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Top 10 Mustangs of 2015: Looking Back at Our Best Stangs of the Year
Looking back at our best Stangs of the year
Every year since 2006, we at Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords have gathered around the office to go through every issue of the calendar year and determine what the top 10 featured Mustangs were. It’s not an easy job. Inevitably we end up arguing until someone, if not everyone, is red in the face.
When it comes to the iconic pony car, there’s a more than one way to have fun in them. Whether you hit the strip, tear up the autocross, or simply cruise your Mustang down the highway to car shows, we all have our own ways of playing with our pride and joy. From the beloved four-eyed Fox to the all-new S550 Mustang, we all drool over every generation of the late-model Mustang.
Despite the vast differences in the build philosophy, each of these cars has one thing in common: the passion each owner poured into their car. That’s something that many deep pocket luxury-car owners will probably never understand, but to us, it’s second nature.
As you can guess, emotions run high when we’re dealing with the best of the best Mustangs. After quite a bit of deliberation, we narrowed down our field and were able to sort through all our jaw-dropping featured Mustangs until we ended up with the 10 most beautiful, most pristine, most powerful, and most gnarly Mustangs of the year. Each one of these cars has stood out and made a resounding impression on our staff. Some of them will no doubt inspire you to turn wrenches on your very own pony project, and hopefully this year’s cream of the crop will move you to finish that lingering garage project build you’ve been itching to make progress on.
In no particular order, let your dreams run wild and enjoy the top 10 Mustangs of 2015!
2010 Ford Mustang GT: Project Blue
We just can’t keep our eyes off of Krista Elyse’s gorgeous Grabber Blue Mustang GT. Krysta is no stranger to the Mustang world. She has even been competing in NMRA True Street alongside her father since 2011. As a radio personality for Heels on Wheels and In the Pits Media, Krysta knows her way around the sport. So it’s no surprise that her Grabber Blue Stang is one heck of steed. With the help of Justin’s Performance Center (JPC) out of Millersville, Maryland, Krista converted the stock GT into a proud pony that is now raising awareness for autism, a cause near and dear to her heart. Blue being the color for autism awareness, it was a perfect fit for the car.
Project Blue is powered by a built 4.6L short-block by Mustang Performance Racing complete with a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger with a Tial Q-series 50mm blow-off valve and a Paxton air-to-air aftercooler. A set of CNC-machined, ported RGR Stage 1 heads with Comp Cams Stage 2 Blower camshafts and Ferrara stainless steel valves helps this Mustang get down the track with 606 rwhp and about 550 lb-ft of torque. Krista’s best pass in Blue was an 11.4-second quarter-mile run at 126 mph, but her plans involve pushing the Mustang deep into the 10-second territory. Krysta wanted to prove that it was possible to make a Three-Valve just as competitive as a new 5.0L. In our opinion, that’s just what she did.
2005 Ford Mustang GT
There’s no question that the S197 Mustang was designed for enthusiast to reminisce or live out the glory days of the hopped-up muscle car craze of the 1960s. With killer retro good looks and a stout 4.6L Three-Valve V-8 engine under the hood, the 2005 Mustang GT was likely the biggest hit of the year. Unfortunately, the V-6 Mustang left a lot to be desired for most nostalgic Mustang fans. Luckily that wasn’t enough to deter Page Stevens and Jim Francis from building their own retro Stang with a special touch.
Stevens was a Ford enthusiast for decades. Current owner John Francis was the general manager of a local Ford dealer at the time and has been a friend of Stevens for years. It wasn’t long before the two bench-raced ideas and came up with the fantasy of swapping a Boss 429 engine into the S197. Larry Kalsch soon began assembling a wicked 525-cube Boss engine while the guys at C&C Motorsports worked their magic on the full hemispherical chambered cylinder heads in Francis’ Mustang. The 13:1 compression-ratio Boss Hemi put out 758 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel, and since Stevens has a penchant for road racing, it was only natural to back up the Boss with a Richmond five-speed with a 1:1 top gear. Needless to say, this Mustang is packing some serious heat with a vintage attitude.
