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Baddest Mustangs - The Top 10 Stangs Of 2006
MM&FF's list of the baddest Mustangs we encountered this year.
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Throughout the halls of the MM&FF offices, the staff can consistently be heard discussing which are the coolest Mustangs on the planet. Is it a record-breaking class car in Outlaw, a wildly built streeter, or some factory-built hot rod? Each year we travel from event to event looking for these modified Mustangs for the purpose of putting them in our mag. We hit the local tracks, and we stay on the lookout as we cruise to and from work. Images of killer Stangs also come to us by way of the Internet and snail mail.
But what is considered cool? For us, it could be any combination of parts that excites us in one way or another. That being the case, it has been a while since we compiled a "coolest car" list, so we though it a good idea to pool our thoughts and come up with the 10 coolest Mustang of 2006. Besides, it sure makes a great cover theme.
At the end of every year, we always look back at the events. Undoubtedly there were certain things we saw or experienced that separate the past year from the others. With 2007 just a tick away, we went to the '06 archives and found some pretty wild, and downright nasty, rides. After some long hours spent bench racing at MM&FF Command Central, we came up with the most bitchin' rides of 2006.
We looked at all the photos and weighed the pros and cons of each Stang. The following is our list of the Top 10 Mustangs of 2006, along with a few honorable mentions. For the record, there is no particular order to them-they're all quite cool in our minds. Now, kick back and indulge in some mighty hot Mustang iron.
Charlie Booze '93 Mustang
OK, let's just say it outright. Any car that spends the first 330 feet of a quarter-mile pass draggin' its rear bumper is going to make the Top 10 list. It's that simple. Add to that the fact that Charlie Booze's GT is feared at all NMRA Hot Street events, and it's a shoe-in. Fact is, people run to the fence to watch this red rocket run.
Booze also drove the Mustang to the 8.8-second zone for the first time in Hot Street trim, and he continued to mow down everyone who got in his way. His ride is powered by a Kuntz & Co. small-block and backed by an automatic tranny. The '04 season saw him qualify number one at every event. In 2005, he backed it up with another Hot Street championship, and this year he is the odds-on favorite to win it again. All of that makes him and his Stang a Top 10 contender. By the way, did we mention wheelies are really cool?
Ford -Shelby GT500
Arguably the most anticipated Mustang in history, the GT500 splits the difference between the Mustang GT and the Ford GT. With the Mustang's redesign in 2005 featuring retro lines, it was only a matter of time before the crew at Ford came up with the S197's version of the Cobra.
Featuring an iron-block 5.4L Four-Valve monster, the potent mod motor is topped by a Roots-style blower that pushes the horsepower figure to the magic 500 mark. Add into the equation the Shelby name, the fact that Editor/test pilot Evan Smith got the August cover car to run a 12.25 at 117 in the quarter-mile, and that mildly modded versions are already in the 10s, and you can see why it made it in the Top 10.
George Lambert '80 Mustang Cobra
Anytime you can restomod an older Mustang, it's cool beyond belief. But we fell for the Cobra of George Lambert, who combined the old with the new when he transplanted a full drivetrain and interior from a wrecked '04 Terminator into his '80 Cobra, which appeared in our November issue.
Talk about modding your Fox! The Cobra, painted in a PPG purple haze pigment, features a mostly stock Four-Valve, supercharged Cobra motor, but it was perfectly fitted to the early Fox. Open the doors and you'll see the '04's interior grafted into the '80's cabin-sweet. Lambert went so far as to create custom door panels out of floral-arrangement foam and bathroom paneling, and he used a door handle from a Ford Ranger. The ingenuity behind this swap is what earned this Fox-body a spot in the Top 10.
Stephen Harvey '94 Mustang GT
Of all the cars we saw this year in True Street, Stephen Harvey's Mustang GT was one that truly defined the class. Imagine owning a car that is show-worthy, can nearly run in the 9-second zone (Harvey has run a 10.01 at 135 mph to date), and can hold its own in New York City traffic during an MM&FF photo shoot. Sound ridiculous? Not in the least.
