Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 1, 2009
Photos By: Peter S. Linney
Model: Melissa Mikkelsen

Not many people can say that they first saw their car at an international auto show, but Poway, California's Michael O'Donnell can. While ambulating the grounds of the San Diego International Auto Show, Michael spied the '01 Bullitt Mustang, and that's pretty much all it took to convince him that it was the car for him.

A short while later, Michael became the owner of Bullitt Mustang No. 1,005. The limited-edition Pony was wrapped in a Dark Highland Green hue and featured all of the small touches that make the '01 Bullitt a favorite among Mustang enthusiasts. It wasn't long, however, before Michael was making modifications to the Mustang.

"The Bullitt's stock 275 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque was just not enough to get my adrenaline pumping," says Michael. "Allen Superchargers filled my need for speed." The Eaton-based, intercooled supercharger pressurized the engine with 7 psi of boost, and the 91-octane tune produced a healthy 335 rwhp and 355 lb-ft of torque. We're sure the low-end surge of the Roots-style supercharger has no doubt increased this Bullitt's rate of fire.

To properly harness the newfound horsepower, Michael called upon Maximum Motor-sports in San Luis Obispo, California, and opted for the company's Maximum Grip Box suspension system. Installing the Maximum Grip Box is like throwing the catalog at your car, as it includes coilover shocks and struts, a tubular K-member and front control arms, caster/camber plates, a panhard bar, a torque arm, lower rear control arms, and a host of other small mods that offer no compromises in its handling prowess. GRC Performance in Mission Viejo, California, handled the installation, as well as a few more engine mods in the form of BBK long-tube headers and an x-style mid pipe with catalytic converters.

Residing at the four corners are larger 17x9 Bullitt wheel replicas, which have been wrapped in BFGoodrich 275/40/17 G-Force KD performance tires. With all this grip and the added power from the engine mods, it only made sense to stiffen up the chassis to get the power to the ground in the most efficient manner. That being said, a Maximum Motorsports six-point rollbar was installed, as well as jacking rails and matrix braces from the now defunct, Kenny Brown Performance.

As much as you'll find hot cars in California, there's no lack of hot girls there either. Our model Melissa helped us accent our photo shoot.

Continuing with this high-performance Bullitt build-up, Michael ditched the stock five-speed transmission for Rockland Standard Gear's Cobra R-spec T-56 six-speed gearbox. Coupling the transmission to the Two-Valve Modular engine is a Southland Clutch Stage 3 ceramic/organic clutch, and once power is routed through the tailshaft of the transmission, the factory 8.8 axle assembly puts it to the ground. Michael didn't leave the 8.8 rear alone either. Between the Baer Eradispeed brake rotors you'll find an Auburn differential, Superior 31-spline axleshafts, and a Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion gearset--all connected to the engine with an FRPP aluminum driveshaft.

Michael has made additional modifications from the BBK throttle body to the Hurst shifter, and he continues doing so to this day. Modifying the Bullitt is only part of the equation here, as Michael enjoys driving his car as much as showing it. He's taken it to the quarter-mile strips in Fontana, California, and Chandler, Arizona, where the Pony has charged to a best elapsed time of 13.10 seconds, and a best speed of 110 mph. Michael has also graced the Qualcom and Barona eighth-mile tracks, running a best of 8.23 seconds at 84 mph.

There's actually a lot more done to Michael's Bullitt than we have time to share with you here. As much as Ford treated the special edition Mustang to its own unique styling cues, Michael has numerous changes himself, and if you want to check them out, you can usually catch him at any of the big car shows in California. Just look for the diehard with a Bullitt.