Don Roy
March 1, 2007
Photos By: Francis Butler

Jeff Wilson’s 2004 Mustang Mach 1
Imagine driving your buddy to work to pick up his paycheck and coming home with a new car. It happens. Jeff Wilson had been pretty happy with his 2001 Mustang GT. It had been lookin' fine with an Invader body kit, 18-inch wheels and a host of performance mods that he'd been installing over the months. In fact, that was Jeff's second Pony to get the full treatment. The master technician at Bolt-Onz Performance in Roslyn, PA, had previously started with a V6 Mustang in 2000, building it up with dual exhaust, short shifter, cold air intake, performance chip and 18-inch Cobra R rims. The call of the wild drove him to move to the GT, in search of more power.

Jeff wasn't at all prepared for what happened when he dropped his friend off at the local Ford dealership in November, three years ago. The two arrived just in time to see a new, competition orange Mach I being unloaded from the transporter. Before he left the dealership again, all the paperwork was done and that Mach I had his name on it. Available only in the 2004 model year, Jeff's special edition car is one of only 1039 Mach I's ever built in that color. He knew that this was a special car - the last of the collectible New Edge Mustangs - and vowed to keep it in original condition.

OK, so that delusion lasted about two weeks and then a K&N cold air kit went on. Following shortly after was a cat-back exhaust and, by that time, the mods bug had fully sank its teeth back into Jeff. The next item on the menu was a Nitrous Express wet kit. Set up for a 75-shot, the giggle gas did its job but the combination of items took the Mach to the point where some custom tuning became mandatory. After checking with the folks at Nitrous Express, Jeff decided to have the tuner shop aim for a 150-shot application. The forged crankshaft in the manual transmission Mach I would handle that level and more, but the hypereutectic pistons would be about at their limit.

There was other work to be done, including the installation of the Tremec T-56, six speed manual transmission from a 2003 Cobra, along with a CenterForce Dual Friction clutch and pressure plate. As a result, the car was left at the shop for the needed work. It didn't go well. The transmission swap went off without a hitch and so did the first two dyno runs, with the nitrous systems set at it's original level. Sometime between then and when Jeff got the phone call he never wanted, the Mach spit a couple of rods out the side of its aluminum block. Relations with the tuning shop went downhill from there.

DA' Strong Stuff
In the end, Jeff pulled his car out of there and started looking for a bullet proof solution. Twice shy now, he closely evaluated a number of potential builders for a new short block. Evenutally, he placed his order with DSS Racing in St. Charles, IL. DSS is a well known engine builder and their Super Mod short block provided just the recipe he was looking for - all forged components. Starting with a race-prepared 4.6-liter aluminum Cobra block, DSS adds their own PRO-X forged pistons and SS50 U Moly rings. Forged 4340-alloy steel, H-beam connecting rods are bolted on to the crankshaft with ARP 2000 rod bolts. That crank, by the way, is a forged steel, 8-bolt affair used in the modern Cobras and manual transmission Mach I's (slushbox Machs come with a 6-bolt, cast crankshaft). All rotating parts are balanced to race tolerance and assembly is completed in the company's climate controlled clean room, with ARP main studs used as well. As a final touch a DSS main support system is added to the block. Collectively, these parts and assembly techniques result in a bottom end that the company says can handle up to 800 horsepower.