We Count Down The Ten Baddest Mustangs In America-Plus A Few Extra.Each year, the MM&FF staff hits the road, traveling all over this wonderful land in search of the baddest and most unique Mustangs we can find. We see some at SEMA, some at the track, some in the car showgrounds, and many more via the Internet. Some make it in our magazine as features, others in event coverage, but there are special ones locked in our minds for another purpose-that is to make the MM&FF Top 10 Mustangs list that we come up with every January.
In what has become an MM&FF tradition, we sit down and lay out the hottest Mustangs that we've seen over the last year and whittle the list down to about 10. It often starts out as 20 or more cars. Slowly (and violently) from there, we pick the 10 hottest, coolest, and downright notable Mustangs of the year.
There is no set criteria: a Mustang can have awesome on-track performance for a race car, it can be a hot new production car, a neat and simple combination that anyone could build, an all-out show car, or a Mustang showcasing a large amount of innovation.
Since it's hard to pick just 10, we even throw in a few honorable mentions. So, without further ado, here are MM&FF's Top 10 Mustangs of 2008.
Jason Duggar, '88 Mustang
We loved this mean machine so much that it graced the Nov. '08 cover. And while the title to Jason's car lists the year and model as an '88 Mustang, only one word can describe the Nov. issue's cover car: Coupri. That name best describes it, as Jason took numerous hours and tons of ingenuity to blend said Mustang with a Mercury Capri. The fenders and quarterpanels were replaced with those from an '84 Capri, after which the front bumper and hood were swapped over to '79 Mustang pieces.
Underhood lies a 347 stroker small-block Ford pumped up with help from a Turbonetics T-76 hairdryer. Not only does the car look great, but it also hauls at the track. Jason has entered the car in True Street a few times, with the ability to rip off 9-second times in the process. While turbocharged cars are becoming more and more popular, the fact that Jason compiled three different cars into one makes his show-stopping Stang our top Mustang of the year. After all, Mercury never made a coupe model.
Ray McClelland, '07 Mustang GT
OK, we have to admit, anyone ballsy enough to put a 300hp shot of nitrous on top of a 1200-plus horsepower stroker Three-Valve with twin 67mm turbos on it is going to get our attention. Throw in the fact that the car is a drop-top '07 Mustang GT that has a need for a rollcage certified by the NHRA for e.t.'s as quick as 8.50, and you have a guaranteed shoe-in for our Top 10 list.
The car we are talking about is the Mustang Ray McClelland and the Full Throttle Kustomz crew put together. While the powerplant speaks for itself, the car does a fair amount of conversing on its own with it's gorgeous Candy Apple Tangerine hue and stunning wheel and tire combo. With race car power and equipment, the car is just as happy sitting in the car show area gleaming in the sunlight. It's amazing how one truly badass car can look so hot. We just have to wonder if the window net cuts down on your hair blowing in the breeze at triple-digit speeds. Either way, it was good enough to be showcased in our April '08 issue.
Carl And Donald Weinreich, '91 Mustang LX
Not only do the mechanics and ingenuity of a Mustang catch our eye, but the story behind it as well. Take Carl and Donald Weinreich's '91 Mustang LX coupe. Carl built the Stang for his son, who joined the Army and took a one-year, government-paid vacation to Iraq. While there, Carl finished off the project he and Donald started, resulting in this over-the-top street car. Underhood lies a 306 small-block Ford topped with a Holley 750 carburetor and a NOS Big Shot nitrous plate system worth an extra 250 hp.
It isn't only about the horsepower though, as this is about as clean of a Mustang you will find. The interior of the Fox-body is immaculate, and the paint, well, that's just a different story. A custom formula of 20 different blends of orange, combined with a ghosting of the UPR logo on the doors, sets this car apart. That's why it made it into the Dec. '08 issue and the Top 10.
Steve Matusek, '07 Shelby GT500
When you build not only a hot-looking NHRA/Street-legal shootout Mustang, that is also the fastest modular car in the world, it's not hard to get noticed. That's what Steve Matusek did with a 5.4L mod motor that can run 6.40s at upwards of 215 mph.
Matusek, who debuted the car late last year and appeared in the Feb. '08 issue, really stepped things up for 2008. His tube-chassied GT500 relies on the aforementioned 5.4 mod monster (with some really high-tech pieces on it, we might add) and a pair of 76mm Precision turbos to create in the neighborhood of 2,000 hp.
In the trans tunnel lies a Liberty five-speed gearbox instead of the normally accepted automatic. Throw in some really cool graphics on the car's body, as well as a No. 1 qualifying effort in Competition Eliminator at the recent '08 U.S. Nationals, and there's no question why the car is number four on our list.
Kenny Bingham, '85 Mustang
There is no denying the obscene amount of craziness associated with our April '08 cover car. It can be summed up in five simple and short phrases: 605ci big-block Ford; 1,300 hp; nitrous oxide assisted; quiet and streetable muffled exhaust system; 8.35 at 167. 'Nuff said.
Kenny Bingham's wild coupe started out life as a four-eyed car. It's transformation over to the smoother '87-'93 bodywork was only one small part of the entire equation. A nitrous-assisted fat block was stuffed in the engine bay, the attending safety equipment and mechanical changes required when going low 8s were installed, and one loud paint scheme finished things off. While all of that is cool in its own right, the fact that this car has gone 8.30s with the inclusion of a cross-pipe system and mufflers that, according to Associate Editor Steve Baur who took photos of the Mustang, "have this car running quieter than your average Terminator Cobra," makes it a shoe-in for the Top 10.
