We were at the first Mustang Club of America show this year, you know, that one in Pensacola Florida. One thing we noticed was a sizeable number of Boss Shinoda cars on the grounds. We soon discovered that this wasn't as unusual as one might first think, since Team Shinoda Performance Vehicles was located literally down the street. Today, Team Shinoda is run by a gent named Jim Klok and it is the mission of Klok, and his dedicated team to continue the work that Larry Shinoda started. Today the company builds some of the most formidable Mustangs to hit the streets - the one we sampled boasts 600 horsepower. "It's just a little bit spicy," remarked Jim as we tooled about the burbs of Pensacola on a balmy afternoon. "You should see some of the other stuff we're building." The man is not one to mince words and it is probably fair to say that both he and Team Shinoda have come along way in the past decade or so.
"I got involved with Shinoda about 1995," says Klok. "I've been into cars ever since I was a kid. At that time I'd just gotten out of the Air Force and went to work with Roush - we worked on the V8 Explorer program, the SVT T-Bird proposal among other things. Unfortunately I got laid off, so I traded cold Michigan for warm, sunny Arizona and went to work for GM (say it ain't so!)." However, Klok had stayed in touch with his contacts at Roush. "I did some development work on an intake for them, but they told me they couldn't use it. I joked to Ed Wayland that I'd give the info on the intake to Larry Shinoda and he gave me Larry's card!" So that was that. Klok contacted Larry and an agreement was fostered whereby Jim would start handling the production arrangements of the Boss Shinoda Mustangs. "Larry had started doing his cars in 1994. My part of the deal was to take the Boss Shinoda from an appearance package to a full on performance car with its own unique character - a complete, turnkey vehicle." Not a small task by any means, but one that was most definitely pursued with vigor. "I remember that Larry was very passionate, but he was also very opinionated. He had certain rules - one of them being 'if it's not functional it doesn't belong on the car.' It's one rule we've stuck to 'till this day." Pretty soon, Klok was working on his first full project build with Shinoda. "The first car we did was the 1997 show car for the Cragar Wheel Corp. Dallas Mustang built it for us and we debuted it at SEMA." However as can often happen, life threw a curve ball. "Larry was quite sick at that time and 13 days after the car debuted he died at his home in Michigan, from heart complications. It was a very sad time."
Although a big wrench had been thrown in the works, everybody banded together. "We wanted to keep building on Larry's legacy, so we spoke to Larry's daughter Karen and son-in-law Brian Flahive. We negotiated with them to keep building the cars. We got the contract and licensing to do the cars for them and worked with Karen and Brian to ensure that as we went along we'd keep the car how Larry would have intended. They had worked with Larry on other programs and understood what he was trying to do." After the Cragar car, perhaps the next most significant project for Shinoda Performance Vehicles was the R600. "This car, we built for Jim Napier. It was the first of the 600-plus horsepower Shinoda turnkey cars," says Klok. Today the company has embraced the S197 with gusto.