Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
August 1, 2013

Drift Shift

As you might have heard, drifting superstar Vaughn Gittin Jr. has a new sponsor on his roster in the form of Nitto Tire. Adding new sponsors means changing up the livery on his ride. Since he was moving forward with his own team this year, he moved to a new ’14 Mustang built by Autosport Dynamics and freshened its entire look. The result is pretty sinister.

“I’m really pumped on this years’ livery and overall aesthetics surrounding our efforts,” Vaughn said. “For the first time in my career, I have been able to start from a clean slate and get a bit crazy with the look of my car that I will be using for battle. Being that the Mustang is my weapon of choice out there on the track, the base of the livery was inspired from old battle ships that were covered with ‘dazzle camo.’ From there, we added my XX5 (#25) logo and flag elements, along with some of my favorite colors, and a little rock n’ roll to get a livery that I feel really portrays me. I look forward to giving it some real battle scars!”

With plans to compete in Formula Drift on U.S. soil and internationally in the World Drift series, Vaughn hopes his new ride will carry him to more championships. “It is really crazy for me to look at my schedule for this year and realize all of the awesome stuff that is about to go down all over the world behind the wheel of some badass Ford Mustangs,” he added. “While I am pumped on all of the events we have chosen to participate in this year, I am especially excited about the opportunity to visit some military bases and put smiles on the faces of the men and women who make it possible for me to live my dream!”

Party Starter

Ford kicked off the year-long buildup to the 50th anniversary of our beloved Mustang at the New York International Auto Show this past April. There was no news on a special-edition Mustang or the forthcoming ’15 Mustang, but it was an occasion to unveil a special logo marking the celebration. This logo will adorn a whole host of officially licensed anniversary merchandise.

“During its first 49 years of production, Mustang has come to evoke a variety of emotions in our customers—freedom, independence, and being true to one’s self—just to name a few,” said John Nens, Ford’s team lead for Global Brand Licensing. “We’re marking this Mustang milestone with a distinctive collection of licensed products from select manufacturers that will carry the unique Mustang 50 Years logo.”

Naturally, you can expect the list of anniversary products to swell leading up to April 17, 2014. “We’re working closely with our licensees to ensure every item reflects the unique qualities of Mustang,” John added. “Like the car itself, we want our licensed products to convey an attitude of strength, passion, and the highest quality.”

Check out the gear on the web at

Quick Spin: ’13 Roush Phase 3

When we attend the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada, we are exposed to a stampede of well-appointed Mustangs. We drool. We take photos, but rarely do we ever see these cars again, let alone drive them. Imagine our excitement when we were offered the surprise opportunity to wheel the same ’13 Roush Phase 3 Mustang that we saw last November.

Making it all the more cool is the Phase 3 is a really special ride. It’s not really a production Roush Mustang. Those cars are the familiar Staged cars, which culminates in the top-dog Roush Stage 3, or RS3. In the case of the RP3, it is a rolling demonstrator for Roush’s ( most aggressive aftermarket performance gear. We touched on the Phase 3 upgrades elsewhere in this issue, while testing the CARB-approved Phase 1 supercharger kit. The more aggressive, 49-state Phase 3 is the centerpiece and namesake of this Mustang, and it is designed to bolster a stock Coyote up to 675-700 flywheel horsepower.

Of course, to turn up the steam that high on a stock Coyote is a risky proposition, so Roush partnered up with Ford Racing Performance Parts to install an Aluminator crate engine under the Phase 3 supercharger. The union of Phase 3 and Aluminator begot the most powerful Mustang Roush has ever built, and acted as a harbinger for the availability of the Aluminator in production ’14 Roush Stage 3 Mustangs. When paired with a Tremec Magnum XL six-speed manual and a robust set of 4.56 gears, this combo powers through the first four gears in short order making the Cooper tires hang on like a kitty on a motivational poster.

To find out what the car was capable of, we sent hotshoe Associate Editor Michael Johnson off to SCT Performance for dyno testing and on to Orlando Speed World for a few quarter-mile passes. On the dyno, the car put down 585 at the wheels—that is right about 688 ponies at the flywheel, which is in line with the Phase 3 kit’s advertised output. On the dragstrip it was a challenge putting down all that power, but Michael rowed the gears to a 11.83 at 126.18 mph.

“What I learned real quick is that people either love or hate the paint scheme,” Michael said. “Personally, I have zero issues with the paint. I actually like it in the fact that it’s different, but the paint only tells part of the car’s story. Since I fell in love with the ’10 Roush 540RH, I compare every Roush to that car. The 540RH was an understated powerhouse, whereas the Phase 3 is an in-your-face thrill machine. Roush pairs a Ford Racing 5.0 Aluminator with its TVS 2.3-liter supercharger, and then adds the Magnum XL six-speed and 4.56 gears (don’t fear the gear). Frankly, with that drivetrain, Roush can paint the car any color they want (maybe)—I’ll take 3!”

