Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
October 3, 2012

In this era of 420hp GTs, it's difficult to believe there was a time when a 390hp Cobra was the king of the Mustang hill. However, in many ways, the '03 Mustang Cobra was the spiritual beginning to the current era of high-powered 'Stangs. Our memories of first dumping the Terminator's heavy clutch pedal and unleashing the Eaton-supercharged Four-Valve 4.6 are still vivid. It was the car that delivered so many things that enthusiasts demanded for years: a six-speed manual, a supercharger, and even a nod to the wine-and-cheese crowd with an independent rear suspension. In short, it was one for the ages. Little did we know then that 390 hp and 390 lb-ft would seem weak by comparison. My how times have changed. However, one benefit of ever-increasing technology is applying it to older Mustangs.

Terminators have long loved supercharger upgrades, but heretofore there hasn't been a Termi TVS supercharger option. Eaton's Twin Vortices Series superchargers have proven their efficacy on GT500s and Coyotes. At the forefront of the TVS revolution is VMP Tuning, and its 800-plus-rwhp '07 GT500 and its 9-second '11 GT. Both cars were boosted by the trusty TVS. "After overwhelming success with the VMP TVS on the 5.4-liter GT500, it only seemed natural to go back and apply the technology to '03-'04 Terminators," explained VMP's main man, Justin Starkey. "While the cars are much older, stock unmolested cars pop up all the time with mod-eager owners." With such great results on those cars, Justin decided to offer a TVS for the Terminator. He engineered a bolt-on upgrade package.

"The VMP TVS is the first 'OEM-style' aftermarket blower ever produced for the '03-'04 Cobra. We started with an a new design based on OEM CAD data, then tooled a one-piece housing to bolt up to the factory lower intake," Justin added. "There is no adapter or intermediate plate, essentially making it just like an OEM blower in terms of fit and finish. This makes the blower easier to install and service, more durable/rigid, and less prone to vacuum leaks." That sounded pretty good to us, so we visited the VMP shop to see how this blower bolts on and what it puts down.

Horse Sense: Best known for its GT500 and now Terminator TVS upgrades, VMP Tuning also offers pulley and tuning upgrade packages for all Roushcharged Three-Valve 4.6 and Coyote 5.0 applications.

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On the Dyno

You have to love factory-super charged Mustangs. They are built for bolt-on improvements. Terminators really pioneered this movement, and you can see that they still uphold their reputation with a supercharger upgrade. "The TVS supercharged Terminators continue with excellent torque production seen on GT500s and 5.0s, and the large inlet on the Cobra TVS gives it excellent power potential," Justin explained. "The 2.3 is a capable blower, we have already seen it produce over 800 rwhp. The Cobra TVS' strength is in the inlet design, which allows for future upgrades." That potential is obvious on Jeff's car. You can see how the stock supercharger peaks in the midrange and tapers off at the top of the tach. The VMP TVS, on the other hand, keeps thundering out the back door, and delivers gains of 173.22 hp and 147.52 lb-ft of torque. Of course those gains were aided by the support hardware, but even so, such a stout gain over the entire powerband is stellar.

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BASELINE
RPM Power Torque Boost A/F
1,900153.20423.4710.6410.89
2,000165.02433.3510.8811.02
2,100175.45438.8011.2510.96
2,200187.78448.2911.7810.95
2,300198.06452.2612.0710.98
2,400210.37460.3712.4810.96
2,500222.05466.4912.7410.95
2,600232.52469.7012.8110.96
2,700243.50473.6713.2510.91
2,800251.11471.0113.6110.84
2,900262.33475.1013.7710.85
3,000272.27476.6613.8711.04
3,100285.36483.4714.0811.05
3,200295.00484.1814.1811.02
3,300306.01487.0214.2911.12
3,400316.31488.6114.4711.25
3,500327.99492.1814.7511.23
3,600332.42484.9815.0411.26
3,700348.31494.4215.0311.25
3,800352.93487.7914.8311.12
3,900360.16485.0314.7610.91
4,000366.69481.4714.9110.62
4,100370.10474.1015.0410.56
4,200382.73478.6115.1110.61
4,300391.91478.6915.1710.61
4,400397.59474.5915.1110.48
4,500409.01477.3715.1210.52
4,600414.91473.7314.8910.59
4,700422.19471.7914.8810.60
4,800427.12467.3514.8510.63
4,900439.37470.9414.4310.63
5,000441.65463.9214.1610.66
5,100449.85463.2714.2110.71
5,200450.92455.4414.0710.77
5,300454.02449.9213.8610.76
5,400453.87441.4413.5510.72
5,500462.65441.7913.0710.68
5,600462.03433.3313.2210.61
5,700459.97423.8312.9110.34
5,800466.54422.4712.9710.31
5,900460.03409.5213.0510.33
6,000457.61400.5712.7910.30
6,100459.31395.4612.7610.30
6,200456.54386.7412.6310.37
6,300454.88379.2212.0910.43
6,400456.97375.0111.6910.54

