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.

Step By Step

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M5lp_0907_04_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Motor
Topped with Whipple's largest screw blower and capable of more than 1,000 flywheel horsepower while operating on its race-fuel tune, Stage 6 No. 014 has a squeaky-clean factory look underhood, thanks in part to its black-powdercoated Moroso coolant and intercooler tanks. This thing is all about deep breathing and precise calibration.
M5lp_0907_06_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Stage_6_certificationM5lp_0907_07_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Interior
A trio of AutoMeter Nexus gauges are mounted in the stylish individual nacelles of Speed of Sound's A-pillar replacement, along with a Raptor mini shift light. Speed of Sound also makes the three-switch console panel. The pistol-grip is from Hurst, though it commands a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter.
M5lp_0907_08_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Evo_performanceM5lp_0907_09_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Nitrous_tanks
Bet you're thinking that all this nitrous helped generate the huge power numbers. Wrong. The engine never sees the giggle gas; instead it's used to actuate the ARB Air Locker in the rear axle, which saves having an onboard compressor. Cool idea. Speaking of cool, the spray is also used to rev up bystanders as it purges through the snake in the grille.
M5lp_0907_10_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 RearM5lp_0907_11_z 2007_shelby_gt500_stage_6 Wheels

Stage 6 exterior mods include the subtle but distinctive step of smoothing and painting the GT500's mirrors, side skirts, and rear diffuser in body color. The KR-style hood and painted stripes on Mike's Torch Red ride are just a couple of Evolution's numerous available options. Standard Stage 6 cabin upgrades include Auto Meter's innovative Nexus fuel-pressure and boost gauges; Mike also opted for a wideband gauge and remote gauge controller. His Speed of Sound console switchplate controls Evolution's line-lock system, and includes a purge button to send red-illuminated nitrous vapor hissing out through the grille-mounted snake emblem, and a third switch to arm the rearend's ARB locking differential, also by way of nitrous instead of compressed air. By the way, Evolution's lead technician, Chuck Wresniewski, gets credit for the trunk's beautifully crafted nitrous hardware and serialization plate. Oh, and we need to point out that the engine itself sees absolutely none of the giggle gas.

To show that it isn't just a haphazard assemblage of random parts, Evolution serializes each of its striking Stage 6 Shelbys, and Mike's is the 14th of the series, having rolled out the door in December 2008. He seems more than pleased with his investment and relishes having what is surely one of the most handsome and fearsome GT500s in the state of Nebraska. As for Evolution, word has it the company is now working on a Stage 7 package, which promises to be just as revolutionary.

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
Block: Stock
Bore: Stock
Stroke: Stock
Displacement: 330ci
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Stock
Pistons: Stock
Compression Ratio: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Heads: Stock
Intake: Stock
Power Adder: Whipple 3.4-liter (W210AX), twin-screw supercharger
Throttle Body: Whipple 160mm mono-blade
Mass Air: C&L air induction system, with DiabloSport MAFia
Injectors: Evolution Performance matched, 72-lb/hr
Fuel Pump: Twin Whipple with Evolution Performance billet fuel rails
Headers: American Racing 1 7/8-inch long-tubes
Exhaust: Borla Touring Cat-Back
Transmission: Stock, with Steeda Tri-Ax shifter and Hurst pistol-grip
Rearend: Currie 9-inch, 3.70 gears, 35-spline axles, ARB Air Locker differential

Electronics
Engine Management: Stock with Evolution Performance tune
Ignition: Stock
Gauges: Auto Meter

Chassis And Suspension
Front Suspension
K-member: Stock
Control arms: Stock
Springs: FRPP
Struts: Tokico
Caster/Camber: Steeda HD upper strut mounts
Brakes: Baer 14-inch, six-piston calipers; FRPP brake-cooling kit
Wheels: Evolution Performance Series 1, 20x9 in
Tires: Nitto 555 Extreme 255/35-R20
Rear Suspension
Springs: FRPP
Shocks: Tokico
Control arms: Evolution Performance upper and lower
Panhard bar: Evolution Performance
Brakes:
Baer 14-inch, drilled and slotted rotor upgrade
Wheels: Evolution Performance Series 1, 20x11 inTires: Nitto 555R Drag Radial, 275/40-R20