Dale Amy
December 1, 2007

Horse Sense: Despite the GT 500's place atop the Mustang pecking order, Steeda (www.steeda.com) offers a complete, $13,995 upgrade package for the GT 500, dubbed the KR-K. It includes parts to increase boost, tweak the tune, shorten the shifter throws, and completely revamp the handling. Having driven a KR-K-spec GT 500, we can tell you the resulting improvement in handling from this package is impressive.

We'll be the first to admit that, until recently, we had never heard of a company called Tulsa Car FX (www.tulsacarfx.com). Perhaps we can be forgiven because, first off, Oklahoma doesn't exactly light up the editorial radar screen as a hotbed of Mustang activity, except for the annual Mid-America Ford Meet. Secondly, the state is nowhere near our Tampa or Los Angeles offices. Excuses, excuses. But after laying eyes on some of the SEMA-quality S197 projects constructed by this family owned and operated business, we'll be paying close attention to Tulsa Car FX from now on. Maybe you should, too, because its main business is making customers happy.

As an example of what the company is capable of creating, check out this wicked, Steeda-ized Shelby GT 500 that's equally at home on the show field or road course. We base this statement not on mere supposition, but because a few short weeks after we shot it at World Ford Challenge X, the SEMA-bound Grabber Orange missile was hot-lapping Tulsa's 1.8-mile Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in the experienced hands of Steeda President Dario Orlando.

It all began when Will Williams, patriarch of the Tulsa Car FX clan, made the decision that a GT 500 was the logical choice for the company's '07 SEMA plans. On April 16, 2006, he placed an order for the Shelby, and as with any new baby, he had to wait nine months for delivery. After such a wait and writing his Ford dealer what was surely a hefty check, we think even Will had butterflies in his stomach as-with only 26 miles on the clock-the GT 500's roof sheetmetal was cut out to make way for one of Classic Design Concepts' stunning Glassback roof panels. This immense chunk of UV-reflecting laminate glass brightens the Shelby's cabin, as does Tulsa Car FX crew's painting of the dash face and center console to match the Grabber Orange exterior. That, a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, and an aluminum e-brake handle are about all the GT 500's interior needed.

There's nothing shy about a Grabber Orange GT 500 to begin with, but Will thought he'd toughen things up even more with 3dCarbon's Boy Racer fender flares, side skirts, and upper/lower sidescoops. He painted the towering Steeda race wing to match the Florida company's ominous, black powdercoated Pentar rims. The crowning touch-visually and functionally-was the addition of vents behind the front wheelwells. We've no doubt these help aerodynamically and in keeping the hulking 5.4 a tad cooler by providing a quick exit for all the air pouring in through the GT 500's massive grille area.

The big, blown modular is still internally stock, but it now benefits from Steeda's smaller billet-steel blower pulley with a Steeda tune flashed from SCT's XCalibrator2. The blower pulley is said to add about 3 pounds of boost. Downwind is a set of Bassani's GT 500 long-tube headers, off-road pipes, and race mufflers. Does it sound mean? It should-it's a meanness that's reflected in the 577 rwhp the "show car" now deploys.

The parts truck from Steeda (www.steeda.com) also carried a thorough list of Dario's always-serious suspension hardware, beginning with a set of chrome-moly three-point framerail and torque-box braces. Critical to ride height and handling are Steeda's coilovers-with 250-lb/in springs up front and 200-lb/in versions out back. The dampers are Dario's preferred Tokico D-Spec units, infinitely adjustable. They have sufficient range for comfortable street and aggressive track use. Up front, a G-Trac brace ties the lower control arms together; at the stern, Steeda's adjustable Third link and aluminum lower control maximize forward bite. An adjustable chrome-moly Panhard bar and brace fine-tune handling balance. Not to be forgotten is Steeda's 13-inch slotted-rotor rear brake upgrade kit.

The sum of all these great parts is an eye-watering GT 500 taken to the next level. They're a superb showcase for Steeda's GT 500 gear. Will, if you ever tire of it, we'd love to make it a 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords long-term tester. OK-we had to try.

5.0 Tech Specs

ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block
Stock
Bore
Stock
Stroke
Stock
Displacement
Stock
Crankshaft
Stock
Rods
Stock
Pistons
Stock
Compression Ratio
Stock
Camshafts
Stock
Heads
Stock
Power Adder
Stock Eaton hybrid Roots w/Steeda pulley
Intake
Stock w/Steeda cold-air kit
Throttle Body
Stock
Mass Air
Stock
Injectors
Stock
Fuel Pump
Stock
Headers
Bassani long-tube
Exhaust
Bassani race X-shape crossover and mufflers
Transmission
Stock
Clutch
Stock
Driveshaft
Roush one-piece
Rearend
FRPP 4.10:1 gearset

ELECTRONICS
Engine Management
Stock w/Steeda tune on SCT Xcalibrator2
Ignition
Stock
Gauges
Stock

SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-member
Stock
Control arms
Steeda w/G-track brace
Springs/Struts
Steeda coilovers
Sway Bar
Steeda adjustable
Brakes
Stock 14-in Brembo
Wheels
Steeda Pentar, 18x911/42-in
Tires
Toyo Proxes TR1, 285/40R-18
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs/Shocks
Steeda coilovers
Control arms
Steeda adjustable Third link and aluminum lower arms
Brakes
Steeda 13-in slotted rotors
Wheels
Steeda Pentar, 18x911/42-in
Tires
Toyo Proxes TR1, 285/40R-18