Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
August 25, 2003
Photos By: Chuck James

After the 4.6 modular engine debuted in the Mustang in 1996, the demand for performance parts was already ramped up. Those weaned on the ample availability of 5.0 bolt-ons were ready to turn wrenches on modulars. Unfortunately, in the early days, the Mustang's '96-'98 Two-Valve 4.6s were so weak, most enthusiasts who tinkered with the 4.6 owned Cobras with the Four-Valves. Eventually the GTs picked up power and aftermarket steam in 1999, but the engine family had been around since 1991, and the aftermarket was still worried about demand for major hard parts.

So, here it is 2003, and we have nothing beyond blowers and bolt-ons for 4.6 modulars. Sure, Ford Racing Performance Parts now has GT and Cobra intakes and heads, but outside the Blue Oval, the aftermarket is dealing with the chicken-and-the-egg syndrome when it comes to parts availability and parts demand. Fortunately, there's always a pioneer to lead the way for the rest of us. In this case, said ground-breaker is Jim Reichard of Reichard Racing. Long known for whittling out billet bits--including some serious 5.0 intake manifolds--Jim decided to break the ice and produce his own intake manifold for the burgeoning modular market dominated by Two-Valve GTs.

Horse Sense: As a reference for how much airflow potential is opened up by moving from the stock GT intake and throttle body to the Reichard Racing intake with an oval Cobra throttle body, Accufab rates the stock GT throttle body at 588 cfm, while it rates its own Cobra throttle body at 1,284 cfm. That's more than double the airflow potential.

After sitting down at the drawing board for quite a long time, Jim decided to build a manifold that would directly replace Ford's plastic lower manifold. And, he'd offer a removable upper of his own. The removable upper allows for more aggressive applications to run an oval-bore Cobra throttle body, while milder setups can employ a traditional round throttle body. We were fortunate enough to receive one of the first production examples of the oval-bore version, which is ultimately destined to rumble atop our Livernois 5.0 stroker's ported heads and Stage 1 cams.

Of course, we couldn't resist bolting on our 3g GT right away, if for no other reason than to give you an early look at how this beauty goes on. So, check out the photos and captions, and remember it fondly--like the first time we saw an aftermarket intake for the 5.0. One day, we won't be able to count all the manifolds available for the modular, but there's always something special about the first.

138_0308_01z Ford_mustang Intake_manifold
Retailing for around $1,400 on the mail-order market, the ReichardRacing Two-Valve intake manifold is available at a price not too far offfrom the cost of doing a complete Bullitt intake conversion. And thisintake has that boy-racer look you just can't get in a factory part.
138_0308_02z Ford_mustang Intake_manifold
Designed to bolt in place of the stock plastic intake manifold, theReichard intake accepts all the factory gear, including the EGR, theIAC, the fuel rails, the thermostat, and the throttle cable. Thepowdercoating was a little too thick on our first-off-the-line version,but Jim is already working on refining the fit and finish details tomake this a drop-on piece.
138_0308_03z Ford_mustang Intake_manifold
If you're at all familiar with Reichard's billet upper intakes for TrickFlow and Holley lower intakes, you know they're designed with seriousrpm and airflow in mind, and it looks as though the 4.6 manifold followsthat tradition. It supplants the lengthy torque-producing runners of thefactory basket of snakes with short, direct runners from a modestplenum. This spells big power at the top of the tach.
138_0308_04z Ford_mustang Intake_manifold
The attention to detail on this intake is nice. It was built to workwith the standard alternator, and it readily accepts the standard fuelrails and thermostat housing. We did have to enlarge a coupleintake-to-cylinder-head bolt holes to line them up, but it was no bigdeal. Jim should have this sorted out as produc-tion spools up. Ifyou're moving from a Bullitt intake to the Reichard, you will have todig up your old alternator and other plastic intake gear to make itwork.