Down in the trenches on the...
Down in the trenches on the main floor is the temporary glitz city madeup of booths. This shot taken from the top of our own two-story boothtypifies the SEMA show scene.
Horse Sense: If you think we wereexaggerating about the number of new Mustangs at the SEMA Show, theofficial count showed a total of 121 on the property. Of those, 97 wereS197s. How's that for a lot of new Mustangs? The "97" deal had to be acoincidence, right?!
From Ford's ( www.ford.com...
From Ford's (www.ford.com; www.fordracingparts.com) booth overlooking the main SEMA show hall, the yellowlate-model Mustang GT lording over the scene from its chassis dyno saysit all. Only Daimler-Chrysler's 300C came close to offering the newMustang a challenge as the car to have at SEMA '05, and it was a distantchallenge at that. Hondas, the official car of SEMA, were tough to comeby.
If you aren't crazy about '05-'06 Mustangs, it was a good thing youweren't at the SEMA show. The LasVegas extravaganza was positively overrun with the S197 Mustang, whichis taking the entire aftermarket by storm--if not the nation at large.Not even the vaunted 5.0 Mustangs in their day so comprehensivelyovertook the Specialty Equipment Market Association's showcasetrade-show wingding, so it was fabulous to see Mustangs everywhere thisyear.
You might be justifiably enthralled by your '04 or earlier Mustang, butthe SEMA show is all about new--and nothing but new. Hence, the all-outattention to the '05-'06 Mustang--a godsend to the aftermarket, whichhugely appreciates a car that attracts everything from horsepower andhandling mods to dedicated air fresheners, floor mats, and othermainstream America hooey.
Frankly, we're thrilled with the SEMA show's infatuation with the newcar. It means our hobby is only getting stronger, which bodes well forMustangs past and future. And if there were little or no attention paidto the new Mustang, we'd have a dog on our hands, which nobody wants.
Ford's take on SEMA is high-brow,...
Ford's take on SEMA is high-brow, indeed. Selling car sizzle instead ofparts steak, Ford's ever-larger booth is now dedicated solely to newcars or finished project and dream cars. Not a single part from FordRacing Performance Parts was seen on display, except on project cars. GMfollowed a similar strategy, but with more technical displays and crateengines--the Daimler-Chrysler booth is jammed with performance and restoparts.
We found a good number of hardcore parts for the new car, which made usespecially happy. A surprising number of aftermarket parts were alreadyin production--or at least looked as if they were (this is SEMA, afterall). A few companies didn't have much new in their booths at the show,but will have gear early next year. For example, Koni [(859) 586-4100;www.koni-na.com] tendsto make a few large shipments to the United States, and will have itsnew FSD dampers here in the second quarter of 2006. After several yearsof inactivity, Weiand is busy updating its entire line of intakemanifolds and water pumps; the Ford castings are likely being massagedas you read this.
Of course, there is more to SEMA than new Mustang stuff. Companies arestill filling in their lineups for the Fox and SN-95 cars, earliermodulars and, yes, the pushrod engines. This is a process that seeminglygoes on forever--witness the flurry of FE stroker crankshafts andconnecting rods debuting this year at SEMA from Eagle [(662) 796-7373;www.eaglerod.com] and Scat [(310) 370-5501; www.scatenterprises.com]. Scat is also offering balanced rotating assemblies for thesmall-block Ford V-8.
Paul and Ronda Svinicki of...
Paul and Ronda Svinicki of Paul's High Performance are close to the Fordflagpole in Michigan, which pays off come SEMA time. This year theybrought the Platinum Pony, a drag-oriented '05 GT with a 5.4 GT engineto sit in Ford's booth. In the background is Ford's captivating GTcutaway. Literally a GT cut in half to allow visitors to walk through,the display cost much more than the GTwas made from.
Eagle's 4340 forged stroker crank for the 4.6 V-8 seemed an especiallysignificant new part for Ford tuners. Modular engines can use all thedisplacement they can get, and having a proper crankshaft for the job isa big first step.
Another tip of a smaller iceberg was the sighting of a few Fusionproject cars around the show halls. Too new to have much impact thisyear, Fusion is a good platform and ought to make a slightly largerappearance at next year's SEMA fall fling. We'll be there.
