Huw Evans
October 1, 2006
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

We were at the first Mustang Club of America show this year, you know, that one in Pensacola Florida. One thing we noticed was a sizeable number of Boss Shinoda cars on the grounds. We soon discovered that this wasn't as unusual as one might first think, since Team Shinoda Performance Vehicles was located literally down the street. Today, Team Shinoda is run by a gent named Jim Klok and it is the mission of Klok, and his dedicated team to continue the work that Larry Shinoda started. Today the company builds some of the most formidable Mustangs to hit the streets - the one we sampled boasts 600 horsepower. "It's just a little bit spicy," remarked Jim as we tooled about the burbs of Pensacola on a balmy afternoon. "You should see some of the other stuff we're building." The man is not one to mince words and it is probably fair to say that both he and Team Shinoda have come along way in the past decade or so.

"I got involved with Shinoda about 1995," says Klok. "I've been into cars ever since I was a kid. At that time I'd just gotten out of the Air Force and went to work with Roush - we worked on the V8 Explorer program, the SVT T-Bird proposal among other things. Unfortunately I got laid off, so I traded cold Michigan for warm, sunny Arizona and went to work for GM (say it ain't so!)." However, Klok had stayed in touch with his contacts at Roush. "I did some development work on an intake for them, but they told me they couldn't use it. I joked to Ed Wayland that I'd give the info on the intake to Larry Shinoda and he gave me Larry's card!" So that was that. Klok contacted Larry and an agreement was fostered whereby Jim would start handling the production arrangements of the Boss Shinoda Mustangs. "Larry had started doing his cars in 1994. My part of the deal was to take the Boss Shinoda from an appearance package to a full on performance car with its own unique character - a complete, turnkey vehicle." Not a small task by any means, but one that was most definitely pursued with vigor. "I remember that Larry was very passionate, but he was also very opinionated. He had certain rules - one of them being 'if it's not functional it doesn't belong on the car.' It's one rule we've stuck to 'till this day." Pretty soon, Klok was working on his first full project build with Shinoda. "The first car we did was the 1997 show car for the Cragar Wheel Corp. Dallas Mustang built it for us and we debuted it at SEMA." However as can often happen, life threw a curve ball. "Larry was quite sick at that time and 13 days after the car debuted he died at his home in Michigan, from heart complications. It was a very sad time."

Although a big wrench had been thrown in the works, everybody banded together. "We wanted to keep building on Larry's legacy, so we spoke to Larry's daughter Karen and son-in-law Brian Flahive. We negotiated with them to keep building the cars. We got the contract and licensing to do the cars for them and worked with Karen and Brian to ensure that as we went along we'd keep the car how Larry would have intended. They had worked with Larry on other programs and understood what he was trying to do." After the Cragar car, perhaps the next most significant project for Shinoda Performance Vehicles was the R600. "This car, we built for Jim Napier. It was the first of the 600-plus horsepower Shinoda turnkey cars," says Klok. Today the company has embraced the S197 with gusto.

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"When Ford came out with the new Mustang, it really hit home with us. This car was just born to have the Shinoda treatment. It had our name written all over it. If Larry had lived to see it, now that would have been great. There are a lot of design elements in it that pay homage to the original Boss cars - we knew we were going to have fun with it." And one aspect of fun is the brightly painted coupe dubbed 'Warpaint.' This was the car Jim was tinkering with when we caught up with him in Pensacola. "This car," he says, "we originally bought with the intention of building it and selling it right away. But that didn't happen. We liked it and so we decided to keep it as our show car. We originally built it as a Level 1 car, it was pretty much like any other Shinoda turnkey car, but then we decided to have some fun with it." Klok and crew knew, that in order to be a proper show car however, it needed a suitable paint scheme.

"We tried to reach back to the original Boss Mustangs for some inspiration and ultimately found it." With many of the S197's lines screaming '69 fastback, Jim figured that painting up their '05 show car in vintage style Trans Am colors was the way to go. "Those '69 Bud Moore Trans Am cars looked great. Vic Edelbrock owned the #16 car and we used that as the foundation for the paint scheme on this one." So the paint was settled and the car gradually came together. But there were a number of twists and turns along the way. "I've almost lost count on the amount of times we had to tear this thing down and start over," says Klok. "One thing I can say is that it is a true survivor. It's survived hailstorms and hurricanes. It was sitting in the shop when hurricane Dennis came through and peeled the roof of our shop like a tin can!" In the end, it took four months to get Warpaint up and running and ready for the road. And was Jim happy with the eventual result?

"It was really worth it. The car is a road rocket - you can just get behind the wheel, mash the throttle and go. It corners like it's on rails. It basically feels like a street legal Trans Am car. I call it Warpaint, because it's loud 'n' proud and ready for battle." Warpaint, as built, sported a Vortech blown motor (courtesy of Vortech), along with JBA exhaust, Eibach coils, Tokico struts and shocks, Ford Racing sway bar kit and Shinoda's own lower control arms. Naturally, the Mustang also sports a Hurst shifter. "Because it was a show car we jazzed up the interior too, with the help of 3dCarbon and we added our own Shinoda five-spoke rims and Bridgestone tires. We didn't have much of a chance to run some hard numbers, because almost as soon as it was complete, the car was off on the show circuit." In fact, Warpaint went to a number of different shows. It went to the National Parts Depot shindig in Ocala, FL and it won Popular Choice at the MCA bash in Pensacola among other things. Speaking of that, once our ace photographer Heasley had managed to get Jim and Warpaint away from the main show and ready for picture taking, Klok couldn't resist honkin' on the car. "One night I decided to see what it could do. I did one helluva burnout - Jerry [Heasley] was there when that happened. I got on it so hard that I blew the fuel system - hey, it's a shop car," exclaims Jim, with a smile.

