December 1, 2006

Tokico is a long standing component supplier to Ford, often called to the front when special needs emerge. For example, Tokico supplied the specially-tuned front struts and rear shocks for the Bullitt and Mach I special edition Mustangs. They also provide the original equipment dampers for the current S197 Mustang platform. The company has been manufacturing shock absorbers, brake parts and other hydraulic components for over 50 years. When Bud Bulmer, the Senior Sales Manager for Tokico Performance Shocks was looking for a car to demonstrate the capability of Tokico's line of high performance replacement shocks and struts, the new Mustang was an obvious choice. Given the car's already capable handling characteristics, the task of improving it fell to the company's D-Spec product line, as well as Technosquare Inc., of Torrance, CA.

Production car design is constrained by many real world factors. These can include cost, ease of assembly and knowledge that some portion of drivers seldom change their oil, never mind damper settings. As a result, factory installed components can represent a compromise to the performance enthusiast. Not that company and supplier engineers don't work to find the best possible solutions - far from it. Still, out of all the Mustangs produced in a single year, only a very small percentage of those cars are going to see open lapping, autocross or drift usage. One of the cars that is intended for such duties, though, is the one that you see on these very pages.

Run Like A Champion
Building a memorable demonstration platform is an integral part of correctly impressing new or potential customers. Given that struts and shock absorbers are a bit hard to see, building up the rest of the car is mandatory. Helping to make this particular car memorable started with a visit to Ford Performance Solutions in Anaheim, CA. When we asked Bud, "What moment would you like best to forget?", he told us it was the "Call from the Dyno shop before we had the Ross pistons and Scat rods installed. We cleaned up the floor and ordered the parts!" The bottom end of the three-valve mill was updated with a set of flat-topped Ross forged aluminum pistons, hooked into Scat's best H-beam, forged connecting rods. This enabled the rest of the intended additions to be put in place with full confidence that the company wouldn't be embarrassed by a massive failure sometime in the future.

Front and center when you pop the hood is a polished Vortec V-2 supercharger, complete with intercooler. JBA's long tube headers and full exhaust system look after the chore of scavenging combustion gasses from the cylinders, while the Centerforce clutch sends the motive force on its way. The combination provides all the power that's usable for open lapping or drift course work and enough for reasonable 1320 performance. See, it's really the combination that this car is all about. Having the suspension managed by a full set of Tokico's D-Spec struts and shocks, means that their adjustability allows the car to be comfortably driven to the track - whichever one - and then set up for optimum performance by adjusting the dampers.