOS dry nitrous kit from Brothers Performance. Michael chose this NOS kit because it's smog-legal, something he takes pride in with all added components on his Bullitt. The twin 10-pound bottles are readily accessible, mounted right behind the front seats using an X2C Motorsports rear seat delete kit. Of course, Michael earns extra credit for adding blow-down dump tubes with safety blow-off valves, a purge kit, and bottle heaters for each bottle.

Even with all the performance additions, Michael's Bullitt looked stock on the street, and he couldn't have that. To step up the Bullitt's street cred, he added a Mach 1 grille delete kit and chin spoiler from Gene Evans Ford, and Wheel Replica's Bullitt-style wheels (10.5s out back) with BFGoodrich treads (315/35 drag radials out back). Michael's latest addition is a Rockland Standard Gear T56 transmission, a Southland HPK Bullitt Stage 3 clutch, and a BBK adjustable clutch cable and quadrant kit.

Michael says his Bullitt has been in more than 17 car shows, and it has yet to go without a trophy from any of them. Furthermore, with the performance capabilities of Michael's Bullitt, combined with the car's show qualities, it's going to take a really sharp aim to shoot down this Bullitt.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Stock
Displacement 281ci
Rotating Assembly Stock
Camshafts Stock
Heads Stock
Intake Allen Engine Development
Throttle Body BBK 70mm
Mass Air C&L 80mm w/ TrueFlow inlet pipe
Fuel System Kenne-Bell Boost-a-Pump, Allen Engine Development fuel rails, FRPP 30 lb/hr injectors
Exhaust BBK long-tube headers and X-pipe w/ cats, Stock after-cat w/ custom bent pipes and stock Bullitt tips
Power Adder Allen Engine Development Eaton M90S Roots-type blower, 7-pound kit, water-to-air inter-cooler, NOS dry nitrous kit
Transmission Rockland Standard Gear T56, Southland Clutch HPK Bullitt Stage 3 clutch, BBK adjustable quadrant and cable kit, Hurst Billet Plus shifter w/ T-handle for SLP line lock
Rearend 8.8, Auburn differential, 3.73 gears, Superior hardened 31-spline axles, FRPP aluminum differential cover
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management Stock computer, Allen Engine Development-tuned SuperChip program
Ignition Stock, Denso Racing spark plugs
Gauges Stock Bullitt, Raptor Performance shift light
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Maximum Motorsports tubular
Control Arms Maximum Motosports tubular
Springs Hypercoil 350 lb-in coilovers
Struts Bilstein
Brakes Baer Eradispeed 13-inch slotted, cross-drilled, zinc washed rotors, Hawk brake pads, Russell stainless braided brake lines
Wheels Wheel Replicas Bullitt-style 17x9 (street), Bogart Racing Wheels Drag-On Star 2 15x3.5 (track)
Tires BFGoodrich Comp g-Force KD 275/40 (street), Hoosier (track)
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Hypercoil 225 lb-in coilovers
Shocks Bilstein
Traction Devices Maximum Motorsports tubular lower control arms, torque arm, panhard bar
Brakes Baer Eradispeed 11.6-inch slotted, cross-drilled, zinc-washed rotors, Hawk brake pads, Russell stainless braided brake lines
Wheels Wheel Replica's Bullitt-style 17x10.5 (Street), Bogart Racing Wheels Drag-On Star 2 15x10 (track)
Tires BFGoodrich Drag Radial 315/35 (Street), Hoosier 28x10 (track)
Chassis Stiffening Maximum Motosports 6-point cage w/ swing out door bars, GRC Performance subframe connectors, Kenny Brown Performance {{{Matrix}}} Bracing w/ Jacking Rails