Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Peter Linney

The '64 1/2 Mustang galloped onto the pages of almost every magazine, into our living rooms on prime-time TV, and into the hearts of millions, turning the automotive world upside down. With its attractive styling and versatility, this new and innovative machine entranced men, women, and children alike.

Mustangs of the '60s are still some of the most recognized and sought after vehicles on the road. To this day, many people still dream of sporting a '67 Shelby GT-500 or putting the top down on a 289-powered '65 convertible.

Mark Kauffman of North Hollywood, California, is no exception, but being part of a family of unyielding Bow Tie enthusiasts, he kept his love for the early Ponies on the down low. Then in the fall of 2004, a strikingly familiar car began to grace the showrooms of Ford dealers. Mark rushed down to buy one of the first '05 Mustangs on the lot: a Sonic Blue Roush Stage 1.

With an arsenal of Chevy-powered Top Alcohol Dragsters and Top Alcohol Funny Cars, Mark and his family have been racing (and winning) on the NHRA circuit for over 10 years. So when he purchased his first Mustang in January 2005, the upgrades quickly ensued.

Mark's original plan was to transform the Roush into a 500-rwhp everyday driver, so he started by bolting on a Vortech S-trim centrifugal supercharger. Even though the 527 rwhp and consistent 11.60 e.t.'s were pretty impressive for the new S197, Mark was bored within the first year. "I quickly became obsessed with more power. I began plans to build a street car that I could drive to and from the track in full factory trim, and compete with trailered race cars," he tells us.

So Mark raised the bar and started the mission to build a 700-rwhp daily driver that could dip into the 9s. To tackle this seemingly insurmountable task, Mark turned to Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) of Van Nuys, California. Steve Carpenter and the GAS team began the build by gutting the entire car to make way for a custom rollcage NHRA-certified for 8.60-second e.t.'s, and a custom sheetmetal rear-seat delete for weight reduction.

Though the Three-Valve mod motor was quite an improvement over the Two-Valve design, it still couldn't handle big power. So Mark turned to Adam Montague of ST Motorsports in San Bernardino, California, to build a powerplant that was up to the task.

Starting with a modular FRPP Modular cast-iron block, Montague installed a Kellogg forged-steel crankshaft (3.85-inch stroke), Manley H-beam forged-steel connecting rods, and a set of 0.020-inch-over Diamond forged-aluminum pistons. To complement the 330ci short-block, Montague reached out to Livernois Motorsports (Dearborn Heights, Michigan) for a pair of its Stage 3 Three-Valve cylinder heads, which feature oversized intake and exhaust valves, custom porting, and titanium valvesprings and retainers.

To achieve his ultimate goal of 700 rwhp, Mark turned to the fine art of forced induction. Initially, he tried two different big single-turbo setups. Even though both made big power, neither were very street friendly. After much research and debate, Mark and Montague decided on Whipple Industries' 3.4L twin-screw supercharger. Since no one makes a kit to install the 3.4L compressor on a Three-Valve, Montague and the ST Motorsports team had to fabricate a custom intake manifold.

The rest of the drivetrain didn't stand a chance behind the new engine, so Mark ordered a custom Art Carr Performance Products AOD, with 4R70 internals and an Ultimate Converter Concepts 10-inch torque converter. A Detroit Locker 31-spline differential and Moser axles were chosen in lieu of the stock parts.

The GAS staff knew the suspension needed an upgrade if it was going to put the power to the pavement, so QA1 coilovers were installed in the front and QA1 shocks in the rear. A BMR extreme antiroll bar, and Metco upper and lower control arms, were also utilized to get the 700 rwhp to the pavement. For stopping the 4,000-pound beast, GAS installed drilled and slotted rotors, Hawk pads, and stainless steel brake lines.

Once the drivetrain and chassis components were installed, they soon realized there were many new challenges still ahead. The stock wiring/computer wasn't capable of handling the new components needed for cooling and fuel delivery. Nearly the entire wiring harness had to be replaced by the GAS team.

To handle fuel delivery, GAS built and installed a custom fuel cell, a high-volume fuel pump, and custom fuel lines. Also housed in the trunk is a GAS-fabricated, 14-gallon reservoir for the air-to-water intercooler. GAS also hooked up Mark with a custom nitrous system for an extra jolt when needed.

Externally, Mark wanted the car to look mostly stock but to be unique as well. Since he liked the Sonic Blue, he had GAS paint on white racing stripes. The quarter-windows were removed to make way for functional cooling ducts, and custom airbrushing was added by Bill Coogle.

When the build was completed, a custom street tune by Racer's Edge Tuning (Downey, California) yielded 696 rwhp on 91 octane, and 797 rwhp on 91 octane with a 100-shot of nitrous oxide. A best quarter-mile e.t. of 9.60 at 142 mph should keep Mark smiling for a long time, although his family may not be as pleased.

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