Frank H. Cicerale
April 1, 2008

It's a simple recipe: Take 2 ounces of tequila, add 4 ounces of orange juice, 1 ounce of grenadine, some ice, and throw it all into a blender. Pour it into a highball glass, garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy.

Drink enough of these tequila sunrises and you'll see the sun rise-as you fall into bed in a drunken stupor, that is. But along with the intoxicating effects of the tequila come something else: a feeling of invinci-bility and the desire to do something absolutely crazy.

We can't say whether or not Full Throttle Kustomz's Ray McClelland has ever had one too many tequila sunrises. What we do know is that that after taking a romp around the streets of Bedford, Ohio, in the shop's twin-turbo '07 Mustang GT, you'll need a tequila sunrise or two to settle your nerves.

Nothing says excess like a stroked-out Three-Valve sporting a set of twins. The twin-turbo monster utilizes a D.S.S. engine to crank out 1,243 rwhp. The stars of the show are a pair of 67mm turbos courtesy of Turbo Horsepower. The hairdryers conspire to stuff 25 pounds of boost into the stroked 302 mod mill. As if that wasn't enough, this monster takes a few hits of the jug as well.

"Around town, the car drives similar to how it did when it came from the factory," Ray says. "That is, until the throttle is put to the floor. Then it becomes what most passengers describe as better than any roller-coaster ride they've ever been on."

Just as bars and clubs in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, and other major cities in the United States all try to outdo their competition and go further over the top, Ray and the crew from FTK strived to do the same. To say they delivered would be an understatement.

This insane project started with the car-a brand-new, triple-black Mustang GT convert-ible. The triple black comes from the color options: black paint, black leather interior, and the black convertible top. But the Mustang stayed neither triple black nor bone-stock for long. Ray plunked down the green for the S197, stabbed the key in the ignition, slid the shifter into First, and drove straight from the dealer into FTK's shop, where the transformation began.

The first thing to go was the stock, 300hp Three-Valve modular engine. The boys at FTK yanked the mod motor out of the Pony and completely disassembled it. The block and heads were sent to D.S.S. Racing, where the block was machined for the upcoming bottom-end components. Once the aluminum block was to D.S.S.' liking, a forged stroker crank was dropped in the main web. The longer stoke of the crank and the standard bore of the Three-Valve combined to produce 302 ci. Swinging on the crank journals are a set of forged rods that mate to a set of forged slugs. Once the entire assembly was balanced, the bottom end was shored up.

With over 1,200 hp on tap, we almost had to use the matching airplane in the background to stay with the Full Throttle Kustomz twin-turbo '07 Mustang GT.

Knowing that Ray wanted power numbers well into the quadruple-digit zone, it was only natural that D.S.S. perform some major port work on the stock heads. Once the heads were CNC'd and machined, they were installed on the short-block, followed by a set of custom-ground Crane camshafts. While Ray kept most of the specs to himself, he did give out a lift figure of 0.576 inch on both the intake and exhaust sides. The roller cams bump open 1mm oversize intake and exhaust valves.

Imagine the foundation of this over-the-top engine to be the grenadine of the drink. If that's the flavor, then the punch from the tequila comes in the form of the induction system that is quite noticeable when the hood is opened. Once the crew at FTK dropped the bullet between the shock towers, a Hogan custom-fabricated sheetmetal intake manifold-a work of art in itself-was lowered on top of the intake galley. A custom throttle body was bolted to the front of the intake, and wrenches were spun, tubes fabricated, and a twin-turbo kit from Turbo Horsepower installed. A pair of 67mm hairdryers are found on both front corners of the engine bay, and together they blow in a total of 25 pounds of pressurized air. An intercooler chills the air charge before it makes its way into the manifold.

Fuel is sourced from the stock fuel tank and pushed into the cylinders at 80 psi courtesy of an Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump and a set of gorilla-sized injectors. A strong spark is needed to light the fire in the combustion chamber under a high-pressure circumstance such as this, so a set of MSD coil packs replaces the factory items. Spent combustion gasses are piped out of the engine through a set of NASCAR-style mufflers and an accompanying side-exit exhaust system. As for the ECM, Ray tuned everything himself. Oh yeah, and as if the turbos and the power they provide weren't enough, he had a Nitrous Express wet-style nitrous system plumbed in and jetted for an extra 300hp kick in the pants. All told, this Godzilla of an engine churns out an astounding 1,243 hp at the rear tires. "While the engine is currently jetted for a 300hp shot, we're still playing with the nitrous aspect of the engine," Ray says. "The block is strong, but it won't take much more than what we're throwing at it now without breaking."

