Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 12, 2006
Photos By: Patrick Hill

FORD RACING Performance Parts has come out swinging with a bevy of new parts for the S197 Mustang platform, and it has grouped several of them together in three distinct "Pacs."

The Performance Pac includes a cold-air intake, high-performance mufflers, and a 91-octane tune for the computer. There's also the Handling Pac, which includes retuned coil springs, a strut tower brace, sway bars, and a pair of front dampers tuned by Multimatic.

Our first test was with the Drag Pac, which features a cold-air intake, Jet Hot-coated 151/48-inch shorty headers, a Hurst shifter, a performance oil filter, a 4.10:1 ring-and-pinion, and a 91-octane downloadable tune for the computer. This Pac retails for about $1,399, and FRPP claims it'll reduce quarter-mile times by up to half a second, so we gathered up an '05 Mustang and took it to the track for some baseline runs. Our best of the night came in at 13.58 at 101.75 mph with a 2.01 60-foot time.

Our driver was Tony Gonyon of HP Performance (Orange Park, Florida). HPP specializes in modi-fying and tuning Mustangs of all sorts, along with anything else that cares to wander through the shop, and when the crew is not under the hood of a customer's car, you can usually find them at local Florida tracks running their own Mustangs. In fact, you've probably seen Gonyon's eight-second, big-block-powered, nitrous-fed notchback in past MM&FF Spring Break Shoot-out coverage.

We booked the HPP shop for the Drag Pac install, where Jason Combs and Sean Story handled it in just a couple of hours. In no time, we were flogging the GT on the dyno. While FRPP doesn't claim a horsepower increase with the Drag Pac, we expected one having seen gains from other cold-air intake systems alone.

The FRPP tune seemed to be running a rich air/fuel ratio, with our first pull dropping in the 11.5:1 range. The second pull was better, dropping only to 12.2:1, however our baseline was much higher, where normally aspirated motors like to be. We had datalogged all of the dyno pulls, so we sent the information to the Ford Racing guys who told us our results were not representative of what they've seen, and they are working on a solution to the issue.

We knew the 4.10 gear change would motivate this Mustang, and it did to the tune of 13.42 at 103.14 mph (1.96 60-foot). Our best baseline with stock gears came when we screamed through the lights in Third, as short-shifting Third and crossing in Fourth added almost four tenths. The Hurst quickened gear changes, and the shorter gear ratio had Gonyon shifting the GT into Fourth well before the traps, thereby keeping the engine in its sweet spot.

Overall, we'd say the pack represents a good value for what you get, especially providing you get the extra ponies that Ford-and we-expect from these mods. There's little doubt the 4.10s will improve your quarter-mile time, and as our test car's owner reported, it was far more fun to drive.

0608mmfp_01z Factory_firepower Drag_pac
With a suggested retail price of $1,399, the FRPP Drag Pac features a Hurst shifter, Jet-Hot-coated shorty-style headers, a high-flow cold-air intake system, a performance oil filter, a 4.10:1 ring-and-pinion set, and a 91-octane performance tune for the computer.
0608mmfp_02z Factory_firepower Coated_cam_covers
While we were under the hood, we installed a set of Ford Racing's coated cam covers (PN M6582-C543V; $399) to dress up the engine bay a bit. We get tired of looking at all of the black plastic and rubber after a while.
0608mmfp_03z Factory_firepower Drag_pac_install
The HPP crew made quick work of our Drag Pac install, knocking it out in a few hours.
0608mmfp_04z Factory_firepower Factory_air_induction_setup_removal
The first step is to remove the factory air induction setup.
0608mmfp_05z Factory_firepower Mass_air_meter
The mass air meter is transferred to the new 90mm unit, which is then fastened to the cold-air shield with the provided hardware.