Frank H. Cicerale
November 1, 2007

While we guys love shop-ping for speed parts for a fast Ford, women don't think twice about picking up a new pair of high heels, even if they're to go with a dress they'll wear only once.

The same can be said for Project MILF, our '06 Mustang GT. The shopping spree began with the installation of Ford Racing Performance Parts' Handling Pack, promptly followed by FRPP's Super Pack. Once the Super Pack's Whipple blower was on, a set of 4.10 gears, a full-on exhaust system from Stainless Works, a custom tune from JDM Engineering, and an FRPP Big-Boost kit enabled the Legend-Lime S197 to whip down New Jersey's Old Bridge Township Raceway Park's quarter-mile in 11.54 seconds at 120 mph and later take home groceries from the local supermarket.

With Project MILF's closet stocked with a nice wardrobe of speed parts, it was time for new shoes-a set of wheels and tires, and a big brake kit to improve the stopping time. Our GT was originally equipped with 12.5-inch front rotors and two-piston calipers, which is a decent front braking system for a factory piece. The thing is, we weren't totally satisfied with the stock brakes. We wanted to give Project MILF a big upgrade, so we called Stillen and ordered the AP Racing Big-Brake kit.

Stillen offers two versions of the kit: one comes with a four-piston caliper and the other-the one we chose-the large-and in-charge, six-piston caliper kit. Both come with 14.25-inch drilled and slotted rotors. The advantages to using these rotors on the front are numerous. The rotors increase brake bite, allowing the pads to grab the rotor more effectively. Additionally, the rotors themselves are mounted on an aluminum hat to lower some of the weight mass that accompanies the larger braking system.

Obviously, a six-piston caliper consists of six pistons, though of different sizes. With more area due to the larger amount of pistons, you can use larger pads and effectively have more braking power. The larger components also help to dissipate heat more efficiently than the stock stuff, enabling the aftermarket brakes to stave off brake fade.

The kit's six-piston calipers are made of lightweight aluminum and are stocked with Mintex XTreme pads. The pads are race-style pieces that can also be used on the street and work great from cold temperatures all the way to 1,300 degrees F. While we went with the big, bad wolf of a brake kit, the four-piston setup would also have been a great upgrade for less money. Additionally, we didn't go with Stillen's rear brake upgrade, which contains the same type of hardware, though the calipers are a four-piston design and the rotors measure 13 inches.

Knowing that the Shelby GT500 sports 14-inch rotors and four-piston calipers hidden by 18-inch wheels from the factory, we knew MILF's stock 17-inch rims wouldn't clear the calipers. Plus, in all honesty, what's the point of putting on a romping set of brakes if you don't have some nice, shiny, new rims to go with them? Stillen has a great tire-fitment template on its Web site. While it took a bit of an in-depth dissection to figure out how to use it, we came up with rim sizes that we were pretty sure would work.

With the new rotors being 14.25 inches and having big calipers, we knew that 19-inch rims would be cutting it close in regards to clearing the calipers. After a long consultation with Discount Tire Direct, we ordered a set of MB Motorsports Drifter wheels. The old-school, five-spoke design showcased a silver finish with a machined lip that gave off just enough bling without being too flashy. As for sizing, we wanted a little more tire in the rear, so we went with 20x10s with a 50mm offset. As we stated, the front was more critical, but we were confident that the 20x8.5s we picked, along with the wheels' 45 mm offsets and outward spoke designs, would clear the calipers.

One thing to note is that the larger wheel and tire combo will affect the gear ratio. If we ever got Project MILF to hook on the new tires and wheels, we'd probably lose a little e.t. and speed.

In addition to shipping us the wheels, Discount Tire Direct also kicked over a set of corresponding Nitto NT555 Extreme tires. The Nittos would replace the stock tires, which were sized at 235/55ZR-17 on all four corners. The new meats were sized 275/35ZR-20 out back, while the front hoops came in at a slightly smaller 255/35ZR-20. Either way, both the front and the rear tires had a larger tread width, meaning that more rubber would meet the road. This would aid in cornering and braking, as the contact patches are greater. In addition, the sidewalls for the new Nittos were much shorter than stock, so we knew that once we got the tires on the wheels and took Project MILF down the road, the feel of the car and its ride quality would (or should) be a bit different.

