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The 2018 Pro-Dyno MM&FF Battle at the Beach
As Mustang enthusiasts, we’re all caught up in dyno numbers. Dyno manufacturers owe Mustang enthusiasts a debt of gratitude for keeping them in business. When we add headers, we want to know how much power they made. When we add a cold air intake and tune, we want to how much bang we received in return for our hard-earned dollars. When we add a supercharger, guess what, we need a dyno tune to see how much more power we have at our disposal.
You can say the Mustang market revolves around dyno numbers. Horsepower numbers define us. We’re always on the hunt for more power, thinking of ways to increase our Mustang’s output. We add cubic inches, or an engine swap, or a power adder such as a turbo, supercharger, or nitrous. Sometimes we combine a supercharger and a turbo, and in other instances a little nitrous is needed to supplement a supercharger.
After perfecting your Mustang’s power combination, you’re ready for a competition like our Pro-Dyno MM&FF Battle at the Beach. We scour every corner of the country for the best representations of high-horsepower Mustangs, but also, those that may not make a ton of power just to give you an idea of what’s possible with every power adder/engine combination. If we just focused on one power adder/engine combination; that would be boring. Therefore, we try to cover all the power adder/engine combinations so we can provide some variety.
For the 2018 Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach, we also had a treat for those in attendance. In addition to all the great Mustangs we had planned for the competition, we were able to get Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his Formula Drift RTR Mustang involved, as well. Most of us only get to see Vaughn’s Mustang doing burnouts and drift displays, but having it in the Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach provided everyone an up-close look at one of the most famous Mustangs on the planet. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to see what a different power adder/engine combination would make, and that is what the Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach is all about.
To see where your Mustang friends finished, and to get the lowdown on the different competing combinations, check out the captions.
Steve Shrader competed in the 2016 Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach, but at that time, the car had a 323ci Two-Valve engine with a Vortech supercharger and ZEX nitrous. He also converted the car to use a 6R80 transmission, and it was regularly in the 9-second zone after he ironed out all the bugs. At that time, the car made 899 horsepower on the Pro-Dyno portable Dynojet. Shrader was a longtime champion of Two-Valve performance, but he finally succumbed to the desire to see what a Coyote would do under the hood in his 1999 Mustang GT.
Specifically, Shrader added a Gen2 Coyote engine packed with Manley forged H-beam rods, DSS forged pistons, ARP head and main studs, and a GT350 intake manifold. The heads and cams remain stock, but Shrader chose Kooks long-tube headers with the corresponding X-pipe, along with a Magnflow after-cat exhaust. A Vortech supercharger with a small shot of nitrous remains the power adder of choice, but behind the Coyote is a Tremec T56 Magnum with a McLeod RXT clutch. A Shrader Performance tune finished up the swap.
With all the changes on the car, we were curious to see the horsepower difference between a Two-Valve and a Coyote. We wouldn’t consider the two engines to be an apples-to-apples comparison, since the Two-Valve displaced 323 inches, and the Coyote’s heads and cam remain stock. However, even so, Shrader went from 899 horsepower in 2016 with the Two-Valve to 1020.43 horsepower in 2018 to win the Pro-Dyno MM&FF Battle at the Beach.
Rick Marion – 811.77 horsepower
One power adder that has taken over the Mustang market is the turbocharger. Just a few short years ago, turbocharging was reserved for serious race cars, but it seems every other 2011-2018 Mustang GT has a pair of turbochargers under the hood. The Coyote market blossomed the use of turbochargers, and several aftermarket companies have a variety of turbo systems available, from entry-level to 6-second capable systems.
To boost his Lightning Blue 2017 Mustang GT, Rick Marion called on Armageddon Turbo Systems for one of its twin 58mm turbocharged systems. To make sure the engine was ready for the power, it was treated to upgraded oil pump gears and crank sprocket, ID1000 injectors, a Kooks exhaust system, a Circle D converter, and a custom Lund Racing tune. The GT retains its stock 3.15 gear, but suspension upgrades abound, and includes an Airlift Performance 3P airbag system. To go along with the suspension upgrades, the GT boasts Rotiform KPS wheels wrapped in Nitto treads. Before adding the bags, Marion ran a 9.49 at 149 mph using Forgestar F14 Drag Pack wheels with Mickey Thompson ET Street Rs. In its current form on bags, Marion is hoping to run in the 9.60s.
Leading up to the Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach, we knew Marion’s GT was going to be one of the front runners, and by making 811 horsepower, he certainly didn’t disappoint.
Vaughn Gittin Jr – 766.33 horsepower
A special guest in the Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his Formula Drift RTR demo Mustang didn’t disappoint when it came time to put on a show. Prior to the car getting on Pro-Dyno’s portable Dynojet, Gittin mentioned that this was the first time the car would be publicly witnessed on a dyno. Gittin usually displays horsepower by burning the tires off the car during drift competitions and displays like those at Mustang Week.
