In becoming one of the go-to purveyors of Mustang performance gear, the gang at Lethal Performance endeavored to spread its gospel in several traditional and non-traditional methods. On one end, they advertise in old-school print magazines; on the other end, they've sponsored mixed-martial-arts fighters. In the middle, they know exactly where their bread is buttered, which is with true enthusiasts, and there's no better way to attract power-mad enthusiasts than with high-powered project cars.
One such success was the company's '08 GT500 project car, which helped Lethal launch its brand as one of the go-to sources of mail-order muscle for the S197 crowd. The Shelby was a sequel to a Terminator Cobra that flashed its fangs for the New Edge crowd. Having pushed the '08 into the 10-second zone with a substantial list of bolt-ons, headlined by a 3.4-liter Whipple supercharger, the stock engine finally tapped out during a 10.54-second pass. This presented the obvious crossroad, which usually calls for more mods.
"In 2009, when racing our Whipple-powered '08 GT500, we blew up the motor on a 10.54 pass. Our plan was to build a motor and have the car ready for the Bradenton NMRA season opener. Delays with parts kept us from being able to participate in the event. At the same time, images started surfacing on the Internet about the new '10 GT500. I knew the moment I saw it that I wanted one," Lethal Performance's Jared Rosen explained. "So without hesitation, we placed an order for a black-with-Grabber-Blue-stripes '10 GT500 from Philip Weikert at Weikert Ford in Lake Wales, Florida. During the time the car was on order, our engine was finished and sat in our warehouse on a pallet. We replaced the blown motor in the '08 with a low-mileage '07 motor and sold the car to a customer of ours in Kuwait."
The engine in question was no stock replacement, but rather a handcrafted worked of aluminum artistry orchestrated by Modular-engine specialist Al Papitto of Boss 330 Racing. Starting with Ford Racing's wet-sump version of the Ford GT 5.4-liter block, Al added Manley I-beam rods and custom CP Racing pistons to ensure durability. A set of stock GT500 heads received a port job from Kris Starnes of Kris Starnes Racing. To these ported crowns, Al added Boss 330 valvesprings and custom cams ground by Comp Cams.
The plan was to fearlessly fuse the new engine with a brand-new Shelby. "Our 2010 arrived and the plan was to do a step-by-step build, which would allow our customers to see what could be done with the car with basic bolt-ons," Jared explained. "At some point though we knew that the built aluminum motor by Al Papitto would find its place in the 2010 along with one of Whipple's newest blowers. After testing the car with a tune and a few other suspension modifications we started the build. It happened pretty quickly actually. The new motor went in, the suspension, fuel system and everything else we all done at once."
Long one of Whipple's staunchest supporters, Lethal was to once again revisit the massive 3.4-liter twin-screw supercharger, but as the project progressed, a bigger version became available. Lethal was the first to try it out on the company's '10 project.
Yes, the superchargers seem to get larger and larger, and the latest was displaced as much or more than a base Mustang's six-cylinder engine. Clocking in at 4.0 liters, this Whipple also featured an ultra-high-flow inlet, dubbed the Super Crusher, which featured a matching single-blade throttle body.
By now we've all seen GT500s...
By now we've all seen GT500s with big blowers, but this is no stock engine sporting a blower swap. Moreover, it's not just an upgraded stock engine. Lethal had big plans for its last GT500 project, which were to culminate with the installation of an all-aluminum 5.4 built by modular specialist Al Papito's Boss 330 Racing. Based on a Ford GT aluminum block, this engine features CP Pistons, Manley I-beam rods, custom Boss 330 cams, and ported GT500 heads courtesy of Kris Starnes Racing. Topped by a 4.0-liter Whipple Super Crusher supercharger this engine was good for more than 800 horsepower at the tire.
What's that hose between the...
What's that hose between the Fore Precision fuel rail and the blower you might ask? Well, if you look closely, that hose taps into the supercharger casing. That's where the methanol injection delivers its cooling vapors to the heart of the Whipple to cool the rotors and the inlet air.
As we showed you in our buildup...
