As Mustang enthusiasts, team MM&FF takes pride in bringing you, the reader, some of the most highly customized, race inspired, and show-worthy Ford Mustangs on the planet. Each year we travel the country, and with each destination we're always searching for the hottest Fords, whether based on horsepower or just killer personalization.
Often, it's the fast Ford that stands out from the crowd that grabs our attention. From there, the details draw us in. If the car is built with quality, it's likely we'll feature it. Getting a car to that point often takes the determination to build something unique. Each person has his or her own vision, and it's our job to distinguish the good from the best.
And that brings us to our MM&FF Annual Top 10 Mustangs in America. It's never cut and dry, as our staff compiles a list, then fine-tunes it. As always, narrowing the list is a challenging task. After considerable debate, we've crowned the kings and queens for 2013. Without further adieu, we are proud to give this year's Top 10 Mustangs in America—enjoy!
1. Alan Happel | 1989 Terminated Fox
When Alan Happel's wife, Megan, sent in a Snap Shots submission of her husband's Terminator-powered '89 Fox-body, we were floored. Alan set out to build a Fox that would be "perfect." After purchasing a clean, four-cylinder coupe, he stripped it down to a shell, and waited to find the ideal donor car. In 2010, Alan found what he was looking for in a wrecked '03 Cobra.
From there, the transplant unfolded. Everything from the Terminator interior and powertrain was swapped. The interior has been further customized with black leather-and-suede door panels, and a black suede headliner, all to help match the Cobra seats. Outside, Alan painted it Sonic Blue. Also adding to the clean look is a Cervinis Stalker front fascia, and 18-inch Boyd Coddington Destructor wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich tires. His ride has both performance and styling all in one package.
2. Shelby American | 2013 GT500 Super Snake
For 2013, Shelby American handed us the keys to its latest creation—one of the last pieces Carroll Shelby had ever laid his hands on—its GT500 Super Snake. The Super Snake is coveted by many for its unrivaled power and sinister looks. The 5.8L engine features a 3.6L Kenne Bell Twin-Screw Supercharger, and this beast made over 770 rwhp at the wheels. Our real-world track test showed the Super Snake was capable of running 10.79 at 137.61 mph out of the box.
The GT500 gives you hero status in the Mustang and high-performance community, plus the power to smoke just about anything you encounter. The 14-inch Wilwood brakes offered up incredible stopping power, and the 20-inch forged wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires were a perfect combination for good looks, traction, and ride quality. Perhaps the thrill of watching spectators gawk was what helped prove this Snake had both the good looks and bad intentions to make our list.
3. JW Brake | 2007 GT500 Super Snake
"Pushing the Envelope" was the perfect title for the story on this '07 convertible GT500 Super Snake. JW Brake and driver Van Collier took the Mustang to the edge, running 220.8 mph in the Texas Standing Mile.
Quantum Performance converted Brake's GT500 to Super Snake specs back in 2008, and Collier began pushing the top end at the popular Texas Mile event. Its 5.8L-equipped mod mill sees 26 pounds of boost thanks to a 4.2L liquid-cooled Kenne Bell blower cranking out 1,153 rwhp. Out back, a Currie 9-inch resides, and Shelby/Baer front and rear brakes are responsible for stopping the behemoth. Aerodynamics were crucial for this build, so a clip-on top from Smoothline was installed. Despite the insane power and impressive numbers of this GT500, Brake enjoys it as a cruiser as well.
Having pushed the envelope to a world Standing Mile speed record back in 2007, this Super Snake still holds the fastest convertible Mustang crown, and that is something incredibly special.
4. Ernie Alderte | 2004 Targa-Top Mustang GT
It's not uncommon to hear about Mustang enthusiasts whipping up a custom ride, whether for the street, track, or show. But Ernie Alderte accomplished what most would never attempt—building a Targa-top Mustang.
After less than a month of ownership, Ernie had the notion to cut away the roof on his brand-new Stang. He and his uncle, Steve Kurs, cut the top off and fitted it with a custom-built, removable piece. They also gave it a splash of new paint; accenting the two-tone paint scheme perfectly is a set of one-off custom concave wheels, 19x9.5-inch front wheels and 20x13-inch rears, featuring a 7-inch lip.
Ernie also hits the track with his ride, so he added a Vortech supercharger and built engine for extra power. The sick paint, wheels, and motivation to build something completely different made Ernie's ride an easy pick for the Top 10.
5. Kenny Brown | 2011 GT4-RS Mustang GT
Impressive performance, great open-track capabilities, and stop-on-a-dime braking are a few phrases we would use to describe Kenny Brown's '11 GT4-RS Autobahn Edition Mustang GT. We've had our hands on just about every Kenny Brown car built, and this GT4-RS, Ruby, is the most dominating one built to date.
Last issue, Editor Smith put this GT through its paces at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet Illinois, and he was thoroughly impressed. Brown's AGS (advanced geometry suspension) can be built upon itself, from the AGS 1.0 all the way to the 4.0. The 475hp Ruby Mustang retains street legality and all the creature comforts, but it can take down Vipers, Vettes, and well-known exotics at the track. Track capabilities aside, we love the menacing look of the aero package and the racy interior.
