Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2003 Mach 1 Mustang - Top Of The Rock
Adam Sampson Runs A Different Type Of Race With His '03 Mach 1
Chris Winter of Crazy Horse Racing was doing the wrenching on Adam's '03 Mustang Mach 1, and while at the shop one day, the duo had an in-depth conversation regarding another form of racing. "After talking with Chris, my fianc Jenna and I attended a PDA/HPDE event at Pocono Raceway. I went along with him for a five-lap ride, and right then and there I said that was it, no more drag racing for me."
So, with his sights set on doing the left and right thing, Adam decided to find a style and class before he started modifying the Mach 1 for track duty. "I spent a lot of time searching the Internet looking for exactly what I wanted to do when I came across a video on the Mach 1 Registry website of Steve Lewis and his '04 Mach 1 doing the hillclimb," Adam explains. "I saw it and thought it looked like something I would like to do. I often hit the roads in northern New Jersey and upstate New York for some spirited driving, and this looked like a legal way to go even faster. Jenna and I drove to the Fall '07 Weatherly race, met Steve and his wife, Nancy, and that day set a goal of making the '08 season opener."
With that goal in mind, Adam picked his class, and enlisted the help of Winter to get the car ready for the upcoming season. According to the rules, Adam's Mach 1 would fit into the E/Street Prepared category (E/SP). Ironically, this is the same class that Adam's new friend, Steve Lewis, ran his black Mach 1 in. The Street Prepared classes follow SCCA's Solo 2 rules, and allow for most suspension and drivetrain related bolt-on parts. No major modifications are allowed, though, meaning a supercharger, turbocharger, or porting and polishing of the heads and intake are a big no-no. Additionally, the cars have to be street appearing, meaning the head and taillights must work, as well as the interior needing to be retained, minus the addition of the appropriate safety equipment. With the rulebook in his hand, Adam set about performing the upgrades to get his Mach 1 (which is still his daily driver) ready for competition.
Adam didn't want to have his car down for an extended period of time with a complete overhaul of the naturally aspirated Four-Valve, so he went the bolt-on route with the Azure Blue New Edge. The motor retains its stock bore and stroke, as well as the rotating assembly, cams, cylinder heads, and induction system, with the still-cool Shaker hoodscoop. Improving the induction side of things is a C&L intake elbow, a K&N filter, and a 3/8-inch intake spacer. A switch over to NGK plugs brings a bigger jolt to the party in the combustion chamber, and exhausting the burnt fossil fuel is the stock exhaust manifolds and mufflers that now dump into an IRS-style FR500 cat-back system. Throw in a custom tune from Winter uploaded into the ECM via an SCT tuner, and the Mach 1 pumps out 305 hp and 327 ft-lb of torque at the rear tires.
Hiding underneath the car and lying in wait behind the engine is the stock Tremec five-speed transmission. Inside of the bellhousing resides the stock clutch, though an aluminum Spec flywheel was installed to allow the motor to rev quicker. Adam makes each gear change via an MGW shifter.
It's an ironic twist of fate when it comes to the Mach 1's rearend choice. While most of the Terminator Cobra contingent leans toward swapping out the Snake's IRS rear setup for the Mach 1 or Mustang GT's solid-rear configuration, Adam went the opposite route. "The rules allow for the addition of the production IRS setup found on the Cobra, and Winter agreed that going to the IRS would be extremely beneficial when it came to handling in the corners," Adam explains. "I found a guy on one of the forums with a Cobra looking for a solid rear setup, and I got in touch with him. He agreed to swap his IRS for my solid rear."