With a Ford Performance 5.0 XS crate engine, a Vortech JT-Trim supercharger, a Boss intake, ID1000 injectors, American Racing Headers long-tubes, and a Pfitzner Performance Gearbox sequential shifted Tremec T56 Magnum, we knew the number would be pretty high. Hearing Gittin on track, we also know the engine in his car zings to the moon. That was also evident on Pro-Dyno’s portable Dynojet.
The Vortech’s boost level is wastegate-controlled, which isn’t all that common with a centrifugal supercharger. On the “low-boost” setting, the combination was good for 637.03 horsepower, but on the “high-boost” setting, it made 766.33 horsepower.
Jonnie Ream - 569.22 horsepower
Like we’ve said elsewhere, diversification is more important to us compared to max power. We truly want to give everyone a guide as to the capabilities of their Mustang using a variety of power adders.
Representing the ProCharger camp, Jonnie Ream’s 2015 Mustang GT featured one of the company’s P-1SC-1 Stage II kits. One of the least modified Battle at the Beach contestants, Jonnie’s GT still features the stock engine with the ProCharger, and other than that, the GT benefits from a Pypes Performance Exhaust axle-back, and a Blowfish Racing shifter support bracket. “That’s all this time around,” Jonnie says. He hints that more power will be coming to the car in 2019.
This minimalistic approach to making power was still good for a shade under 570 horsepower on Pro-Dyno’s portable Dynojet.
Brian Prince – 537.43 horsepower
When it comes to Coyote performance, the power adder we all fell in love with has fallen by the wayside. We’re talking about nitrous. There was a time when every other Mustang had a kit on it, but that was also a time when most of us bought a Mustang because it fit our budget. These days, Mustangs are more expensive, so the budget ceiling is higher, and that means many people have moved to superchargers and turbochargers for added power. However, when performing a Coyote swap, many exhaust their wallet’s capacity just doing the swap that there’s not enough in the kitty for a power adder. Therefore, nitrous sometimes presents the right option for giving your Coyote swap a boost.
For Brian Prince, his Coyote swap utilizes a F150 engine upgraded to Mustang specs, except for the pistons. The engine does benefit from billet oil pump gears and crank sprocket, an ATI balancer, a Holley Sniper intake, and a Nitrous Outlet 150hp kit. The Coyote benefits from a 3-inch exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers and VRS tailpipes. Oz Tuning makes sure everything is on the money.
To even make the Pro-Dyno Battle at the Beach, Prince had a lot of work to do, but with the help of many friends, he made it. For all his hard work, Prince’s nitrous-fed, Coyote-swapped 1986 GT made 537.42 horsepower.
Danny Rosenbaum – 493.78 horsepower
The thing with Ford is that the company will introduce a killer car, and everyone pounces on it, thinking it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, the very next year Ford will have something even better. With the Shelby GT500, the car gets better each model year, but like Danny Rosenbaum, sometimes all you have to do is fit the new car’s parts onto your own car. That way, you don’t have to buy a new Mustang every year. What was different about the 2011 Shelby GT500 was that it benefitted from an aluminum engine to reduce weight, but the supercharger was a carryover from previous years.
What Rosenbaum did to his 2011 Shelby GT500 was add a more efficient 2013-2014 GT500 TVS supercharger to his existing combination. Along with a JLT Performance cold air intake, a Ford Performance throttle-body, and a Steeda Autosports dual fan heat exchanger, Rosenbaum had hoped to bring the performance of his Shelby to current specs. Unfortunately, with the additional boost, he needed more fuel, more than was currently available with his Shelby’s fuel system. For that reason, his Shelby was limited to 493 horsepower at the wheels at the Battle at the Beach.
When Rosenbaum returned home after the competition he added a larger fuel system, a smaller supercharger pulley, and a Kooks exhaust to the car. “It’s a rocket ship now,” Rosenbaum says. He also changed up the exterior by adding different wheels, eliminating the stripes, and adding a cowl hood. With the newfound power, the Shelby’s attitude now matches its exterior.
Bobby Coffman – 470.98 horsepower
When the Shelby GT500 made its reappearance in 2007, Mustang enthusiasts took to it like they did the 2003 Cobra, buying them for way over sticker just to make sure they didn’t miss out on the fun. The GT500 was the 2003 Cobra’s second coming, but the GT500 boasted 500 horsepower! Up until that time, that number was relatively unheard of from an American car. Horsepower numbers have since continued to climb, though, with a stop nowhere in sight.
