The number of comments, questions and compliments this car elicits is (well, was) staggering. Everyone wants to know what year it is, what power it’s putting down, what motor it has, and how in the name of God is it so LOUD? Let me explain.
It’s a little more than a year since I first introduced you to my 2011 Ford Mustang GT/CS, and the machine you see before you today is a very different animal. Given that the basic Mustang GT platform is so very configurable, there is a veritable treasure trove of both official Ford Racing and third-party goodies to help turn your pony car into whatever you want it to be. So yes. I went shopping.
First point of focus was the induction to maximise air-flow into the engine. Gone was the standard setup to be replaced by an Airaid Cold Air Induction system, feeding through a custom-made Vibrant Performance coupling to a larger 85mm diameter BBK throttle body. An added bonus of this setup is the sound tube that connects the induction system directly to the firewall, feeding a lovely induction roar into the cabin on heavy throttle.
The stock GT manifold was replaced with the gorgeous unit from the Boss 302 Mustang, with short runners for improved flow at higher revs. This also meant replacing the standard strut tower brace with a Ford Racing version, which is both lighter and stronger than stock. A set of purely aesthetic Ford Racing blue coil covers added further bling to the engine bay, and to show it all off more easily, I fitted a set of gas hood props – why these aren’t standard fitment is a mystery.
As for the air coming out of the back of the car, the already sweet-sounding Mustang was just crying out for an exhaust system that would do the great engine justice, and boy, did the clever guys at Borla deliver.
You may think your car is loud, but trust me on this, no matter what you drive, it isn’t. The free-flowing straight-through S-Type exhaust system, coupled with the modifications at the front of the car, have turned this Mustang into a monster. Even at tick-over, the car now sounds like a proper muscle car should. Under hard acceleration, it sounds like you’re shredding metal, and between up-shifts you get a fabulous double-cough as the engine girds its loins for the next bout of acceleration. I have never heard a noise like it outside a racing oval. What’s more, the pops, bangs and gunshots on a closed throttle are hilarious, and you can quite literally play this thing like a 5 litre musical instrument, with blipped throttle and slipped clutch producing extraordinary sounds from the rear. It makes a staggering, intoxicating, addictive racket, and every tunnel or high-rise area is now a strictly windows-down affair.
Obviously, all the engine modifications have had a dramatic impact on the volume and velocity of air flowing through the motor, so changes had to be made to the tuning. My new BFFs at the local performance tuning garage pointed me in the direction of a DiabloSport Trinity custom tuner, which looks like a satnav and plugs directly into the car’s ODBII port. You can then make changes to a bewildering number of engine management variables which are written to the car’s ECU. Sounds daunting, but these tuning units are par for the course when it comes to eking out maximum output and smooth performance from a heavily modified motor, and allow you to tweak how the car drives and behaves.
Half a day’s dyno time and a custom tune later, and the engine now puts out a whisker under 500bhp. And with gearing aimed more towards acceleration than top speed, there is very little on the roads that will out-drag the ‘Stang.
Further raiding of the after-market bin led me to replace the stock shifter with a Hurst billet short-throw affair – a beautifully crafted piece with the classic white cue-ball gear-knob. This shortens gear throws by some 35%, and the all-important 2nd to 3rd shift has been markedly improved, which was sometimes a bit hit and miss with the stock shifter. And it looks the business.
As for attaching the car to the road and helping it around corners, gone was the standard suspension in favour of a fully adjustable kit from Ford Racing. This replaces pretty much everything, including struts and shocks, strut mounts, springs and anti-sway bars. All the parts are designed to work as a complete package, and the net effect is excellent. Handling is sharper, body roll a thing of the past, and the 1.5” lowered ride height gives the mustang a more aggressive stance.
To complement both the upped power and the improved handling, I’ve swapped the rear wheels for a set of wider Boss 302 Laguna Seca rims, sporting 305/30 P-Zero rubber. These road rollers do a sterling job keeping things in line at the back, although can be made to let go with only a little provocation, even with traction control on. Which is fun.
Whilst all the modifications have made the GT/CS a massive (if occasionally daunting) laugh to hoon around in, it remains a very civilised – albeit noisy – car if you’re not feeling all fire and brimstone. That said, there are always times when willpower is no match for horsepower and you just have to give this thing the berries. It would simply be rude not to. Just ask the guy in the Corvette Z06 who wanted to play the other day. Yes, sir, it is quick isn’t it? And yes, it does make a nice noise doesn’t it?
Just wait ‘til I supercharge it.