Huw Evans
July 1, 2008
Photos By: Joe Magro

SSBC'S '05 "SVC" Mustang
Balance. It's not something that a lot of traditional musclecar owners are used to, but when it comes to the overall concept of performance, it can make a sizeable difference. That was the premise behind this car, the '05 SVC Mustang, built by Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation as a project vehicle. Normally when an aftermarket manufacturer decides to showcase its latest wares on a late-model Ford Pony, the foundation is usually a V-8-powered GT or Shelby GT500. However, with V-6 Mustangs accounting for around 60 percent of total sales, especially in a market where relatively high fuel prices are the norm, then it makes sense to build a project vehicle around one of these base cars. Mike Jonas, President of Stainless Steel Brakes Corp., gives us a little insight into the SVC.

SVO Inspired
"We built this car because we wanted to try our hand at something different," Jonas says. "There are a lot of V-6 Mustangs out there that are really affordable, and we wanted to show what could be done with a little initiative and some carefully chosen modifications. I've always been a Ford guy, and one vehicle I really like is the '84-'86 Mustang SVO. In its day, it was a world-class car, offering a great mixture of handling, braking, performance, and exclusivity. I used to own one and really, really loved it. When the idea of doing a [current] Mustang project car for the company came along, I thought it would be really neat to take the concept of the SVO and modernize it-build something that Ford, if they were still pushing the concept, would offer today." So that's exactly what he did. The SVC (standing for Special Vehicle Concept), started out with a used, '05 V-6 coupe, and gradually the transformation began.

Along the way, Jonas and SSBC enlisted the help of a number of other vendors within the performance aftermarket industry to help bring the project to life, and the more you look at this car, the more interesting and unique touches you come across. "It was most definitely a learning process for us," Jonas says. "When we started putting the car together, we began to realize just how good a performance car the V-6 Mustang is in its own right. We also discovered that a lot of parts need to be specifically made for this car-for example, the 3d Carbon body kit. We had the guys ship us one, but the V-6 car has a different front and rear valance, so you need a kit that's specifically designed for it; a kit that's made for the Mustang GT won't fit."

As Jonas wanted to add elements of the original SVO, two items considered mandatory were a bi-plane rear spoiler and an offset hoodscoop. "Because the original SVO was a hatchback and this one's a coupe, we needed to take a custom approach to the rear spoiler," Jonas says. "We started out with a Razzi rear wing but it needed extensive modification to give it the bi-plane effect and make it look right. Our body shop, Aero Collision in Lancaster, New York, spent a lot of time on it, but we think the result has been worth it. It blends with the styling of the car, and those who remember the SVO recognize it instantly."

The hood was also another interesting proposition. "As you probably know, the [S197] Mustangs come from the factory with aluminum hoods," Jonas says. "We found an original SVO hood, courtesy of Performance Parts Inc. It was rusted and bent, but the scoop was usable. However, making the steel scoop work with the aluminum hood required some careful cutting, welding, sanding, and smoothing. We also found that because the electronics are housed on the right side of the engine bay, we couldn't install the hoodscoop offset to the right as on the SVO, because we didn't have the clearance. So we moved it to the left side instead." In the end, it all worked out, and you'd be hard pressed to tell that the hood wasn't manufactured that way. However, while doing both the hoodscoop and rear wing, a change of thought occurred when it came time to paint the car.

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It's In Primer!
"Originally, we planned to paint it red," Jonas says, "but we were working with Sherwin Williams, and once the bodywork was done, they shot the car with this silver primer. We liked it so much that we decided to just have the car sprayed in clear over this primer, and that's what's still on it today."

Although one school of thought likes to throw as many mechanical upgrades onto a project car as possible, with the concept of balance being paramount with the SVC, the list of performance-related additions was relatively few. The stock, 4.0L single overhead cam V-6 was given added boost (literally) by a Vortech V-1 supercharger and Power Cooler. For the blower installation, the car was shipped to the folks at MRT, and Scott Hoag and his gang also performed the tuning. The stock exhaust was ditched in favor of JBA full-length headers and cross-over midpipe, along with a set of dual axle-back mufflers and tips. "The exhaust made a big difference," Jonas says. "It gave it a real musclecar sound, even with the V-6."