1986 Ford Mustang SVO 2.0L EcoBoost
While we are big fans of horsepower and loud gnarly V-8 engines, Ford’s new line of EcoBoost engines has made us a bit envious of the great power and awesome fuel economy that the small turbocharged engines bring to the table. The 1986 SVO Mustang was a new breed of Mustang that featured four-wheel disc brakes and a 205hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and was backed by a stout T5 five-speed manual. Will and Kelly McLearran have always been fans of the beloved SVO Mustang, so when Kelly needed a new daily driver, the SVO was the natural choice.
Unfortunately, Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer, but rather than avoid it, she decided to use her diagnosis as a way of bringing awareness to the disease. She decided that drag racing would be a great platform to get the message out and formed Quarter Mile for a Cure. Having owned an SVO in the past, Will had always lusted after another SVO in his life. His quest came to an end thanks to fellow Southern Arizona Mustang Club member who purchased a donor car to pluck the engine out of. Since he had no use for the SVO, he donated the car to Will and Kelly. Naturally, they decided to put their own spin on the SVO by swapping in a 2.0L Focus ST EcoBoost crate engine. As you can see, this Gotta Have It Green SVO Mustang is truly green and everything in between.
2003 Ford Mustang Cobra Is World’s Quickest Terminator
What does it take to get your car onto the pages of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords? A great build with serious accolades come to mind, but there’s nothing quite like a great story behind all the madness. For Frank Yee, one heck of a story chronicles how he ended up with the world’s quickest Terminator Cobra. In May 2008, Yee was the first person to pilot a Terminator into the 9s with a stock blower. He ran 9.83 at 137 mph with a ported stock blower, ported heads, cams, a solid-rear axle, and a 4R70W—and at full weight, no less. That’s not where it ended. Fast-forward to the 2014 NMRA All Ford World Finals and Yee was back in the Cobra and made the fateful pass that lit up the board with an 8.1 at 175 mph.
With Yee being no stranger to the world of drag racing, his extensive automotive knowledge lead him to open VooDoo Racing Innovations in 2006. VooDoo has been building some of the baddest street/strip cars in Nevada ever since. While Yee wouldn’t give up all his tricks, it’s safe to say that he spins his Terminator well over 8,000 rpm. The combination uses big boost, high compression, and big lobe cam specs, which leads to an aggressive top-end charge. In its current state, the car makes over 1,300 hp at the wheels thanks to a healthy motor combo built in-house. The motor was built to handle high rpm and big boost thanks to a Garrett GTX 94mm snail pushing the speeds on the big end.
1 of Just 6 Fox-Body Saleens Ever Built in Bright Calypso Green
When it comes to great-handling Mustangs, there’s nothing quite like a Saleen. They’re built to cruise and pounce with lightning reflexes. What you see here is Tom Rice’s incredibly rare, one-of-six Fox-body Mustangs in Bright Calypso Green to wear the name Saleen. Rice was no stranger to Mustangs that can carve corners and handle the curves like a champ. As an owner of two highly sought after SN95 Mustangs, a pair of Saleen S351 Mustangs, Rice was used to attacking the winding roads while sitting in plush Recaro seats.
All it took was one look at this Bright Calypso Green 1993 Saleen Mustang for Rice to be absolutely struck. Once he got behind the wheel, he was hooked. The icing on the cake was that this Saleen also featured a recently installed 392ci Ford Racing crate engine with AFR 185cc cylinder heads and a Comp Cams XE282 cam; this gave the old horse a lot more power under the hood. The factory Recaro seats in the Fox Saleen made Rice feel right at home behind the wheel, and the Tremec T56 swap allows him to quickly row through the gears. With a little elbow grease, Rice was able to take the car to a whole other level to give it its show-quality killer good looks as well as a host of suspension modifications to up the ante.
