Don Roy
April 1, 2009

When Scott McClure picked up his brand-new '03 Mach 1, it was certainly a sight to behold. The gleaming Torch Red paint was enough to set the air itself on fire and the shaker hoodscoop unquestionably made this special edition Mustang one of the horniest-looking versions in a decade. (Did he just say horniest? -Ed.)

To many Mustang enthusiasts, the '03 Mach 1 was exactly what the '01 SVT Cobra should have been-a four-valve aluminum V-8 engine hooked up to a solid rear axle. Granted, there was much more to this car than a simplistic dream like that, but for Scott, there was one simple attraction to the car. "The shaker was what sold me on the Mach 1," he told us.

Indeed, the shaker hoodscoop had not seen the light of day on a performance Ford for three decades. For the uninitiated, a shaker scoop is one that is mounted directly on the engine and passes through a hole in the hood to draw fresh air. Because it moves when the engine does, it is called a shaker.

Scott is no stranger to picking up a wrench, more by necessity than not in the past. He had previously owned a couple of Mustang IIs, including a '77 Cobra II. Trying to keep them on the road as reliable daily drivers proved to be more of a chore than he had anticipated. One of them met an untimely end on New Year's Day of 1987 and the other was eventually given away as a project car.

Regardless, the experience he had from finding parts for those cars served him well when the new Mach 1 arrived. Others had gone before him in the power-adder department and their experiences served to guide him well when the time came. It came soon enough with the arrival of an ATI ProCharger kit for the Mach. The intercooled P-1SC setup was good for a 60 percent power boost and still kept the shaker scoop in place.

The car grew in other areas as well. Careful attention was paid to maintaining overall performance. Brakes, driveline, and suspension each got its share of attention as the weekend cruiser and show field dominator began to accumulate mileage. Still, when a killer deal came along for a 2.2L Kenne Bell blower, the opportunity to upgrade the Mach was just too irresistible.

"When I had a motor built, I knew the 2.2 Kenne Bell wasn't going to be enough for what I wanted, so I went the Whipple route," he explained. What Scott wanted in the new motor began with the somewhat uncommon Italian-manufactured Teksid aluminum DOHC 4.6L block. These particular castings are prized among performance seekers as the company Teksid is also a casting supplier to Ferrari and started making these blocks in 1993. They appeared in various Lincoln and Mercury vehicles and are understood to be the strongest of the 4.6L DOHC aluminum blocks made, capable of handling in excess of 800 hp.

An SVT Cobra forged steel, eight-bolt crankshaft was next to be added, along with Manley forged steel H-beam connecting rods and an eight-pack of Diamond's forged aluminum pistons. This was going to be a rotating assembly that Scott made sure was going to stay together. That same quality of component selection was maintained throughout the engine build, as the top end was taken care of just as well as the bottom. A new set of the most up-to-date OE four-valve heads were secured, machined, and fitted with {{{Ford GT}}} supercar camshafts and Livernois Motorsports' valvesprings.

There was one small problem to address though. The 2.3L Whipple supercharger was not being made for the Mach I. The closest model was for the Terminator Cobra, which would require all front end components of the engine-accessories, mounting brackets, and so on-to be changed over from Mach to Cobra configuration.

"The only way to make it work was to use the front engine dress/belt system for the '03-'04 Cobras," Scott explained. "I just needed to gather some parts that were factory Ford to make it work along with a Whipple for the Cobra. The nice thing is that many Cobra owners are going turbo, so you can get the parts from them."

Additional pieces had to be brought in to support the polished supercharger, including 60 lb/hr fuel injectors from Siemens-Deka, an SCT 2400 mass airflow sensor, an Accufab Big Oval throttle body, and a JLT cold-air intake with 12-inch air filter. The job, however, was far from done. An SVT Cobra fuel tank with dual fuel pumps to feed those ravenous injectors was sourced. On the exhaust side, a set of Kooks 1¾-inch long-tube headers feed into a 2½-inch Bassani exhaust for the kind of sound that makes every other driver on the road turn his or her head.

Anticipating that handling the new power levels wasn't going to be easy, the call went out for a Viper-spec Tremec T-56 six-speed transmission and the rearend was rebuilt with a new Ford Racing Traction-Lok differential and a set of 3.73 gears. The final portion of the power delivery equation is left to a set of black chrome AFS Mach 1-styled wheels. The staggered fitment puts a pair of 9-inch wide rims up front, shod with BFGoodrich P275/40ZR17 g-Force KDW tires, while the load-bearing rear setup uses 10 1/2-inch-wide wheels and BFGoodrich P315/35R17 drag radials.

