Dale Amy
July 1, 2009
Photos By: Greg Jarem
Like the high-school football stud voted most likely to succeed, this thing wraps all its muscle in shockingly good looks. Evolution Performance's own functional '68 KR-style nostril hood and 20-inch Series 1 rims are key elements in helping separate it from the crowd, as are Cervini's upper and lower sidescoops.

A revolution is a sudden, radical, or complete change--like turning an unsuspecting GT500 into a 794-rwhp precision-guided missile, for instance. This is just what Evolution Performance of Aston, Pennsylvania, has accomplished with Mike Shrader's '07 Shelby GT500. Mike, we should mention, hails from Nebraska--hardly what you'd consider handy to Evolution's shop on the far east side of the Keystone State. So what prompts a guy to send his GT500 halfway across the continent just for some good old hot-rodding?

We suspect that Evolution's growing reputation for coaxing leading-edge quickness out of Shelby's snake may have had something to do with it. Drag fans in particular may be familiar with the exploits of Evolution's own shop-Shelby: a black, early-production '07 that quickly transcended 11-second quarter-miles, then hustled down through the 10s and 9s in the span of just three months. That same twin-turbo monster has since gone on to run an 8.82-second pass at 163 mph--reportedly on a stock short-block, for Pete's sake. That sort of performance tends to garner attention, especially in these days of online immediacy.

Speaking of immediacy, Mike had originally harbored thoughts of upgrading his GT500 to Super Snake status, but he was ultimately lured by Evolution's potent and well-conceived Stage 6 package, as well as main man Fred Cook's promise (and delivery) of a quick turnaround. He also liked the extreme degree of personalization offered by the Pennsylvania crew, right down to its '68 KR-style hood and painted-on stripes. This is Mike's first Mustang and he wanted it done right.

To that end, Evolution offers a whole smorgasbord of S197 upgrades, but for now at least, its Stage 6 package is the ultimate all-around starting point for the GT500, beginning with Whipple's proven bolt-on hurricane of a 3.4-liter supercharger that brings along suitable fuel and induction upgrades. Nothing is touched inside Mike's factory long-block, but long-tube headers and a Borla Cat-Back system take any resistance out of the exhaust. We would fear for the long-term health of that factory reciprocating assembly were it not for the well-honed tuning/calibration skills of Evolution's Jon Lund. The TR6060 tranny and even the clutch are left stock, but a 3.5-inch aluminum driveshaft (with loop) and a short-throw shifter help spice up the drivetrain. Mike opted to go further, in this case, with a swap to a Currie-built 9-inch rear axle armed with 35-spline sticks, 3.70 gears, and an ARB Air Locker differential.

While it's easy to get misty-eyed at the thought of nearly 800 perfectly mannered ponies, Evolution's Stage 6 addresses far more than just the straight line, with its "ultimate" suspension kit featuring not just new FRPP springs and Tokico dampers, but also Evolution's own rear-suspension hardware upgrades. These start with billet lower control arms, augmented with BMR Fabrication arm-relocation brackets. An adjustable upper link is also from Evolution, as is a whole new Panhard-bar assembly. Evolution's own three-piece Series 1 (Mike's choice) or Series II rims round out the Stage 6 handling hardware.