Tom Wilson
September 1, 2009

Step By Step

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M5lp_0909_01_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
Feeling light, powerful, and offering a great combination of comfort and hot rod presence, the FRPP demonstrator had us looking for excuses to drive. An unpretentious, near-perfectly styled performance car, it garnered endless admiring comments in our travels.
M5lp_0909_02_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
Brighter than a Mensa convention on a sunny morning, Grabber Blue was an inspired color for the FRPP demo car. It made what could have been a sinister rumble wagon approachable. Car guys started bench racing us immediately, and not a single female we met failed to emote, "What a beautiful car!" And for once, the large tailpipes fit into the overall design.
M5lp_0909_03_z 2010_mustang_gt Front_view
GT500 wheels, GT500 Goodyear Eagle tires, and GT500 Brembo brakes put confidence in a Mustang GT's wheelwells. Combined with the snappy powertrain, this FRPP-sourced GT500 rolling stock and suspension gives flat, firm-riding, responsive handling. Dive and roll were limited; back-road action is not.

We're often asked if we've driven anything interesting lately. Honestly, we often answer "no," but we've been gushing about this Grabber Blue GT for weeks. We can't say it's the fastest, most exotic ride, or anything like that. It's simply that some cars are plain, old fun to drive, and this is one of them. And it's a true compliment this hot-rodded GT stays fresh in our minds, as recently we've been downright fire-hosed with hot hardware, from the '10 Mustang to the new Camaro, Dodge Challenger SRT-8, and the thundering '10 Shelby GT500.

One reason for our warm fuzzies is as soon as your '10 Mustang GT hits the streets, building one of these for yourself will be easily possible. What we're checking out here is a standard '10 GT that Ford Racing Performance Parts has decked out with trinkets from its catalog. OK, a supercharger is a bit more than a trinket, but you get the idea. Take one of the astoundingly good '10 Mustang GTs, coat it in white glue, whip it through the FRPP warehouse and see what sticks.

In this case what stuck is a Whipple twin-screw supercharger. A non-charge cooled version, it's a dead-simple installation putting out a polite 5 pounds of boost. That's enough to put the power rating up to a square 400 hp at 6,100 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. This is the same Whipple blower currently in the FRPP catalog for '05-'09 Mustang GTs, so a CARB emission compliance is expected shortly for the '10 version.

Featuring 3.73 rear-axle gearing in a limited-slip carrier, and wheels and brakes from the Shelby GT500, FRPP's '10 GT gets its suspension attributes right from the catalog. The spring, bar, and shock package is FRPP's FR3 kit, just as it was sold for the '05-'09 Mustangs. There are more details in the online sidebar, but for now let's note this is about $10,400 worth of FRPP upgrades at full-pop retail pricing ($9,000 worth in the real world). There's even a one-year warranty on the parts, and you could have the dealer install them so you could ignore the economic crisis and finance the go-fast goodies along with the rest of the car.

And you'll have no angst making the payments on something this fun. This car is a blast to drive, with a light, willing persona. Four hundred horsepower and equal pound-feet of torque do wonders for making a 3,700-pound car light on its tires; because the torque hits right away, the feeling is one of immediate response at any time.

The 3.73 gears are perfect to a bit on the short side with this much power, making acceleration that much snappier. Shifting is mechanically rewarding via a Hurst shifter. It clicks through the gates with short, moderate efforts, guided by a classic, impossible-to-improve-on round ball atop its abbreviated handle.

Short gearing can be a disaster on long drives, but freeway composure is fine thanks to great sound insulation inherent to the 2010 Mustang. With the louder (never boomy or droning) mufflers, the somewhat busy rpm had us wondering if a six-speed gearbox would help fuel mileage enough to bother with. Ultimately we decided a larger, heavier gearbox would just be more weight-gain and dollar drain, so we'd stick with the five-speed. Of course, driven as intended this thing has a healthy appetite for premium fuel, so when $5-a-gallon gas returns, a six-speed will make sense.