Tom Wilson
April 26, 2010

Horse Sense: The '10 Mustang really does put out sweet power straight from Ford. As a comparison, our vintage, lightly modified '91 5.0 hatchback that we drove to the GTR dyno tests makes less power at its peak than Noel's stock '10 GT does at 3,800 rpm. If we could only get several hundred pounds off of the new cars, we'd have crazy performance and fuel mileage, too.

Remember when a box full of bolt-ons was worth 45 hp? Not any more. Thanks to excellent-from-Ford cars such as the '10 Mustang GT, we live in the twilight of bolt-on glory, a transitional age when a few select parts struggle for modest gains or high-dollar superchargers blast out triple-digit thunder. In this feast-or-famine world, the current Mustang GT stands as perhaps the last of the bolt-on cars.

Good as it is from Ford-and it is great-a few modestly priced, easy-to-install parts still make it fun to fiddle with a new Mustang. We're taking a few of those bolt-on power makers to the chassis dyno to see what they're worth. Our partner in this test was GTR, the Southern California speed shop, bolt-on center, and mail-order player. Owners Ricardo and Gonzolo Topete are pure Mustang specialists-we counted some 15-odd Mustangs in the shop during our visit-and are right in the thick of the bolt-on (and better) Mustang scene.

Ricardo Topete holds court in the GTR service bays, using his above-ground Dynojet to tune and verify Mustangs on a daily basis. He was kind enough to round-up the Steeda mufflers, underdrive pulleys, and C&L cold air kit we're looking at here. He also did all the leg work with '10 Mustang GT owner Noel Donato, who gets special thanks for bringing his car in to GTR for us.

So how much is a box full of bolt-ons worth these days? When Ricardo first strapped Noel's '10 GT to the rollers, it peaked at 279 hp at 5,400 rpm and 299 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. After installation of all three pieces, the new grand total was 298 hp at 6,000 rpm and 309 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. That's 19 hp and 10 lb-ft of torque to the better. Not a 45hp gain, but a solid improvement over stock, and a boost in sonic personality from the mufflers and intake.

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