June 1, 2005

It's hard to tell when the 5.0 Mustang addiction first hits a guy. Maybe it happened when you were a young man, before you even had a driver's license. Perhaps a friend or relative gave you a ride in a 5.0 Mustang, and you knew from that moment you had to have one. Trust us, we've heard all the stories, and we love them all. If it wasn't for your affection (or affliction, whichever the case may be) for these cars, Editor Turner would be playing lead guitar in Contributing Editor Amy's rock band, Associate Editor Johnson would be fetching Gatorade for a college basketball team, and Senior Tech Editor Houlahan would be a taste tester for Hostess. Yes, it is the enthusiast's passion for the 5.0 Mustang that drives this wild performance aftermarket.

For Jim Noto, a forklift mechanic for Xerox, it was the sight of his friend Bill Newell's '95 Steeda Mustang (once featured in the now defunct Super Ford magazine) that got him hooked. From the moment he laid eyes on that Steeda Mustang, he knew he wanted his '93 GT to have that kind of style, striking good looks, and unbridled performance. So that was the goal Jim set out to reach almost a decade ago, shortly after he ordered this gorgeous, Reef Blue '93 GT with black interior.

Not only has Jim vastly improved the performance of his Mustang while enhancing its looks, but he's also kept a solid grasp of what makes the car fun on the street. "I think the Kennedy's tune-up is what helps the car the best," Jim reports. "They kept it mild mannered so it is easy to drive. The Tokico struts and shocks also give the car a great deal of versatility without the sloppy handling that drag struts give a car-plus it still has the sway bars in it. And, I have an extra set of ROH rims with street tires so I can drive the GT anywhere I want to go."

When on the street, it's hard not to get noticed in this car. We caught up with Jim at a MOM's Racing Mustang Shootout (www.moms-racing.com) held at New York International Raceway Park. It was one of Jim's first outings to the track, and even with the street suspension and tires, the car was running low 12s like it was its job.

"I like the smiles I get on the street," Jim says. "But, I love racing at MOM's-that's my new favorite thing right now!"

Since his initial tune-up at Kennedy's Dyno Tune, Jim has added an Anderson Ford Motorsport Power Pipe, removed the A/C, relocated the battery to the trunk, added a Dugan Racing rear-seat-delete kit, and started adding drag-racing-oriented pieces to the suspension. "Building this car has been a learning experience," Jim told us. "Once I sort out the suspension, I will work on my driving technique until I get it right. I'll just keep plugging along with it. This stuff is never-ending. I'd like to run mid-11s...high-10s would really have me smiling!" Yes, it sounds like someone is going racing!

Jim agrees. In fact, he's planning on building a serious 331-inch stroker for the GT so it can take a ton of boost. He wants to hose it all down with a Snow Performance methanol-injection kit so he can still get away with pump gas while out cruising the streets of upstate New York. Of course, that will all come after a trip back to Mr. Kennedy's house of speed to get everything straightened out. Once it starts, this Mustang addiction thing just keeps going and going.

Tech SpecsEngine and drivetrainBlock StockDisplacement Stock 302Cylinder headsHolley SysteMAX IICamshaft Holley SysteMAX II (Lunati PN 51027) intake manifold Holley SysteMAX IIThrottle body BBK 70mmPower adder Vortech S-Trim, making 9 psi of boostExhaust BBK ceramic-coated, 151/48-in full-length headers; BBK H-pipe; Bassani after-cat with Bassani mufflersFuel system 255-lph in-tank pump with Vortech T-Rex; stock lines and rails; 42-lb/hr FRPP injectors; BBK regulator; Vortech FMUTransmission Tremec TR-3550 five-speedShifter Steeda Tri-AxRearend Stock 8.8-in with Auburn differential, 3.73 gears, 31-spline axles, and FRPP aluminum driveshaft

ElectronicsEngine managementEEC-IV with custom Kennedy's Dyno Tune chipIgnition MSD 6BTM, MSD Blaster coil; Ford Racing Performance Parts 9mm wires; Autolite spark plugsGauges Auto Meter Phantom tachometer with shift light; boost, fuel gauges on A-pillar; oil pressure and water temperature gauges in central A/C vent

Suspension and ChassisFront SuspensionK-member StockA-arms StockSprings Steeda drag springsStruts Tokico five-way adjustable drag strutsWheels ROH 17x8.5 (street), Weld Drag Lites 15x4 (strip)Tires BFG 235/45/17 (street), M/T Front ET (strip)Brakes Slotted with Hawk padsRear SuspensionSprings Steeda drag springs with air bagShocks Tokico adjustableControl arms BBK upper and lower with BBK bushingsTraction devices n/aWheels ROH 17x8.5 (street), Weld Drag Lites 16x8 (strip)Tires Nitto NT555R (street), M/T 26x10.5x16 (strip)BrakesFRPP rear disc brake kit (four-lug)Chassis stiffening BBK subframe connectors, Maximum Motorsports six-point bolt-in rollcage with removable door bars