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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If you followed our buildup on this car back in the June 2010 issue ("The Bravery," p. 80), you know that the results of the marriage of the Boss 330 5.4 and massive Whipple spun the dyno rollers at UPR Racing to the tune of 805 hp and 673 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the dyno was only part of the testing procedure. Lethal planned to earn its cred on the dragstrip. Naturally, it's not as simple as just bolting the combination together.

"After the build was finished and the car was custom-tuned by Jon Lund of Lund Racing, we made a visit to the track. Our first time out, we ran a low 10 but experienced some issues," Jared said. "After a little poking around, we ended up replacing the alternator and made another visit to the track. That was when Jeremy cracked off our first 9..."

Jeremy is none other than UPR's Jeremy Martorella, an experienced drag racer and professional sunglasses model, who was kind enough to lend his mastery of the manual trans to the Lethal cause. He also lent quite a bit of the suspension-tuning knowledge he's learned from the likes of Billy Glidden to help hook up the 5.4's massive power at the track. The combination of Jeremy's suspension tuning and driving paid dividends in the form of a milestone achieved-the first 9-second '10 GT500.

"Another few weeks went by and another trip to the track yielded us our quickest run so far, which was a 9.66 at 146.19 mph. All of this basically put us on the map and earned us some good street cred in the GT500 community," Jared added. "Not bad for some 'parts guys' in south Florida.

"At this time we've made a few changes to the car. Most importantly we've switched over to E85. We're looking to raise the boost to make more power and crack off an 8-second pass with the stock TR6060 six-speed." If that goal weren't lofty enough, the Lethal crew recently acquired a Grabber Blue '11 Mustang GT, and they're looking forward to pushing the Coyote-powered Pony to new heights as well.

We know where this is headed. Another Mustang is going to take a beating in the name of performance, and we're going to love every minute of it.

5.0 Tech Specs

Engine And Drivetrain
Block 5.4-liter Ford GT aluminum
Displacement 330 ci
Crankshaft Stock GT500
Rods Manley I-beam
Pistons CP Racing
Camshafts Boss 330 Racing, custom grind via Comp Cams
Power Adder 4.0-liter Whipple Super Crusher
Cylinder Heads Kris Starnes Racing-ported GT500 Four-Valve
Intake Manifold Stock GT500
Throttle Body Whipple Super Monoblade
Fuel System Fore Precision Works return-style hat w/three Walbro GSS 342 fuel pumps, Fragola lines and fittings, Aeromotive regulator, and Bosch 16-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust 17/8-inch American Racing Headers long-tubes, 3-inch X-pipe, and 3-inch Magnaflow axle-back
Transmission Tremec TR-6060 six-speed w/ McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch; Steeda Tri-Ax shifter; and D.S.S. one-piece, aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8-inch w/Moser spool, 3.73 gears, and Moser 33-spline axles

Electronics
Engine ManagementSpanish Oak w/Jon Lund custom tune
Gauges Stock

Suspension And Chassis
Front Suspension
K-member BMR fabrication
Control Arms BMR tubular
Springs UPR
Struts QA1
Caster/Camber QA1
Brakes Stock
Wheels 17x5-in Bogart GT Drag
Tires Hoosier
Rear Suspension
Springs Ford Racing Cobra Jet
Shocks QA1
Control Arms UPR Competition Series
Brakes Stock
Wheels 15x10-in Bogart GT Drag
Tires Mickey Thompson ET Drag
Chassis Stiffening 8.50-certified 10-point cage by David Dodge of Tig Vision Welding