For Bobby Coffman’s Shelby GT500, his 2010 came from the factory rated at 540 horsepower. His Grabber blue example still features the stock Eaton 2300 supercharger, along with the stock exhaust. However, it does have a Steeda Autosports 2.6-inch pulley and cold air intake, and with a Pro-Dyno tune it made 530 horsepower at the rear wheels.
Unfortunately, that was in 2017, and this year the Pro-Dyno portable Dynojet was a little stingy, recording 471 horsepower at the wheels. Of course, Coffman wants more power than that, so future plans call for more boost, and upgrading the car’s exhaust. Those improvements should get it back over 500 horsepower where the Shelby GT500 belongs.
Michael Zwick – 317.40 horsepower
Call us old school, but a centrifugally supercharged pushrod Fox combination is hard to beat in our book. Back in the day, if you had a GT40 intake on your Fox, you were the man. If your Fox had the whistle of a centrifugal supercharger, you instantly had rock star status.
Michael Zwick’s 1990 LX coupe hit us on all cylinders when we needed a pushrod/Vortech combination for the Battle at the Beach. Starting with a Ford Performance crate 302 with a B303 cam, Y303 aluminum heads, and a Cobra intake, the friendly folks at Revolution Automotive added a Vortech V-1 H/D Ti supercharger. With Revolution Automotive’s Adam Browne tuning the A9L PCM with 47 lb/hr injectors and an SCT BA2600 mass air, the car was good for 455 horsepower at the wheels.
Once Zwick and the Revolution Automotive crew had the car ready, we knew we had to get the car into the competition. Unfortunately, the day of the competition Zwick drew the number one spot on the Pro-Dyno portable Dynojet. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that is bad. In Zwick’s case, it probably wasn’t the best scenario for him. On Zwick’s first dyno pull it was thought the engine was blowing through the clutch. Another thought was that it was the tires spinning on the dyno. RevAuto’s Adam Browne did mention that on his dyno he had to warm up the tires on Zwick’s car to get an accurate number. Whatever the reason, Zwick was pretty disappointed when the final number came in at 317.40 horsepower.
Zwick still has a wicked coupe on his hands, and maybe he’s one car we invite back for a redo in 2019.
Calvin Atwell – 311.09 horsepower
When it comes to nice Mustangs, you would be hard pressed to find any cleaner than Calvin Atwell’s 2001 Bullitt. A painter by trade, it’s no wonder his Bullitt is one of the nicest, most detailed Mustangs we’ve ever seen. Leaving any component untouched is against Atwell’s nature. He can’t leave well enough alone. Most of us, when we reach a point that is good enough, we stop. Atwell starts where most of us stop, but none of his cars ever look overdone.
For his Bullitt, specifically, the engine is the stock Two-Valve with a ported Bullitt intake and a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger. To feed the supercharged combination, the Bullitt uses a 2003 Cobra fuel tank, twin fuel pumps, and 39 lb/hr injectors. The Paxton benefits from a CX Racing intercooler and an Anderson Ford Motorsport Power Pipe. BBK long-tubes with a corresponding X-pipe, and a Bassani cat-back make up the exhaust, while Revolution Automotive’s Adam Browne tunes the car using SCT software. With a 3.25-inch pulley on the Paxton, the engine benefits from 13 pounds of boost.
At the Battle at the Beach, we couldn’t wait to see what the little Two-Valve could do with the Paxton, but Atwell and Browne forgot they lowered the rev limiter while previously tuning the car. The rev limiter was lowered because the car doesn’t have a fuel pump voltage booster, and with the engine being stock, the guys were trying to keep the rods inside the engine. At the time of tuning, the car made 420 horsepower at Revolution Automotive, but to save the engine, they lowered the rev limiter until Atwell was able to add a voltage booster. Unfortunately, with the lowered rev limiter at the Battle at the Beach, Atwell’s Bullitt made just 311.09 horsepower at the wheels. Like Zwick, perhaps Atwell will need a redo in 2019.
Caleb Younts – 294.43 horsepower
Caleb Younts’ 2002 Saleen is a Battle at the Beach veteran, having competed in the 2016 version. Younts represents the budget-minded Mustang enthusiast, but said he had made a few modifications in an effort to increase horsepower. His Saleen is spotless, and we were looking forward to seeing the fruits of his labor.
With a smaller blower pulley on his Saleen’s factory Eaton, along with an upgraded throttle-body, injectors, fuel pump, and tune, his little Two-Valve that could made up over 300 horsepower the last time it had spun any rollers in anger. Prior to the Battle at the Beach he had hoped to increase that number even more, but life was in the way and he didn’t have a chance to get them on the car in time.
Unfortunately for Younts, his Saleen couldn’t make it to 300 horsepower this time, but in the end it made 294.43.
Photography by Mustang360 Staff