It’s easy to dream about turning your daily driver Mustang into a tire-smokin’ horsepower-house with looks to match. Finding the time and money to do it all can be another story. But with some planning and budget-friendly performance parts, you can take your daily driver to a high level of wow and have some gas money in your pocket.
That was the idea behind 5.0 Revival, Summit Racing’s 1995 Mustang GT project. The 5.0L ponycar is ideal for a budget rocket; it’s inexpensive to buy, easy to work on, and has more hop-up parts available for it than a politician has excuses. The project was done in three stages (actually four—we’ll explain in a minute) using high-quality and affordable Summit and Trick Flow parts. After each stage, we strapped the car to the DynoJet chassis dyno at BigShot Dyno and Performance so you could see what your hard-earned dollar really buys.
The low-mileage Mustang came with the factory-issue 5.0L attached to a T-5 five speed and an 8.8-inch rear end. The only upgrades were a Cobra front bumper cover and a cowl induction hood. Before the guys at Summit Racing removed so much as a screw, they took the GT to BigShot Dyno for some baseline numbers and came away with 196.8 horsepower and 283.1 ft.-lbs. of torque at the rear wheels—not too shabby for a stocker.
The Stage One upgrades consist of basic bolt-ons that add some power but, more importantly, set up a nice foundation for future mods. The factory TFI ignition got a tuneup courtesy of a Summit Voltmax X-Treme Wire and Cap Kit and a Summit TFI Coil. A set of Summit billet aluminum underdrive pulleys replaced the stock accessory pulleys for a quick power gain. And the factory air induction system was replaced with a high-flow Summit Cold Air Intake and 75mm Mass Airflow Sensor.
The Mustang’s wimpy 2 1/4-inch dual exhaust got sawzalled and replaced with a free-flowing Summit Cat-Back Exhaust with 2 1/2 inch mandrel bent tubes and a pair of turbo mufflers. The parts-swapping ended with a Summit Short Throw Shifter and Adjustable Clutch Quadrant to put the fun back into rowing the gears. All told, the Stage One bolt-ons netted 11.7 horsepower and 5.5 ft.-lbs. of torque at the rear wheels.
The next phase started the next phase of 5.0 Revival started not with more parts, but with a makeover. The Mustang’s factory paint had definitely seen better days, so Summit Racing entrusted nearby Tallmadge Collision with the task of revitalizing the car’s outsides. They took care of the minor dents and dings, laid down a hot PPG Orange Atlas paint job, and added some wicked ghost flames and dual black racing stripes. A set of 18-inch American Racing Killer wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires finished off the look.
When the much-prettier GT back from the paint booth, it was put up in the air for some chassis goodies—Summit 1 1/2-inch lowering springs, rear tubular control arm set, and four Summit Extreme Performance cross-drilled and slotted rotors went on. We also finished up the exhaust system redo with Summit shorty-style 1 5/8 inch headers and 2 1/2 inch H-pipe.
The little 302 got some additional attention too. The stock cam was replaced with a Trick Flow Track Max hydraulic roller cam (221-degree/225-degre duration, .499-inch/.510-inch lift) along with a set of Summit roller lifters and a Summit roller timing chain. The Mass Airflow sensor was changed to a Summit 80mm unit, and the factory throttle body was ditched for a Summit Racing Street & Strip 75mm throttle body. A set of Summit 30 pound fuel injectors finished off the air-fuel update.
Back at BigShot Dyno, the first pulls indicated the Mustang was running lean and wanted more fuel. Since BigShot is an SCT chip dealer, owner Keith Wenzel burned us a custom chip that bumped up the fuel curve and added some timing. The much-happier GT rewarded us with 232.4 horsepower and 289.5 ft.-lbs of rear-wheel torque—an increase of 23.9 horsepower and about a foot-pound of torque over Stage One. That brought the total power increase over stock to 35.6 horsepower and 6.4 ft.-lbs. of torque.
All of the other modifications were in preparation for this one—the we-mean-business power adders from Trick Flow Specialties. It started with a pair of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Street aluminum cylinder heads. The heads feature 61cc combustion chambers with rotated valve locations to improve flow, 170cc intake ports, 2.02/1.60-inch valves, and 1.46 inch dual valve springs that can support cams making up to .540 inches of valve lift. The valvetrain also included a set of Trick Flow 1.6-ratio roller rocker arms and beefy 3/8-inch Trick Flow chromemoly pushrods.
