If you'd been driving around in a Porsche Boxster and had owned a number of sporty rides over the years, things like Camaros, Firebirds, Datsun 280Zs, would you trade in your nimble, German built mid-engined two-seater for a 2005 V6 Mustang? Well if the Pony in question was screaming yellow in color and your name was John Stachlewicz, then yes, you would.
"I've always wanted a yellow Mustang. In fact, out of all the sporty cars I've owned, I forgot to include one in the above list and that was a 2002 Mustang GT convertible (a black one). When a baby came along we had to trade it for a minivan, but I still needed my sporty fix so that was when I got the Boxster. When the new Mustangs came out and I saw one in that yellow color, I figured, hell, at least I'd take it for a test drive. The V6 car was the sensible choice, low insurance, decent gas mileage - I have a 16-year-old at home to worry about. So I went to the dealer and asked if I could get behind the wheel." Now being honest, John was thinking this brand new six-banger would perform a lot like something you'd drive off the Hertz lot in the mid 1990s. "Boy was I wrong. This thing went and it was a V6. It was an absolute blast to drive. I got back to the dealership and said 'where do I sign, where do I sign?' It didn't have the power of a new GT, but it was fast enough. I was also lucky in that I managed to get it well under sticker price too." So the Boxster was gone and a brand-new Yellow Mustang V6 sat in the Stachlewicz driveway.
Mustang and modify, go together like bread and peanut butter so it didn't take John long before he decided to change a few things. "I started off with little stuff. Dressing the car up with the black vinyl racing stripe, putting on a few polished knobs and cap covers." He also started going to car shows. "Before I got my Mustang I'd been to like, one or two car shows in my entire life. With the Mustang I started going to one or two per week."
And when he did show up, a lot of people would say the same thing. "You shoulda bought a GT, why didn't you get an eight-cylinder, you could've bought a used New Edge GT or Cobra for the price of this one - blah, blah." But like Axel Foley in the locker room, John wasn't listening. These folks could say what they wanted, but the fact was, Stachlewicz liked his new car and he was going to have fun with it.
"I started thinking about performance modifications and ways I could wake it up. There were a couple of things I wasn't happy about. The first was poor throttle response off the line. The second was the gentle shifting from the automatic transmission, it just wasn't as snappy as I wanted." As John started learning more about his car and how to make it faster, he discovered that the solution to fixing these two nagging little things was via custom tuning. "I found out about SCT's X-Calibrator 2. This hand-held tuner seemed to address the problems I was having with my car, but I needed to find a dealer to work with. On SCT's recommendation, the best dealer who was relatively local to me was Alternative Auto Performance in Mt. Clemens, Michigan."
So one day, a phone conversation happened. "I got talking with Alternative's Lidio Iacobelli, but at that time, Lidio was tied up with V8s and didn't really have anything for my car - but he appreciated the call. I went with SCT's second choice of dealer, but in the back of my mind I knew that I wanted Lidio to tune my Mistress (as the car had become known by this point)."
When Stachlewicz got his car back, complete with the reflashed software, he was quite surprised. "I got behind the wheel and - oh, my it was like driving a completely different car. It was like Clark Kent to Superman. The off-the-line hesitation was gone and the shifts were a lot more aggressive. If I wasn't careful, I'd smoke my right rear tire from every stoplight. On the dyno it made some impressive gains in both power and torque, but somehow I knew that Lidio could get more out of it." If only he had a V6 tune...
Well, fate surely intervened and another phone conversation got going. "Hi Lidio, it's John with the yellow V6 Mustang." "Hi John, guess what? I think I might have a tune for you." Oh Joy. So you can probably imagine that it didn't take Stachlewicz long to drive his yellow foal over to Mt. Clemens for some more tests.
"I expected Lidio's tune to make a difference and it did. The car was pulling a lot harder and the shifting between gears was even firmer than before." Says the man with the yellow Mistress. "The tune shaved about .25 seconds off my 0-60 mph time and now I could chirp the tires on the one-two and two-three shifts." At this point in time, Stachlewicz began getting the itch to go to the dragstrip and test out his new found power. "I was still doing the car show thing, going to one or two a week, but when those V8 guys threw down the gauntlet I knew I just had to try it. People were also asking me what the Mistress did in the quarter. I didn't have a clue, so I decided to see for myself. At this stage the car was cranking out 200 horsepower and about 220 lb/ft." So what did it do first time out? Well, how about a 14.9 at 90 miles per hour. In fact, according to John, "it would do a bunch more 14.9s, so at least I knew it was consistent - but I wanted more." Not wishing to go the supercharger route, Stachlewicz decided he'd like to spend $600 at this point as opposed to $3,600. The solution - a dry nitrous kit from ZEX. "The kit is actually designed for a GT," notes John, "but it works really well on the V6. My co-worker Gene and I installed the kit ourselves. It took a little longer than it said in the instructions, but we got a nice clean installation. To maximize trunk space, Gene also fabricated a custom mounting plate, so we could tuck the bottle further in the corner of the trunk."
