Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
February 2, 2006
Photos By: Steve Turner
By the time you read this, Jerome would've owned this coupe for roughly 9 years. It was a stock 5.0 LX with just Flowmasters and a removed air silencer when he bought it, but as you can see, it's changed a great deal. Jerome's friend, Michael Carter, from Carter's Body Shop, found the car for him and painted it Dark Shadow Gray to match Jerome's F-250. Just don't tell Editor Turner the car started out with Wild Strawberry. To the unaware, Jerome's Mustang is just another five-lug-swapped, FR500-wheel-wearing coupe. We know better, don't we?

Horse Sense: Besides the engine and transmission, Jerome's coupe boasts the '03 Cobra parts car's radiator, hydraboost brake system, front spindles and brakes, ABS block, all heater and A/C components and controls, steering column, pedal assembly, gauge cluster, wiring harness and PCM, driveshaft, and fuel tank.

Mustang ownership is a funny thing: We buy a Mustang to make it faster. We might buy a stocker, but we have visions of turbochargers, superchargers, and nitrous bottles dancing in our heads way before we sign on the dotted line. Once we do all the bolt-ons, the unnatural aspiration follows. With the newfound power, we keep going until the car has a C4, a spool, and an eight-point 'cage. All of a sudden the car is no fun to drive on the street, and something breaks every time we take it to the track. Then all we want is a nice, quick street car.

Jerome Shumate, of Union Grove, Alabama, found himself in that position roughly 9 years ago. He had a car (a Camaro, at that) that turned into a full drag car, and he was ready for something he could drive on the street.

Unlike many 5.0&SF readers, however, he wasn't set on purchasing a Mustang. "I was trying to decide between a Buick Grand National/T-Type, a Syclone, or a Mustang," he says. Obviously, since you're reading about Jerome's '92 Mustang LX coupe, you know he made the right choice.

"One of my friends, Michael Carter, found this car for me. He looked it over-it had never been wrecked and it was stock with the exception of a pair of Flowmaster mufflers and no air silencer," Jerome says. More on Michael later, but suffice it to say he knows how to check a car for damage and rust. Over the next several years, the coupe became home to a Bennett Racing-built 306, a TTC-Tremec TKO-II transmission, and a built 8.8 rear. As is the case with most Mustang owners, Jerome was embroiled in a competition with all his Mustang pals (such as those mentioned in this story, and Pat Stratton, Byron Wes Brooks, Chris Seagrove, and Mark Kennemer) for ET supremacy, and in Jerome's mind a 427 Dart-fortified Windsor was the answer. Oh yeah-just in case the 427 wasn't enough, he purchased a Nitrous Express nitrous kit to make sure his Mustang could walk the walk.

But two things made Jerome rethink his Mustang's mechanical direction. First, the driveability of a big-cube Windsor would most likely put him back where he was before with a race-type setup in a street car, which he didn't want. Then he purchased an '03 Cobra, and after spending relatively little money in mods the supercharged Four-Valve laid down 460 hp at the tires. "I fell in love with the modular engine," Jerome says. At that point he decided a modular engine was in the coupe's future, but which one proved to be a whole new story.

Jerome lists Ford SVT as the builder of his engine, but that's because an '03 Cobra engine and transmission now reside where a Bennett Racing-built pushrod 306 and TKO II once were. The engine remains stock, but in the name of increased horsepower, a Kenne Bell 2.4 Twin Screw supercharger now sits atop the Four-Valve. Before the Kenne Bell, Jerome's coupe kicked out 431 hp and 421 lb-ft of torque. With the Kenne Bell setup, the coupe blasts 579 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. The new setup includes a Kenne Bell Big Oval throttle body, an SCT 90mm mass air meter, a 3.5-inch upper pulley, a Metco 6-pound lower pulley, and a Lightning Force Performance heat exchanger.

Jerome already had a Lightning 5.4 engine, but after seeing one too many Eaton superchargers sticking out of Fox hoods, he decided that wasn't the best route for him. Then he heard of a wrecked '03 Cobra-he'd tried to purchase the same Cobra before its rearranged sheetmetal-and he called the owner the same day. He told Jerome he was going to keep it and install the drivetrain into another car. Evidently, Jerome didn't give up too easily because he bought the whole car for $8,000. Yeah-we want to beat him up too.

Jerome and his friend, Wade Burrows, tore down the coupe to a shell to start its total transformation, which would include new paint to go along with a new drivetrain. Jerome did a lot of research to make the mechanical swap easier, but there wasn't a lot of information available at that time, so he started out by ordering everything he knew he needed.

"I then came to the point where I had to figure out the plan for the gauges. I had seen there were a few people who had swapped the Fox dash for an SN-95 dash." He decided swapping in an SN-95 dash would be something different and would be the easiest route. But the wrecked '03 Cobra's dash was too mangled, so he went to Carter's Body Shop (remember Michael Carter?) to relieve a '97 Mustang of its dash. Jerome and his friend, David Hornsby, spent 10 hours cutting and trimming the dash to get it to work, and that was even using a spare Fox body with no windshield. With the '97 dash, Jerome used the wrecked Cobra's gauge cluster, heater and A/C controls, steering column, pedal assembly, and full wiring harness and PCM. "Would I do it again? Yes, it was worth every minute," he says. "The dash in the car has gotten more attention than the 32-Valve swap."