Appearing on the cover of our January '06 issue was Harvey's bright yellow stomper that features a LaFerriere Racing 310ci Ford topped with TFS heads and a Turbonetics T76 hairdryer. The Stang is an all-around perfect street/strip flyer that hauls on the track and stops just as fast thanks to a set of Baer Competition Pro Brakes. It's a good thing Harvey did stop, otherwise we wouldn't have seen how good a car it was and put it in our Top 10.
Eric Dillard '97 SVT Mustang Cobra
What do you get when you take a '97 Cobra complete with 284ci mod motor, stuff it with Comp Cams bumpsticks, massage the heads, and force-feed the little powerplant with a Precision 88mm turbo? How about a 900-plus-horsepower rocket ship? The man behind the magic is Eric Dillard, partner in crime with the rest of the crew at Pro Line Racing Engines. His '97 Cobra graced the pages of our September '06 issue.
This car is sickingly fast. When you can whoop the you-know-what out of your buddy's Hyabusa from a 40-mph roll, you deserve to make the coveted Top 10 list. The other awesome thing about Dillard's ride is that you would never know what lurks under the hood. With only a minor cowl hood and 18-inch Boyd wheels on all four corners, this Cobra looks just like many other Mustangs tooling down the highway.
Justin Burcham '05 Mustang GT
In looking at our photos of the S197 Mustangs, we knew this year's baddest of the bad was Justin Burcham's '05 GT. Burcham has flat-out obliterated records with his retro-Stang the past few years, winning the Nitto Tire/MM&FF '05 Mustang Shootout (covered in the February '06 issue) last year with elapsed times well into the 10-second zone.
He one-upped himself this year, though, as he piloted his Stang to a 9.46-second pass at 145 mph, making him the driver of the world's quickest S197 Mustang. Powering the Pony is an Al Papitto-built Three-Valve sporting a DiabloSport tune and a ProCharger FR1 huffer. As if that wasn't enough to make the Stang go fast, Burcham added a Zex nitrous kit to really kick the car into high gear. Backing the mod motor is a Tremec TKO600 manual transmission. If we didn't put Burcham's '05 GT on the Top 10 list after that 9-second pass, we wouldn't be doing our jobs.
Joe Intravaia '05 Mustang GT Saleen Clone
The most basic part of the car culture is to make it cool and do it your way at the same time. Joe Intravaia wanted a Saleen in the worst way, but he decided to get one in an unconventional manner: buy a new '05 GT and make one.
Thanks to the Saleen body kit and the staff at North Star Collision (Valley Stream, New York), Intravaia had the looks for his Saleen. After letting Jim D'Amore from JDM Engineering get his hands on the Stang, you can't tell whether or not this is a clone or the real thing. Sporting a stroker mod mill and a Saleen blower, the faux Saleen has blasted deep into the 10-second zone on numerous occasions while competing in the Fun Ford Weekend Ultra Stang class. By the way, it has the stock automatic in place and weighs over 4,000 pounds.
D'Amore drove Intravaia's Stang all throughout 2006, placing Third in the national points standings. Let's see-D'Amore took Intravaia's Mustang GT, made it into a Saleen, got it into the mid-10s, and finished Third in the national points standings. The car was so good, it was featured in the July '06 issue, well before the stroker was put in. Sounds like a Top 10 finisher to us.
Tim Lynch - '01 Mustang
Now entering the ring, weighing in at a scant 3,100 pounds, from somewhere near Atlanta, Georgia, the undisputed King of the Outlaws, Tim Lynch's '01 Mustang. OK, so we won't make money announcing title fights, but we do make our money sitting around playing with cars, and Lynch's Stang hit us hard when we drummed up candidates for the Top 10. The Lynch Mob is feared in Ford and Outlaw competition as this Stang can run sixes at 200-plus mph anywhere, anytime. We have to give big kudos to his crew of wife, Kelly, and engine builder/tuner, Steve Petty, too.
Originally starting out the '06 racing season with a twin-turbocharged 445 small-block, Lynch ditched the smaller motor for an insanely large 596 big-block Ford that's force-fed by a pair of hairdryers. Lynch was the first Outlaw runner to dip into the six-second zone on 10.5W tires, and he is a routine six-second player every time he pulls his Pony out of the stable. Finishing Second in FFW Street Outlaw points this year, Lynch's goal is to improve on his 2006 best speed of 216 mph. He says the combination is good for 6.60s at 220. Let the competition start praying now.