Since a hot set of heads and a restrictive stock intake manifold don’t mix, on went a Trick Flow Track Heat EFI intake. The Track Heat is ideal for modified engines like ours, and supports a 1,500 to 6,500 rpm powerband. Since the Track Heat intake’s throttle body location is further back than on a stock intake, the Summit guys got a Trick Flow SN95 adapter to mate the throttle body with the Summit cold air intake. They also added a 3/8-inch tall Trick Flow EFI Heat Spacer to gain some needed clearance between the throttle body, the EGR valve, and the tall-style Trick Flow valve covers.
Before the new-engine smell could wear off, the car went to BigShot Dyno to see what the upgrades netted. It was a darn good net—275.7 horsepower at the rear wheels, an increase of 43.3 horsepower over Stage Two. Peak torque is a touch lower at 283 foot-pounds, but the tradeoff is worth it. The engine pulled hard in the midrange and top end without sacrificing a bunch of low-end power.
For Stage Four of the Mustang project, a 347 cubic inch stroker motor was installed. The world-famous NMRA engine builders and cylinder head gurus at Fox Lake Power Products whipped up a short block for the build, and Keith and his merry band at BigShot Dyno swapped over the Trick Flow and Summit goodies from our Mustang’s 5.0. We’ll talk more about that 347 stroker–and what kind of power it delivered–in a later post. For now, check out the parts lists for the first three stages below.
Stage One Parts List
SUM-329701 Summit Aluminum Underdrive Pulleys, blue anodized
SUM-238001 Summit Cold Air Intake
SUM-29053B-C Summit 75mm Mass Airflow Sensor, tuned for cold air intake
SUM-868112CR Summit Volt Max X-Treme Ignition Kit
SUM-853011 Summit High Output TFI Ignition Coil
SUM-680945 Summit 2 1/2″ Aluminized Steel Cat-Back Exhaust
SUM-690052 Summit Polished Stainless Steel Exhaust Tips,
2 1/2″ Slash Cut/3″ Outlet
SUM-700006 Summit Billet Aluminum Short Throw Shifter
SUM-700100 Summit Adjustable Clutch Quadrant Kit
Dyno Results: 208.5 horsepower and 288.6 ft.-lbs. torque (Rear Wheel)
Stage Two Parts List
SUM-227215 Summit Racing Street & Strip 75mm Throttle Body
SUM-29055B Summit 75mm Mass Air Flow Sensor
SUM-240030 Summit 30 lb. Injectors
TFS-51402000 Trick Flow Track Max Roller Cam (221°/225° duration,
SUM-HT220 Summit Hydraulic Roller Lifters
SUM-G6651 Summit True Roller Timing Set
SUM-720100 Summit Lowering Spring Kit, 1 1/2″
SUM-790000B Summit Tubular Steel Rear Control Arm Kit
SUM-640945 Summit 2 1/2″ Aluminized Steel Off-Road H-Pipe
SUM-G9076 Summit 1 5/8″ Shorty Headers
SUM-DSEP-54011L Summit Extreme Performance Cross-Drilled Rotor, Left Front
SUM-DSEP-54011R Summit Extreme Performance Cross-Drilled Rotor, Right Front
SUM-DSEP-54017L Summit Extreme Performance Cross-Drilled Rotor, Left Rear
SUM-DSEP-54017R Summit Extreme Performance Cross-Drilled Rotor, Right Rear
ARE-374-88566 American Racing Killer Wheels, Black with Stainless Lip
(18 x 8 1/2″ front, 18 x 10″ rear)
BFG-63734 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW Tires (245/35ZR-18 front,
Dyno Results: 232.4 horsepower and 289.5 ft.-lbs. torque (Rear Wheel)
Stage Three Parts List
TFS-51400004 Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Street Cylinder Heads
TFS-51500002 Trick Flow Track Heat 5.0 EFI Intake Manifold, silver
TFS-51400510 Trick Flow Roller Rocker Arms, 1.6 ratio
TFS-21406700 Trick Flow Heat-Treated Chromemoly Pushrods, 6.700″ long
TFS-5150SN95 Trick Flow SN95 Aluminum Throttle Body Adapter
TFS-51400801 Trick Flow Cast Aluminum Valve Covers, silver
TFS-51400800 Trick Flow Billet Oil Fill Kit
SUM-850600 Summit Racing Street & Strip Digital CD Ignition Box
with Rev Limiter
SUM-850518 Summit TFI adapter harness for Summit Street & Strip Ignition
Dyno Results: 275.7 horsepower and 283 ft.-lbs. torque (Rear Wheel)
Photography by Media Arts Group