Dale Amy
July 1, 2008
Photos By: Patrick "Third-Gen" Hill
William R. "Billy Bob" Taylor's '01 Bullitt manages to present a mostly stock appearance although its Terminator hood, Mach1-sourced chin spoiler, and open grille personalize its front signature. The Konig Villian rims were necessary additions to clear the oversize StopTech front binders.

Horse Sense: Apparently, an '01 Bullitt ingected with Mach 1 and Terminator genetic code can remain stealthy. Billy Bob Taylor says that at car shows "85 percent of the attendees just walk right by without noticing how special it is."

The era of the modular Mustang began with more of a whimper than a bang, much to the dismay of the 5.0 faithful who had become used to-no, make that spoiled by-the overabundance of affordable performance-boosting hardware available for the faithful, simple, and torquey old 302. The wimpy '96-'98 GTs prompted many to cry for a return to pushrods, but by mid-life of the New Edge design, things were looking up with the well-conceived and equally well received Bullitt and Mach 1 special editions.

However, factory power still wasn't overwhelming. Then, to close out the Fox-4 era in fine form, the menacing '03-'04 Terminator used its Roots-blown Four-Valve heads and beefy internals to put to rest nearly all the complaints about Ford's decision to stick with overhead cams.

Into this mix, we now throw William R. "Billy Bob" Taylor, a Georgia gentleman who waited long past puberty to dive into the Mustang hobby. In fact, by our math, Billy Bob was approaching the half-century mark when he finally bought his first Mustang-a '90 5.0 LX convertible. This was in 1996, about the time the first of those wimpy factory SOHC GTs hit the market. He had been reading Mustang magazines like this one since the late '80s and wryly notes: "You can see I react quickly." A converted Chevy man, Billy Bob soon realized what he had been missing all those years. For his next 'Stang, he reacted quicker the magazine hype and stepped up in March 2002 with an order for a Zinc Yellow '03 Terminator ragtop-a car he still owns, with only 11,000 miles on the clock. The '90 LX went to his brother.

Next-and most important to our story-came this '01 Bullitt, which he acquired used in 2004. Whereas his Cobra convertible is only an occasional driver, the Bullitt seems to get a regular workout. Its first mods included a set of American Racing Torq Thrust II rims mounting Yokohama track rubber, so Billy Bob could assault the Little Talladega Grand Prix road course near the famous Alabama town. The desire for road-course competitiveness soon led to a rash of chassis upgrades, including Kenny Brown subframe connectors, jacking rails, and Extreme Matrix braces, along with Maximum Motorsports' tubular K-member and A-arms with coilovers, front and rear.

Aside from time on the track, Billy Bob likes spending time online, where he read about Evolution Motorsport's TriLink (three-link), and Watt's link suspension packages-both excellent solutions for a Fox Mustang's unruly four-link rear-axle control. These were soon on order, along with Evolution's billet lower control arms and rear antiroll bar.

Although it may be a mutant overall, it's still a Bullitt inside, with only the boost gauge in the A-pillar pod giving away some of the secret of what lies underhood. The pod's other gauge is a digital tach/shift light. Even the aluminum Bullitt shift knob wears its five-speed pattern despite being attached to a Terminator's six-cog T56.

About when he had worked out the suspension installation schedule with Gordon Land at Gordon's Classic Restorations in Dallas, Georgia, Billy Bob made the fateful decision to do some more poking around on the Internet. As we all know, such computer shopping can result in finds too good to pass up-and it soon did. He stumbled across a complete '03 Terminator engine, tranny, driveshaft, fuel tank, computer, and harness package for sale. Suddenly, Gordon's Classic Restorations had a much lengthier work order.

The chassis mods were a snap, as was the drivetrain swap-for the most part. A Cobra underhood wiring harness was used, but Gordon's retained the stock Bullitt interior harness. Billy Bob explains that the Cobra processor required the additional couple of wires: "Gordon called me late one afternoon and said they had it running. A few minutes later, he called back, saying when they turned on the air conditioning, the engine quit running. About 30 minutes later he called back and said they had reversed the two additional wires, and the problem was solved."

One of Billy Bob's goals was to retain a stock-appearing exterior, or at least keep it as OEM as possible. However, there was no way a factory Bullitt hood would clear, and the Cobra R hood they tried wouldn't clear the car's Lightning Force Performance intercooler reservoir tank. Gordon's then discovered that an '03 Cobra hood would clear everything-but it was shorter than a GT hood, requiring Gordon's body man to extend the tops of the bumper cover just inboard of the headlights to fill the gap. Problem solved.

Next up was a custom 21/2-inch exhaust, fabricated by Grand Mufflers in Marietta, Georgia, to snake its way through the Watt's link and terminate in 31/2-inch rolled tips. Billy Bob had a goal of 450 hp, so Powder Springs, Georgia's Pro Speed Performance pullied the Eaton for 14 psi, and added a cold-air kit and a custom tune. The result was 468 rwhp and 474 lb-ft of torque on the Dynojet. This newfound power impressed upon Billy Bob the importance of equally powerful brakes, so on went a set of StopTech 13-inch, four-piston-caliper front brakes. The rear brakes remain stock save for the same Hawk HPS pads as up front. As usual with our beloved steeds, one thing leads to another: The Torq Thrust rims wouldn't clear the burly StopTech binders, thus explaining the 17x9 Konig Villains now onboard.

Though Billy Bob seems to prefer some left and right turns in his race-course activity, he did manage-after swapping to a SPEC Stage 2+ clutch-to slither the Bullsnake (his name, not ours) down the straight and narrow quarter-mile in 12.11 seconds at more than 117 mph, with a 1.84-second 60-foot time. Hah. Who says a bullsnake doens't have venom?


5.0 Tech Specs

Engine And Drivetrain

Block
Stock Terminator
Bore
Stock Terminator
Stroke
Stock Terminator
Displacement
281ci
Crankshaft
Stock Terminator
Rods
Stock Terminator
Pistons
Stock Terminator
Compression Ratio
Stock Terminator
Camshafts
Stock Terminator
Heads
Stock Terminator w/LDC Chicago mods
Intake
Stock Terminator
Power Adder
Stock Terminator Eaton M112
Throttle Body
Stock Terminator
Mass Air
Stock element in Vortech housing
Injectors
Stock Terminator
Fuel Pump
Stock Terminator tank and pumps
Headers
Bassani mid-length
Exhaust
Bassani X-shape crossover w/cats, Flowmaster mufflers, custom 21/2-in pipes
Transmission
Stock Terminator
Clutc
hSPEC Stage 2+
Rearend
FRPP 3.73:1 gearset, Eaton Posi


Electronics

Engine Management
Stock Terminator w/Pro Speed Performance (SCT) tune
Ignition
Stock Terminator
Gauges
Auto Meter


Suspension and Chassis

Front Suspension

K-Member
Maximum Motorsports
Control Arms
Maximum Motorsports
Springs/Struts
Bilstein coilovers
Caster/Camber
Maximum Motorsports
Brakes
StopTech 13-in w/four-piston calipers, Hawk HPS pads
Wheels
Konig Villain, 17x9-in
Tires
Goodyear F1, P275/40R17


Rear Suspension

Springs
Bilstein coilovers
Shocks
Bilstein coilovers
Axle Location
Evolution Motorsport TriLink and Watt's link
Control Arms
Evolution Motorsport
Brakes
Stock w/Hawk HPS pads
Wheels
Konig Villain, 17x9-in
Tires
Goodyear F1, P275/40R17