Paul Brown July 8, 1969–Oct. 13, 2012
By now the word is out that 2011 Grand Am champion Paul Brown died of melanoma last October. It's equally well-reported that Paul was the son of long-time Ford chassis-expert Kenny Brown, and that Paul was an exceptionally nice guy. Regular readers may also recall Paul graced our April 2012 cover when we compared his championship Boss 302S to the street-going Boss.
That's all true, but somehow simply reciting the facts leaves anyone who knew Paul Brown with more than the usual empty space that is left when a friend is no longer here. At just 43 years of age, Paul was taken painfully early, robbing him of many more laps and us the pleasure of watching his joy in driving them. For if nothing else, Paul loved to drive and compete wheel-to-wheel on a road course. He had a hunger for it few understand and even fewer satiate so fully.
Paul's appetite was bared to the world in 1993 when he first took a Mustang onto a professional race course. Though he was the son of an already famous Mustang builder, Paul was estranged from his father and bereft of any material advantage that may have given him. His early racing efforts were strictly his, pasted together with the spit and hope aspiring racers have always dragged around North America in a 24-foot trailer behind a tired pickup. At the time, his around-the-clock energy and equally boundless optimism seemed quaintly naïve, as if he should have known starry-eyed, 23-year-old privateers never make it far before burning out.
But Paul simply kept on burning. Working every minute of the way, he could measure success in top 10 finishes, while his HP Motorsport and other business ventures were good but not the stuff to easily write championship checks. There was nothing easy about it.
In the early 2000s, Paul took a pro-racing sabbatical, putting his creative fabrication talents on the market while keeping his racing hand by schooling NASA American Iron Extreme racers when possible. This led to an association with telecom mogul Tom Hollfelder and his impressive stable of blue-blood vintage racing cars. More importantly, in 2005, it also led to marriage with Tom's daughter Carol, a union as perfect as it was unconventional.
Carol, herself a World Challenge competitor, had been confined to a wheelchair from an equestrian accident for years before she met Paul, but it was never a handicap for Paul. He and Carol were an outstanding match, full of mutual support and affection, and blazing with the same racing fire. Together they built an outstanding car for Carol—featured in this magazine—before eventually concentrating on Paul's World Challenge ambitions.
Lest anyone think it was Tom's money that made the difference in Paul's racing success, it wasn't. There were side benefits from Tom's shop, where Paul kept his day job of prepping the vintage cars, but the racing was all on Paul and Carol. They were the ones arranging the sponsorship and paying the bills, and their championship success is all theirs. We doubt many appreciate their racing successes as much as Paul did.
By never giving up, Paul lived the dream for us kids who will never grow up. From struggling neophyte to his dominating 2011 championship, Paul raced a variety of outstanding cars at some of the world's greatest venues. Not many Mustang drivers can claim Ferrari 512 experience at Le Mans, for example, or time as a Morgan factory test driver. But even more telling, Paul never thought better of himself for it, and we expect many of his competitors never realized the breadth of his experience because he didn't wear it like a medal.
Ultimately, Paul's greatest accomplishments are not winning races or building incredibly crafty hand-controlled, paddle-shift Mustangs with Ford. His legacy is his balance of on-track ferocity and in-the-garage encouragement. Paul burned to win but was just as apt to help others. His pit was always a haven of fellowship, food, and drink, and his friendships were many and deep. His love of the sport lives on in the many he tutored and the energy he spent freely with others-and always with a champion's character. We saw Paul frustrated many times, but never angry. He met racing's never-ending obstacles with craft and determination.
We're happy for Paul on several counts. First for his marriage; second, in his pre-championship reconciliation with his dad; and third for his focus, determination, and ultimate victory. We're happy to have known him, and sad for Carol, Kenny, and all his family and friends for the void left behind.-Tom Wilson
Quick Spin: GT vs. GT500
When a Mustang is fresh and new, it's easy to become enamored of its new features, improved horsepower, and other benefits of modern engineering. It's that sort of love at first drive that we've felt with many of the latest Mustangs. Granted, when it comes to the Coyote- and Trinity-powered 'Stangs, a love fest is deserved. That said, it's always nice to revisit these cars after some time has passed. Not only does it let us compare the stockers with other models, but with modified versions of the same car.
Recently, we went back-to-back in both a 2013 GT and GT500. Normally, our Quick Spin review would focus on one car, but this time around we thought it was worthwhile to compare and contrast the everyday GT with the rarified GT500. Certainly they are different cars for different budgets, but in daily use it’s the nuances that matter.
Our sampling began with the latest Mustang GT, and the Deep Impact Blue example was elegant in its wingless simplicity. The stylistic changes of the ’13, especially the taillights, still resonate with postive vibes, and the optional Recaros are such a huge ugrade in comfort and performance. Likewise the optional Brembo brakes served up plenty of stop.
