KJ Jones
Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
July 1, 2009
Mason "Mace" Rowland of B&D Racing in Canoga Park, California, installs a new TCI StreetFighter shifter in Brandon Pierce's automatic-equipped '06 GT. With a Paxton Novi 2200 supercharger under the hood, Brandon's Mustang puts down more than 450 horses that are exercised quite frequently around Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Yes, Brandon definitely is an enthusiast who enjoys putting his Pony through its paces, so upgrading to a more performance-minded shifter should benefit Brandon greatly whenever he takes his steed to the dragstrip, or finds himself sitting at a light with "the enemy" in the next lane.

We've installed, tested, and reviewed hundreds of bolt-on parts for S197 Mustangs in the five years since the cars were introduced. While products we've analyzed have run the gamut-from engine, exhaust, power adders, suspension, appearance, and more-one of the only pieces we haven't said a word about are aftermarket shifters for S197 Mustangs equipped with automatic transmissions.

That's right, for the last five years we haven't written one word about high-performance gear selectors for '05-'09 Ponies that have 5R55S transmissions on board, mainly because no such device has existed for the latest 'Stangs until now. We saw the first signs of change way back in 2006, when TCI introduced its StreetFighter Ford 5R55S Ratchet Shifter to the world for the first time, at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida.

The StreetFighter shifter actually received major kudos as one of the show's best new products, and immediately earned a spot on our must-try list of parts that we wanted to test at some point. At the time, the shifter was developed as a complement to the company's already-proven torque converters (also called StreetFighter and Super StreetFighter) for auto-shifted S197s-direct-replacement converters that have higher-flash stall speeds, which dramatically improve an automatic 'Stang's quarter-mile times and street performance, without performing any other mods.

One of the biggest concerns about using stock shifters to manually bang gears in AOD-, AODE-, and 5R55S-equipped 'Stangs has been the lack of positive stops on the factory shifter units. While the OEM gear selectors are outfitted with release buttons that must be pressed in order to move the shifter from gear to gear, the factory units are extremely sloppy. Also they don't have a mechanism that eliminates a condition we like to call "slide effect" (where the shifter travels from First gear straight through Second and into Drive-or even Neutral) when the transmission is being shifted manually in an aggressive manner.

Recognizing this problem as one that could potentially affect S197s that are equipped with its torque converters,and for the sake of filling a longtime void in the '05-'09 Mustang market, TCI's engineers went to work developing a bolt-in, replacement shifter that does away with slide effect. The StreetFighter Ford 5R55S Ratchet Shifter is the fine result of their effort, which you'll realize when you proceed through the following photos and captions.