With the engine enhancements, the SVC was pegged at 345 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. One thing that did become apparent, with the extra grunt, was upgrading the clutch. "We found out pretty quickly that the stock clutch in a V-6, five-speed manual combination couldn't really handle the power," Jonas says, "so we called up Fidanza, and they shipped us a single-disc, carbon-fiber clutch. From driving the car, I like the smooth, linear action and shifting feel, the fact that the motor can spin faster and yet the clutch takes a pounding-it's been no trouble at all."

Other driveline additions included replacing the 7.5-inch rear with an 8.8 and Traction-Lok diff from a GT to cope with the increase in power. However, testing revealed a few obstacles, which have since been dealt with. "We discovered that the V-6 Mustang fuel tanks don't come with baffles in them," Jonas says. "We found out the hard way when we starved the engine of fuel during some hard turns, and it blew while out on the road course. Needless to say, we found ourselves a good, 8,000-mile replacement engine and installed baffles in the tank."

Track Weapon
From the mere mention of "road course" and an engine which "blew," you might gather that, indeed, this car has been flogged within an inch of its life on several occasions. With suspension upgrades, courtesy of Blue Moon Motorsports, including a tubular K-member, control arms, and a pair of sway bars-a BMR front unit and a rear one pirated from an '05 Mustang GT, along with the requisite brake upgrade-Jonas says, "We've got our Force 10 system with 14-inch discs, four-piston calipers on the rear, and eight-piston calipers on the front-hey, we're a brake company." The silver SVC had demonstrated rather amazing performance.

"We took it to Road Atlanta, and it performed really well on the track," Jonas says. "The sticky Dunlop tires give it a lot of grip, and with the V-6, it's about 150 pounds lighter up front than a [Mustang] GT, so it can surprise a lot of more powerful cars." And as for stopping power? "Coming off the straights, with those brakes on it, I was able to scrub off 100 mph in just 200 feet!" Now when the president of a brake manufacturer gets that excited about a project car, you know it must be something special, which the SVC most certainly is.

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The Details
SSBC's '05 "SVC" Mustang

Engine

  • Ford 4.0L SOHC V-6
  • Vortech V-1 supercharger and Power Cooler kit
  • K&N air filter
  • DiabloSport custom tune by MRT-Direct
  • Redesigned stock fuel tank incorporating baffles

Transmission

  • Tremec T-45 five-speed manual
  • Fidanza carbon-fiber single-disc 10-1/2-inch clutch
  • Fidanza aluminum flywheel

Rearend

  • Ford MustangGT 8.8-inch axlehousing
  • 3.55 gears
  • Traction-Lok differential

Exhaust

  • JBA 1 5/8-inch full-length headers
  • JBA 2 1/2-inch crossover midpipe
  • Factory Ford catalytic converter
  • JBA axle-back dual exhaust with 2 1/2-inch polished tips

Suspension

  • Front: BMR sway bar, Blue Moon Motorsports tubular front K-member and lower control arms, Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings, factory struts
  • Rear: Mustang GT sway bar, Blue Moon Motorsports lower control arms, factory rear shocks, Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings

Brakes

  • Front: SSBC Force 10 brake system, eight-piston calipers, 14-inch slotted rotors
  • Rear: SSBC Force 10 brake system, four-piston calipers, 14-inch slotted rotors

Wheels

  • Front: Forgeline SS3P three-piece, 20x8
  • Rear: Forgeline SS3P three-piece, 20x8

Tires

  • Front: Dunlop SP Sport, P255/35ZR20
  • Rear: Dunlop SP Sport, P255/35ZR20

Interior

  • Auto Meter 2 1/16-inch water, oil, and air/fuel dash-mounted gauges
  • Woodview carbon-fiber dash kit
  • stock Mustang seats with Katzkin suede and red leather by D&R Automotive Restylers
  • modified door panels with Sony speakers
  • Katzkin red leather and suede inserts by D&R Automotive Restylers
  • Sony XPlod sound/entertainment system with in-dash LCD screen
  • Scosche stereo adapters
  • Katzkin leather-trimmed trunk by D&R Automotive Restylers

Exterior

  • MRT upper and lower billet grilles
  • MRT tinted headlight covers
  • MRT tinted taillight covers
  • Classic Design Concepts Glassback roof conversion by MRT
  • PIAA lower grille-mounted driving lights
  • Mustang GT rear bumper cover
  • 3d Carbon four-piece body kit
  • modified Razzi bi-plane rear spoiler
  • modified stock hood with original SVO offset scoop and custom silver Sherwin Williams primer/clear courtesy of Aero Collision
  • custom SVC fender and trunk logos