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06 Mustang - That's Amore!
Jim D'Amore III dances his version of the tarantella, one quarter-mile at a time.
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To say that an Italian wedding is a "party" is a huge understatement. Besides great food--including a killer dessert table consisting of cannolis, Italian cookies, tiramisu, various other pastries, and espresso loaded with a shot or two of sambuca or anisette--there are also enough guests to populate a small city.
One of the staples of any Italian wedding is the playing of the tarantella. (For those of you "Medegans" who have absolutely no idea what a tarantella is, hit the local video store, rent The Godfather, Part I, and watch the first part of the movie.) Another thing exclusive to being Italian is having a nickname all your own. Somewhere along the way in the Bronx or in Brooklyn, there was Vinnie Bag a' Doughnuts, Lucky Luciano, and Goomba Johnny. It's just a way of life.
For Jim D'Amore III, being an Italian kid in Freehold, New Jersey, allowed him the experience of growing up as one of the boys. For starters, he already has his own nickname, as the crew at JDM Engineering, where he works, affectionately (or maybe not so affectionately) calls him Jimmy Threes. Throw in the want of a fast car (not an IROC-Z, though) and a love of good Italian food, and this 23-year-old is your stereotypical Italian kid--except in one area. While Dean Martin might have sung about one version of the tarantella and amore in the song made famous by the movie Moonstruck, Jim dances his own version every time he rips down the quarter-mile in his '06 Mustang GT.
If the name D'Amore sounds familiar, it should. Jimmy Threes' father is the owner of JDM Engineering, where so much modular magic happens. After previously owning a mint '93 Mustang LX and a wicked-fast 500hp Lightning, the younger D'Amore started "to drool justa like pasta fazool" when he laid his peepers upon the retro styling of the S197 Mustangs. "I bought the car because I fell in love with the new body style," Jimmy Threes says. "I also knew my dad wouldn't mind me getting it because I could use it to showcase JDM's stroker program for the newer Mustangs."
After picking up the car from Oasis Ford in August 2006, Jimmy Threes promptly drove the short trip from the showroom floor to the garage at JDM, where wrenches were spun, parts were installed, power was made, and the car was transformed from a little bambino to a track-bound hitman. The first task was giving the Three-Valve mod motor some muscles. Instead of going the forced induction route, however, Jim went down a different path, this one leading to a naturally aspirated powerplant.
To go fast in this trim, additional cubic inches are almost a requirement. With that in mind, the brand-new Three-Valve was pulled from the Mustang and taken to the back room for a major rework. The bore dimensions remained the same, but the factory crank was taken out and replaced with a 3.750-inch stroker piece. The increased stoke, when combined with the standard bore, has a cubic-inch displacement of 298, which is a bit larger than the stock 281ci. Manley connecting rods rotate on the crank's rod journals, while moving up and down the cylinder walls are eight JDM-specific pistons. The squeeze number comes in at 11:1, and keeping things sealed up within the cylinders is a set of Manley rings.
Once the factory oil pump and pan were bolted back on, the engine stand was rotated so the top end of the powerplant could be completed. The stock heads were removed and shipped off to the CNC machine, where a custom port job was performed. Once the proper amount of material was taken off of the heads, a set of 1mm oversized Manley intake and exhaust valves were installed, as were springs from the same manufacturer. The heads were then slapped back on the short-block. The induction side of things is pretty much how Ford designed it, as the stock throttle body was reused, along with the factory intake manifold. The mass air meter was ditched in favor of a JDM 90mm piece, and freeing up some of the inlet restriction is a C&L Racer intake pipe and JDM high-flow air filter.