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Smokin' Horse!

A 500-odd horsepower Ford Mustang that makes a living smoking its tyres 'til they pop!

By Michael Knowling

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Prior to the Australian release of the Mustang, the local Ford marketing team got together 'round the lunch table and nutted out a plan to build up something of an appetiser. Something to really pull crowds, drop jaws and entice buyers to the new pony car.

The result of that get-together is this supercharged 7.0-litre V10 insanity machine!

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The Ford Burnout Mustang, as it's widely known, never started with the intention of smokin' its rear bags for its living - it's just that it did it so damn easy and the punters loved it. Ford tells us the original idea for the project was to build an automotive all-rounder - something that could cut impressive times at the drags, reel off quick lap times with a hero driver and, of course, create thunder clouds at displays.

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The platform for this madness was nothing too extreme - a then-new early-2000 6-cylinder automatic convertible outa California. The first step in the massive transformation was to discard that hopeless six-pot and drop in one of the beefiest engines in the Ford's global range - the 7.0-litre 90-degree modular V10 as found in some of the larger F-series and motorhomes in America. For Australian readers, it's basically a SOHC plus-two cylinder version of the Barra's 5.4-litre donk. Not surprisingly, the stock V10 was something of a truck engine - it gave mountains of torque at low rpm, but it didn't make the top-end you'd normally associate with a V10. This situation was well and truly remedied with a rebuild suited to forced induction. The build - which was performed by Melbourne's Herrod Motorsport - comprises a blueprinted bottom-end with a steel girdle supporting the main bearings, JE 8.0:1 compression pistons and ported heads. Interestingly, cams, springs and everything else remain standard.

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With the short-motor built Ford tough, the task of mounting the engine in the bay, fabricating a blower system and devising an intake manifold was handballed to Lonsdale Fabricators (who are also in Melbourne). Adapting the crossmembers and mounts to accommodate the V10 was "a very extensive job" while the blower (an Eaton) was tucked neatly into the valley. Delivering up to 5 psi boost, charge air temperature is lowered thanks to a pair of front-mounted air-to-air intercoolers. The custom intake manifold that gob-smacks you when you pop the bonnet is a beauty, with twin plenum chambers feeding into a short set of trumpets. Intake air is drawn though a K&N panel filter mounted just behind the blower.

Out the other end, fabricated 5>1 equal length extractors suck the large volumes of spent gasses out the combustion chamber and shoot them through a barking pair of 3-inch pipes - virtually unmuffled, except for a pair of straight-though resonators.

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Orchestrating fuel and ignition is a MoTeC M8 programmable ECU. Fuel is gushed into the engine via a dirty big set of Bosch injectors hung off a custom fuel rail, while a faithful Bosch Motorsport pump provides flow from the in-boot aluminium tank. A wasted spark arrangement is employed with five modules and coils.

The driveline was originally set up with a T45 5-speed Tremec 'box but, now that the car is only used for destroying tyres, it made sense to swap to an auto. You'll now find a shift-kitted mega-tough 2-speed slushbox driving through a one-piece tailshaft to, you guessed it, a Ford 9-inch diff with a 3.5:1 spool centre. Will there ever be a diff more capable than the ol' 9-inch?

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Serious power comes e-a-s-y to a supercharged 7.0-litre engine. Running just 5 psi boost, this mumma is rated at 490 horsepower at 5200 rpm and nearly 600lb-ft of torque at just 2800 rpm. So, no, there are no problems having to keep revs up in order to keep smoke pumping from the rear guards... Unfortunately, though, the car has never been run down the quarter mile so we can't give you any indication of its accelerative performance.

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We're told that the fabricated suspension system - which has many resemblances to a V8 Supercar - does a great job trying to get the torque to the tarmac. The aforementioned Lonsdale Fabricators constructed a beautiful four trailing arm, Panhard rod rear, while the front-end is basically all new - this was necessary to accommodate the larger engine and to correct some weird alignment angles that occurred when the car was lowered dramatically. Eibach springs drop the pony near to the grass, teaming with Koni dampers.

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Brakes wise, the burnout machine has a pretty trick arrangement. The basic ingredients are 345 x 55mm slotted front discs and 328 x 25mm rear discs, both clamped by a set of Brembo 4-pot calipers. Oh, and "to execute certain manoeuvres" there's a hydraulic handbrake to the rears and a driver-controlled locker system for the front left and front right brake individually.

The rims you can see are 18-inch Speedline 5-spoke magnesium jobs, wearing, well, whatever shagged old rubber is left over from the previous demo...

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Climb aboard and the interior is an intriguing mix of bare bones and cutting-edge tech. It is minimalist in the sense that the rear seat is missing, there's only a basic 'carpet throw' covering the floor and any luxury items were stripped out long ago. In contrast, though, there the MoTeC ADL digital dash (which data logs just about everything except the driver's heartbeat), an array of switchgear, Momo wheel and fixed-back seats and carbon fibre dashboard and dor trims. Oh, and there's also a fire extinguisher and Odyssey battery stashed where the back seat usually goes.

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Visually, there's not much that needed attention - this is an open-top Mustang, after all. The body remains stock, except for a unique front spoiler and, ahem, the odd sticker strategically placed. Of course, the whole idea of the project was to attract publicity for the Mustang - there was no point dressing the car up in metres of fibreglass because it had to remain recognisable as a Mustang.

So what plans are afoot for the car from here?

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Well, we're told that the Mustang will continue to appear at certain rounds of the V8 Supercars and at major car shows, but - after a year or two - it's expected to go into retirement. Maybe even sold. Hmmm, I wonder if anyone's interested in a low kilometre 'never thrashed' V10 supercharged Mustang...


Herrod Motorsport
+61 3 9464 5100

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