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1998 Mustang GT Premium Edition - Winning Recipe
Power, Style, And Handling-Tom Blamey's Formula For The Winning Recipe
There is a delicate balance when attempting to build the perfect street car. Power, handling, and style are all ingredients that play huge factors in the personality a car takes on. Finding that balance can be a difficult task, but through research and experimentation, an incredible street monster may not be that far away.
"I have always loved the sound of a Mustang," explains Tom Blamey of Lincoln Park, New Jersey. His love for the Pony car started at a young age and has grown ever since.
"My Uncle Steve had a Mustang when I was 14 years old. I loved the way it felt to sit in and how the interior flowed around you. Of course his spirited driving and burnouts made me like it too!"
When it came time for Tom to head off to college, he needed a more reliable form of transportation and the projects he already owned just wouldn't cut it. Once he decided it was time for a new ride, the other toys went to the highest bidder, and the search for a new ride began. After visiting a slew of dealerships, Tom found this Premium Edition '98 GT at a local New Jersey Mazda dealer. It was fully loaded with an automatic transmission, tan leather interior, and 36,000 on the clock. Two days later it was sitting in his driveway.
Throughout his first year, Tom kept his GT mostly stock. A set of Cobra wheels and a few minor performance bolt-ons added that little bit Tom wanted to make this Stang his own. When it came time to step his game up, PI heads and custom cams would take this Pony to the next level. "I love the power," Tom adds. "But I realized I still couldn't keep up with the modified turbo imports and I needed more."
With big power now at the forefront of the project, Tom turned to KT Engines in Concord, North Carolina. The crew at KT quickly went to work building the new modular bullet for Tom's Stang. Starting with a fresh aluminum 4.6L block, an Eagle stroker crankshaft uses Eagle forged rods to move the JE pistons inside the bores. When the assembly was complete, total displacement jumped from 281 to 302 ci. KT topped the short-block with a set of ported Two-Valve cylinder heads, and custom Comp camshafts to open and close the oversized Ferrea valves allowing the air/fuel mixture in and exhaust gasses out. Air enters through a ported Bullitt intake manifold with an Accufab Mondo Blade throttle body and exits via a set of stainless headers, X-pipe, and Bassani after-cat exhaust system.
Now that the mill was ready to support some serious power, Tom bolted on a Vortech T-Trim centrifugal supercharger. The snail adds a healthy 14-pounds of forced air into the combination, and puts plenty of power on tap when he wants it. Tom then strapped his GT to the rollers at Wicked Motorsports in Berlin, New Jersey, where Kevin Hand set the tune. When all was said and done, Tom's Pony galloped to a stout 494 rwhp with 444 lb-ft of torque.
As the engine build came to a close, Tom wanted a little more fun with his SN-95. To that end, the automatic transmission gave way to a manual gearbox in the form of a Tremec TKO 500. Power is passed through a Centerforce DFX clutch to the trans, turning the FRPP aluminum driveshaft which spins the 3.55 rearend gears.
After a brief introduction to road racing, Tom knew he enjoyed the twisties. So when the task up of upgrading the rearend was upon him, he decided upon an independent rear suspension. When he located a replacement unit from a Cobra, it was stripped and fitted with new 3.55 gears and a Billetflow IRS brace before being installed.
Eibach Pro springs sit in all four corners with KYB struts up front and Bilstein shocks out back. Tom's SN-95 sits on black FR500 wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber which add a slick look. "The car drives and handles amazingly," Tom pronounces. "When the boost kicks in, you have a hard time doing anything but holding on!"
Although Tom's '98 GT is already a stout street car, future plans include a rollbar and maybe some added boost from a bigger Vortech. With upgrades like these, Tom Blamey may have his winning recipe.