Trent Kendall's 1991 Mustang GT
Ford may have tons of technology packed into its Escape Hybrid, but long before this gasoline/electric propelled truck hit the showrooms, an Arizona enthusiast was creating a Blue Oval hybrid of his own - one that would shatter stereotypes of what a stone-cold reliable, street-driven Mustang was all about.
While 725 turbocharged horsepower and 771 ft.-lbs. (on 100-octane fuel) at the wheels might sound like extreme overkill, what's perhaps more astounding is the car's benign manners, that is until his right foot triggers a catapult-like launch. Luckily, home for Kendall and his ballistic Fox is Phoenix, Arizona and its nearby wide open desert roads.
The story of this 28-year-old tuner's journey is as compelling to the serious Mustanger as are the 10.25-second, 141 mph results. Trent had a 1988 GT, but wanted a fresh start. It took eight months, but in January 1999 he finally found an ideal blank canvas. The Strawberry Metallic/Titanium Gray 1991 GT had 47,000 miles and was pristine.
Trent initially went the heads/cam/intake/nitrous route on the stock engine with the help of his dad. By the end of 2000, hungry for more power, he plunked down the money to have a 331 stroker built by a local shop. However this new engine had a nasty oil consumption habit from day one. So a second mill was rebuilt under partial warranty but still lost a quart of oil a week. With an ugly Mastercard balance and tired of having his daily driver down for weeks at a time, a nice, "cheap" rebuilt 306 went into the engine bay in late 2001.
"I still had the old nitrous kit and the car had run a best of 11.88 @ 116 on a 150 shot. It was a lot of fun but the nitrous refills were killing me. So I started researching blowers and turbos. I was astonished at the lack of info on the web for turbocharging and Mustangs, so in October 2001 I created a small website: www.turbomustangs.com"
Kendall credits his support team of friends and family. "This 800-hp street machine was built in my garage by myself and my hard-working and generous friends. It has been and remains my only four-wheeled transportation."
In February, 2002, he took the turbocharging plunge and purchased a Cartech single turbo kit with a T64e turbo. When the turbo system arrived in May of 2002 the install became the turbomustangs.com project car.
"I had some problems initially tuning the car with the turbo with 91-octane gas. I also learned that the cheapie 306 had been zero-decked and the pistons were not stock, so my compression ratio was probably 10.25:1." He went with ported Trick Flows Twisted Wedge heads from Total Engine Airflow with larger combustion chambers. "It lowered my ratio to a more manageable 9.0:1. The car ran great. With a custom chip I was able to make 525 rear wheel horsepower and 600 rear wheel torque on 15 psi and race gas."
The next weakest link he focused on was the exhaust. Kendall said the previous owner had installed 2.5-inch Flowmasters and what appeared to be stock 2.25-inch tailpipes.
"I knew for sure this setup was holding me back, normally aspirated, and turbos do not get along at all with chambered style mufflers. The hot setup these days is the Dynomax Ultra Flow, which is also called the Ultra Flow 'welded'."
Switching to 2.5-inch Dynomax Ultra Flow mufflers and 2.5-inch tailpipes showed gains of 12 horsepower and 30 ft-lbs. across the powerband and the turbo spooled up quicker.
Still, the analyst knew he "was on the ragged edge with this power level on a stock block with 'rebuild' parts." Though the engine never grenaded, leak-down testing in December of 2002 revealed 90 percent on almost every cylinder! When they got it apart, all the rings were very brittle and broken, but the pistons were still okay.