LS7HNTR, A 1,000hp Twin-Turbo Terminator Cobra
Vanity plates are thing of pride in the automotive world. Some people use them to profess their love of their car to the world, while others, like Fredrick Kyle, use it as a declaration of war against the competition. As you can probably guess, Kyle isn’t afraid to leave mystery to the imagination when it comes to his 1,000hp Twin-Turbo Terminator Cobra. The 2003 Mustang Cobra wasn’t always a Bow Tie killer, but since the last engine build, this Terminator has executed every single mark without mercy. The flawless midnight finish might make some believe that this Cobra is all show, but they would be dead wrong. A beefed up Teksid aluminum block was stuffed with 10:1 JE pistons and Manley rods and topped with a set of new ported heads with aggressive blower cams to work with the HP Performance Twin-Turbo kit.
From the True Forged three-piece Chicane wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes R888 rubber to the pair of TiAL 55mm blow-off valves hiding just inside the grille, this car is a hungry predator ready to strike. One look under the hood and you’ll know why Kyle dubbed his car “LS7HNTR.” With a plate like that, you better be fast or you’ll end up the laughing stock at the strip. Luckily with the help of Racers Edge Tuning, Kyle was able to make this snake-bitten pony gallop a lot faster, but he’s not even close to being done. His grandiose plan is to have the quickest IRS street-driven Cobra in the country.
This 2015 EcoBoost Mustang Runs Deep Into the 11s at 119 mph in the Quarter-Mile
Who doesn’t love an underdog story, especially when it ends triumphantly? It’s easy to empathize with the hero who has to fight the odds. That’s why we think Brad Gusler’s 2015 EcoBoost Mustang deserves being on our list. How can you not admire the four-popping pony that runs the quarter-mile well into 11-second territory? While many enthusiasts wonder if a four-cylinder engine can really get the job done on the strip, Gusler’s 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang is sweeping the world of NMRA racing and proving it every step of the way.
After only three days of owning the EcoBoost, Gusler enlisted the help of Watson Racing to begin the car’s transformation into an NMRA killer. The small engine is fed with 116-octane race fuel via an Aeromotive Cobra Jet fuel pump, while a 55mm Precision Turbo pushes the boost through a JPC air-to-water intercooler. The final combination was custom-tuned through an SCT Livewire TS Performance programmer. Despite running a stock automatic transmission, this S550 Mustang is able to get off the line in quite a hurry. On the first shakedown run, the EcoBoost managed an 11.77 at 117.6 mph. The itch to go faster was still there, so they increased the boost by 2 pounds and ran an 11.19 at 119 mph. Needless to say, the underdog EcoBoost Mustang is now on the prowl for the 10s.
Father-Son Fox-Bodies: 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra & 1992 Notchbacks
It takes one hell of a car to convince a diehard Bow Tie guy that life is better on the Blue Oval side. For Gary Schreffler Sr., all it took was lining up against his wife’s 1993 Mustang LX coupe. He never thought much about Fords until he lined up his 1979 Stingray Corvette against his wife’s Fox-body Mustang and got lit up when the light turned green. That was all it took for Gary Sr. to switch to the dark side. He started by modifying his wife’s LX with gears, exhaust, and a few other mods, and before long it was less of a daily driver and more of a performer. Gary Sr. and his son bought Mom another daily driver and turned her little stock coupe into an all-out drag car that eventually ran 9.80s with an R-block based 347ci and a Vortech YSi supercharger.
As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Gary Jr.’s first Fox-body started off fairly mild and quickly morphed into wild. Junior’s car began with a V-8 swap and soon ended up receiving a healthy 418ci stroker swap that made 750 hp with a 250-shot of nitrous from a Fogger system.
After selling his wife’s LX, Gary Sr. yearned for another Fox and eventually picked up a sweet 1992 notchback that he quickly tore apart and built from the ground up.
This father-son race duo is living the dream, wrenching and racing a trifecta of Summit White ponies that are clean enough to eat off.