VMP TVS
RPM Power Torque Boost A/F
1,900175.45484.9413.96 11.93
2,000189.05496.4114.5711.95
2,100203.36508.5414.7811.93
2,200218.43521.4015.1711.95
2,300230.67526.6915.6612.05
2,400247.22540.9416.0912.14
2,500261.08548.4116.4312.10
2,600272.97551.3416.7712.05
2,700285.57555.4217.2512.00
2,800299.61561.9217.6711.96
2,900314.01568.6117.9211.95
3,000328.31574.7018.1511.94
3,100341.56578.6018.3012.04
3,200354.39581.5618.3012.19
3,300371.63591.3718.3212.20
3,400382.37590.5718.5512.11
3,500392.22588.4818.7612.09
3,600409.79597.7618.8312.12
3,700421.01597.5318.8812.12
3,800431.96596.9219.0912.05
3,900441.22594.0919.2811.98
4,000450.31591.1619.4212.01
4,100464.05594.3419.5412.04
4,200468.21585.3819.3912.06
4,300480.39586.6419.1612.08
4,400491.70586.8019.2212.17
4,500500.78584.3519.4212.27
4,600515.71588.6919.4512.48
4,700528.42590.3619.3712.64
4,800532.10582.0819.4712.59
4,900546.81585.9619.5712.48
5,000556.36584.2719.3212.36
5,100567.03583.7918.9512.28
5,200573.72579.3219.1212.31
5,300581.10575.7019.3312.29
5,400589.59573.2819.2612.12
5,500599.31572.1419.2112.00
5,600604.11566.4119.2312.06
5,700614.61566.1419.2012.06
5,800614.71556.4619.0512.01
5,900621.30552.8918.9512.09
6,000626.35548.0918.8512.16
6,100621.77535.1618.6112.07
6,200627.68531.5219.1012.14
6,300628.10523.4319.8712.16
6,400615.33504.7619.7012.16

DIFFERENCE
RPM Power Torque Boost A/F
1,90022.2561.473.321.04
2,00024.0363.063.690.93
2,10027.9169.743.530.97
2,20030.6573.113.391.00
2,30032.6174.433.591.07
2,40036.8580.573.611.18
2,50039.0381.923.691.15
2,60040.4581.643.961.09
2,70042.0781.754.001.09
2,80048.5090.914.061.12
2,90051.6893.514.151.10
3,00056.0498.044.280.90
3,10056.2095.134.220.99
3,20059.3997.384.121.17
3,30065.62104.354.031.08
3,40066.06101.964.080.86
3,50064.2396.304.010.86
3,60077.37112.783.790.86
3,70072.70103.113.850.87
3,80079.03109.134.260.93
3,90081.06109.064.521.07
4,00083.62109.694.511.39
4,10093.95120.244.501.48
4,20085.48106.774.281.45
4,30088.48107.953.991.47
4,40094.11112.214.111.69
4,50091.77106.984.301.75
4,600100.80114.964.561.89
4,700106.23118.574.492.04
4,800104.98114.734.621.96
4,900107.44115.025.141.85
5,000114.71120.355.161.70
5,100117.18120.524.741.57
5,200122.80123.885.051.54
5,300127.08125.785.471.53
5,400135.72131.845.711.40
5,500136.66130.356.141.32
5,600142.08133.086.011.45
5,700154.64142.316.291.72
5,800148.17133.996.081.70
5,900161.27143.375.901.76
6,000168.74147.526.061.86
6,100162.46139.705.851.77
6,200171.14144.786.471.77
6,300173.22144.217.781.73
6,400158.36129.758.011.62

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To keep that new boost cooler, Justin upgraded Jeff's car to one of Afco's Pro Series dual-pass heat exchangers with dual fans (PN 80275PRO; $640). We've had great luck with the GT500 version of this heat exchanger on PVT. Lowering and stabilizing intercooler temps is always a good idea.