There simply is no soft underbelly to this car. Scott has made sure of that. Keeping those big tires on the road required attention to the structure and suspension of the Mach. A pair of weld-in subframe connectors removed any flexi-flyer tendencies. A Performance Solutions Racing (PSR) replacement K-member and lower front control arms were coupled with a coilover conversion and Tokico adjustable front struts. This combination serves well to both keep the front wheels under control and reduce some of the front end weight that builds up with an intercooled power-adder.

Attention paid to the rear suspension included installing Steeda's adjustable upper and lower control arms, along with Tokico Blue shocks and Vogtland springs. While the Mach 1 was shipped from the Dearborn Assembly Plant with upgraded braking hardware, Scott upgraded the brake rotors with a set from Rotorpros and changed out the dull, gray Mach 1 calipers for a bright red set of Bullitt hardware. Out of all that was done to this car, the only bit of custom fabrication needed was a set of brackets to mount Scott's revered shaker scoop onto the hood. It isn't functional at the moment, but that could change in the future.

Having all that power on tap is nice, and having the information you need to keep it under control is even better. For that task, Scott relied on industry-stalwart gauges from Auto Meter, including a Monster tach, boost pressure, oil pressure, water temperature, and voltage displays. How much power do these units report? Well, that was the big question after all the work was done, in what certainly amounted to a complete rebuild of this Mustang.

Without a doubt, this Mach 1 is approaching Mach 2, because when they strapped the car onto a Mustang dyno the results that came back were about enough to hit low earth orbit-718 rwhp and 735 rwtq. That prodigious output was accomplished at 25 psi of boost, while running on a combination of pump gas and Torco that yielded a 101-octane mix. From start to finish, the conversion of this Mach 1 has taken more than a couple of years. What started out as a snarling street squabbler has become a pavement-ripping dominator that leaves others seeing red-the Torch Red paint on Scott's rear bumper.

Having successfully completed a project of this magnitude, it seemed appropriate to ask Scott for his advice to others that are contemplating a large job. What he told us was, "Have a plan and stick to it. I had two other plans before settling on my current one and that ended up costing a lot in the long run." His own advice seems about to be tested, as Scott is moving on from the Mach 1 to his wife's '88 LX 5.0L Mustang. We can only wonder whether she's as power hungry as her husband.

The Details
Scott McClure's '03 Mustang Mach I

Engine

  • 4.6L DOHC V-8
  • Teksid aluminum block
  • Manley H-beam forged steel connecting rods
  • Diamond forged aluminum pistons
  • Total Seal piston rings
  • OEM Mustang Cobra forged steel (eight-bolt) crankshaft
  • OE aluminum cylinder heads
  • Ford GT camshafts
  • Livernois Motorsports valve springs
  • Siemens-Deka 60 lb/hr fuel injectors
  • SCT 2400 MAF sensor
  • Accufab Big Oval throttle body
  • JLT 12-inch air filter
  • Engine built by Modular Performance of Novi, MI
  • Whipple polished 2.3L supercharger
  • All front end accessories from '03 SVT Cobra engine
  • OEM Cobra fuel tank and dual fuel pumps

Transmission

  • Tremec T-56 six-speed manual
  • Steeda Tri-Ax short-throw shifter

Rearend

  • 8.8-inch
  • FRPP Traction-Lok
  • 3.73 gears

Exhaust

  • Kooks long-tube headers (1¾-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors)
  • Bassani 2½-inch stainless steel mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: PSR K-member and control arms, Tokico adjustable struts, coilover springs, Maximum Motorsports' caster/camber plates
  • Rear: Steeda adjustable upper and lower control arms, Tokico shock absorbers, Vogtland springs

Brakes

  • Front: Rotorpros 13-inch slotted/cross-drilled rotors, two-piston Bullitt calipers
  • Rear: Rotorpros 10 1/2-inch slotted/cross-drilled rotors, single piston Bullitt calipers

Wheels

  • Front: AFS Black Chrome Mach 1, 17x9
  • Rear: AFS Black Chrome Mach 1, 17x10½

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force KDW, P275/40ZR17
  • Rear: BFGoodrich Drag Radial, P315/35R17

Interior

  • UPR billet accent pieces, Auto Meter gauges (tachometer, boost, volts, water temperature, and oil pressure)

Exterior

  • Original Torch Red base/clear paint, original shaker hoodscoop mounted directly to hood maintaining factory appearance