Eric English
January 1, 2006
Photos By: Chuck James
Most of the Vibrant Red topcoat is wet-sanded original, though the side mirrors, the Kaenen hood, the front bumper cover, and the engine compartment were sprayed to match by Mike in his own garage. Don't say you can't.

It would take awhile to save the funds necessary to support this newest need for speed, and in the meantime Mike became an avid participant in Mustang Internet sites. Through such contacts, he eventually turned up a used Vortech S-Trim that was installed, together with more exhaust work and a Walbro fuel pump. The supercharged combination soon proved its worth, with 316 rear-wheel horsepower and reported 13.5s at 108 mph. Better for sure.

With time, and Mike's own admitted abuse, the stock head gaskets failed, providing a golden opportunity to install a set of Edelbrock Performer RPM heads and intake. Through more Web surfing, Mike also became enamored with the idea of exhaust-driven power adders, particularly at the home of turbomustangs.com. An ambitious plan to rebuild the combination with a do-it-yourself turbocharger was hatched, and when several of the stock hypereutectic pistons were found to be cracked a short time later, the project was launched.

When you work at/own your own automotive upholstery shop, one of the perks can be a nice place to plant your hiney. Mike recovered the factory stockers in a black tweed with red piping, and fabricated a center panel that deletes the original A/C and mounts a pair of Auto Meter gauges. When queried about the lack of evident tunes, Mike told us a sound system is in the works, as is a much-needed rollbar.

A solid foundation begins with a Sportsman 302 block, filled with a forged stroker reciprocating assembly. Up top, Mike continued with many of the aftermarket pieces he'd run on the stock 5.0 short-block, though surely the turbo-stroker combination would benefit from something more than the 1.90/1.60 valve sizing and Ford Racing Performance Parts 65mm throttle body. As with most of us, money doesn't grow on trees at the Arndt household, but the current combination is sure to change over time-most assuredly the still-stock camshaft.

Proving Mike's determination and ambition, his do-it-yourself turbo 342 puts down 472 horses at just 4,000 rpm, with extensive tuning still required. Mike and his dad constructed the entire system, beginning with a set of BBK headers turned forward, with ball flanges chopped off. Left- and right-cylinder banks are connected with a 211/42-inch crossover, while the Garrett T04E-60 routes its boosted charge through a 311/42-inch Pro-M Univer mass air. Other turbo necessities include a Tial 38mm wastegate, an HKS pop-off valve, and a 311/42-inch downpipe that eventually works its way into a 3-inch single exhaust with a pair of inline DynoMax muffs. For a cheap reduction in charge temperature, a Powerstroke-diesel air-to-air intercooler was modified for this much different application, and was tucked up behind the front bumper.

Quarter-mile testing hasn't occurred yet with the new turbo setup, but Mike assures us once his tune-up is dialed in, he'll be tripping down the 1,320. He would like to thank all who've helped him turn his '94 into something special, namely his father, the patient posters at turbomustangs.com, and the '94-'95 forums' participants at stangnet.com. Without the assistance of these willing enthusiasts, Mike says his Mustang dreams would never have gotten off the ground. Without a great deal of personal motivation and a can-do spirit, we say Mike wouldn't be driving a red-hot Mustang convertible. Be inspired!