Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
May 9, 2011
Photos By: Jeff Huneycutt

Horse Sense: Besides building wild rides like Melvin’s Mustang and working on customer cars, Fastlane Motorsports is also working with local dealer Capital Ford of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to market its own Stage II Mustangs. They feature Whipple Superchargers and make 475 horsepower at the wheels, but are still covered under factory warranty.

Prowl the modern streets and you’ll often be hard-pressed to tell one S197 Mustang from another. They can all run together like the closely planted houses in a suburban subdivision. For those searching for the choicest examples, it’s a quest that could turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, there are still plenty of exceptions to that rule. Not every example paints its mods on by the numbers.

In fact, there are often a handful of cars that will stop us in our tracks. One such example is Melvin Skinner’s ’07 Mustang. Of course, it wasn’t just us that found Project Nightmare alluring. We first laid eyes on the car when it debuted in nearly complete form at the ’10 Mustang Week. Melvin had clued us into the car beforehand, but it was easy to find at the event. Just look for the big crowd around it. We had to wait quite a while just for the people to clear so we could snap a photo.

That’s likely just the reaction Melvin sought when he embarked on the project formerly known as Nightmare On Any Street. "We grew up with Hot Wheels cars, and I always loved the Ed Big Daddy’ Roth creations," he explains. "We wanted a modern-day version that was real, wild, and well-mannered on the street. We did not want a race car, as we already have those. This car is strictly to enjoy and drive wherever we wish."

Even though it is not a race car, this nightmare began where many race cars do--with the rear tires. These aren’t just any tires, but Jurassic slabs of 33-inch Mickey Thompson rubber that would make Fred Flintstone jealous. "We chose the largest street tires available and basically built the car around them," Melvin explains. "The car was completely gutted so we could back-half and tub it for the big tires."

Building the car around the tires is one thing. In fact, it’s a relatively practical approach to bringing a boyhood dream, er, nightmare to life. Of course, once you make the decision to push around 33-inch tires, you aren’t going to go with just any engine. It’s time to go big or go home, and Melvin went big with the biggest modular V-8 to easily fit in a Mustang--a Four-Valve 5.4. It’s not just another GT500 swap, however. It’s a built 5.4 dressed in a Terminator top-end.

Because the project began back in 2008, the Termi gear was a bit more readily available. The Fastlane crew knew they’d be modding these parts anyway. Besides the obvious porting of the heads and widening of the intake, there was a special wrinkle in the plans necessitating further mods to the intake. If you are bringing the visage of a cartoon to life, you can’t just use the usual street superchargers. Nope. Melvin spec’d out a traditional 6-71 Roots blower fed by a bug catcher.

"We decided to use the factory PCM for all the accessories and the ignition system, then use a FAST XFI with a separate crank trigger and MAP sensor to run the injectors, therefore eliminating the need for a mass air meter," he explains. "We modified the big Enderle bird catcher for our throttle body. ... The driveability is unbelievable for the modifications."

So, as it turns out, Project Nightmare is a dream come true. Melvin set to pull a childhood dream out of his head and onto the streets, and he has achieved that goal. "With the 5.4, old-school 6-71 blower, a five-speed transmission, full tubs, huge wheels, and its stance, it turned out to be everything that we had envisioned it," Melvin proclaims. "To be able to cruise around or take a trip down the interstate with the A/C on and some tunes playing can’t help but put a smile on your face."

Seeing an S197 that goes well beyond the tried and true bolt-ons certainly makes us grin.

5.0 Tech Specs

'07 Mustang

Engine and Drivetrain
Block Iron 5.4 liter
Crankshaft Ford Racing Performance Parts
Rods Eagle H-beam
Pistons CP
Camshafts ’03-’04 Cobra
Cylinder Heads ’04 Cobra
Intake Manifold ’03-’04 Cobra modified for 6-71 blower
Fuel System Aeromotive Stealth cell w/A1000 pump, Aero-motive braided lines, Fore Precision Works regulator, Fore Precision Works fuel rails, and Precision Turbo 95-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Kooks Custom Headers 178-in long-tubes w/Kooks H-pipe and Kooks 3-in mufflers
Transmission Tremec 3650 five-speed
Rearend Narrowed 8.8-in w/Ford Racing differential, 4.56 gears, and Moser axles

Electronics
Engine Management Stock Spanish Oak w/FAST XFI
Ignition Stock
Gauges Stock

Chassis and Suspension

Front Suspension
K-member Stock
Control Arms Stock
Struts QA1 adjustable
Springs Coilover
Brakes Aerospace
Wheels Carroll Shelby Wheels CS67
Tires Nitto 245/35-20

Rear Suspension
Shocks Chris Alston Chassisworks Varishocks
Springs Coilover
Control Arms Chris Alston Chassisworks four-link
Brakes 14-in Baer
Wheels Budnik 20x16-in custom
Tires Mickey Thompson 33x22x20-in ET Street
Chassis Stiffening Chrome-moly cage by Caleb Skinner of Fastlane Motorsports

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