Pete Epple Technical Editor
December 23, 2010
Contributers: Marc Christ Photos By: Team MM&FF

The January issue ushers in an exciting time for the MM&FF edit staff.

A new year of seeking out the hottest muscle Mustangs (and fast Fords) is starting, and as the excitement of the next racing and show season begins to build, we get a chance to take a look back at all of the awesome Mustangs (and Fords) we've seen over the previous 12 months. With so many amazing Pony cars on the streets, at the track, and in the show fields, the Top 10 Mustangs of the year is an extremely hard list to pick. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, heated debates often break out about which Fords should comprise the coveted Top 10 list. After all, everyone is going to have a different opinion, and since the Top 10 is essentially our list of favorites (for one reason or another), it's hard for everyone to agree.

With the last 12 issues of MM&FF laid out, we jotted down about 20 contenders as we flipped through the pages and expressed our likes and dislike over style, power, driveability, and any other factor that would make or break a "Top 10" Mustang. This year, the decisions were tougher than ever. It took longer than it ever has before, but after four lengthy editorial meetings, the list was finally finished.

There's no doubt that 2010 was a groundbreaking year for Ford and the Mustang. We've seen some amazing Ponies this year, and it's time to share our favorites. So without further ado, here are the Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Top 10 Mustangs of 2010!

Ford '11 Mustang GT
Few Mustangs have had the impact of the 2011 Mustang GT. The long-awaited return of the 5.0-liter engine has given enthusiasts a reason to be excited, and with 412 hp, Mustang owners are finally equipped to demolish anything brand-X has to offer, all for around $30,000. The GT ushers in amazing electronic and powertrain technology, which increases power and efficiency. Driver feel and braking capabilities are also enhanced, especially with the Brembo option. And let's not forget world-class navigation and communications systems. At the heart of it all is the Ti-VCT Four-Valve, 5.0-liter powerplant, with independent variable camshaft timing, a free-flowing intake, tubular headers, and a great sound. It also features EPAS electric power steering, plus six-speed transmissions (auto and manual). The end result is a powerful Pony car that is fun to drive, offers tons of sporty feel, and gives you great efficiency. It can hang on the strip, road course, and open road with cars that cost double the price, which puts it atop our list. Ford really knocked it out of the park with the 2011 Mustang GT!

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Chris Escobar '86 SVO
Chris Escobar is the undisputed king of MM&FF's True Street. He uses his twin-turbo-powered, DOHC, mod-motored '86 SVO to slay the competition. With nine wins in NMRA, one NMCA title, and a win in the now-defunct Fun Ford Weekend series to his credit, Chris is a threat everywhere he goes. Built by Jake Lamotta at Lamotta's Performance (Longwood, Florida), the SVO's stock-displacement mod mill is force-fed by a set of 61mm turbos. Chris routinely blasts down the quarter in the mid-8-second zone with a best e.t. of 8.44 at 162 mph and always makes the 30-mile cruise with a smile. In preparation for the 2011 NMRA season, Chris is making some changes to his trusty SVO. Although we don't have specifics, we know a fresh paint job and some new wheels will add a little more show to Escobar's go-but anyone looking to dethrone Chris should know that more horsepower is also in the plan.

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Kevin Tilney '84 Mustang LX
We're always on the lookout for a combination of show and go. Few people have pulled off both the way Kevin Tilney has with his Michigan-based '84 LX. The project began as a roller in very rough condition, but from the start, Kevin knew what his coupe could be. After the bodywork was finished, Art By Carp laid down the sick graphics, making this four-eye Fox truly stand out. When it comes to power, this LX is no slouch. With nitrous-fed, big-block power under the hood, Kevin routinely blasts down the track in the low-9-second zone. And with close to 200 passes on the car, this in no show queen. It's also a complete machine, with not only amazing paint, but a detailed undercarriage and interior to match.

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Randy Seward '91 Mustang LX
Power and reliability are staples of True Street competition, and few people have gotten a grip on both like Randy Seward, an Orlando native who has no problem driving his 1,000-plus-horsepower '91 LX thousands of miles to compete. Our Aug. 2010 cover car was completely home-built and is capable of ripping off consistent mid-8-second passes. We were lucky enough to tag along as Randy made the trek from Orlando to Commerce, Georgia, for the Nitto Tires NMRA Peach State Nationals. The Calypso Green LX performed flawlessly on the 1,000-mile road trip.

Since the story hit newsstands, Randy has made a few changes to his coupe, and he is looking forward to turning up the boost and dropping his e.t.'s in 2011. With over 480 R&D runs to date, look for some awesome numbers in Bradenton!

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Galpin Auto Sports '10 Convertible
Each year, builders go to great lengths to customize cars that showcase the latest and greatest from the performance aftermarket. Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) knows all about custom builds. In 2009, GAS set out to rock the SEMA show with its 2010 convertible Mustang-it succeeded.

This Grabber Blue and black Pony belongs to Steve McCord, the general manager at GAS. Steve's '10 is not like any other Stang running around Southern California. The team at GAS took the then-new Mustang and fabricated a one-off widebody kit, giving this Pony a super-aggressive stance. The front and rear fascias, as well as the front and rear fenders, were handmade and designed to retain the factory body lines, while offering tons of room for wide wheels and tires. Under the hood, the 4.6L Three-Valve has been upgraded with a supercharger system from Ford Racing. Laying down 550 rwhp and 542 lb-ft of torque, this one-off Mustang is one serious show-stopper!

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Ford '11 GT500
Refined power is one of the most accurate ways to describe the 2011 GT500, which for us, is arguably the best Mustang ever built. Ford's flagship performance vehicle truly has it all. With 550hp, an amazing amount of handling and comfort, good fuel efficiency, and a sinister look, Ford's Special Vehicle Team is 100-percent dialed in.