KJ's Top 10
1. Inalfa Sunroofs' EVO Sport Inbuilt Roof
I thought the day we'd see any sort of open-air feature in a Mustangwere long gone. This roof will definitely be a hit in warm-weatherplaces like Florida and Cali. I saw a deal go down for six of them whileI was in the Inalfa booth.
2. Koul Tools
No, it isn't another '05-Mustang-specific item--not by a long shot. Butthese tools are the most-innovative products for taking the hassle outof installing AN fittings on braided hose.
3. MSD's Lazer Gauges
These digital gauges were recognized as one of the best new productsintroduced at SEMA. "Look, Ma, no needles (on the faces of the gauges)."And they don't have any backlights or visible LEDs. It's pretty trippytechnology.
4. Trick Flow Systems' New, Improved "R" Heads
These race heads were revamped to eliminate the cracking problems thatunfortunately were common to the original design. The perennial sleeperof the small-block Ford racing world is now ready to rock.
5. Holley's ProCharged Engine
One would think some sort of crazy EFI system would be required for thisengine. Talk about disproving myths! That huge blower feeding a good ol'Holley carb and making 1,000 hp is way cool.
6. MSD's Mod-Motor Ignition Control
Finally! Note to self: Be on the lookout for mod-motored Mustangssporting carbs real soon!
7. Control Freak Suspensions' '05 Mustang IRS System
Editor Turner and I took a look at it on a car displayed at Hot Rod'sPower Tour during the summer, but seeing this suspension in stand-aloneform at SEMA gave me a much better understanding of what's involved. The'05s have decent handling in stock form, but this IRS probably makes thenew, longer Mustang handle a slot car . . . and it bolts in.
Since I use "borrowed" milk crates, parts boxes (usually with contentsstill inside), and step stools when I'm working on "sit-down" types ofdriveway projects (brakes or changing wheels), the Kreepster reallycaught my interest because it offers better support and you can use thepush/glide technique to get back and forth between the car and variouspoints around the shop.
9. Sony Xplod Giga Panel Faceplate Stereo
This thing is a dream for driving enthusiasts who have extensive musiclibraries stored on their computers and can't stand the repetition ofcommercial radio.
10. Hellion Power Systems' '05 Mustang Turbo Kit
Hopefully, all of the fine-tuning and tweaking will be complete and thissystem will be available for sale by the time you read this. It's reallynice. C'mon, Urist, git 'er done!
The serious fuel-system crew at Aeromotive [(913) 647-7300; www.aeromotive.com]showed off an improved version of its digital fuel-management unit forreturnless-fuel-system vehicles. This version offers a slick interfaceand allows you to reference useful data such as boost pressure.
Agent 47 Competition Products' "Innerframe" is a radical new setup fortightening up the overall chassis dynamics of an SN-95-based 'Stang. TheInnerframe is a bolt-in or weld-in, tubed and boxed frame structure madeof NASCAR-spec tubing that connects to every section of the car (enginebay, cockpit, and trunk). It makes up for the insufficiencies of thefactory's spot welds and thin sheetmetal, and bringstube-chassis/race-car-like handling to '94-'04 coupes and convertibles.Agent 47 [(760) 496-3809; www.agentfortyseven.com] also introduced its A-Wing rear spoiler for '94-'04 'Stangs.This unique wing is driver adjustable from inside the car (it can beraised for increased downforce in the corners or lowered for decreaseddrag on the straight-aways), and therefore doesn't extend or retract atpredetermined speeds like other rear spoilers.
New from Airaid [(800) 498-6951; www.airaid.com] is abolt-on, cold-air intake system for '05-'06 4.6L Mustang GTs (PN450-172; $454.62). This unique setup uses Airaid's Premium SynthaFlowfilter and a computer-designed Cool Air Dam and Modular VenturiTechnology to generate an estimated 17 additional horsepower and 21lb-ft of torque for the Three-Valve, while maintaining the correctair/fuel ratios. The system's removable modular venturi tube allows foreven bigger power and torque gains with the addition of a custom chip ortuning.
