"I drive it all the time. I take customers for rides, and drove it home the other day and put it in my garage," Kevin Sittner said.
We wanted to know just how driveable his blue '66 fastback was with 1,000 horsepower on tap in a Mustang looking so stock.
"The guy [Troy Nunes] who does all my tuning was with me. I had a GPS on the dash and it said 140 when the rearend started to spin and kind of stepped sideways."
The build began when a customer came to Kevin's shop, Precision Machines in Lodi, California, and wanted a '65/'66 Mustang fastback built into a real sleeper for the street. In other words, he wanted to retain the vintage appearance as much as possible, but build significant horsepower.
Kevin and his staff are no strangers to fast Mustangs, as they spend most of their waking hours building, maintaining and racing vintage Mustangs. Having built Mustangs Plus' Ronster restomod, their expertise goes well beyond your average Shelby track car.
"He wanted a crazy, over-the-top street car," Kevin said.
To make a long story short and not get into sordid details, Kevin now owns the wild '66 fastback. We met up with him and photographed the machine at the 2011 "NorCal Mini-Nats," a regional show of SAAC (Shelby American Automobile Club) held at Infineon Raceway.
One thousand horsepower has become a more frequently heard number these days, but engineering that amount of power into an early Mustang that has no real frame must be even more of a challenge. Kevin says the chassis upgrading was just as difficult as hitting 1,000 horsepower. Of course, major horsepower is useless without the ability to put it to the ground, not to mention the ability to stop from the ample speed it provides.
An almost laughable specification is the size of the Baer six-piston disc brakes. They measure 141?4 inches, or larger than the 14-inch diameter of the original wheels on this classic '66 model. The 18-inch Budnik custom wheels that the Mustang now wears dwarf the original rims. The 18s wear P235/40ZR18 tires on the front and P285/40ZR18s on the rear.
The secret to the chassis' ability to allow what is basically an antique Mustang to plant 1,000 horsepower to the pavement is the Total Control Products suspension, featuring coilovers at all four corners. Kevin described an "outside subframe connector" common to just about any Mustang with significant horsepower. However, an X-brace was added to connect them, and provide a front mounting position for a torque arm.
The center support section stiffens the car laterally and makes it "really rigid." Then, welding a six-point 'cage reinforces the chassis top to bottom. The end result is a '66 Mustang basically converted to a full-frame car.
In the rear, Kevin's shop installed a "Direct Fit Fab9" from Chris Alston's Chassisworks. Of course, Alston bought out the patents from Total Control. So once again, the components are TCP (Total Control Products) that Kevin's Precision Machines works closely with.
The Fab9 is a complete setup for everything between the torque boxes and the axle bearings. It includes the axle housing and carrier in a range of widths, optioned with adjustable upper control arms, antiroll bar, and the Alston VariShock rear coilover shocks. For Mustang builders, the good news is the Fab9 rear bolts directly to any suspension designed for a stock Mustang rear axle.
But what about the engine--what was the plan? Kevin chose a Ford Racing RDI aluminum block for the foundation and fitted it with strong internals--a Scat Series 3 lightweight forged crank, Manley rods and JE forged pistons, timed by a solid roller Crane cam.
"To achieve 1,000 horsepower, we had to use some cubic inches, so we went with a 9.2-inch-deck-height block." The shorter deck height (standard Windsor is 9.5 inches) would hopefully help with hood clearance, and bring the exhaust headers inward as well.
Basically, the RDI piece is an aluminum block fitted with steel sleeves. This V-8 was Ford's racing block 4-5 years ago for NASCAR, and now sports 427 cubic inches of displacement.
Kevin was very enthusiastic about the flow numbers of the off-the-shelf Airflow Research Windsor heads, comparing them to the Brodix heads in his TCP car that "have really been worked and are no better." He also chose a Hogan sheetmetal manifold for long runners to get the horsepower figures they wanted.
"We used long runners and a bigger plenum," Kevin recalls. Of course, fitting the engine under the hood of a '66 fastback was another issue. The 2-inch-higher cowl hood combined with the short deck height offered just enough clearance.
Achieving 1,000 horsepower also required a power adder, Kevin went with an ATI F-1R ProCharger that delivers a massive 20 pounds of boost to the 9:1-compression-ratio engine. They hit the magic 1,000 horsepower at the flywheel--mission accomplished. To handle this much power, Kevin chose a Viper-spec Tremec six-speed manual transmission that houses a McLeod Street Twin clutch.