The tread design of the Nitto NT555 is aggressive, supplying plenty of dry-weather performance. The tread pattern was designed to optimize maximum contact under hard acceleration, braking, and cornering. At the same time, though, the tread design is also effective when the skies open up. This tire is arguably the closest thing to being a competition track tire that's still suitable for everyday driving. We planned on flogging Project MILF on the road course at some point in the future, so we knew the NT555s would be perfect for taking the kids to soccer practice as well as turning a few hot laps around the twisty Old Bridge Township Raceway Park road course.

We loaded up Project MILF (and a chase car) with all of the parts and pieces for the installation and cruised back to South Amboy, New Jersey, where Chris Winter of Crazy Horse Racing performed the brake makeover. Once the brakes were on and bled, and the tires and wheels were bolted on the car, we took Project MILF for a brief ride on the roads around the shop to bed the brake pads. We made a couple of gradual stops from 40 mph to 20 mph, let the brakes cool, and then a few hard stops from 60 mph to 20 mph. Once Winter felt comfortable that the brakes were bedded correctly and everything was in order, we drove the car to get a feel for the new rolling stock and braking hardware.

Originally, there were questions as to how the car, with the Handling Pack's lowering springs and the shorter-sidewall 20-inch rims and tires, would perform on the street in terms of driveability and ride quality. While the ride isn't as cushy as a stock Mustang GT's with the factory suspension components and rolling stock, the overall ride of Project MILF with the new gear and the performance suspension components that are a part of the Handling Pack wasn't diminished enough to knock out our fillings.

The larger tires and wheels allow the car to cut into the corners with more authority. Just ask the driver of the Honda S2000 we dusted on a windy road. Best of all were the thumbs-up we got from a few drivers at stoplights.

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All These Bills!
Every time we open our mailbox, we find more bills. To slow down a future foray into Chapter 11, we're keeping tabs on our expenditures for Project MILF. Remember, this tally includes prices for parts only. In addition, the prices for the tires and wheels are the front two and the rear two combined. To find the individual cost of each wheel and tire, take the price listed and divide by two. The original cost of the car and labor rates are not included as there are variables to both figures.
Part Manufacturer Part No. Price
Handling Pack FRPP {{{M}}}-2005-FR3 $1,299.00
Super Pack FRPP M-6066-M463V $4,899.00
Billet Oil Fill Cap FRPP M-6766-MP46 $44.00
Valve Covers FRPP M-6582-3VBLK $269.00
1 3/4-in Long-Tube Headers Stainless Works M05H175 $1,542.40
3-in After-Cat Exhaust System Stainless Works M05CB3 $880.{{{90}}}
4.10 Gearset FRPP M-4209-G410 $225.00
Rearend Girdle FRPP M-4033-G2 $199.00
75W90 Rearend Fluid Royal Purple RPO-RP01300* $21.90
XCalibrator2 Programmer SCT 946-9415A* $379.99
48-lb Injectors FRPP M-9593-G302 $499.00
Big-Boost Kit FRPP M-9066-M11 $2,099.99
1-gal Motorcraft Engine Coolant Downs {{{Ford}}} VC-7 $14.50
Nitto NT555 Extreme Tires 255/35ZR-20 Discount Tire Direct 40184 $286.00
Nitto NT555 Extreme Tires 275/35ZR-20 Discount Tire Direct 40211 $570.00
MB Drifter 20x8.5 Wheels 45mm Offset Discount Tire Direct 61387 $340.00
MB Drifter 20x10 Wheels 50mm Offset Discount Tire Direct 61389 $450.00
Wheel Install Kit Discount Tire Direct 80300 $45.00
AP Racing Front Six-Piston Brake Kit Stillen AP4100 $3,095.75
Tire Mount and Balance B-C Tire Service NA $181.90
Total: $17,342.34
*Priced though {{{Summit}}} Racing Equipment (www.summitracing.com)