Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
November 5, 2010
Photos By: Ryan Merrill

In becoming one of the go-to purveyors of Mustang performance gear, the gang at Lethal Performance endeavored to spread its gospel in several traditional and non-traditional methods. On one end, they advertise in old-school print magazines; on the other end, they've sponsored mixed-martial-arts fighters. In the middle, they know exactly where their bread is buttered, which is with true enthusiasts, and there's no better way to attract power-mad enthusiasts than with high-powered project cars.

One such success was the company's '08 GT500 project car, which helped Lethal launch its brand as one of the go-to sources of mail-order muscle for the S197 crowd. The Shelby was a sequel to a Terminator Cobra that flashed its fangs for the New Edge crowd. Having pushed the '08 into the 10-second zone with a substantial list of bolt-ons, headlined by a 3.4-liter Whipple supercharger, the stock engine finally tapped out during a 10.54-second pass. This presented the obvious crossroad, which usually calls for more mods.

"In 2009, when racing our Whipple-powered '08 GT500, we blew up the motor on a 10.54 pass. Our plan was to build a motor and have the car ready for the Bradenton NMRA season opener. Delays with parts kept us from being able to participate in the event. At the same time, images started surfacing on the Internet about the new '10 GT500. I knew the moment I saw it that I wanted one," Lethal Performance's Jared Rosen explained. "So without hesitation, we placed an order for a black-with-Grabber-Blue-stripes '10 GT500 from Philip Weikert at Weikert Ford in Lake Wales, Florida. During the time the car was on order, our engine was finished and sat in our warehouse on a pallet. We replaced the blown motor in the '08 with a low-mileage '07 motor and sold the car to a customer of ours in Kuwait."

The engine in question was no stock replacement, but rather a handcrafted worked of aluminum artistry orchestrated by Modular-engine specialist Al Papitto of Boss 330 Racing. Starting with Ford Racing's wet-sump version of the Ford GT 5.4-liter block, Al added Manley I-beam rods and custom CP Racing pistons to ensure durability. A set of stock GT500 heads received a port job from Kris Starnes of Kris Starnes Racing. To these ported crowns, Al added Boss 330 valvesprings and custom cams ground by Comp Cams.

The plan was to fearlessly fuse the new engine with a brand-new Shelby. "Our 2010 arrived and the plan was to do a step-by-step build, which would allow our customers to see what could be done with the car with basic bolt-ons," Jared explained. "At some point though we knew that the built aluminum motor by Al Papitto would find its place in the 2010 along with one of Whipple's newest blowers. After testing the car with a tune and a few other suspension modifications we started the build. It happened pretty quickly actually. The new motor went in, the suspension, fuel system and everything else we all done at once."

Long one of Whipple's staunchest supporters, Lethal was to once again revisit the massive 3.4-liter twin-screw supercharger, but as the project progressed, a bigger version became available. Lethal was the first to try it out on the company's '10 project.

Yes, the superchargers seem to get larger and larger, and the latest was displaced as much or more than a base Mustang's six-cylinder engine. Clocking in at 4.0 liters, this Whipple also featured an ultra-high-flow inlet, dubbed the Super Crusher, which featured a matching single-blade throttle body.

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