Michael Galimi
November 10, 2010
Photos By: Anthony Caggiano

Once the baselines were consistent, it was time to raid AM's 115,000-square-foot warehouse for the latest parts and goodies. It's common practice for AmericanMuscle to randomly pick parts off the warehouse shelves and bolt 'em on an in-house test mule or an employee's Mustang. This is done across Mustang generations to ensure consistent quality and fitment of the product lines. Thankfully, many of the suspension modifications transferred over to the '11 platform with little to no issues. As for the power department, the traditional modifications, like the new ECU tune, larger exhaust, and cold-air intake, are all-new designs for the '11 Stang.

AmericanMuscle, through Bama Custom Tuning, works closely with SCT and was one of the first to get the tuning software for the new Copperhead computer system utilized by the '11 Stang. Three tunes were developed and are currently available for 5.0L Stangs. Like all SCT tuners purchased from AmericanMuscle, the tunes were labeled Street, Performance, and Race. Each is designed for pump gas and builds on each in terms of performance.

The Street tune is emission-compliant and offers better throttle response (but not sensitive like the Race tune), reworked air/fuel ratio for more power, and increased timing. According to Rose, the emphasis is on light-to-light performance and fuel economy. Moving to the Performance setting, the tune is similar to Street, but features a more sensitive pedal feel, much firmer and faster shifting for automatic cars, and a little more power, but it's still emission friendly and fuel economy-minded.

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The Race tune is what the AmericanMuscle guys ran in the 5.0L on these pages. It's off-road only but still street-friendly as the shifts are much firmer and higher for automatic cars. It offers more aggressive air/fuel ratio and timing, and the drive-by-wire pedal feel is aggressive. It's usually the setting most people run full-time and engine longevity is not effected. We also like that Bama Custom Tuning offers free tunes for life after the initial purchase-no matter what the modifications or where those new parts were bought.

The fun didn't stop with the SCT X3 ECU mods; the team received one of the first MagnaFlow exhaust systems. It features a 3-inch X-style midpipe, sans catalytic converters, regulating it to off-road use only, and MagnaFlow's 3-inch Competition after-cat exhaust system. Underhood a C&L cold-air intake system replaced the stock airbox. The cold-air is similar to previous generations, but there are two different part numbers for 5.0L Ti-VCT engines, one for manual transmissions and one for automatic boxes. In this trim, the Grabber Blue Stang spun the dyno to 401 rwhp and 380 lb-ft torque. It was a healthy gain for the minimum set of modifications.

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The path to fast times didn't stop there as the new-found power demanded attention in the traction department. First on the list were stickier rear meats; Nitto 555 tires were tapped for the task. The Nitto rubber was mounted on AmericanMuscle 18-inch Bullitt-style wheels. Helping plant the rubber are J&M Xtreme upper and lower control arms and adjustable Panhard bar, Eibach Pro-Kit springs, Tokico D-Spec adjustable shocks and struts, Ford Racing 4.10:1 gears, and a prototype Axle Exchange one-piece aluminum driveshaft.

All the suspension/driveline parts, save for the Axle Exchange driveshaft, were designed for '05-'10 use, and modifications were needed to make them fit. Rose tells us that the manufacturers claim the parts will be 2011 specific by the time this issue hits the newsstands. The '11 cars utilize a thicker upper control arm bracket and bolt, and AmericanMuscle fabricated a steel bushing to mount the J&M arm. The Tokico D-Spec struts fit nicely, save for the adjuster nut hitting the hood. A 1/8-inch spacer was fitted into the tower cup to prevent interference.