Richard Holdener
February 17, 2011

By now, most loyal MM&FF readers have probably forgotten about our ill-fated 200-mph Mustang, and rightfully so-the project started way back in the early '90s.

Having successfully run the Silver State Classic open-road race in Nevada on a number of occasions (including an overall win), it was time to step up the performance of our '88 5.0L LX Mustang-substantially. Using a Vortech supercharger and assorted bolt-ons, including a GT-40 intake, TFS High-Port heads, and a Crane 224/232 cam, the 302 eventually pushed the little pony past 190 mph. Those were pretty impressive numbers back in the day, especially given the fact that this was a real street car. In fact, it served as the sole means of transportation for a great many years). This was no trailered show queen, or even a pseudo street car (race car with a license plate)-it was an honest-to-goodness 190-mph street Mustang.

If that wasn't enough, the car was driven to and from every event with one exception. One Silver State race saw the replacement of the B-trim Vortech with an R-trim, along with a significant increase in boost. Higher boost combined with little in the way of tuning (this was prior to the availability of now-common Dynojet chassis dynos) resulted in a molten piston chunk finding its way out past the cylinder head-yes, it was ugly.

Fast-forward to 2010, and we have decided to resurrect the old gal and prep her for life in Y2K (plus 10). Coming full circle since the famous 5.0-liter Fox, Ford has introduced a new body style, a new modular engine family, and a retro Stang with (of all things) a resurrected 5.0-liter.

With over 400 hp, the new 5.0-liter motor is a far cry from the original 302 (originally rated at 225 hp). In addition to the changes in the Mustang family, the aftermarket performance levels have continued to rise. Not long ago, a 500hp street Mustang was a pretty serious piece. Now it seems 1,000 hp is the new 500 hp.

While 1,000 hp is certainly more common (check out the dyno results of this motor for instance), the reality is that an honest 1,000 hp is all but useless on the street. Harnessing that much power is difficult, if not impossible, on street rubber. And where on public roads are you able to successfully unleash all that fury? This is especially true of a Mustang set up for top speed, as you quickly race past toss-me-in-jail speeds and venture into yank-me-from-my-car-and-pistol-whip-me speeds.

Another side of the argument against 1,000hp street or even top-speed cars-at least those looking to exceed 200 mph-is the fact that it doesn't take anywhere near that kind of power to push a Mustang into the double century. Though the Fox Mustang is not known for its aerodynamic prowess, exceeding 200 mph requires closer to 500 rwhp (around 600 flywheel horsepower). Given the myriad of combinations currently available for the 5.0-liter, eclipsing 500 rwhp is a simple matter of combining the right heads, cam, and intake with a forged short-block and almost any type of forced induction. Heck, the blower or turbo doesn't even have to work hard. We've run turbos on bone-stock 5.0-liters that exceeded 500 rwhp at around 15 psi, but this number dropped to just 8 psi with aftermarket heads, cam, and intake. Toss in additional displacement, more aggressive cam timing, and even better heads and intake, and it very well might be possible to push a Mustang past 200 mph with around 5-6 psi. For that matter, you could run the all-motor route and stick in a 408, 427, or even 460-inch stroker and get there as well. When it comes to motivation for a 200-mph Mustang, there is no shortage of engine combinations.

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