The new all-aluminum supercharged 5.4L powerplant, combined with the new electric power steering system, dropped over 120 pounds from the nose, which helped improve real-world performance. Add in the SVT Performance Pack and you're ready to hit the track. The newly-designed Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires give you an incredible level of grip without being overly noisy or harsh. The Brembo brakes give you total confidence in the GT500's ability to come to a stop safely, even though curb weight comes in above 3,800 pounds. Recent tests by our staff showed the GT500 is capable of running 11.80s at 119 mph in bone-stock trim, making it the quickest factory Mustang ever tested on stock tires. That alone puts the GT500 in rare air.

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'10 Roush Stage 3
There is something to be said about any car that you can roll off the showroom floor, drive to the track, and run an 11.57 at almost 125 mph. Add sticky DOT-legal tires and 11.40s are yours for the taking. Jack Roush is the brains behind Roush Performance, which manufactures the Roush Performance vehicles. Atop the selection of hopped-up Mustang sits the Roush Stage 3 and the de-contented Stage 3 RH. This 540hp Pony offers a slew of performance enhancements geared at spirited driving and on-track excitement to the few who get to claim ownership.

The 4.6L Three-Valve powerplant is based off the mill from the P-51 Mustangs, which Roush produced in '08 and '09. An R2300 Roushcharger supplies plenty of compressed air to go from mild to wild as soon as you press the loud pedal. With only 100 units produced for 2010, this limited edition is truly something special.

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Enrique Dealba '99 Mustang GT
When we saw Enrique Dealba's Terminator clone at the Fabulous Fords Forever show at Knott's Berry Farm earlier this year, we just had to show it to the rest of the world.

We thought it was a real Terminator at first, but he had us fooled. It's actually a highly modded '99 GT, with the heart of the Terminator. Enrique didn't buy the car this way, though. When he bought it, the coupe had a Novi 2000-blown stock Four-Valve. After spinning a bearing, he rebuilt the engine with all forged components. Then, after trying a couple of different blower combinations, Enrique finally settled on a single 76mm turbo system. Enrique plumbed the turbo himself, enabling the wannabe Cobra to make 789 rwhp and 815 lb-ft of torque.

Though it's not a real Terminator, Enrique's New Edge was an easy choice for the Top 10.

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Vaughn Gittin JR.
'11 Monster Energy stang

In the past few years, drifting has gained serious mainstream traction in the U.S. Once thought of as a sport for imports, the barriers between import and domestic iron have been broken down in a big way. Vaughn Gittin Jr. exploded on the Formula Drift scene with his '05 Mustang and began honing his skills. In 2010, he unveiled his Monster Energy/Ford Racing/Falken Tire-sponsored 2011 Mustang and has been a force to be reckoned with all season. Vaughn has taken five podiums in the first six rounds of the 2010 Formula D season, and held on to the points lead the entire way. With one round left for the year, we hope Vaughn keeps his momentum going and brings home the championship for Monster Energy, Falken Tires, Ford Racing, and Drift Alliance. We like the fact that Vaughn has taken a Mustang in a non-traditional forum and he has found great success. And what's better than being sideways?

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TMS Autosports
'87 Mustang LX

Though 1,000-rwhp Mustangs are extremely impressive, they make up the minority. There are many readers who still rely on the old Fox-body, and Tedd Siegel has built a clean example that really turned us on. Not due to big power or over-the-top paint, but for its simplicity and the fact that restoring a once-worn LX is a very cool thing to do. Tedd Siegel is the owner of TMS Autosports, and he built this super-clean '87 LX to showcase what a real, daily driven Mustang can be.

At first glance, this yellow coupe screams look at me. Upon further inspection, you'll find an amazingly clean Fox that has been built to better-than-stock condition. Though it may not make tire-shredding horsepower, you can get in and literally drive anywhere. Tedd has built a Mustang that is incredibly enjoyable, comfortable, and fun to drive. In doing so, he showcased the plethora of new parts available to Mustang enthusiasts to bring back an old Fox, and we feel this could be the next trend in Mustang building.

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Honorable Mentions

Jason Lee
'86 NMRA Drag Radial Mustang

Anyone who has watched D.O.T.-legal radial racing knows it's exciting. Radial racing is serious business, and Jason Lee of Maumee, Ohio has made it his. Jason, who competes in the BFGoodrich Drag Radial class in NMRA competition, has been the man to beat in 2010. The '09 class champion came into the '10 season with serious momentum and hasn't looked back. Going into the final event of the '10 NMRA season at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Jason has had a near-perfect season, winning all but one race in 2010. He also clinched his second consecutive BFGoodrich Drag Radial Championship prior to the last race.

Tim Crotty
'08 Shelby Mustang

Tim Crotty's '08 Mustang convertible is one of the most powerful cars we've featured this year. The March cover car was built by Blow-By Racing in Boca Raton, Florida, and sports a stroked Three-Valve with a 2.8 Mammoth Kenne Bell Twin Screw supercharger. The street-driven monster lays down close to 900 rwhp. Tim has plans for a liquid cooled version of the 2.8 Mammoth to lower the AITs and a larger water/methanol injection system to add a few more ponies under boost.

Phil Smith
'08 Mustang GT

FRP Customs is one of the premier automotive customization shops in Southern California and is owned by Phil Smith. Phil is also the proud owner of this unique S197. With awesome custom paint and tons of power from the rear-mounted turbos, his '08 GT offers a very high fun factor. The Foose Design body kit and airbag suspension add to the style and aggressive looks of the S197, and custom touches blend into the interior and tie everything together.