After running 75 horsepower, Stachlewicz decided to step to a 100 shot. So he went back to Lidio to see how the car would run. "Using the same custom tune in my car and with the 100 hp jets, the Mistress made 254 horsepower and 358 lb/ft of torque on the Alternative dyno and according to our readings, the air/fuel still looked great." Not surprisingly, with the extra set of oats, Stachlewicz was itching to see what she'd run at the track. "It went a 13.7, but I'd decided to upgrade the wheels and tires (to MMB 17-inch alloys, BFG radials up front and Nitto NT450s (275/65R17 out back) so the faster times were accompanied by quite a bit of wheel hop."So Stachlewicz decided to visit Scott Hoag and MRT. "Scott is another really great guy - he's infectious and can't help but get excited about Mustangs - he's also extremely knowledgeable. For my situation he suggested I go with a set of H&R Sport Springs. I also got a really nice set of quarter window louvers, some of the best I've ever seen, and we talked about getting some lower control arms to help the Mistress hook up. He suggested I go with some BMR adjustables and I'll tell you what - they work. When I went back to the track, the surface was pretty slick, but I did a few runs and there was no wheel hop - thanks Scott! I decided I wanted to get some more experienced hands behind the wheel to see if I could make it run faster than a 13.7. Lidio got behind the wheel and when the car flashed by the boards I almost jumped out of the bleachers. I was hoping for a 13.5 but Lidio ran a 13.4 at 103 mph - woo hoo!
John's next upgrade, was installing a Trac-lok diff in the 7.5-inch rear along with a set of 4.10 gears. "It was time - the power level was getting to a point that I needed a shorter gear to get me moving quicker and a one wheel peel just wasn't going to cut it, especially now I had the LCAs and the springs on it too. People said that my 7.5 inch rear was a weak link and I should upgrade, but I decided to just try the 4.10s and Trac-lok in it." So with the gear modifications done and the 2006 Drag Race season about to get underway, John decided to drive his car all the way down to Orlando for the Fun Ford Weekend Season Opener. "Lidio and I both wanted to go and we hooked up en route - he brought down his black '05 shop car and I brought - the Mistress. It was a great weekend and the car was getting faster. I ran a 13.4 on a set of borrowed drag radials from the guys at Power House and when Lidio took it for a spin, he got a 13.3 out of it. I learned a lot in Orlando - how to launch and improve my driving. Now I get on the gas, hit the nitrous and the car just goes, no more spinning!
So what's next? Well John wants to shoot for the 12s, then confesses he'll be happy. "I'm trying to get there, but am taking it one step at a time. The car is now a year old and has 30,000 miles on it. I drive it a lot and it gets raced. When I came back from Orlando, I took it to Ubly Dragway again. It launched and I got a 1.83 60-foot and man, that 7.5 inch rear is still holding together after all these passes. The last time I had it out and went a 13.13. I then got a bit greedy. I bumped up the nitrous to 125 hp and ran, probably about 6-7 passes - 13.13s with 1.80 60-foots. But then I knew something was up. The motor was hurt. There was a lot of drivetrain noise, but I managed to limp it home on five cylinders. I think it's something in the top end, possibly a bent valve." How many of us can say we've been there before? Anyhow with the engine needing attention, John has decided on a plan of action. "I had a couple of things I needed to factor in. Lidio was backed up solid, and my wife is due to have a baby in May. Scott has moved into his new facility now and he was really enthused about working on the car and getting it back up and running. He's taught me so much already. At his suggestion we tried a muffler and exhaust for my car and it did exactly what he said. I'm really looking forward to working with him on the car. My plan right now is to get it running solidly in the 12s by the end of summer and I think with guys like Scott and Lidio helping me, it will be easily possible." But now we know what his plan is, one thing is no doubt still puzzling a lot of you - why is John's '05 dubbed the 'Mistress?' We'll let him explain. "This car has changed my life. It definitely has character. Once I started doing things to it, my wife thought I had a mistress, because I seemed to be around half as often as before - so that was it, the car was indeed my mistress. The name fits the car perfectly. When Scott and I did the MRT hoodscoop and striping on it - the end result just about summed-up the yellow V6. It's feminine, but it's tough and it will still kick your butt. And I have to say, that of all the cars that I've owned, including my Boxster, nothing comes close to the attachment I have to this one. Everything about it I like - the color, the performance, the styling - it's just great. My Mustang journey so far has been overwhelming. I wouldn't trade the experience of owning this car for anything else."
As John started learning more about his car and how to make it faster, he discovered that the solution to fixing these two nagging little things was via custom tuning.
Interior / Exterior
John Stachlewicz's 2005 V6 Mustang
MRT Quarter Window Louvers; Vinly striping by Sign Image, Saginaw
Assorted billet accents
Wheels And Tires
Front: BF Goodrich 215/60R16 on MMB wheels; Rear: 275/50R17 Nitto 450 on MMB wheels
Ford 4.0 liter SOHC V6
MMR Cold air intake; ZEX single stage Mustang nitrous wet kit, 100-shot with dual 10 lb. bottles; Magnaflow axle-back exhaust; SCT X-Cal2 tuned by Alternative Auto, Mt. Clemens, MI
DrivelineFord limited slip differential; Motive Gear 4.10 ratio rear axle gears
H&R Sport Springs; MMR rear drag shocks; BMR lower rear control arms
254 RWHP, 358 RWTQBEST ET: 13.415 @ 103.63