Editor Turner is a sucker for carbon fiber, so this real silver carbonon the '05 Mustang interior pieces stopped us in our tracks. This is noDIY stick-on kit, rather APsis USA [(631) 421-6800; www.apsisusa.com] moldsthe carbon-fiber to your pieces. You either send your interior parts tothem or pay a core charge. The treatment isn't cheap, ranging from$1,250 to $2,250 plus core charge, but it looks OEM. Currently they havepieces designed for '99-'04 and '05-and-up Mustangs, but they can customcover just about anything.
For 2006, Auto Meter has concentrated on filling in any gaps in itsexisting lines of gauges. Notable showings were Ultra-Lite andSport-Comp tachs and speedos in the smaller 21/16-inch diameter, whichis a popular request from users, according Auto Meter [(815) 899-0800;www.autometer.com].Other innovations include detail changes to some of the showierinstruments, to include color-changing illumination, display modes, andsuch. Of course, our favorite new upgrade was the company's new NexusOBD-II arrangement, which simply plugs into the vehicle's onboarddiagnostic port to grab data from the factory electronics.
Shifter specialists B&M [(818) 882-6422; www.bmracing.com] saysits new '05 Mustang manual-transmission shifter offers a 30 percentreduction in shifter throw by relocating the shifter's pivot point. A1-inch lengthening of the upper stick is part of the $249.96 package,which is part stainless steel, part aluminum, one part spherical pivotbearing, and Igus bushings for full isolation. B&M also showed its ProRatchet, Pro Stick, Black Diamond, and Street Bandit automatic floorshifters in carbon-fiber trim for various C4, C6, and AOD applications.
Baer Brake Systems [(602) 233-1411; www.baer.com] announced itsnew partnership with Roulunds Braking in a big way, using an after-hourspress conference with Chip Foose and his latest '06 Foose StallionEdition Mustang as a worthy draw. Roulunds, the world's second-oldestcorporation, is an established OEM supplier of friction components. Thenew agreement promises affordable, readily available brake pads fromBaer for a wide range of applications. Last year, Baer Brakes announcedits own six-piston caliper ($2,500 per front set). The good news is,Baer's new, giant CNC machine has come online to alleviate shortages ofthis popular new piece.
Our friends at Bassani [(714) 630-1821; www.bassanixhaust.com] had a unique display of '05 Mustang exhaust-system components. Theside closest to the camera is the high-end Bassani stuff, while theother side of the system represents the more affordable BX line. If youhave a Mustang, they have you covered.
Aside from the 5.0 intakes we've already tested, BBK [(800) 486-2681;www.bbkperformance.com; www.brothersperformance.com] was showing a whole board full of '05Mustang GT parts. These include a dress-up intake cover, a twin 62mmthrottle body, long-tube and equal-length 15/8-inch short-tube headers,underdrive pulleys, a cold-air kit, and upper and lower chassis bracingunder BBK's Gripp name.
Blue Moon Motorsports [(800) 893-0740; www.bluemooncars.com] was showing off its new Control Freak Suspensions' IRS setup for theS197 Mustang. The company offers complete, bolt-in independent rearsuspensions for a number of older cars, plus the aforementionedlatest-model Mustang.
Borla Performance Industries
The big noise at Borla was the addition of Borla's smaller, moreraucous, S-Type mufflers for Mustangs, including the '05 in V-8 and V-6trim. That gives Borla [(805) 986-8600; www.borla.com] completeMustang coverage starting with '87 5.0s, with either their quieter orlouder systems. Unfortunately, they didn't have any examples in thebooth for us to photograph, but you'll understand when we say the S-Typesystems use only small mufflers almost at the tailpipe, with onlystraight tubing in the stock position.
Always looking to take care of the important Mustang market, Centerforce[(928) 771-8422; www.centerforce.com]was showing a new 11-inch clutch for high-powered street Mustangs.Designed to be totally streetable, the assembly has held 603 lb-ft oftorque measured at the tires. It comes with a dual-friction discstandard, DFX paddle discs are optional, as is a matching 13.3-poundaluminum flywheel with replaceable friction surface. No pricing was setat show time.