Drew Phillips
June 2, 2010

Bill ran into more fitment issues when it came to the transmission. The Tremec TR6060 six-speed found in the Shelby GT500 was the ideal choice, but getting it into the car would have required too much time and work. "We would have cut a tunnel to get the six-speed in the car," he told us. Instead, a custom clutch assembly was built to mate up to the five-speed already in the car.

The swap required plenty of other custom components. The intercooler from the Shelby wouldn't fit into the Saleen's engine bay, so a new AFCO unit was fabricated just for the car. The cold air intake system, radiator cover, exhaust system, and front springs are also custom. Finally, a one-off Harwood fiberglass 5-inch cowl hood was modified to fit over the supercharger. With everything finally in place, the car was sent to Precision Autosports in Beaver Creek, Ohio, where Jeff Wightman did the final dyno tuning.

The Saleen with its new motor headed back to Richard in Arizona. To get it ready for show duty, he took the car to Autobahn Collision Paint Shop, which painted the hood, and Moe Madrid of Bad Boy Designs worked his magic for the underhood graphics. Finally, Richard added a few final touches, including chrome valve covers and a new speedster top painted to match the rest of the car.

In total, the car took 14 months from start to finish. Was it worth it? Let's put it this way. This past year Richard took the trip to Southern California for Steve Saleen's annual car show held at his new building. The car wowed everyone at the show, but Richard's goal wasn't to win any awards.

"My intentions were not to place in the competition but to have Steve Saleen drive my car and get his opinion on the workmanship put into the engine swap. He was impressed with the performance, the power, and the way it handled. I felt like I had just received the best trophy anyone could ever receive!"

In other words, yes, it was worth it.

5.0 TECH SPECS

Engine and Drivetrain

Block Iron
Bore 3.552 in
Stroke 4.165 in
Displacement 330ci
Rods Cracked forged steel I-beams
Pistons Forged aluminum
Crankshaft Forged steel
Camshafts Stock GT500
Heads Four-Valve 5.4
Intake Stock GT500
Throttle Body BBK
Mass Air Stock GT500
Fuel System Stock GT500
Headers Stock GT500 manifolds
Exhaust Custom-built with BBK X-pipe and Borla mufflers
Transmission Tremec T45 five-speed
Clutch Centerforce
Rearend Stock 8.8 with 3.73 gears

Electronics

Engine Management Stock 1996 Mustang
Ignition Custom-built coil-on-plug
Gauges Saleen boost and fuel pressure

Chassis and Suspension

Front Suspension

Shocks Stock Saleen
Springs 1995 Cobra R
Brakes Stock Saleen
Wheels Stock Saleen chrome
Tires Dunlop Sport 245/40ZR-18

Rear Suspension

Springs Stock Saleen
Springs Stock Saleen
Brakes Stock Saleen
Wheels Stock Saleen chrome
Tires Dunlop Sport 245/40ZR-18