Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 19, 2010

If you're the owner of a GT500, you already have an addiction to power-otherwise you wouldn't have bought one in the first place. So it should be no surprise that many GT500 owners are relentless with modifications to their beloved Shelby (that they originally intended to keep stock). Each modification adds just enough power and torque to suffice-for a while. Then, it's back to the local shop or the Web for the next upgrade.

Some of the first mods are usually the typical bolt-on components-cold-air intake, throttle body, pulley, headers, and tune. Though that's more than enough to satisfy most. Enter Justin Starkey and his '07 GT500. Starkey owns and operates VMP Tuning, and bought his Shelby in May 2007.

Starkey's GT500 now features the said bolt-on mods and an FRPP 2.3L TVS supercharger pumping out 18 psi of boost. The only typical bolt-on it didn't have was an after-cat system, which we'll discuss later. On VP C-16 race gas, it made 732 rwhp and 708 lb-ft of torque. Though not bad for a bone-stock short-block, Starkey knew there was more power available. "I've maxed out the blower and can't just put a smaller pulley on it," Starkey said. "I have to find creative ways to make more power."

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Teaming up with Starkey, we turned to Comp Cams. It has just released a set of camshafts for the 5.4L Four-Valve, ground specifically for supercharged applications, like the GT500. An extension of its XE-R series, the new camshafts are available in three configurations-depending on application-and sell for $1,266.50 a set. All three feature 0.475-/0.450-inch lift, and require a valve-spring upgrade.

Designed for street performance with excellent torque output, XE258BH-116 (PN 106260) features 222/224 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch lift. This set has a designed operating range of 1,200 to 5,800 rpm and doesn't require other modifications. If you want a mild power increase coupled with a mild lope, then this is the set for you.

On the other end of the spectrum, the XE274BH-116 set (PN 106460) utilizes 238/240 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch lift. This set is designed for maximum street and strip performance, requires a lower final drive ratio, and features a rough and raspy idle. The most aggressive of the series, this set has an operating range of 2,000 to 6,000 rpm.

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For our test, we opted for the middle-of-the-road XE266BH-116 (PN 106360). Featuring 230/232 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch lift, this set is probably the best intermediate upgrade. Though not super-aggressive, it has a nice large operating range from 1,500 to 6,000 rpm and produces a moderately aggressive idle, yet maintains plenty of streetability for daily use.

Since the GT500's after-cat system was still stock, we decided to upgrade it as well. MagnaFlow sent us a 3-inch stainless steel system (PN 16674), which retails for $921.27. Follow along with Starkey as he installs and tunes the cams and exhaust.

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