Roush Performance, '08 Roush 427R Mustang
Since the advent of the S197 platform, we've had a slew of Roush-prepped Mustangs to test, evaluate, and play with. By far, the Roush 427R that we put on the cover of the May '08 issue was the most fun. While the specifics of the car and its attending dragstrip numbers were impressive, it was the comments, looks, and in some cases, telephone numbers from cute females that surprised us most.
Roush dropped the 427R off packing a 435hp punch out of the Roushcharger-blown Three-Valve. The difference with this car as opposed to the others we have had in the past from Roush was the 5R55S five-speed automatic transmission. Yes, we said automatic. By no means was the car a dog, as it ripped off a pair of 12.20s at the track. The looks we got in the car were something else. No matter who was driving it or where we went, the car gathered more looks and comments than any other press car (or truck) we have received. We would like to think it was because we handsome staffers were behind the wheel, but realistically speaking, it was more the car's looks and the bold 427R badging and graphics that earned us the street cred and earned the 427R sixth place on our Top 10.
John Urist,'93 Mustang
It takes a lot to be competitive in the NMRA's Super Street Outlaw category. Fireball John Urist has experienced a fair amount of success in recent years, racking up win after win and championship after championship with his venerable New Edge car. Earlier this year, however, Urist debuted a newly built Fox-body coupe SSO machine, and not only got acquainted with it, but won the first time out. Now that's making a statement.
We love the Fox-body Stangs and Urist's is no exception. His rocket-red '93 Mustang is based around a Behind Bars Race Cars chassis. Underhood lies a 420ci small-block Ford topped with Kuntz & Company prepped Edelbrock SC1 heads. The monstrous amount of power comes courtesy of a ProCharger F3R blower stuffing in a super top-secret amount of boost (read: a lot). While the combination is not unlike what was in his previous ride, the fact that Urist not only debuted a new car in one of the most competitive heads-up Mustang classes out there, but won the first time out and is in the hunt for yet another championship, makes him a no-brainer for the Top 10.
Dave Ferguson, '07 Mustang GT
With his day job consisting of performing duties on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Carney, you can rest assured Dave Ferguson would have something powerful when it came to his street vehicle. Not only did Dave add power, but he added some of the hottest S197 parts in the aftermarket to create a car that truly deserves a solid spot in our Top 10.
The engine combination is simple. Dave put a Granatelli turbo system in the engine bay, hooking it up to the stock Three-Valve to create some easy tire-murdering power. As for the looks, a host of components from Classic Design Concepts, Steeda, and others give the car a presence all its own. Throw in the two-tone custom interior and the CDC Glassback roof, and it's quite apparent that Dave spent his time and effort on the car to not only make it look great, but to get it into the Nov. '08 issue.
Andy Speranza, '96 Mustang Cobra
Andy Speranza holds the keys to the only SN-95 Mustang that made our Top 10 list, but by no means is the inclusion of his '96 Cobra just a way to fill a quota. Speranza's topless Snake was in the May issue, and showcases a thought-filled process to transform it into a killer. While the '96 Cobra came with a naturally aspirated Four-Valve, Speranza wanted something packing a little more punch. Thanks to the drivetrain from the car's later-model brethren, an '04 Terminator, Andy transferred the blown mod motor into his ride. As if the supercharger wasn't enough, he slapped on a nitrous kit as well.
What puts this car over the top is its clean, yet stylish, appeal. A killer set of BBS wheels coincide with the two-tone paint and 10.80-second power to confirm its status in our Top 10 list of 2008.
Ken Hupf, '85 Mustang GT
If there was ever a car that exuded simple pleasures, then Ken Hupf's '85 GT would be it. The car that appeared in our May '08 issue, as well as being the inset photo on that issue's cover, is about as basic as a car can get. That is until Ken opens her up. The four-eyed Fox sports a 356ci Windsor topped with a Barry Grant carb. No nitrous, blower, or turbo can be found here-just simple, American-bred, naturally aspirated power. Backed by a Tremec 3550 five-speed, don't think for a moment that this car's simple and docile looks mean mediocre times at the strip. A wheels-up 10.87 run at 125 mph tells a different story.
The appealing nature of Ken's car is that an everyday enthusiast can build it. There isn't anything overly fancy on this car; just tried and true parts pioneered by a cost-conscious budget and mild tastes. It is on that note that we round out our Top 10 Mustangs of 2008 with Ken Hupf's four-eyed freak.
Honorable Mentions James...
James D'Amore III put some Saleen bodywork on his '06 Mustang GT, and then threw everything in the JDM Engineering parts bay at the S197. The result? A naturally aspirated 302ci stroker Three-Valve that runs deep into the 11-second zone while still serving duty as his daily driver. D'Amore's yellow banana hit the pages of MM&FF in the March '08 issue, and has hit a bunch of racetracks since then as well. Any Three-Valve that runs that quick definitely deserves at least an honorable mention.
Hot on the heels of the Parnelli...
Hot on the heels of the Parnelli Jones special edition Mustang, Saleen broke out another special Pony. This one honors Dan Gurney and is aptly named the Dan Gurney Special Edition Saleen Mustang. Unlike the PJ car, this '08 Saleen packs a 425hp supercharged punch, as well as looks and attitude reminiscent of the car it was modeled after-Gurney's '69 Boss 302 Trans Am Mustang. The car looked so good, we just had to have it adorn our Dec. '08 cover.
After being out of the heads-up...
After being out of the heads-up Mustang racing game for a while, Mike Murillo came back this year with a stunning '93 LX coupe packing a 541ci big-block stuffed chock full of a sizeable amount of boost thanks to twin 88mm turbochargers. While Murillo had some difficulty with parts breakage early on in the year, he slowly but surely squared away the car, as well as earning a spot in our Top 10 honorable mentions.