5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1994 Ford Mustang GT - Appetite For Displacement
Lyle Farlow's '94 GT always seems to want more
Horse Sense: One of the many pluses to going with a big-cube Windsor is a stronger foundation. Stock 351 cranks and rods are significantly stronger than 302 versions, but since these items are usually replaced with aftermarket pieces, the most relevant component is the block. Hands down, a 351W casting has significantly stronger main bearing webs and caps than a similar period 302. Hmm ... added strength and added cubes. Lyle killed two birds with one stone!
No doubt about it, Lyle Farlow falls into the camp of Mustang fanatics with a particular affinity for the SN-95 body style of '94-'98. Lyle found good reason to invest physically, financially, and emotionally/mentally in this '94 GT.
From a physical sense, the '94 is a big upgrade from the Fox in terms of structure and amenities. The chassis is significantly stiffer than those that came before, while items like four-wheel disc brakes make for a more competent performer in stock form. Financially, Lyle found there was a benefit in pursuing a body style that many tend to overlook when considering a Mustang project—the cars are clearly less expensive than other choices. Lastly, Lyle came of age when these cars were the hottest thing going. Simply put, the '94-'98s made an impression on him that lasted.
It was 2003 when Lyle bought this bone-stock Bright Blue '94, a model-year he targeted due to his desire to build a project with traditional push-rod power. Predictably, he soon found the stock 5.0-liter wasn't as powerful as he might have thought. Friends at the multi-make Renton Garage Crew were polite enough to avoid pointing it out purposefully, but Lyle saw the light through experiencing firsthand what others were constructing. A Vortech S-Trim soon followed, and the GT was launched down the road to respectability.
It wasn't long until Lyle began mulling over a modified engine that would allow turning up the supercharger wick. Some sort of stroker was a given, but when friend Brian Holsten announced he was going in a different direction and offered to sell his fresh 410-inch short-block, it didn't take long for Lyle to jump at the chance.
Brian is a tenured technician at Brad's Custom Auto in Seattle, and with his experience as a guide, Lyle put together a powerplant that waves the Blue Oval flag with pride. Beginning with a 0.040-inch-over, '90 351 block, the bottom end plays tough with a forged Scat stroker crank, Probe I-beam rods, and Probe forged blower pistons. Up top, CNC'd Trick Flow High Ports get a mixture charge through an Accufab 90mm throttle body and modified Victor Jr. intake fitted with 60-lb/hr injectors. Valve lift from the Comp Cams blower-spec hydraulic roller is handled by Jesel Pro Series shaft rockers.
Lyle chuckles when he relates a conversation he had with tuning guru Bob Kurgan, whom he enlisted for help when dialing in the stock 302/S-Trim combination. “While I called him for advice on the best pulley for what I thought would be my 410/S-Trim combination, I wound up buying a Vortech YSi, a Snow Performance methanol injection kit, and a Maxflow bv57 bypass valve." With more experience under his belt, and now onboard as a tech at Brad's, Lyle himself tuned up the AEM for the new combination.
To be sure, the swap to big cubes wasn't without its trials and tribulations. The particular combination of vehicle year, deck height, and cylinder-head choice made for an “interesting time" in terms of header selection, motor mounts, and other ancillaries, but in the end, Lyle obviously sorted it out. The GT was down for a month for the swap, but when it emerged, it sported more than just a big engine. Concurrent with the displacement, Lyle wisely revamped the entire fuel system and bolted in a beefy G-Force five-speed assembled by Bill Erickson.
From the start, Lyle's priorities for his '94 emphasized function over aesthetics. Yet once the drivetrain was dialed in, it was time to turn attention to some well-chosen cosmetic upgrades. All have a performance orientation rather than pure bling, including the ever-popular Cobra front fascia, a carbon-fiber Saleen-style hood, and carbon-fiber Griggs GR40 rear spoiler. Combined with a set of seldom seen Do-Luck Double Six forged rims, the overall appearance is both distinctive and appealing. A sleeper it isn't!
Taking in the breadth of modifications, some people would find little to improve on for a car that is primarily street driven, with occasional forays to the 1,320 and road course. But not surprisingly, Lyle still has a significant to-do list. In fact, he tells us the list never seems to shrink despite all the work.
Among the projects brewing is a new rearend, rear brakes, torque arm, aftermarket block, and more. Call it an appetite for high performance—one we fully understand. 5.0