A 1993 SVT Cobra Backed by Insane Nascar Power
There’s nothing like a wicked engine in a Fox-body Mustang to make a red-blooded gearhead’s heart skip a beat. You might be familiar with Matt Snow of Snow Performance fame because you’ve either used one of his Water/Methanol injection kits or have been spanked by one in the past.
The car is nicknamed NASCobra for a very good reason: The engine bay was stuffed with a small-block 358ci Yates/Elliot NASCAR Winston Cup motor with Ernie Elliot–modified Yates C3 heads and a large solid roller cam with Jesel rockers. Built by Leonard Vahsholtz of Woodland Park, Colorado, this NASCAR truck series engine is an 8,000-rpm motor converted to fuel injection and fed by a F2 ProCharger with a max of 21 psi of boost. Power is routed through a Tremec TKO five-speed manual back to a Moser 9-inch rear stuffed with 3.73 gears. The combination is good for 1,000 hp and 864 lb-ft of torque to the rear tires on pump gas. This is one Cobra that feels right at home whether it hits the streets, a road race, a dyno shootout, or a dragstrip. It dominates all!
Highly Modified 2012 Grabber Blue Ford Mustang
Mustangs are notorious for being rolling examples of automotive modifications, largely thanks to a huge following as well as the extensive aftermarket support of our favorite car. While we’re not saying the factory doesn’t get it right the first time, there is always room for improvement. For Ashton Stander, it’s just another day at the office. You see, his grandfather founded Hillbank Motor Corporation back in 1955, and when the company expanded to motorsports division, he began to take on project cars and modify them until he grew bored of them and sold them off. Fortunately he ended up picking up this Grabber Blue 2012 Mustang you see here and took it further than any other project before.
The build plan called for a car that was comfortable on the street but could still destroy the competition on the track. Under the hood of this beast you’ll find a factory 5.0L Coyote topped with a Vortech V-3 supercharger that pumps out a tire-shredding 650 hp and 498 lb-ft of torque. Stander and Hillbank Motorsports set the chassis up to handle race track duties via a full White Line suspension. TSW wheels reside at all four corners wrapped in massive Toyo rubber to help the GT stick on the track. Make no mistake, this car is no one-trick pony. It has turned a 1:35 lap time at Willow Springs. One thing’s for sure, this daily driven track/show car is anything but boring.
Honorable Mention: 1986 Ford Mustang GT Was a Decade in the Making
We can all remember our first car, but if your first was a Mustang, chances are you’ve long since kissed it goodbye. It’s hard for a performance-based V-8 car to survive the trials and tribulations of a young speed junky. Luckily, Ricky Daniels’ Mustang did not suffer the all-too-common fate of most teenagers’ Stangs. His father handed him the keys of this silver four-eyed Fox GT when he was 17, and he was immediately hooked. The Mustang soon underwent a series of modifications that took it from street car to track terror courtesy of a blower. After a small taste of the other forced induction in a friend’s turbo Mustang, Daniels stepped it up and slapped an HP Performance turbo kit on his Four-eyed GT and backed the engine up with a built C4.
After accidentally dipping into the high 10s without a cage, Daniels was kicked out of the track. An 8.50-certified cage was built soon after, and the silver Stang was back on the track. The Mustang is now motivated by a 363ci stroker motor with an Eagle crank and CP pistons. A set of Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads complemented with Comp Cams Pro Magnum rockers works in unison with a massive lift Comp Cams solid-roller. A 94mm Custom Racing Turbo pushes the peak power to 1,400 rwhp at 28 psi of boost. A BTE Powerglide with a custom PTC converter backs up all that power while being consistent at the strip. Daniels has run a best of 8.62 at 165 mph in the quarter-mile on just 18 pounds of boost and 28x10.5 slicks. Making 165-mph passes in your first car is unlikelier than finding unicorn tears, but Daniels has bigger plans in the future of his faithful horse.