Built at his shop, Fastlane...
Built at his shop, Fastlane Motorsports, Melvin Skinner’s ’07 Mustang is a big boy’s toy inspired by Hot Wheels and Rat Fink. It really is silly, in a good way. Seeing it just makes you giggle.
Besides building wild rides like Melvin’s Mustang and working on customer cars, Fastlane Motorsports is also working with local dealer Capital Ford of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to market its own Stage II Mustangs. They feature Whipple Superchargers and make 475 horsepower at the wheels, but are still covered under factory warranty.
Prowl the modern streets and you’ll often be hard-pressed to tell one S197 Mustang from another. They can all run together like the closely planted houses in a suburban subdivision. For those searching for the choicest examples, it’s a quest that could turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, there are still plenty of exceptions to that rule. Not every example paints its mods on by the numbers.
While the huge blower bursting...
While the huge blower bursting out of the hood makes a visual statement, it’s the size of the rear wheels and tires that makes Project Nightmare brilliantly ridiculous. It couldn’t be real, but it is.
In fact, there are often a handful of cars that will stop us in our tracks. One such example is Melvin Skinner’s ’07 Mustang. Of course, it wasn’t just us that found Project Nightmare alluring. We first laid eyes on the car when it debuted in nearly complete form at the ’10 Mustang Week. Melvin had clued us into the car beforehand, but it was easy to find at the event. Just look for the big crowd around it. We had to wait quite a while just for the people to clear so we could snap a photo.
That’s likely just the reaction Melvin sought when he embarked on the project formerly known as Nightmare On Any Street. "We grew up with Hot Wheels cars, and I always loved the Ed Big Daddy’ Roth creations," he explains. "We wanted a modern-day version that was real, wild, and well-mannered on the street. We did not want a race car, as we already have those. This car is strictly to enjoy and drive wherever we wish."
Lest you think Project Nightmare...
Lest you think Project Nightmare is some sort of trailered show car that might not even run, that’s as far from the truth as possible. Melvin loves driving this car with the tunes and the A/C cranked. He even sent us a few shots of the car driving in the snow!
Even though it is not a race car, this nightmare began where many race cars do--with the rear tires. These aren’t just any tires, but Jurassic slabs of 33-inch Mickey Thompson rubber that would make Fred Flintstone jealous. "We chose the largest street tires available and basically built the car around them," Melvin explains. "The car was completely gutted so we could back-half and tub it for the big tires."
Building the car around the tires is one thing. In fact, it’s a relatively practical approach to bringing a boyhood dream, er, nightmare to life. Of course, once you make the decision to push around 33-inch tires, you aren’t going to go with just any engine. It’s time to go big or go home, and Melvin went big with the biggest modular V-8 to easily fit in a Mustang--a Four-Valve 5.4. It’s not just another GT500 swap, however. It’s a built 5.4 dressed in a Terminator top-end.
As you would imagine, feeding...
As you would imagine, feeding and caring for a beast like this takes quite a support system. Running the EFI side of the program is a FAST XFI system triggering an octet of 95-lb/hr injectors fed by Fore Precision rails and an Aeromotive A1000 pump. The remainder of the car’s electronic controls (including the ignition) are orchestrated by the stock Spanish Oak processor flashed with a Caleb Skinner tune courtesy of an SCT Xcal3.
Because the project began back in 2008, the Termi gear was a bit more readily available. The Fastlane crew knew they’d be modding these parts anyway. Besides the obvious porting of the heads and widening of the intake, there was a special wrinkle in the plans necessitating further mods to the intake. If you are bringing the visage of a cartoon to life, you can’t just use the usual street superchargers. Nope. Melvin spec’d out a traditional 6-71 Roots blower fed by a bug catcher.
"We decided to use the factory PCM for all the accessories and the ignition system, then use a FAST XFI with a separate crank trigger and MAP sensor to run the injectors, therefore eliminating the need for a mass air meter," he explains. "We modified the big Enderle bird catcher for our throttle body. ... The driveability is unbelievable for the modifications."
Obviously Melvin credits his...
Obviously Melvin credits his entire crew at Fastlane Motorsports—Taylor, Happy, Ray, A.J., and Ryan—for making this dream car a reality. However, he gives special kudos to his son Caleb’s (standing) fabrication, engineering, and tuning skills. His wife, Ina, gets a nod for patience and understanding for all those all-nighters the team pulled to get the car ready for Mustang Week.
So, as it turns out, Project Nightmare is a dream come true. Melvin set to pull a childhood dream out of his head and onto the streets, and he has achieved that goal. "With the 5.4, old-school 6-71 blower, a five-speed transmission, full tubs, huge wheels, and its stance, it turned out to be everything that we had envisioned it," Melvin proclaims. "To be able to cruise around or take a trip down the interstate with the A/C on and some tunes playing can’t help but put a smile on your face."
Seeing an S197 that goes well beyond the tried and true bolt-ons certainly makes us grin.
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain
Block Iron 5.4 liter
Crankshaft Ford Racing Performance Parts
Rods Eagle H-beam
Camshafts ’03-’04 Cobra
Cylinder Heads ’04 Cobra
Intake Manifold ’03-’04 Cobra modified for 6-71 blower
Fuel System Aeromotive Stealth cell w/A1000 pump, Aero-motive braided lines, Fore Precision Works regulator, Fore Precision Works fuel rails, and Precision Turbo 95-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Kooks Custom Headers 178-in long-tubes w/Kooks H-pipe and Kooks 3-in mufflers
Transmission Tremec 3650 five-speed
Rearend Narrowed 8.8-in w/Ford Racing differential, 4.56 gears, and Moser axles
Despite its over the top outward...
Despite its over the top outward appearance, the interior of Melvin’s mad creation is relatively reserved inside. It exudes a stock GT500 style, but its chrome-moly cage belies its true potential.
Stock Spanish Oak w/FAST XFI
Control Arms Stock
Struts QA1 adjustable
Wheels Carroll Shelby Wheels CS67
Tires Nitto 245/35-20
Shocks Chris Alston Chassisworks Varishocks
Control Arms Chris Alston Chassisworks four-link
Brakes 14-in Baer
Wheels Budnik 20x16-in custom
Tires Mickey Thompson 33x22x20-in ET Street
Chassis Stiffening Chrome-moly cage by Caleb Skinner of Fastlane Motorsports
In the trunk is a fuel cell...
In the trunk is a fuel cell ample enough for Melvin to drive his car to and from various local car events. Riding shotgun to the cell is a big blue bottle of just-in-case from NOS. It feeds a 175hp pill in a 6-71 plate kit. In short, Melvin can go from ridiculous power to preposterous power at the touch of a button.
Those are legit GT500 parts...
Those are legit GT500 parts on the front of Melvin’s ’07 Mustang. Even the aluminum hood is the real deal, but some parts of it obviously were sacrificed in the name of the 6-71.
We’ve become accustomed to...
We’ve become accustomed to seeing supercharged 5.4s, but we’ve never seen something like this. While it doesn’t have a shifter coming out of the roof, the presence of a 6-71 roots blower atop the modern 5.4 really drives home the inspiration of Project Nightmare. The built 5.4 displaces 334 ci, and the blower is pullied for 14 pounds of boost. Running at the behest of a FAST XFI and burning pump gas, this combo puts down 771 hp and 730 lb-ft at the Flintstones on 18 psi. Dialing the boost down to a more manageable 10 psi results in 576 hp and 549 lb-ft.