Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
October 1, 2004
Photos By: Courtesy Of ATI-Procharger
We didn't lose our eyesight when we saw Athena Barber and her Mach 1 bathed in the fluorescent dyno-cell light, but we did gain new respect for supercharged Mach 1s. Athena has big plans for her black beauty, including wheels, tires, suspension bits, and more, so you might just see more of it in this mag one day.

Horse Sense: ATI recommends forged pistons and 9:1 compression ratios for maximum longevity, with high-octane pump gas and 8-10 pounds of boost. Given that the Mach 1 comes from the factory with hypereutectic pistons and 10:1 compression, we wouldn't advise putting a smaller pulley on the blower unless you build a new short-block first.

Most of us have problems explaining to our girlfriends and wives why it's so important that we modify our perfectly good Mustangs. Let's just say they don't understand our testosterone-fueled urge to make our Mustangs better, stronger, and faster. But despite some of our personal experiences, there are ladies out there who have the need for speed just as badly as we do. One such enthusiast is Athena Barber, who gets her name by way of Greek myth, although she actually resides in the Carolinas. Not only has Athena owned several Mustangs, but she also likes to race them and work on them.

Before you've even seen her, we're already describing your dream girl, right? Well, it gets better. If you've ever been to a Ford race and walked by the Bassani trailer or visited the Bassani Web site, you've probably seen Athena. That's right, she's one of the legendary Bassani babes who's usually there signing posters and making small talk. If you've had a chance to talk to her, you know she's nice too. Scary-all that in the same gal. It's a bit hard to believe.

Athena Barber (left)

Knowing what you do about Athena now, it's easy to believe that when her Fox Mustang was lost to an unfortunate accident, she wanted to replace it with another. That Mustang was a new Mach 1. It's a fast car out of the box, but Athena wanted to make it faster. A Bassani exhaust system was a slam-dunk, but, of course, Athena wanted more. She had thoughts of supercharging, and she used to live not far from ProCharger's Lenexa, Kansas, headquarters. We had long wanted to try the intercooled ProCharger on a Mach 1, so when we heard about Athena's potential project, we decided to follow along.

As it turned out, Athena even helped ATI's Jet Car Jeremy Jensen with the installation of the exhaust and blower kit, with impressive results.

After the obligatory positive-battery-cable disconnection, it's necessary to remove the coolant overflow tank from its mounts and slide it out of the way to create some working space. You needn't disconnect hoses; just slide the tank out of the way. After doing so, Athena removes the Shaker scoop from its mounts atop the intake.

Next is the removal of the entire factory air-inlet system, including the airbox, the mass air meter, the inlet duct, the PCV hose, and the Shaker-to-airbox duct. Don't put the mass air too far away, however, as you'll be transferring it to the ProCharger tubing. And you'll probably want to keep the assorted inlet pieces, should you ever want to sell your limited-production Mach 1 down the road.

With the coast clear of ductwork, the next step is to drain about a gallon of coolant into a pan and remove the radiator hoses and coolant transfer tubes. Pop off the serpentine belt and get the engine ready for the blower brackets. This entails removing four bolts-one lower alternator bolt, two timing chain cover bolts, and one idler bolt. These are clearly called out in the instruction manual, and all are easy to access. In these four spots, install the blower mounting studs and bolts. ATI recommends using thread locker on these fasteners so they won't back out.

Slide the blower mounting bracket over the studs and bolt it on. It sandwiches the accessory drive between itself and the timing chain cover, so you'll want to install the longer, kit-supplied serpentine belt before installing the additional idler on the blower mounting bracket. The additional idler is placed between the alternator pulley and the supercharger pulley to ensure good belt wrap on the supercharger pulley.

With the belt loosely routed and the new idler installed, it's time to drop on the P-1SC head unit. This blower is self-contained, so there's no reason to puncture your oil pan. But it is shipped dry, so make sure to add the included ATI lubricant to the blower after it is installed. Once the car is up and running, change the blower oil with every other oil change-in other words, every 6,000 miles.