At any one time, it's not uncommon for Precision Machines to have 20 to 30 high-end Ford products at the shop. On the day we called, Kevin had six Shelby Mustangs in the garage waiting modifications. What we're saying is, Precision knows the high-performance Ford industry. It has been there, and done that. So how difficult is achieving 1,000 horsepower these days? Kevin said, "All the stuff's available. It just takes deep pockets, and power adders." Then Kevin explained that 15-20 years ago, the Ford world didn't have the hardware to produce 1,000 horsepower.
"We used to not be able to buy parts to build these things. We were using truck cams and Windsor cams and 302s and things like that. And today, we can go out and buy everything off the shelf."
Then Kevin hit a high note when he said, "I'm sitting here now looking at two sets of Roush Yates racing cylinder heads--NASCAR stuff. You put a power adder on one of them and you've really got something there. You bolt those on and you could probably build 1,500 horsepower. Pretty civil? We'll just have to see how the next one turns out for Kevin.
Kevin says the chassis upgrading to handle 1,000 horsepower in a '66 Mustang was just as difficult as hitting 1,000 horsepower
Kevin Sittner's '66 Mustang fastback
- Ford Racing RDI aluminum 9.2-inch deck engine block, machined and balanced by Grose Racing (Lodi, CA)
- 427ci built by Kevin Sittner and Neil Ferguson
- 4.125-inch bore
- 4.00-inch stroke
- Scat forged steel crankshaft
- Manley forged steel connecting rods
- JE forged aluminum pistons
- Crane solid roller camshaft, 254/262 duration at 0.050, 0.598/0.598-inch lift, 114-degree lobe center, Crane shaft rocker arms, Smith Brothers pushrods
- Airflow Research 225 aluminum cylinder heads, 2.08-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, cleaned up bowls and upgraded springs
- Roush Yates timing beltdrive
- Custom-made Hogan sheetmetal intake manifold
- Custom C&R radiator with integrated oil cooler and dual Spal electric fans, remote-located electric pump
- Accessible Technologies Inc F-1R ProCharger centrifugal supercharger
- Turbonetics air-to-water intercooler
- Accufab 95mm throttle body
- Precision Auto 85-lb/hr fuel injectors
- SVT Lightning heat exchanger and water pump, Canton reservoirs
- Aviad road race oil pan
- 9:1 compression ratio
- 91-octane pump gas
- Fuel Safe 22-gallon fuel cell
- 15-20 psi of boost
- F.A.S.T. XFI electronic fuel injection system, Tuned by Troy Nunes
- Viper-spec Tremec T-56
- Billet 10-spline input shaft by Precision Machines
- McLeod Street Twin clutch and flywheel, shifter and modular bellhousing
- Inland Empire 3-1/2-inch aluminum driveshaft
- Chassisworks Fab9 9-inch housing
- SVO Daytona-spec aluminum carrier, yoke and 3.50 gears
- Detroit Locker differential
- Dutchman axles
- Hooker Super Comp 351W modified headers, 1-3/4-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors
- 2-1/2-inch exhaust by The Muffler Man (Lodi, CA)
- Hooker Aerochamber mufflers
- Front: TCP Coilover system, Vari-Shock double-adjustable shocks, coilover springs
- Rear: TCP pushrod coilover three-link suspension with Watt's Link
- Front: Baer Extreme disc, six-piston 6S calipers, 14-inch rotors
- Rear: Baer Extreme disc, six-piston 6S calipers, 14-inch rotors
- Front: Budnik Spark, billet aluminum, 18x8
- Rear: Budnik Spark, billet aluminum, 18x10
- Front: Nitto NT555, P235/40ZR18
- Rear: Nitto NT555, P285/40ZR18
- JME brushed aluminum gauge cluster, Auto Meter Cobalt instruments, Moto-Lita steering wheel, Scat Rave 1600 front seats, Ultra-Shield Racing Products five-point harnesses, Total Control Products brake and clutch pedal covers, Lokar gas pedal, Vintage Air HVAC, six-point rollbar
- Custom Blue Pearl tri-coat paint by Brian Gilbreath of Precision Machines, body work by Abel Bramasco of Precision Machine, custom rear valance by Brian Gilbreth, Maier carbon-fiber cowl-induction-style hood, Ringbrothers billet aluminum hood hinges and hoodpins, Scott Drake front spoiler