6. Terry Molin | 2003 SVT Cobra
Terry Molin's Cobra combines subtle, yet devilish good looks with a plethora of high-end go-fast goodies. His Terminator practically demanded we give it a shoot.
Terry's mod mill is composed of aluminum Teksid block filled with forged components. Thanks to a 82mm Borg Warner Turbo, a Pro-flow direct-port nitrous system, and race gas, his Cobra pumps out an astonishing 1,060 rwhp. Additionally, it has a solid 8.8, a full custom stereo system and custom interior mods that he did himself, so even while reaching into the four-digit marks, Terry Snake isn't about track numbers—it's a street cruiser ready for any unsuspecting hooligan that happens to cross his path.
7. Brian Mitchel | 2003 Renegade Cobra
There's always room in the Top 10 for championship Mustang drivers, and after competing in NMRA's Renegade class since 1999, Brian Mitchell has locked up his sixth NMRA Renegade championship. His '03 Mustang Cobra is one of the most feared in the class—he is an iron man as well, having only missed two races ever.
Aside from winning, Brian's Terminator is recognized for its unique wizard and electric paint scheme. Underhood, a small-block 306ci engine resides, fed by a Vortech Ysi supercharger and attached to a C-4 transmission. While attending the 13th annual NMRA Ford Nationals at Maryland International Raceway, he laid down an astonishing 8.26 at 169 mph pass, and has gone a best of 8.14 at 177 mph during testing. Brian's dedication to the Renegade class and need for speed exemplified to us that his ride was destined to be in the Top 10.
8. Ford Racing | 2014 Cobra Jet
Ford Racing's Cobra Jet program has been a smashing success, as CJs have dominated their respective classes in NHRA competition. Revised in 2008 after a 40-year absence, the new Cobra Jet Mustangs are race-ready from the factory and loads of fun to drive.
The latest model (for 2014) is powered by a Coyote 5.0L engine equipped with Boss 302 heads and cams, a FRPP 2.9L supercharger, and a three-speed transmission. This bone-crushing Snake runs solidly in the 8s. Our own Evan Smith helped with the development driving of the Cobra Jet. During one test, Smith performed a wheel-stand lasting about 300 feet—we produced a video of it that hit the Internet and went wild.
Not only is the CJ a race-ready Stang that's compliant with NHRA's Stock and Super Stock classes straight from the factory, but it is the quickest accelerating production vehicle in the world.
9. Rob Matuszko | 1989 Fox-body
The devil is in the details, and for Rob Matuszko's '89 Fox-body coupe, the details are never ending. After discovering Rob's coupe at the 19th Annual Ford and Mustang Roundup at Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida, last January, our staff had to have it in the mag.
Rob went crazy with the custom touches. He shaved the center A/C vents, smoothed the engine bay, and polished everything. The door panels and headliner are tastefully modded, and even the underside is spotless. And by the way, it's also fast. Rob's ride sports a 347ci engine, paired up with a Vortech Ysi blower running 26 pounds of boost. On its old tune, his Stang ripped to a 9.69 at 146 mph.
10. All-Female-Built | 2013 Mustang GT/CS
Over 40 women had a hand in building this one-off '13 Mustang GT/CS—aka Project High Gear. This unique Steed was built mostly in our Source Interlink Media Snap-on Tech Center in El Segundo, California. It sports an Edelbrock supercharger, custom black paint with Rose Gold accents, and a custom interior.
Once finished, Project High Gear was auctioned off on eBay to raise money for the SEMA Memorial Fund, which is dedicated to helping the next generation of automotive innovators. The build was a huge success, both in raising money and awareness in the industry, as well as the end result.
Jason Hall | 1989 Fox 500 Mustang
After seeing Jason Hall's GT500- inspired Fox-body on the Interweb, we had to feature it. Jason has not only transplanted a '07 GT500 drivetrain into his '89 LX coupe, he also fitted the Shelby's interior and floorboard/firewall into the Fox. Outside, he's given his Stang a new coat of Bright Atlantic Blue Paint and installed 10th anniversary SVT Cobra wheels. His desire to create something entirely different proved he is worthy of a Top 10 nominee spot.
Mike Jovanis | 1989 Fox-body
Mike Jovanis has been competing in NMRA True Street since 2010, and his '89 LX Mustang has taken the crown five times. We like the clean approach, and the fact that the LX looks like a typical 11-second player but it runs low 8s! It still has stock seats and a working stereo, and Mike says he uses the car around town more than he races it.
It's powered by a DiSomma Racing Engines 347ci small-block, equipped with a custom GT5088 turbocharger and a clean turbo system. He's currently gone a best of 8.36 at 168.30 mph at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, Maryland. After several runner-up spots in years prior, he earned two True Street titles in 2013 and plans to keep that going in 2014.
JLP Performance | 1999 SVT Lightning
Few have come as far as Johnny "Lighting" Wiker, owner of Johnny Lightning Performance. JL made a name for himself racing Lightning trucks, and he's been competing in NMRA's Truck and Lightning class for the last 12 years, earning an NMRA championship along the way. His '99 Gen 2 supercharged Lightning has currently run a best of 8.19 at 163.87 mph.