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No doubt. As photographed, Warpaint was cranking about 460 ponies to the wheels. "We tuned it with 50 state emissions in mind - with 460 horses it was certifiable for all states including California. If we weren't as concerned about the regs, then we could easily tune it to deliver 500 plus horsepower to the tires. It's extremely tweakable." And Klok isn't kidding when he mentions that SPV has built some of the most powerful turnkey late-model 'Stangs around. "We take pride in what we do. On the '05 cars, with fuel system upgrades - including injectors and pumps and turbocharging - we've managed 750 horsepower on our level 3 cars and that's with a stock bottom end and no head work. These 3-valve motors are impressive." If that isn't enough, Shinoda has also built some truly wild machines. "Rex's Cobra comes to mind," chuckles Klok. "It's an '03 Cobra we built for Rex Glenn that now resides in New Mexico. It makes 1,172 horsepower at the tires and is street driven." What else can we say?

And getting back to Warpaint? "It's no longer mine. About a week after [these] photos were taken, it was sold to a private collector up in Connecticut. He just really liked the car and wanted it on the spot." And after seeing War-paint and talking to Jim Klok about the car, it isn't difficult to see why."

Larry Shinoda And The Original Boss
A sizeable number of Mustang enthusiasts are no doubt aware of the infamous Boss Mustangs from the muscle car era. They were Larry's babies. Shinoda, along with his boss Semon E. 'Bunkie' Knudsen, defected from General Motors to FoMoCo in the fall of 1968. Both men were car guys - Knudsen loved racing and Larry loved functional sportiness. As the '69 Mustang was just coming on stream when these guys arrived in the Glass House, a lot of the design work was locked up already - however Shinoda managed to turn what was going to be the SR-2 homologation Trans Am Racer into the Boss 302 and carve his own signature on the car. The rest, as they say is history. The Boss name came from what Larry used to refer to Knudsen as. In fact Larry also used to walk around with a 'Think Boss' pin on his jacket. The Boss 302 boasted a high-winding 302 engine with massive Cleveland heads and a 780 cfm Holley carb. It came with standard four-speed manual gearbox, handling suspension and massive (for the time) F70-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires. Larry designed a functional nose spoiler and rear deck wing for the car, along with a unique, eye catching stripe package. Rear window slats were another item. The regular Mustang's quarter scoops were smoothed over on the Boss 302 in the quest for improved aerodynamics (such a feature later became standard on all Mustang fastbacks for 1970.) Besides the Boss 302, under the direction of Knudsen and Shinoda, the Boss 429 also debuted for 1969. This was also a fastback, and the Boss 302 spoilers could be optioned for it, but the car did without the sporty graphics. Instead it got by on cubes with a monster 429 cubic inch motor dubbed the 'Blue Crescent' nestling under the hood. The engine was designed for NASCAR Torinos, but Knudsen thought it would be a great idea to stuff this engine into the smaller Mustang. In fact the engine was so big, that an outside contractor, Cars and Concepts, was hired to perform the custom engine bay mods to make the 429 fit. Both Boss Mustangs were built in small numbers for 1969-70 and became instant legends. A further Boss model, the lightning quick 351 debuted for '71 - a car in which Shinoda had far greater design influence, but again only a small number were built. By that stage the Blue Oval had pulled out of racing and both Knudsen and Shinoda were no longer working at Ford. Shortly after, the automotive industry began its plunge into darkness, which took a full decade to emerge from. Times were dark for a while, but the legend of those Boss cars was not forgotten and today the survivors are highly sought after.

'Warpaint' 2005 Boss Shinoda Mustang

Ford 281 ci 3-valve 'Modular' SOHC V8

Engine Modifications
Vortech SC centrifugal supercharger, Vortech twin fuel pumps, JBA 2 1/2-inch axle back exhaust system

Tremec T3650 five-speed manual transmission, two-piece steel driveshaft, 8.8-inch rear with 3.55:1 final drive

Interior / Exterior
'Warpaint' 2005 Boss Shinoda Mustang

Ford Torch Red, with UA Performance Black and White paint by Tim Nusser; custom vinyl and graphics by Klokwork Motorsports, Pensacola, FL, stripe package designed by Larry Shinoda

Ford factory interior with Shaker 500 sound system; aluminum trim accenting by 3dCarbon

Eibach 1-inch drop Pro kit springs, front and back; Ford Racing Performance Parts front and rear sway bar kit; Shinoda Performance Vehicles rear lower control arms

Wheels And Tires
Shinoda Performance Vehicles five-spoke 18x9-inch alloy wheels; Bridgestone P275/40R18 tires

Jim Klok, Tim Nusser, Mike Jones, Kim Sittion, Chris Klok and the rest of Team Shinoda. And thanks to members of the Shinoda family and Ford Motor Company for giving us an excellent car to start with!