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.
The car was sidelined and Trent carpooled to work while he squirreled away the cash to build his current Dart block-based 316. By the end of September 2003, thanks to help from Beau Pauley at Mental Addiction Motorsports and Steve Jones at 1st Performance in Mesa, Arizona, he had the Fox running again.
The Dart block is the foundation for a 316-ci thumper built by 1st Performance. The rotating assembly consists of an Eagle 4340 forged crank he got a smoking deal on, forged H-beam connecting rods, CP pistons, SpeedPro plasma rings and Clevelite 77H bearings. ARP 2000 rod bolts and head studs keep things together.
A "tiny" Cam Motion custom hydraulic roller bump stick and Crane Pro Magnum 1.6 rockers keep the 2.02-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves dancing. The Twisted Wedge cylinder heads with a 185 CNC port job from Total Engine Airflow are retained. Up top are an Accufab 75mm throttle body, a Reichard Racing upper intake manifold with a one-inch spacer that barely clears the stock hood and Reichard's TFS-R air-gapped lower manifold. Kendall also upgraded the turbo from a T64e to a small frame GT42 from Limit Engineering in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Though this setup was making an estimated 660 rear wheel horsepower, there was still room for improvement. One issue was spark plug wire and header clearance - or, rather, the lack of it. "No matter how many layers of insulation I'd put on, I kept burning spark plug wires. And changing just the driver's side plugs would take over an hour and cost you some skin off your knuckles," he explained.
The turbo's crossover pipe also kept blowing apart at the slip-fit connection so he knew the backpressure bogeyman was still around. A couple of friends were running turbo systems fabricated by Rusty's Total Performance in Tucson that "were pretty much perfect right out of the box," so he started socking away greenbacks once again.
The current turbo system was done in September, 2004. "Rusty built one of his standard single-turbo driver's side mount turbo systems using the existing turbocharger, HKS blow-off valve and TiAL 35mm wastegate. I also supplied the huge front-mount intercooler from Mental Addiction Motorsports." If you've been wondering, the fuel system is by Modular Mustang Racing and can support 1,000 horsepower, Trent says. "So far, I'm fairly pleased with the AEM engine management system. This EMS controls my boost based on vehicle speed or throttle, turns my Mark VIII fan on and off and activates the two-step with anti-lag feature. Changing boost settings, timing and fuel is very simple."
A month after the new turbo was done, Kendall took the car to the track and ran a new best of 10.25 @ 141 mph. "Needless to say, I was extremely pleased. I drove the car to the track and drove it home, of course. So with the addition of the new kit I had gained 10 mph in the quarter mile with 2 psi less boost!
The new turbo system from Rusty Total Performance is obviously extremely efficient compared to the old kit.
"Unfortunately on the way home from the track, I rolled into the throttle in third gear and when the boost hit, the Tremec TKO went boom! I bought a TKO900 Transmission from Mark Luton at Modular Mustang Racing and it has worked out great. I installed it just in time to get my butt kicked in the Fun Ford Weekend drag radial class at the Phoenix event in November 2004. But, it was fun racing against some of the big drag radial cars in my street car.
In January 2005 I organized and competed in the Arizona's Quickest Street Car Challenge. My car made a best pass of 10.363 @ 138 mph on Hoosier DOT slicks. I placed second in the Quick Street Class.
In October of that year Kendall again competed at Fun Ford Weekend in the drag radial class and took first place. Though Kendall reports participation in drag racing in Phoenix seems to have gone downhill a little and there was only one other competitor in his class, beating a "full-out drag car on 17-inch street-legal Nitto drag radials" was still sweet.
"Every part on the car was chosen with 100 percent streetability in mind. You won't find a C4, 4.56 geared, no-sway-bar, Lakewood 90/10 equipped 'street' Mustang here. I know I could gain quite a bit of ET at the track by changing a few things on the suspension or trying an automatic transmission but I prefer to have a decent handling, fun-to-drive street car." Now that's what a daily driver is all about.
Interior / Exterior
Trent Kendall's 1991 Mustang GT
Lovett Performance Torque box reinforcements, custom 6-point roll-cage by Southwest Custom Trucks; generic subframe connectors
Tokico Illumina front struts, Maximum Motorsports Caster Camber plates, X2C 275 lb coil over springs, Polyurethane bushings, tubular front K-member (no name brand); D&D Tubular control arms; Flaming River manual steering rack and shaft; Tokico Illumina rear shocks, H&R Race springs with airbags; Maximum Motorsports lower control arms, UPR upper control arms; stock rubber bushings; Brembo 13" front brakes with PBR two-piston calipers, 1995 Mustang GT rear discs with factory pads
Wheels And Tires
OEM 1999 Mustang Cobra 17x8" wheels; Yokohama AVID H4S P245/45R17 (street)Bogart DragStar 15"; Nitto NT555-R Drag Radials (track)
Modified stock front bumper assembly for intercooler, wipers removed, 1991 LX tailight lenses, Saleen rear wing
AEM wideband O2; Faze CompetitionEL boost, oil pressure, water/oil temp, fuel pressure, exhaust gas temp gauges Custom gauge panel and emblems by WWW.GAUGEPLATES.COM
Trent Kendall's 1991 Mustang GT
Steve Jones, 1st Performance 316-ci Ford V8
Dart Iron Eagle Block, bored .030 over, Eagle 4340 forged stroker crank (3.125 in stroke), Eagle H-beam forged rods, Competition Products 8.8:1 compression forged pistons, Total Seal Rings; Cam Motion custom ground hydraulic roller camshaft; Trick Flow Specialities Twisted Wedge heads (185cc CNC ported by Total Engine Airflow), Factor TFS steel intake and exhaust valves, Competition Cams valve springs; Crane Pro Magnum 1.6:1 rockers, stock Ford hydraulic lifters; Reichard Racing upper Intake Manifold; TFS-R Lower intake, ported and air gapped by Reichard Racing; Accufab 75mm throttle-body, K&N air filter assembly; Siemens-Deka 83 lb injectors, dual -6 feeds and -6 return fuel lines, Aeroquip Blue hose; Aeromotive fuel rails; Dual Walbro 255 lph electric fuel pumps; MSD 6AL ignition control box, MSD 8.5mm ignition wires; NGK Iridium Spark Plugs, AEM EMS Electronic Engine management; Rusty Total Performance custom Turbo kit with Limit Engineering built Garrett GT42 turbocharger;18 psi of boost, electronically controlled by AEM engine management; Mental Addiction Motorsports Custom 2x 14 x 3.5" intercooler; Rusty Performance custom Turbo 1 3/4" headers, 2.5" Crossover pipe, 3.5" down pipe, single 3.5" Y-pipe, Dynomax Ultra Flow 2.5" mufflers; Summit 2.5" tailpipes
Modular Mustang Racing Tremec TKO900 six-speed transmission; McCleod Twin Disc clutch; McCleod Pressure Plate; Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft; Detroit Tru-Trac differential, 3.27:1 final drive, Moser 31-spline axles
725 rwhp, 775 rwtq
Best ET to date : 10.25 @ 141 mph
Kyle and Steve at 1st Performance, Lovett Bros. Performance, Beau @ Mental Addiction Motorsports, Nic, Byrd, Craig, Jeff, Jason, Keith @ AZ Dyno Chip, Mom, Dad, Jolea, Adam, Ed, Paul, The Crokes, all the AZ Mustangers and all the Turbomustangs.com guys and gals.