February 11, 2006
We don't often feature a car that doesn't have a timeslip attached to its resume. But, for Mike Montanaro's coupe, we'll make an exception. With a 534 rear-wheel-horsepower combination and the 3,300-pound weight of a 5.0 LX, this car should be well on its way to 10.50s at more than 125 mph in the quarter.

Horse Sense: If you've been searching for that perfect 5.0 LX notchback, and you just can't seem to find a clean car, consider buying a four-cylinder and installing a V-8 drivetrain. Everything that was designed for a 5.0 will bolt right onto its less-inspiring sibling.

We heard about Michael Montanaro's insanely clean LX notchback from our mutual friend Vinny "Thong Boy" DiFlorio (owner of a former 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords magazine feature car). Rumors of Michael's latest car started coming out of upstate New York almost a year before it finally saw the light of day. And, when we finally saw the car, we knew our readers would love it. The car embodies everything this hobby is all about. The '87-'93 5.0 Mustangs were delivered to the public with loads of potential, and the aftermarket industry that grew up around them has been oh-so successful at milking the most out of what these cars have to offer.

Today, finding a clean 5.0 Mustang LX in the lustworthy notchback body style is challenging. So, just seeing one of these cars in pristine condition warms our heart. But, Michael has gone on and capitalized on the 5.0 platform by adding loads of power, a knee-shaking stance, and keeping a lid on all the bling that can distract from the real attention-getter.

Auto Meter gauges, stock Ford seats, and a B&M Pro Stick shifter await the driver who is wrapped in an S&W 10-point rollcage with five-point Simpson harness. The trans is a Performance Automatic Super Comp C4. The 8.8-inch Ford rear carries 3.73 gearing to spin the M/T 28x10-inch slicks.

The only problem we have with this car is we don't have a timeslip to share with you. As a rule, we like to give our readers all the information they can handle on a feature car, and tops amongst that data is a dragstrip report. Simply put, Michael just hasn't gotten his 5.0 Mustang to the track, even though Vinny's been piling on the peer pressure. Still, Michael has one awesome car that will no doubt haul the mail when unleashed in a straight line.

But there may be more to the story than just a guy who hasn't gone drag racing. You see, the bulk of the modifications to this red car were once performed to his first 5.0-a black-on-black notchback that was an original 5.0 car with only 50,000 miles. The black notch came to an early end at the 16th Annual Fords at Englishtown race in 2003 when it got loose and hit the wall-wrecking the car. Ironically, that pass (an 11.00 at 114 mph) was the best ever recorded on Michael's black car even though he went through the lights sideways and on the brakes. The black notch had the stock T5 in place, and it consistently ran in the 11.20s at well more than 123 mph before that pass. Something about that good New Jersey air made the car uncontrollable.

This red car sports the drivetrain from the black car, and it has been slightly upgraded (boost and tune) by LaRocca's Performance to make 80 hp and 50 lb-ft more torque to the wheels. It also has an automatic transmission courtesy of Performance Automatic-so take that into consideration for your performance guesstimation. That C4, by the way, has really toned down the car-making full-throttle upshifts much less of a white-knuckle affair than it was with the T5. The six-month construction time was performed with the help of the crew (Greg, Lenny, and Mike) at Kolorcraft Autobody in Syracuse, New York. These guys took a nice, straight four-cylinder Mustang, redid the body, and transferred over that nice black interior. The engine was checked out and deemed acceptable, and the suspension components were bolted into place.

When we shot this car, we asked Michael's friends from Kolorcraft to do some action so we could get a few shots with the tires smoking. Mike Varre-the guy who jumped in the driver seat first-had no problem with the burnout. In fact, Michael's car sounded crisp, powerful, and ready to take on the world. Has Michael just been too busy to get this car to the track, or is he waiting for Vinny to invite him out for a little side-by-side action? We're not sure, but if it goes down, we'll let you know. Until then, check out the pictures, read the captions, and enjoy one of the nicer notches we've run into lately.

A Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger pounds 15 psi into the awaiting 305-inch small-block Ford. The bottom end is based on a stock 5.0 block (yikes!) that's been bored 0.020 inch over. The stock crank (double yikes!) spins stock rods and SRP forged 9:1 pistons. The AFR 185 heads hold 2.02/1.60-inch valves under the control of a blower grind Comp Cams camshaft. The intake is made up of a Trick Flow intake, a BBK 70mm throttle body, a K&N air filter, an 80mm mass air, and an Anderson Ford Power Pipe feeding the blower. A Weldon fuel pump anchors the fuel system that also includes a set of 50-lb/hr injectors and an Aeromotive regulator. The BBK long-tube headers work with a Dr. Gas X-pipe and Flowmaster race mufflers to handle the exhaust. With the help of Thomas Racing Engines, Mike put the whole thing together and let Jimmy C at LaRocca's Performance tune the finished product. LaRocca's struck gold with all those stock parts to the tune of 534 hp and 498 lb-ft at the rear wheels.

5.0 Tech specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINGauges
BlockAuto Meter tachometer; Auto
0.020-in over stock 302Meter gauges
Displacement 
305 ciSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
Cylinder HeadsFront Suspension
Air Flow Research 185K-member
CamshaftQA1 tubular
Comp Cams custom blower grindA-arms
Intake ManifoldD&D tubular
Trick Flow Track HeatSprings
Throttle BodyD&D coilover
BBK 70mmStruts
Power AdderLakewood {{{90}}}/10
Paxton Novi 2000Wheels
ExhaustWeld Racing 15x3.5-in
BBK 1 3/4-in long-tube headers; Tires
Dr. Gas 3-in X-pipe; Flowmaster Uni Brand
Delta Force Race 3-in after-catBrakes
Fuel SystemStock
Weldon 2025 pump; Mallory rails;Rear Suspension
Aeromotive regulator; 50-lb/hrSprings
injectors Eibach Drag Launch
TransmissionShocks
Performance Automatic Super CompLakewood 50/50
C4; 9-in 3,500-stall converter fromControl Arms
Darren at CTISouthside Machine Lift Bars upper
Rearendand lower
8.8 with Strange spool, 3.73 gearing;Traction Devices
Moser 31-spline axles with C-clipCompetition Engineering antiroll bar
eliminatorsWheels
 Weld Racing 15x8-in
ELECTRONICSTires
Engine ManagementMickey Thompson 28x10.5-in
Stock EEC IV computer with tune byBrakes
LaRocca's PerformanceStock
IgnitionChassis Stiffening
MSD 6AL; MSD Blaster coil; FordS&W 10-point cage with Simpson
Racing Performance Parts; Densoharnesses
Iridium spark plugs