Dale Amy
November 7, 2011

Odd as it seems, as consumers, a recession can occasionally work to our benefit. Martin Barkey is the MB in MBRP Performance Exhaust, a Canadian-based manufacturer of high-flow systems that have earned a solid reputation for performance and quality in the pickup truck, Jeep, and snowmobile aftermarket exhaust markets. Like many businesses, Martin's was unlikely to be immune to the sharp economic downturn of 2008, but unlike many, Martin chose to respond by expanding-not shrinking-his company.

"As the economy started to slow," he explained, "and the automotive industry was showing signs of some tough times, I stared preaching diversification in our management meetings. MBRP was already known in the diesel and gasoline pickup truck markets, and sales were great, but with the slow economy we felt it was a great time to add products to our line offering."

This is where the benefit to Mustang owners comes in. Forging ahead, the company went out and bought this white '11 Shelby coupe as a testbed for the research and development of a whole new line of GT500 exhaust components, all the while also planning to gussy it up and put the "GT700" on display in the company booth at last November's SEMA show.

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Why the GT700 markings? Because as an R&D vehicle, that was the coupe's target rwhp level in order to generate sufficient exhaust flow to aid in design of MBRP's long-tube headers, H-pipes, and after-cat systems. With that goal in mind, off went the factory blower and on went a hulking Kenne Bell 3.6-liter, liquid-cooled, Mammoth twin-screw in its place on the otherwise-stock aluminum-block, 5.4-liter Condor. Have a look at the Tech Specs for more details on the shiny hardware that has resulted from MBRP's, well, exhaustive research.

Right on schedule, MBRP took this rather handsome test mule out to the 2010 Las Vegas SEMA show, where our distinctively ponytailed editor took notice of it, and decided we needed to feature the fortified coupe in these pages-thus giving MBRP a whole bunch of well-deserved promotion in the process. So we'd have to say that Martin's diversification plans are working out rather well so far.

Of course, a big blower and good intentions don't-on their own at least-make for a magazine-worthy show car. The shopping list was a tad longer. To bring ride height and handling up to par, MBRP dialed up Steeda Autosports for a whole whack of suspension hardware, most notably in the form of front and rear coilovers, but also including the company's billet rear lower control arms and competition upper link, Watt's linkage, and adjustable swaybar. The body morphed with a Black Mamba hood from BMC Extreme Customs (needed to clear KB's aptly named Mammoth blower) and painted black stripes (outlined in red pinstriping) by Xtreme Customs in Burlington, Ontario. The black accents continue with a custom set of Forgeline three-piece forged rims.

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Things are fairly restrained as far as cabin mods, though the instrument panel and console trim are now glossy piano black, and a Steeda shifter hides beneath the stitched leather boot. As for the Cobra Misano S composite buckets, Martin says: "After a day of testing and tuning one of our prototype exhaust systems at Mosport, it was clear you can't keep your butt in the stock seats when running a good road course, so we called Cobra and picked up some seats that now keep us in place." Not yet installed in our photos were the AutoMeter Ultra-Lite boost and oil pressure gauges that now reside on the A-pillar.

Anyway, the results of all these mods and this exhaustive research is that MBRP's GT700 now produces much closer to 800 rwhp than 700. But, no, the company isn't going to rename it.

Which brings us back to our original point. Partly thanks to the recession, we've ended up with more high-quality choices in the Mustang and Shelby exhaust department, and business is now so good that MBRP Performance Exhaust has had to add an additional 15 employees to its payroll. Kinda hard to figure out the world of economics sometimes, but that's just the kind of stimulus package we can get behind.

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Horse Sense: Check out MBRP's other S197 offerings at mbrpautomotive.com, and look for the company's 18-wheeler at the NMRA season final--in Bowling Green.

Why the GT700 markings? Because as an R&D vehicle, that was the coupe's target rwhp level in order to generate sufficient exhaust flow to aid in design of MBRP's long-tube headers, H-pipes, and after-cat systems.

Things are fairly restrained as far as cabin mods, though the instrument panel and console trim are now glossy piano black, and a Steeda shifter hides beneath the stitched leather boot

Photo Gallery

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5.0 Tech Specs

'11 GT500

Engine and Drivetrain

Block Stock
Crankshaft Stock
Rods Stock
Pistons Stock
Camshaft Stock
Power Adder Kenne Bell 3.6LC twin-screw supercharger w/twin 75mm throttle body
Cylinder Heads Stock
Intake Manifold Stock
Fuel System Stock w/Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump and Aeromotive rails
Exhaust MBRP long-tube headers, H-pipe, and 3-in after-cat system
Transmission Stock
Rearend Stock

Electronics

Engine Management Stock w/Kenne Bell tune
Ignition Stock
Gauges Auto Meter Ultra-Lite boost and oil pressure

Chassis and Suspension

Front Suspension
K-member Stock
A-arms Stock
Struts Steeda coilovers
Springs Steeda coilovers
Brakes Stock
Wheels 19x9.5-in Forgeline FS3P three-piece
Tires Nitto NT05, 275/35R-19

Rear Suspension
Shocks Steeda coilovers
Springs Steeda coilovers
Control Arms Steeda lower arms w/Steeda third link and Steeda Watt's link
Brakes Stock
Wheels 20x11-in Forgeline FS3P three-piece
Tires Nitto NT05, 315/35R-20