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'00 Mustang - Irish Pride
Declan Kenny's Race-Inspired '00 Mustang Is A Staple On The Road And The Track.
Being Irish entails several stereotypes: a love for soccer (referred to in Ireland as football), drinking, and potatoes. While soccer is almost a religion in the Emerald Isle, and the Irish's fondness for stout-Ireland's national drink-is well, self-explanatory, the potato has long been a staple of the Irish economy and culture.
Another thing that goes on in Ireland is some pretty nifty road-rally racing, which Declan Kenny participated in when he was an inhabitant of that fine land. A full-fledged Irishman, Declan has fond memories of those long-gone days. "I was born in Ireland and lived there until I emigrated to the United States in 1987," he says. "Growing up in Ireland, the majority of the cars were four-cylinder vehicles with 1.0- to 1.6-liter engines. We used to race and rally these cars on the twisty roads around the Irish countryside late at night."
When Declan made the voyage to the golden streets of America, he found a whole new world that bristled in V-8 engines and lots of horsepower. "When I got to the States, I was amazed at the powerful Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes that were being driven around where I was living, which was Yonkers, New York, at the time," he says.
While Declan started out in a brand-X machine, he eventually purchased his latest musclecar, an '00 Mustang GT. "I decided to purchase the Mustang because I knew there were great aftermarket products for it," he says. "I used it as a daily driver for a year, until I stopped into Extreme Mustang Performance in Irvine, California, and met with Eric Cheney." For some, moving clear across the country might be a major pain. For Declan however, the move from New York to sunny California served as the foundation for the car's future. "I moved to California in 1991, when my wife was accepted to USC's law school," he says. If it wasn't for that acceptance letter, the chance encounter with Eric Cheney would probably never have happened.
Previously knowing what a great-handling/stopping car felt like, Declan was disappointed with some aspects of his Mustang. "While I was happy with the power, the braking and handling weren't the greatest," he says. After a conversation with Eric, Declan enlisted the Extreme Mustang Performance crew to embark on creating a Mustang he felt would be worthy of road-course battle. "I've always been a road-race and rally-car fan, and I started thinking of slowly making the Mustang race ready, but keeping it streetable as much as possible as well," Declan says. With the path clearly marked, his journey began.
Believing that the stock Two-Valve mod motor was a strong enough foundation on which to build, Eric and the Extreme Mustang boys didn't change much to the engine internally. With road racing on the horizon, the stock oil pan was replaced with a Canton racing-bred piece. The power increase came in the form of a Novi 2000 supercharger with accompanying air-to-air intercooler. The blower forces 12 pounds of boost into the motor via a 90mm Lightning MAF. Matching the incoming air with the correct amount of fuel is an Aeromotive pump, which draws the go-juice from a Fuel Safe fuel cell. The good stuff is pumped through a set of -8 feed lines, a CPR pressure regulator, and into the engine via CPR fuel rails and 42-pound injectors. Any unused petrol is sent back to the tank courtesy of a -8 return line. The blown mod mill exhales through the stock exhaust manifolds and into a pair of MagnaFlow Magnapack mufflers. All told, the 4.6 is good for 415 rwhp and 386 lb-ft of torque.
Since the car would be required to do more than just go straight quickly, changes needed to be made within the engine compartment and the engine peripherals to handle the prolonged abuse on the road course. With the blower taking up most of the underhood space, the battery was relocated to the trunk, and the stock radiator was ditched in favor of a Ron Davis custom-built race piece. Knowing that keeping the power-steering fluid and engine oil cool would be keys to being competitive and having the engine live, Setrab was called upon to provide the power steering fluid cooler and engine oil cooler, while Maximum Motorsports kicked over one of its oil-filter relocation kits. Backing the engine is a McLeod Stage 3 clutch. The stock five-speed transmission remains, though the factory shifter was replaced with a Steeda Tri-Ax gear selector for ease of operation. The stock driveshaft links the whole shebang to the 8.8-inch rear, which now showcases 4.10 gears, an Eaton posi unit, and 31-spline axles.
In road racing, you can have all the power you want, but being able to harness it and slow it down are the keys to success. To that end, both the front and rear suspension and braking system were reworked. A Maximum Motorsports K-member and a pair of offset A-arms were installed up front. For the rear, a set of Bilstein shocks with Maximum Motorsports coilovers can also be found, along with a Panhard bar and a heavy-duty torque arm. A Baer bumpsteer kit and Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors also made their way onto the car, while making their way out was the front crumple zone and bumper braces, which were removed to save weight. When it came to the binders, Baer got the call, supplying a killer setup consisting of four-piston calipers and cross-drilled and slotted rotors all around.
At this point, we'd normally tell you the make, model, and size of the wheel and tire combination, but to do that, we first must broadcast the tale of the bodywork that goes along with fitting those Texas-sized meats under the Stang. "I started to think of a way to get more rubber on the road, especially in the front of the car," Declan says. "I had seen the Tiger Racing Mustang competing in the SPEED World Challenge Series and loved the front fenders they had on the car." After placing a phone call to Tiger Racing's Paul Brown, Declan was invited to not only check out the house car, but to pick up a set of fenders, which Tiger Racing offers to the public. The fenders led to the overhaul of the rest of the Mustang's sheetmetal.
Eddie Gomez and Mario Martinez of Stangwerks were tabbed to do the exterior transformation of the car. Following the installation of the fenders and front splitter, both of which were mated to an '03 Cobra front bumper, the duo set about figuring out how to fit the planned-for supersized hoops under the rear. "I wanted Eddie to pull the fenders to accommodate an 11-inch wheel and tire combo," Declan says. Instead of trying to fit an 11-inch-wide wheel and tire, the pair of artists decided to custom-fabricate a new pair of rear fenders that gave the Mustang enough room to handle a much-larger 13-inch-wide wheel. A Tiger Racing fiberglass heat extractor hood, an HPM rear wing, and a silver repaint of the entire car along with the addition of black accents along the sides, hood, and rear, made the car not only racy-looking, but ready to accept the wheels and tires Declan had in mind. The stock rims were removed, and on went a set of HRE C21 rims sized 18x11 front and 18x13 rear. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup gumballs sized 315/30/18 front and 345/30/18 rear.
Since Declan had plans to race the Mustang competitively, the appropriate interior changes needed to be made for both safety and proper operational purposes. Eric and the boys at Extreme Mustang installed the 12-point chromoly rollcage and replaced the stock bucket seats with a pair of carbon/Kevlar-shelled Cobra Suzuka chairs. Keeping Declan firmly planted to the seat is a Scroth five-point harness complete with a quick-release hub. Steering inputs are made via a Sparco 300mm wheel with a quick-release hub, while a set of Auto Meter Nexus gauges clue Declan into the happenings under the hood. The stock dash remains, though the bracing and such behind it was stripped out for weight savings. In addition, the rear seat was axed, along with the radio and HVAC controls, the latter of which was replaced with a Reichard Racing A/C-delete panel. A Raptor shift light illuminates each time Declan is required to make a gear change.
"When I started this project, I was skeptical at first, but as the process was being completed, I realized that all of the work would give the car a unique look," Declan says. "I'm very happy with the results."
Since the time that this car was shot for this feature article, it has been completely revamped, and now showcases a custom-built remote twin-turbo system that pulls air in through the rear quarter-windows. The stock trans has been swapped in favor of a TKO600, and the stock Two-Valve bullet has been fortified from top to bottom and kicks out a stunning 740 rwhp.
Either way, Declan can complement his mashed potatoes with some mashed competition.