When hitting the turns, the Phase 3 is remarkably balanced with six-piston brakes —taut, but grippy suspenders. It hits a sweet spot between the light-on-its-feet Boss and the brutish Shelby GT500. That might seem like a narrow window, but this car does it with aplomb. Sure it has a bit of driveline noise and the cold-start driveability hadn’t been completely dialed in like a production car, but when you put foot to wood and hold on, the Phase 3 puts a Cheshire Cat grin on your face. If you can’t decide between a Boss and a Shelby, then you might consider an RS3 with a Phase 3 upgrade.

2013 Roush Phase 3
RPM Power Torque
2,500 189.99 399.12
3,000 248.89 435.73
3,500 315.92 474.05
4,000 369.73 485.46
4,500 419.08 489.13
5,000 456.76 479.79
5,500 497.10 474.69
6,000 526.22 460.61
6,500 560.28 452.72
7,000 585.67 439.43

Upshifts • Power • Handling • Styling

Downshifts • Availability • Driveability • Styling

We hope to get behind the wheel of a production ’14 RS3 soon, so we’ll bring you more on these cars in the future. For now, the Phase 3 is an impressive hint at things to come.

BOTM Update

Back in April, we didn’t know much about our Babe of the Month winner, but since her appearance in the magazine, Janet Graham contacted us to reveal her identity. “I live in Lake Villa, Illinois. I’m a registered nurse in an intensive care unit and the mom of an 11-year-old girl,” Janet said. “The car is a ’07 Mustang GT that I purchased new. It’s Vista Blue with black leather interior and 18-inch aluminum wheels. It’s all stock.”

We’re glad you enjoyed your appearance in BOTM, Janet. Thanks for giving us the scoop.

5.0 feedback

I am super picky about my cars, just like you. Last year I sold an ’07 Mustang GT because I couldn’t really enjoy the car. Yeah, it scored perfect in a national MCA show, but I needed something that I could enjoy. I purchased a ’91 5.0 coupe that looks great but has its flaws. She stays in the garage, but I bring it to the track and drive it out of town to events. You gotta have at least one you can enjoy. Go for it Steve. You only live once!

Walt Sibelius

Via email

Thanks for writing in, Walt. It’s pretty amazing that you’ve already done what I was daydreaming about. I’ve never had a car nice enough to earn a perfect score at a show, but I can understand how it might be nerve-wracking to keep a car like that pristine. It’s great to know that you can make that move and enjoy the car, flaws and all.

Following the Trail

I have a question for Editor Steve Turner. I’ve followed all the articles on his ’08 GT500 Project Vapor Trail, and it’s inspired me to modify my ’08 GT500. His car is the absolute pinnacle of what a GT500 should be, in my opinion. I’ve followed through on my car with a TVS blower, FRPP 113mm intake, 3.73 gears, MGW shifter, and KR exhaust and H-pipe.

I would like to know how Editor Turner got his JLT 127mm carbon-fiber cold-air kit to work with the FRPP strut-tower brace. I have that strut- tower brace and I’m looking to purchase a whole slew of parts from here in Canada, which will include the JLT 127mm intake, and I don’t want to lose my KR strut brace in doing this. I’ve researched it many times, but I read so many conflicting results on the subject. I would really love to have his take on the fitment and how he got it to work. Any info would be so appreciated.

I’m a huge fan of the magazine and buy it every month. I have a stack about three feet high that I read all the time to research tech articles. I love the writing, and the information is always of the greatest value to me as a resource. It’s by far the best auto magazine on the market.

Ryan Fraser

Via email

Thanks for all the kind words, Ryan. Your readership is greatly appreciated, and I’m honored you would take inspiration from PVT. As for installing the JLT Big Air cold-air intake with the KR-style strut brace, it is quite doable. Simply use the strut-brace spacers (see photo) that JLT ( includes with the Big Air.

Short Times

Roush Performance announced its 2014 lineup of Mustangs, and much like the Phase 3 promo car detailed here, the big news is the RS3 is now available with an optional Ford Racing Aluminator engine. The company also offers RS1 and RS2 vehicles, as well as the RS V-6. Check out the Roush website ( for more details ... Steeda Autosports ( obviously knows its way around Mustangs, but the company has been busy lately tuning Ford’s hot hatch, the Focus ST. Using SCT ( tuning software, Steeda was able to pick up 15 peak horsepower from the Ecoboost engine ... Royal Purple is sponsoring the All-Female Shootout in Norwalk, Ohio, at the Summit Motorsports Park NMRA ( race, held from June 14-16, 2013. McLeod Racing is offering a $1,000 gift certificate to the winner of the shootout ...