As much as I enjoy the new GT, my perception of it has changed since spending lots of quality time in Boss 302s. The GT is a fine car, but it is not a Boss. Knowing that sort of performance is available from the same platform makes it harder to fully respect the GT. That said, it’s plenty of car for most people, and it has so much aftermarket upside that it can be modded to exceed the performance of its brawnier siblings. Yet, in it’s stock form the rev limiter comes around way too soon.
Though we aren’t making this a three-way comparison, the Boss is the elephant in the room between these two cars. It is clearly the handler, but the latest GT500 is no slouch there either. Sure it’s heavier, and more powerful, but the GT500 posesses incredible balance for such a muscular car and it can be had with all the toys like the GT, and more.
Obviously the thunderous power of the 5.8 is seductive, but in the real world the GT500 pulled in similar average gas mileage to the GT, and the ability to switch suspension tuning on the fly was a godsend. The Sport suspension pogo'd a bit much for the real world, but switch from Normal to Sport for that big off-ramp, and it was heaven with a TVS whine.
Clearly, if you have the means, the GT500 is the move, but if you like to build them way up, starting with the GT is a great choice. Just to show how much catching up you’ll have to do, we are comparing the dyno numbers here. It’s far from science, as we dyno’d the GT at VMP Tuning and the GT500 at Steeda on different days, but you get the general idea that TiVCT is no match for displacement and a blower.
2013 GT Upshifts: Power Seats
2013 GT Downshifts: Transmission Handling
2013 GT500 Upshifts: Power Transmission Handling
2013 GT500 Downshifts: Price
||GT vs. GT500
Imagine my surprise today when my father, an avid Porsche enthusiast for 50-plus years, sent me a Car & Driver article, Nov. '12, on the '15 Mustang. (Probably in response to my sending him your article on the 950hp '13 GT500 taunting his Turbo Porsche.) The point being that I feel neglected, relying on my favorite magazine's editorial column for firsthand rumblings in the Ford universe. What's up?
We certainly do our fair share of sensationalizing when it comes to big horsepower, but when it comes to speculating about future models, I often leave that to my column and clearly state that it's speculation. Everyone knows that theories about the next Mustang, whether they are supported by un-named sources or not, will garner attention for a publication. We hold the Mustang near and dear, so we don't want to take wild guesses about what might or might not happen with the car. We still have a while to go before it is unveiled, so we're going to enjoy the cars we have now.
King of the Six?
I look forward to reading your magazine every month. I really enjoy the King of the Street competition. While reading about the King of the Street cars and prepping for the NMRA Bowling Green event, I had an idea. I pitched it to a handful of my fellow True Street competitors and they thought it sounded interesting.
I drive an '05 Mustang V-6. It is not anything special and is certainly not in a position to be featured in a magazine right now. But my idea involves V-6 Mustangs. I—along with everybody I talked to about it, including those V-8 only types—think it would be enjoyable to both the fans and the readers if you would do a contest similar to the KOTS competition for base engine Mustangs. You could call it Prince of the Street—like a little brother to the King.
For the entrants, anything goes to really wow the judges, except they are limited engine-wise to whatever base engine was used for that year: An '05 would be a 4.0-liter engine, an '11 would be a 3.7-liter, and so on. There are a large number of small-displacement Mustangs that are getting modified these days and some are reaching huge power numbers and are still daily driven. I know the 3.7-liter has a turbo kit in the works that should be impressive. The 4.0-liter has been pushed into the 400s numerous times, and the 3.8-liter can be stroked and has numerous power tricks to make it insane.
I think the winner of the Prince contest would still be deserving of recognition, and I find alot of people are fascinated by my naturally aspirated 4.0-liter. I can only wonder what people would think if they were exposed to 400-plus-horsepower V-6s that are still easy to drive on the street. This could also draw more readers to your magazine—those with base models that have been modified and are harassed by others for not having a V-8.
This would also attract more low-end Mustangs to show for True Street competitions at both NMRA and NMCA events with hopes of having their rides noticed too. At this years NMRA World Finals, I was the only 4.0-liter in the T/S competition, but there were four 3.8-liter Mustangs. This would also boost performance shops' interest in tinkering with base-engined setups. After seeing some of the shop cars in Bowling Green, I'd love to see what guys like Justin Starkey could build for this type of event.
I would love to hear your thoughts on something like this.
I do appreciate your passion for the base Mustangs, Larry. Oddly enough, we were discussing possible variations on the KOTS theme over dinner in Bowling Green. However, bringing it all the way down to the V-6 nation might be a bit of a stretch. The latest sixes are certainly potent enough to be interesting, but most six-cylinder Mustangs are sold to those that want the mix of style and economy. For the most part, these owners aren't serial performance modders like the V-8 crowd.
Ford Racing showed off a really interesting Cobra Jet CONCEPT at the 2012 SEMA Show. Its power adder of choice certainly hints at the Mustang's future... Immediately before the SEMA show, ProCharger unveiled its new Programmable Ratio supercharger TECHNOLOGY that makes a centrifugal hit like a Roots down low, and still sings at the top end.