After the 4.6 modular engine debuted in the Mustang in 1996, the demand for performance parts was already ramped up. Those weaned on the ample availability of 5.0 bolt-ons were ready to turn wrenches on modulars. Unfortunately, in the early days, the Mustang's '96-'98 Two-Valve 4.6s were so weak, most enthusiasts who tinkered with the 4.6 owned Cobras with the Four-Valves. Eventually the GTs picked up power and aftermarket steam in 1999, but the engine family had been around since 1991, and the aftermarket was still worried about demand for major hard parts.
So, here it is 2003, and we have nothing beyond blowers and bolt-ons for 4.6 modulars. Sure, Ford Racing Performance Parts now has GT and Cobra intakes and heads, but outside the Blue Oval, the aftermarket is dealing with the chicken-and-the-egg syndrome when it comes to parts availability and parts demand. Fortunately, there's always a pioneer to lead the way for the rest of us. In this case, said ground-breaker is Jim Reichard of Reichard Racing. Long known for whittling out billet bits-including some serious 5.0 intake manifolds-Jim decided to break the ice and produce his own intake manifold for the burgeoning modular market dominated by Two-Valve GTs.
After sitting down at the drawing board for quite a long time, Jim decided to build a manifold that would directly replace Ford's plastic lower manifold. And, he'd offer a removable upper of his own. The removable upper allows for more aggressive applications to run an oval-bore Cobra throttle body, while milder setups can employ a traditional round throttle body. We were fortunate enough to receive one of the first production examples of the oval-bore version, which is ultimately destined to rumble atop our Livernois 5.0 stroker's ported heads and Stage 1 cams.
Of course, we couldn't resist bolting on our 3g GT right away, if for no other reason than to give you an early look at how this beauty goes on. So, check out the photos and captions, and remember it fondly-like the first time we saw an aftermarket intake for the 5.0. One day, we won't be able to count all the manifolds available for the modular, but there's always something special about the first.