In this era of 420hp GTs, it's difficult to believe there was a time when a 390hp Cobra was the king of the Mustang hill. However, in many ways, the '03 Mustang Cobra was the spiritual beginning to the current era of high-powered 'Stangs. Our memories of first dumping the Terminator's heavy clutch pedal and unleashing the Eaton-supercharged Four-Valve 4.6 are still vivid. It was the car that delivered so many things that enthusiasts demanded for years: a six-speed manual, a supercharger, and even a nod to the wine-and-cheese crowd with an independent rear suspension. In short, it was one for the ages. Little did we know then that 390 hp and 390 lb-ft would seem weak by comparison. My how times have changed. However, one benefit of ever-increasing technology is applying it to older Mustangs.
Terminators have long loved supercharger upgrades, but heretofore there hasn't been a Termi TVS supercharger option. Eaton's Twin Vortices Series superchargers have proven their efficacy on GT500s and Coyotes. At the forefront of the TVS revolution is VMP Tuning, and its 800-plus-rwhp '07 GT500 and its 9-second '11 GT. Both cars were boosted by the trusty TVS. "After overwhelming success with the VMP TVS on the 5.4-liter GT500, it only seemed natural to go back and apply the technology to '03-'04 Terminators," explained VMP's main man, Justin Starkey. "While the cars are much older, stock unmolested cars pop up all the time with mod-eager owners." With such great results on those cars, Justin decided to offer a TVS for the Terminator. He engineered a bolt-on upgrade package.
"The VMP TVS is the first 'OEM-style' aftermarket blower ever produced for the '03-'04 Cobra. We started with an a new design based on OEM CAD data, then tooled a one-piece housing to bolt up to the factory lower intake," Justin added. "There is no adapter or intermediate plate, essentially making it just like an OEM blower in terms of fit and finish. This makes the blower easier to install and service, more durable/rigid, and less prone to vacuum leaks." That sounded pretty good to us, so we visited the VMP shop to see how this blower bolts on and what it puts down.
Horse Sense: Best known for its GT500 and now Terminator TVS upgrades, VMP Tuning also offers pulley and tuning upgrade packages for all Roushcharged Three-Valve 4.6 and Coyote 5.0 applications.
VMP customer Jeff Smith's Competition Orange '04 Cobra served as a test bed for the VMP Tu
Finding a bone-stock Terminator is like going on a unicorn hunt. Fortunately, Jeff's Cobra
Without disconnecting the fuel line, Bobby loosens and removes the fuel rail and injectors
Positive-displacement superchargers loathe inlet restrictions, so VMP designed its Termi T
After removing the belt, VMP's Bobby Williams wrenches off the EGR connection. As most aft
Removing the supercharger from a Termi is a bit more complex than doing so on a GT500 beca
Like the inlet side, the discharge side of the two superchargers tells a similar tale. The
Next, Bobby removes the stock induction hose, stock mass air meter, and CAI. You can remov
With the intercooler fluid manifold removed, Bobby extracted the remaining two blower bolt
Next off are the stock throttle body and inlet elbow. The TVS features its own inlet elbow
The VMP TVS ($3,399, right) packs considerably more boost potential and efficiency in a pa
Before installing the VMP TVS, be sure to swap the two locating dowels from the stock blow
With the intercooler installed, the VMP drops right into the stock lower manifold as if it
Remember the intercooler manifold? Well, it mates with these two fittings in the intercool
Obviously more boost requires more fuel. To that end, Justin upgraded Jeff's car with eigh
On the Dyno
You have to love factory-super charged Mustangs. They are built for bolt-on improvements. Terminators really pioneered this movement, and you can see that they still uphold their reputation with a supercharger upgrade.
"The TVS supercharged Terminators continue with excellent torque production seen on GT500s and 5.0s, and the large inlet on the Cobra TVS gives it excellent power potential," Justin explained. "The 2.3 is a capable blower, we have already seen it produce over 800 rwhp. The Cobra TVS' strength is in the inlet design, which allows for future upgrades."
That potential is obvious on Jeff's car. You can see how the stock supercharger peaks in the midrange and tapers off at the top of the tach. The VMP TVS, on the other hand, keeps thundering out the back door, and delivers gains of 173.22 hp and 147.52 lb-ft of torque.
Of course those gains were aided by the support hardware, but even so, such a stout gain over the entire powerband is stellar.
To see how the combination would fare with more octane, Justin added a can of Torco's Unle
These are the kind of results we like to see. Adding the VMP TVS turned Jeff's Cobra into
With the Torco in the tank, Justin flashed the processor with a more aggressive tune, whic
Pushing more boost with a smaller blower pulley means belt wrap and tension are at a premi
With the VMP TVS in its new home, Bobby reconnects the factory vacuum line save for the EG
VMP Tuning's TVS upgrade kit includes one pulley, but you can choose between 3.2-, 3.0-, 2
To help support the increased airflow of the VMP TVS, Justin stepped up Jeff's Cobra with
The BBK unit is a direct bolt-on replacement for the stocker. You can order the VMP TVS to
The finished install looks close to factory. The only clues are the new mass air housing,
Augmenting the factory fuel pumps in Jeff's car is a VMP fuel pump booster ($249.99).
Jeff regularly takes his Cobra to the dragstrip and it still wears its factory IRS. To war
Amazingly, Jeff's Terminator was running in the 11s with the stock H-pipe. With a lot more