Here's the blower installed and the belt in place. The next step is to route the blower discharge tubing between the accessory drive and the radiator to the intercooler, which mounts in front of the radiator. From there, route the tubing into the passenger-side inner fenderwell. This is where the factory mass-air meter is added to the discharge tubing with a supplied adapter. The last run of tubing takes the intercooled boost from the air meter to the throttle body via the hole in the inner fender once used by the factory airbox. It sounds scary, but there's a nice diagram in the instruction manual laying it all out for you. With all the discharge ducting in place, install the short inlet duct with air filter, then plumb the bypass valve and tap it into a manifold vacuum source. The last steps are installing the new coolant transfer tubing and trimming the radiator hoses to clear the discharge tubing. Tighten it all up, fill up the coolant, pop in the supplied computer chip, and fire her up.

Here's the finished P-1SC installation on Athena's Mach 1. Look just under the scoop and you can see the new coolant transfer tubing and radiator hose routing. Athena had yet to install the Shaker Interface Duct, which routes air from the Shaker scoop to the general vicinity of the blower kit's air inlet. Thus, the Shaker on Athena's ride is kept around for little more than good looks. But once she opens the hood, the polished ProCharger certainly enhances the looks, and we know it helps more than a little getting air into the engine. The ProCharger Mach 1 kit will set you back about $4,596 and promises a 55- to 60-percent power gain, all while packing a three-year warranty.

Of course, with a magazine audience on hand and Athena wanting to have the swiftest but safest possible Mach, the ATI crew decided to step up the injectors to 42-lb/hr units to give the car plenty of cushion for the 9 psi produced by the standard 8-pound kit. To install the injectors, the factory upper intake was removed to make room to move the fuel rails out of the way and drop in the new squirters. The only change made to the chip calibration-included with the standard kit-was to reprogram the fuel curve for the larger injectors.

Of course, the first item on Athena's installation list was a Bassani exhaust system. Here she's admiring the completed system, which included Mid-Length headers, a cata-lytic X-pipe, and an Aft-Cat. These systems sound as good as they look, and they work too.

First, Athena and Jet Car Jeremy Jennings removed the factory headers, the four-cat H-pipe, and the after-cat exhaust.

Next, they installed the Mid-Length headers, which are leaps and bounds easier to install than traditional long-tubes.

Then they bolted up the metallic-cat X-pipe and the Quiet Thunder after-cat system, giving the Mach 1 a great new sound and a con-siderable boost in power and torque.

Before the testing regimen began, the folks at ATI bolstered the stock rearend with Strange 31-spline axles, an Eaton Posi differen-tial, and 4.10 gears from US Gear. This was in anticipation of Athena testing the car at the strip. The car already had an aftermarket clutch and a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, so with the rearend mods it was ready to take a beating. At MC Racing in Overland Park, Kansas, the Mach 1 baselined at nearly 260 hp on the Dynojet, which is quite a bit less than Ford's 310hp flywheel rating. Adding the Bassani Xhaust made things more interesting, as it picked up power across the rpm range and boosted the peak numbers by 24.15 hp and 23.79 lb-ft. In this form, Athena hit the dragstrip in the car. On slicks it ran a best e.t. of 12.72 at 106 mph in cool weather. After the blower install, the dyno numbers picked up considerably across the rpm range, but the peak gains were impressive-keeping in mind that a static chassis dyno doesn't really do an air-to-air intercooler justice-at 170.97 hp and 113.45 lb-ft. The graph with its additional data resolution shows even higher peaks. In this form, but with warmer temperatures at the track, the newly boosted Mach 1 ran a best e.t. of 11.66 at 120.95 mph, again with Athena behind the wheel. The folks at ATI believe a few more passes could have resulted in a mid-11-second e.t., but any way you slice it, a 170hp/1-second gain is impressive enough to put stock '03-'04 Cobras on notice.