Speaking of breakage, being able to get this amount of power from the flywheel to the rear tires requires the usage of some Fort Knox-style driveline components. All of the power moves from the engine to the rearend via a custom-built six-speed transmission from D&D Performance. While the trans started out as a T-56, it's now a horse of a different breed thanks to all of the prototype and custom internals D&D installed. Sitting in the bellhousing of the do-it-yourself trans is a McLeod clutch. The trans links up to the rear via a custom aluminum driveshaft. As for the rear, it's a Moser 9-inch unit stocked with 4.11 gears, 35-spline axles, and a Detroit Locker differential. When Ray wants to take the car to the strip, he dumps out the street components for a set of 40-spline axles and a spool.

All of this power would be for naught if a revised suspension couldn't get it to the ground. With that in mind, the stock front end components were tossed and replaced with a tubular K-member and tubular upper and lower control arms from BMR. Out back are BMR upper and lowers. Sway bars from BMR are located front and rear, subframe connectors from the same manufacturer tighten up the flexible convertible chassis, and Tokico shocks and Ground Force lowering springs are found at all four corners. Serious power requires the addition of a serious set of meats, and Ray certainly didn't disappoint in this area. A set of 20-inch Makaveli rims are seen on the perimeter of the Pony, wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero 275/35/20s up front and 325/30/20s out back. In order to corral the 1,243 hp after a high-speed run, Wilwood six-piston calipers fore and aft clamp down on monstrous 14-inch rotors.

While the Mustang retains most of its stock interior equipment, there's no mistaking the true calling of this steed, and that's to make serious high-speed runs down the quarter-mile. Anyone sitting in this car settles down into a pair of customized chairs complete with the FTK logo embroidered on the seat backs-after navigating through the monkey-bar 10-point rollcage, of course. The 'cage is certified by the NHRA for elapsed times as quick as 8.50 seconds.

Ray didn't stop with the car's power production, though. Since it was slated to be the showpiece for FTK, he went over the top with the outward, as well as the inward, appearance of the drop-top Pony. After being rolled into the body shop at FTK, the car was stripped down to bare metal and shot with primer. FTK's custom body kits' components were brought out and mocked up. The front and rear bumpers made way for the FTK pieces, and the factory hood and rear spoilers were replaced with a ram-air hood and a ducktail-style spoiler. Rounding out the look are the side scoops and side skirts, complete with openings for the side-exit exhaust system. Once all of the components were up to snuff fitment-wise, the spray gun was wielded, and the flanks of the Pony were shot with numer-ous coats of DuPont Candy Apple Tangerine. Slathered in an equal amount of clear, the finishing touches consist of a set of white stripes running from nose to tail, as well as a billet fuel door and a custom-embroidered convertible top.

Knowing the car was capable of unheard-of elapsed times, Ray rolled it into Rigid Race Cars, where a 10-point rollcage was installed and painted the same color as the body. Just to show how serious of a monster this car is, the 'cage is fully certified by the NHRA for elapsed times as quick as 8.50 seconds. Of course, with a certification carrying that amount of weight, the obligatory window net is required, along with a set of five-point harnesses courtesy of RCI. The seats were treated to grey suede inserts and an embroidered FTK logo, while a billet shifter knob, custom FTK sillplates, and an Alpine AVN550 head unit and speakers add more flash to the pan and the ears.

The power coming from the twin turbos wasn't enough, so Ray had a Nitrous Express wet system plumbed in. The extra 300hp kick in the pants comes from a pair of 10-pound chrome bottles hung on the back of the rollcage.

If the five-point harness, 'cage, and power under the hood clued you into the car's race-car status, then the NASCAR-themed push-button start system and the visible pair of chrome 10-pound nitrous bottles hung on the back of the 'cage's main hoop drill that point home. Ingress and egress is done in style thanks to the LSD Doors Lambo-style door kit that allows them to swing up and away. Ray threw in a lightbar for good measure.

When all was said and done, Ray and the entire crew at FTK created arguably one of the baddest hot rods to roll down the streets of America in a number of years.

Forget about this car being a tequila sunrise-it's been transformed into a straight shot of Jose Cuervo. Bottoms up!