Pete Epple Technical Editor
June 1, 2009
Photos By: Greg Jarem
The 5.4L mill was built by Springfield Custom Auto Machine and is capable of producing well over 900 rwhp.

With the GT500s able to hit the 800-rwhp mark with a stock engine, Ricky set the power goals high for his Shelby. Not satisfied with his prior attempts, the TVS was put up for sale; in its place went a monstrous 3.4L Whipple. Evolution Performance capped the addition of the huffer with a set of its fuel rails, American Racing long-tube headers, and a C&L intake. With 800 rwhp as the goal, the Shelby was strapped back down to the dyno for the tune. A series of pulls resulted in 770 rwhp, and Ricky knew it was time to go for broke. The addition of extra boost and a fresh tune was exactly what was needed to break into the 800hp zone. While he broke the barrier, the end result was six broken rods and catastrophic engine failure.

Not one to quit, Ricky turned once again to Curley Engineering, and the mangled mill was removed. Springfield Custom Auto Machine handled the build, and after a short conversation, the decision was made that an 0.020-over 5.4L block filled with Oliver rods and custom-coated CP pistons would be the foundation for this GT500's new heart and soul. The compression was bumped to 9:1, and Race Development was called into action to rebuild the cylinder heads. A set of Ford GT supercar cams were enlisted to handle the forced air from the massive Whipple and expel the exhaust gasses.

The aggressive stance of the GT500 coupled with the iconic Gulf colors make Ricky's Shelby stand out. The lovely Tara Froysland complements it all.

While the motor was being built, Ricky knew it was time to make his Shelby something special. The historic colors of the '69 Gulf GT40 were the perfect complement to the massive power. He called on Wentworth Collision of Lusby, Maryland to handle the task.

Howard Wentworth first stripped the Shelby to an empty shell, then layered the Gulf Blue and Corral Orange over the factory panels. The job was so extensive that the entire engine bay, door jambs, and even under the car to some extent, were sprayed. To add an authentic touch, the Gulf logos and racing numbers were added prior to the clearcoat, giving the car a realistic race-inspired look. The combination of an aftermarket hood, Shelby wheels, and Gulf paint makes this Mustang a real a one-off machine that screams with a bold, racy look and massive performance from the hopped-up 5.4L DOHC mill.

So far, Ricky's GT500 has produced an astounding 800-plus rwhp, and with the addition of the new mill, the horsepower goal is in the 900-plus range. "The car drives like it just came out of the factory," Ricky adds. "That is-until you step on the gas pedal."