Manny Buginga - '89 Mustang LX
In all honesty, 28x10.5-inch slicks are mighty small tires. They're normally the tires an everyday Mustang owner would run at the track on a 12-second car. But Manny Buginga runs those measly little tires to go 7.37 seconds at 194 mph down the dragstrip. Yes, you read correctly, and it only took us 7.37 seconds to decide outright that Buginga made the Top 10 list.
We covered the car in our May '06 issue, right after Buginga ripped off the 7.37, so we knew he had to be in the Top 10. To move his Mustang down the dragstrip, the '05 NMRA S/S Outlaw Champ uses a 383ci Ford topped with Yates heads and a turbo big enough to vacuum up a battleship. In fact, the 106mm turbo helped Buginga become the first person ever to crack the 200-mph barrier on 10.5 tires. Now that's downright impressive.
David Wolfe - '89 Mustang
David Wolfe, who is the hired shoe for Ken Nelson's '89 Mustang, is a wolf in sheep's clothing. OK, pardon the pun, but it is quite apropos when describing the Wolfe/Nelson Stang, which was featured in the September '06 issue. The car looks the part with a simple black paint job, a small cowl hood, and an ultra-cool (and needed) rear wing and 'chute. That's not all it has, though.
Sporting a Hans Feustal Racing Engines 382ci small-block, Wolfe piloted the Pony to a 7.40/197-mph rip at the WFC 9 event. This was accomplished with the potent Ford topped by a set of TFS R heads and a 106mm Turbonetics turbo while traveling on Mickey Thompson 325/50-15 drag radials-yes, we said drag radials. For 2007, though, look for another hairdryer and a different paint scheme. Two turbos? Insane! Maybe, but we like insanity-it gets you in the Top 10 list.
There are always those few Mustangs that don't quite have enough to get into the Top 10, but are just over the top when compared to the others. With that in mind, here are some Mustangs that wholeheartedly deserve honorable mentions.
Matt Hamby - '91 Mustang
"Standing out in a crowd of nearly 80 True Street cars is a hard thing to do." That was the opening line of the feature on Matt Hamby's '91 LX in the September '06 issue, but his car stood out enough to draw our votes as an honorable mention to the Top 10 list.
Powered by a saucy 358 Windsor, the Stang earned the nickname Carbon Flyer for two reasons: First, it went 9.35/144 in True Street at Atlanta while on Mickey Thompson drag radials, and second, the paint job is absolutely killer, resembling a carbon-fiber finish. Stiles Paint Works sprayed the upper half of the car a black and dark-gray weave, giving the flanks of the Fox-body a carbon-fiber image. Set off by a red-painted lower portion, the Stang looks just as good as it runs. Well done, Matt.
Ford Racing -FR500C Mustang
Imagine going racing in a factory-built car. Sounds ridiculous, right? Not if you plunk down the cash for an FR500C Mustang. The factory road racer is put together by Ford for competition in the Grand Am Cup racing series, and it was a winner right out of the gate, besting Porches, Cadillacs, and other marques in its first outing at Daytona. It has since won more events and proves to be a true winner.
Powered by a 5.0 "cammer" motor, the Mustang is prepped by Ford for road-course duty. Being able to write "factory race car" and mean it, is something that hasn't been done since the early days of NHRA Super Stock and Pro Stock racing. Kudos to Ford for creating a car worthy of bringing back the "factory race car" moniker. We welcome the FR500C to the honorable-mention list.
Don Walsh Jr. -'01 Mustang
Don Walsh Jr. has a Stang so sweet, we couldn't resist putting it on the honorable mention list. His '01 Pony receives motivation from a 400ci small-block sporting Yates heads and a ProCharger F3R huffer. Backed by a Lenco/Bruno automatic tranny, the Skinny Kid Race Car's built rocket ran an astounding 6.43 at 216 mph at the Atlanta FFW event. The run made Walsh the driver of the world's quickest and fastest centrifugal supercharged car. He's also a pretty good racer as he is a three-time NMRA Pro 5.0 champ. Put a good driver and a fast car together and you have an entry worthy of honorable mention in the MM&FF Top 10 list.