Michael Johnson Associate Editor
February 1, 2013
Photos By: Ryan Merrill

After that ride, plans were put into place to switch over to turbocharged power, and the swap took place at Power by the Hour. Around that time we also caught wind of not only Sergio's car, but Jake's car, and another Power by the Hour car in Diego Castro's '00 GT. All three competed in the 2009 King of the Street competition, and all three had, you guessed it, turbos. "I earned a fifth-place finish, and probably would've ranked higher if not for my musical selection during the Ride and Drive portion," Sergio contends. We didn't hold his musical choice against him, but it was good for a laugh for sure.

Anyway, Sergio says competing in the King of the Street was a learning experience for him and his Saleen. The turbocharged combo made 767 horsepower at the wheels on pump gas and meth-injection, but unfortunately, like Jake's Cobra, he hurt the transmission on the dyno, which severely impacted his quarter-mile times. In preparation for the KOTS, Sergio had run a best of 9.70 at 143 mph, but the hurt tranny relegated the car to an 11.2 at 104 mph. That was just using First and Second gear. Furthermore, we don't think Sergio enjoyed our commentary on his Saleen's loose door handles, tight-fitting seats, and the fact we thought it could use a couple hundred more horsepower.

Licking his chops after the KOTS competition, he drove the car for about a year before an abnormal leakdown test signaled a wounded engine. "I decided to pull the engine and have it freshened-up," Sergio says. "This is where I lost my mind." What was supposed to be a simple engine refresh turned into a full redo.

The paint was around 9 years old at the time, and Sergio wanted something different. The car was torn down to a bare shell before he turned to Ronnie's Custom Paint and Body, who built a custom firewall, smoothed the shock towers, and re-routed brake lines, engine wiring, and power steering lines. Sergio also replaced various weatherstripping, window motors, and even those door handles we frowned upon. Ronnie then repainted the car black, but with a blue pearl to give a different look.

While all this exterior stuff was going on, Mustang Performance Racing's Tim Eichorn was busy building the engine with components from Dart, Eagle, Diamond Racing, Bullet Racing Cams, AirFlow Research, and Edelbrock, just to name a few. Tim upped the compression ratio to 9.3:1, as well, while Sergio upgraded the turbo to a Borg-Warner race series 80mm unit. Tig-Vision narrowed the factory 8.8 and added other chassis upgrades, like mini-tubbing the rear for big meats.

To finish addressing the car's needs, Sergio finally focused in on the interior, adding custom reclining "roomier seats for us big boys." The proper word is "husky," Sergio -- who you callin' big?

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Speaking of husky, Sergio's Saleen now makes a more-than-respectful 900 hp at the wheels, has cold A/C, power windows, power steering, and cruises 75 mph at 2,000 rpm. "It is what I consider Fox perfection." Yes, we would agree, Sergio. 5.0

Horse Sense: Ask anyone in the South Florida area who does great 'cage work, and we'll bet Tig Vision is on the list. The company installed the rollcage, subframe connectors, Battle Boxes, and mini-tubs, and narrowed the 8.8 in Sergio's Saleen. Tig Vision [(561) 281-2827; www.tigvisionwelding.com] is located in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In preparation for the KOTS, Sergio had run a best of 9.70 at 143 mph, but the hurt tranny relegated the car to an 11.2 at 104 mph