Dale Amy
November 1, 2006
In monochrome black punctuated only by a Steeda cowl hood, Classic Design's subtle ducktail rear spoiler, and those eye-watering HRE C20 Competition 19-inch rims, Livernois Motorsports' '05 GT is handsome enough to be a show car. In fact, the coupe took home a Best in Class trophy from Detroit's highly contested '06 Autorama.

Horse Sense: Though far from its largest, ProCharger's F-1 blower is still more race than street. Unlike the company's P-1SC lineup that includes a specific kit for the S197 GT, the F-1 is not emissions-legal and, with 38-psi capability, is overkill for most any street application.

Many of you should already be familiar with Livernois Motorsports. If you aren't, all we need say is that this Dearborn Heights, Michigan, speed shop is headed up by none other than Dan Millen, who in recent seasons has been one of the more successful and consistent Outlaw racers on the quarter-mile campaign trail. Good as he may be behind the wheel, however, it's safe to assume the on-track exploits of "The Desert Eagle" wouldn't be quite so consistent and successful without a talented crew back at the Livernois shop-a crew that routinely does everything from engine machining and assembly, to head porting, to installing all manner of power adders. And everything in between. So when Livernois Motorsports acquired an '05 GT, Dan unleashed these automotive dogs of war and let them have their way on the unsuspecting black coupe. Though the result may be understated to the casual observer, we suggest you discreetly avoid urban conflict 'cause it's packing no less than 20 pounds of boisterous boost, courtesy of the normally race-oriented ProCharger F-1C intercooled centrifugal. Oh, and a built stroker short-block. But that wasn't the original plan.

Yes, the burly ProCharger F-1 certainly draws your attention-as it should-but beneath that nicely painted stock intake is a fully built Livernois stroker short-block topped by CNC-carved Stage II heads. In this case, 20 pounds of boost and 296 cubic inches equals 770 rwhp. A Snow Performance boost cooler helps chill the charge.

First time around, the idea was simply to fit some of Livernois' extensive line of bolt-on hardware. That initial laundry list included the company's own Stage I CNC-ported Three-Valve heads, Kooks long-tube headers with cat-equipped crossover pipe, Corsa mufflers, and a 100-shot Zex nitrous kit. On the chassis-dyno Richter scale, that setup sent 419 hp and 478 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. On the strip it registered a best pass of 11.86 at 117 mph, which isn't bad for a fully loaded coupe that tips the scales at 3,775 pounds with driver-but apparently it wasn't good enough.

One of Livernois' specialties is whittling and constructing stout modular short-blocks, so it was decided to concoct a stroker based around one of the company's 3.750-inch steel cranks. Livernois also has an exclusive on a line of Manley H-beam rods and combo-specific Mahle pistons, so on they went, making the reciprocating/rotating assembly a whole lot tougher than factory. Naturally, Livernois' Mike Schropp did all this in-house.

Two things happened at about the time the short-block was nearing completion. First, the boost brigade at ProCharger wondered if Livernois might be interested in testing the gumption of this new bottom end by bolting on an F-1C centrifugal and dialing up the wick. Second, Livernois received an invitation to participate in a high-profile tuner shootout staged by our sister mag, Motor Trend. Naturally the shop wanted to play, but the car had to be completed and shipped to California, all within 10 days, so the thrash was on.

Livernois' Dave Kuchtyn then dialed in the CNC machine to carve out a set of Stage II Three-Valve heads to deal with the F-1C's monstrous flow potential, and a Viper T56 from D&D Performance also came onboard behind a Ram Power Grip HD clutch to handle the expected output. The nitrous was disconnected, the boost with a 4-inch pulley peaked at 20 psi, and the wheels of the shop Dynojet registered a satisfying 770 hp and 640 lb-ft, delivered via a Dynotech one-piece aluminum driveshaft to the factory 8.8-incher packed with Moser 31-spline axles, 3.73 gears, and an Eaton Posi.

The cockpit is basically as Ford designed it, save for Corbeau CR-1 Microsuede buckets and five-point harnesses, and a pistol-grip Hurst shifter. This all ties in with the classy, understated theme.

With that sort of firepower, the chassis also needed some attention, starting with Baer Extreme-Plus front binders having 15-inch rotors and six-piston MonoBlock calipers. The rear discs were left stock in order to fit 15-inch drag radials for whenever the car finally makes it back to the strip. BMR Fabrication provided unibody stiffening with its boxed subframe connectors and tunnel brace with driveshaft loop. The spring, damper, front and rear antiroll bar combo is Ford Racing's S197 Handling Pack, and Steeda is responsible for the adjustable Panhard bar and brace, lower rear control arms, and adjustable third link.

So how does it all work? Well, on the track we haven't a clue since our exposure to the beast came in and around the streets of Dearborn, and the GT hadn't yet returned to the strip to see what its 770 ponies could produce. We can say, though, that the tune developed by Dan Millen and Brad Bockstanz using SCT software makes this black bombshell perfectly streetable in a wickedly fast kind of way. In fact, the unwary might be totally scammed by its classy, understated look were it not for the audible clues emanating from the unabashedly vocal ProCharger F-1, which makes no apologies for being a big-boost race blower. But, hey, who minds a little blower whine? In summary, we might have been tempted to run off with the hugely powerful GT if Dan Millen weren't so equally huge.