Dale Amy
February 1, 2009
Photos By: Tracy Stocker
Nothing superfluous here, just a nearly stock '00 GT with Steeda wheels and a Kaenan Cobra R hood. Or so Christopher Munsey would have you think.

Horse Sense: With no rear suspension enhancements other than Moroso drag springs and an airbag, the black GT will post 1.45-second 60-foot times. Chris sums it up nicely: "It hooks."

"I decided to build this car because they are not known for making a lot of power, and I wanted to prove that they can." Such was the stated rationale behind Christopher Munsey's choice of project vehicles-this black '00 GT coupe that once belonged to his wife. And while the result may still appear low-key in its basic Darth Vader's-cloak scheme, this is certainly no longer the 3,400-pound weakling that originally rolled out the Dearborn Assembly Plant door. But the transformation has had its surprises and has been a great rolling experiment in Two-Valve fortification.

A built bottom end, ported heads, some cams, and a Kenne Bell Big Bore 2.6-liter Twin-Screw combine for 600-plus ponies and drive-it-anywhere manners. Folks around the Carolinas who have crossed paths with the combo have apparently come to respect it.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that it happened at all given that the coupe began, as mentioned, as Christopher's wife's bone-stock daily driver. At that time, the Mooresville, North Carolina, resident had a Corvette as his own commuter and a 347 Fox project on the side. But one fateful weekend, his wife took a road trip in his Vette, leaving her GT behind and her husband alone in the house. Being a normal car guy, Chris immediately took this as the ideal opportunity to throw a gear and exhaust on his spouse's 'Stang. It was supposed to stop right there, but as most of us have experienced, one thing led to another-a situation no doubt exacerbated by a buddy's '95 Cobra that kept putting the hurt on Chris and his spousal GT at the local eighth-mile strip. His buddy's subsequent tendency to "talk junk" probably did nothing to calm the friendly rivalry, either. And so...

The first power-adder was a Vortech T-trim on the stock short-block, which produced meaningful high-rpm horsepower-so much so that the factory short-block expired in a big way. The remains were shipped off to Pro Line Racing in Woodstock, Georgia, for a rebuild and upgraded reciprocating and rotating hardware. This included a Terminator steel crank, Manley rods, and dished CP forged pistons to lower compression to more blower-friendly levels.

Like the exterior, the interior is pretty much all business. With a black car in the humid Carolinas, Chris is just happy that the air conditioning still works as well as it did back when the GT had less than a third of its current power output.

With a much stouter short-block and ported stock heads with slightly upsized valves (also by Pro Line), Chris decided to try out a Novi 2000 combination, which worked well and-like the T-trim-produced plenty of power. Much of it, however, was lurking at the top end, and Chris found himself shifting at 7,400 rpm to get the most out of the centrifugal's characteristics. These revs made him nervous because the Mustang was now his-his wife was by then happy with a new SUV in place of her purloined Pony. He had sold the Corvette and even the 347 Fox so he could concentrate on the ebony Two-Valve. We're not sure whether the Novi-blown version was able to put the smack on his buddy's '95 Cobra, but regardless, Chris was thinking he'd like to shift a bit sooner, which soon had him ordering a Kenne Bell Twin-Screw-KB's big 2.6-liter variant, in fact-to see if he could maintain the hearty horsepower while easing off on the rpm. Somewhere along the line, a set of Comp Cams bumpsticks also came onboard, as did a 100-shot of giggle gas from Nitrous Express: and the result was 611 rwhp at 19 psi, on pump gas. Torque now peaks at 720 (800 with a tickle of spray on race fuel) and exceeds 600 lb-ft from two-grand upwards.

This, in turn, left a trail of broken five-speeds behind, so the GT now boasts a Terminator Cobra's six-speed T56 and driveshaft. And, as hoped, the Twin-Screw blower dialed the shift points back down out of the stratosphere; Chris now rows the gears at about 6,500 revs on his way to 6.70-second eighth-mile passes at 105 mph. He hasn't been to a quarter-mile strip yet, but seems to think that the succession of blowers has been paid for by his winnings in what we might term "local impromptu grudge matches." Which kind of explains the purposefully understated looks of the muscle-bound GT. Chris likes to visually underwhelm his potential combatants. He didn't even want the cowl hood that was a necessary compromise in order to clear the big KB blower.

So bling's not his thing. The interior, aside from nearly obligatory boost and A/F gauges, remains mostly stock. As does the chassis, which wears shortened factory springs up front and Moroso drag coils with an airbag out back, but little else. The rear axle, though, has been prepared for the rigors of 600 horses with 31-spline axles and an FRPP Traction-Lok diff having carbon-fiber clutches.

Chris reports that the Kenne Bell setup (with an SCT tune by Pro-Dyno.net) has outstanding driveability, so much so that he commutes in it way more frequently. Heck, the wife even enjoys borrowing her former GT from time to time. Maybe that was her evil plan all along: let the old man do all the wrenching, spending and experimenting, and then enjoy the fruits of his labor. But that's a form of "honey do" list we could all live with.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINTerminator) w/ SPEC Stage 3+
Blockclutch
StockRearend
Bore3.73:1 gearset, FRPP diff w/
3.572-inchcarbon clutches, 31-spline axles
Stroke 
3.543-inchELECTRONICS
DisplacementEngine Management
283ciStock, with SCT tune by
CrankshaftPro-Dyno.net
'03 Cobra steelIgnition
RodsStock coil-over-plug
Manley steel, 5.090-inch 
PistonsSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
CP forged, 15cc dishFront Suspension
Compression RatioK-member
9.0:1Stock
CamshaftsControl Arms
Comp Cams, 0.50/0.50 lift,Stock
236/{{{240}}} durationSprings
HeadsCut stock
Stock, ported by Pro Line Racing;Struts
1mm-larger valvesStock
IntakeCaster/Camber
Kenne BellStock
Power AdderBrakes
Kenne Bell Big Bore 2.6-liter Twin-Stock
Screw, intercooled supercharger;Wheels
{{{NX}}} {{{100}}}-shot nitrousSteeda Ultralight 1, 17x9
Throttle BodyTires
Accufab 90mmNitto 555R, 245/45R17
Mass AirRear Suspension
SCT BA2800 in JLT carbon-fiberSprings
cold-air inlet tubeMoroso drag launch (w/ airbag)
Fuel SystemShocks
Aeromotive A1000 in sumpedStock
tank; Mototron 60-lb-hrBrakes
ExhaustStock
BBK long-tube, 1 5/8-inch; UPRWheels
X-shaped crossover; MagnaFlowSteeda Ultralight 1, 17x9
after-cat, stainlessTires
TransmissionNitto 555R, 275/40R17
Tremec T56 six-speed ('03