Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2002 Ford Mustang GT - Addiction Affliction
Like Most of Us, Johnny Mulfati Needs Intervention
Seems like some of us practically gush out of the womb with a galloping horse imprinted on our DNA, genetically predetermined to pedal a Pony, and basically learning to say "Mustang" before "Momma."
Others—let's call them late bloomers—join the herd much later, sometimes quite unintentionally, (but often with no less fervor).
Looking at his insanely detailed and muscular GT convertible, you might reasonably assume Johnny Mulfati was a Blue Oval birther. And you'd be oh-so wrong. "I've never really been a fan of Ford, I've never owned a V-8, and I never really had an interest in Mustangs," is how the 46-year-old Montreal, Quebec-resident started off our online correspondence.
Johnny went on the explain that though he'd always been a power-addicted gearhead, he'd originally found his fix in turbocharged four-bangers, including one that he had somehow coaxed to 280 front-wheel horsepower. We found this rather ironic from a guy who markets massive-displacement commercial diesel engines for a living.
Then, a couple years ago, a colleague at Cummins put a pristine '02 GT ragtop up for sale. Johnny bought it, but only so he could take his wife and kids for top-down cruises. Or so he thought. Mr. Mulfati was apparently so underwhelmed by the SOHC 4.6-liter's bone-stock performance that he immediately started scouring the pages of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine for answers. His education soon led to the purchase of a non-intercooled Vortech S-trim centrifugal and the resulting 364 rwhp.
Some may have stopped then and there, but Johnny was now as hooked as a street-walking crack-head—like the rest of us.
After that intoxicating taste of boosted V-8, Johnny then opted to sell the centrifugal and try out a Kenne Bell 2.1-liter Twin-Screw at 9 psi. Tuned by Pat Arlia at www.Steeda.ca, the otherwise-stock mod-motor was now good for 408 rwhp. But Johnny faced a dilemma: "Now that I was at the power limit of the stock bottom-end, I had a major decision to make—leave well enough alone, or pull the engine with only 30,000 miles on it." You guessed it: He pulled it.
Wanting a mill that could support 600 ponies, Johnny decided to go for stroke with an Eagle kit comprised of a 3.750-inch forged crank (with ESP Armor), Eagle 4340 H-beam rods, and Arias pistons with a 22cc dish. The result is about 5 liters and around 8.5:1 compression when topped with the 44cc chambers of Trick Flow's Twisted Wedge 185 cylinder heads. These he loaded up with TFS Track Max cams with 0.550 lift and 228/230 duration (at 0.050.)
Once all the boxes arrived, he started assembling everything himself, adding a Spec Stage 3+ clutch; a hat with twin Ford GT fuel pumps from the now-defunct Fore Precision; a Zone 5 MDM Jr. driver module; 60 lb-hr injectors; and Snow Performance Stage 2 methanol injection for good measure. Then it was back to www.Steeda.ca, where the dyno duly reported 464 hp at the wheels with a 2.75-inch pulley on the Kenne Bell.
But winter is long in Montreal, and an addiction is an addiction, so during the snowy months as 2010 rolled into 2011, Johnny went at it again. This time he added a hand-polished custom inlet with an Accufab Big Oval throttle body (the mass air is a BA2600 from SCT), while dropping pulley diameter to 2.5 inches and port-matching the blower manifold and heads. And, in his own words: "I took the unconventional route of spraying methanol directly into the airstream post-blower and intercooler." Back at the dyno on the day of our photo shoot, the combo sent 535 hp and 560 lb-ft to the wheels.
But this thing's more than merely powerful. Hopefully our photos convey the wicked level of detailing that Johnny has lavished on the ragtop's exterior, interior, and engine bay. Outside, a Cervini's Stalker body kit, complete with a two-piece Speedster tonneau cover, seems right at home with the polished 18-inch Foose Nitrous rims, behind which can be seen EBC brakes (slotted 3DG rotors and Red Stuff pads) at all four corners. Ride-height attitude comes from a full Eibach Pro Kit including lowering springs, new dampers, and stiffer antiroll bars. Oh, and the Laser Red hue was resprayed right at Sikkens Canadian headquarters near Montreal.
Open the hood and you're met with a glittering showcase of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Clearly, Johnny's successful search for horsepower in no way detracted from spit-and-polish presentation. Nothing major has changed in the cockpit, but it too shows signs of Johnny's obsession with sweating the details, like the billet aluminum switchgear and accessories, the Speed of Sound boost and oil pressure gauges on the A-pillar, the Speed Hut white-face cluster, and the trio of LEDs seamlessly inserted in the blank panel real estate to the left of the headlight switch.
All this from a guy who had previously shunned the Blue Oval, not to mention the charm of V-8 thrust. But that's all changed: "I now love my Mustang!" Johnny confesses with the rabid enthusiasm of the converted.
Welcome to the party, dude. Better late than never!