As we showed you in our buildup story on this car ("The Bravery," June '10, p. 80) the fine crew at Power By the Hour, who did the mechanical work on the car, installed Lethal's triple-pump, return-style fuel system on the car. Based on Fore Precision Works fuel hat, the system includes all the necessary hardware to convert the factory returnless system to a high-flow return-style system. At the time, this kit used the Aeromotive regulator seen here. Since then a matching Fore F4 regulator joined the team.
If not for the 10-point cage,...
If not for the 10-point cage, it would be an unassuming cockpit. Only the Snow Performance methanol-injection controller hints at its far beyond stock power levels. The methanol system is part custom and part Snow. It draws cooling liquid from a reservoir in the trunk and sprays it directly into the front of the Whipple supercharger, not only to cool the boost but also the blower itself, as boost ramps up to 21.5 psi.
If you followed our buildup on this car back in the June 2010 issue ("The Bravery," p. 80), you know that the results of the marriage of the Boss 330 5.4 and massive Whipple spun the dyno rollers at UPR Racing to the tune of 805 hp and 673 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the dyno was only part of the testing procedure. Lethal planned to earn its cred on the dragstrip. Naturally, it's not as simple as just bolting the combination together.
"After the build was finished and the car was custom-tuned by Jon Lund of Lund Racing, we made a visit to the track. Our first time out, we ran a low 10 but experienced some issues," Jared said. "After a little poking around, we ended up replacing the alternator and made another visit to the track. That was when Jeremy cracked off our first 9..."
Jeremy is none other than UPR's Jeremy Martorella, an experienced drag racer and professional sunglasses model, who was kind enough to lend his mastery of the manual trans to the Lethal cause. He also lent quite a bit of the suspension-tuning knowledge he's learned from the likes of Billy Glidden to help hook up the 5.4's massive power at the track. The combination of Jeremy's suspension tuning and driving paid dividends in the form of a milestone achieved-the first 9-second '10 GT500.
"Another few weeks went by and another trip to the track yielded us our quickest run so far, which was a 9.66 at 146.19 mph. All of this basically put us on the map and earned us some good street cred in the GT500 community," Jared added. "Not bad for some 'parts guys' in south Florida.
The custom methanol-injection...
The custom methanol-injection system relies on a controller from the boost-cooling experts at Snow Performance.
"At this time we've made a few changes to the car. Most importantly we've switched over to E85. We're looking to raise the boost to make more power and crack off an 8-second pass with the stock TR6060 six-speed." If that goal weren't lofty enough, the Lethal crew recently acquired a Grabber Blue '11 Mustang GT, and they're looking forward to pushing the Coyote-powered Pony to new heights as well.
We know where this is headed. Another Mustang is going to take a beating in the name of performance, and we're going to love every minute of it.
Engine And Drivetrain
Menacing is the best way to...
Menacing is the best way to characterize the front end of '10-and-up GT500s.
5.4-liter Ford GT aluminum
Boss 330 Racing, custom grind via Comp Cams
4.0-liter Whipple Super Crusher
Kris Starnes Racing-ported GT500 Four-Valve
Whipple Super Monoblade
Fore Precision Works return-style hat w/three Walbro GSS 342 fuel pumps, Fragola lines and fittings, Aeromotive regulator, and Bosch 16-lb/hr injectors
17/8-inch American Racing Headers long-tubes, 3-inch X-pipe, and 3-inch Magnaflow axle-back
Tremec TR-6060 six-speed w/ McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch; Steeda Tri-Ax shifter; and D.S.S. one-piece, aluminum driveshaft
8.8-inch w/Moser spool, 3.73 gears, and Moser 33-spline axles
Engine ManagementSpanish Oak w/Jon Lund custom tune
Suspension And Chassis
Slung low over Bogarts, the...
Slung low over Bogarts, the Lethal Shelby looks, well, lethal. However, it doesn't outwardly emote 9-second performance. At least, not until you hear it running.
17x5-in Bogart GT Drag
Ford Racing Cobra Jet
UPR Competition Series
15x10-in Bogart GT Drag
Mickey Thompson ET Drag
8.50-certified 10-point cage by David Dodge of Tig Vision Welding