The last 12 issues have been laid out and the boxing gloves laced up. That's right, it's that time again-time for our annual Top 10 list of America's hottest Mustangs. The MM&FF staff sat down with dozens of photos of all our feature cars, hashing it out until we whittled down the selections to our favorite Ponies of 2009.
It's been an exciting year in the Mustang world, which made this year's list so tough form. The Mustang turned 45, Ford released a redesigned S197, records were set on the dragstrip and road courses, and the show cars came out by the thousands. All in all, it was a great year for America's favorite Pony car.
Ricky Wilson '08 Gulf Livery Shelby GT500
Few cars embody Ford's racing history and racing heritage like Ricky Wilson's GT500. The popular Blue and Orange Gulf livery is an instant reminder of Ford's success at Le Mans with the GT-40 in the late '60s. Ricky's GT500 is a rolling (and roaring) throwback to Ford's dominance then and his dominance on the street now. This combination of heritage, style, and power has earned Ricky Wilson's '08 GT500 the No. 1 spot on our list of the Top 10 Mustangs of 2009.
Though its looks alone are impressive, Ricky's GT500 is more than capable of handling just about anything that pulls up next to it. With a fully built Four-Valve 5.4L being fed 22 psi of boost from a 3.4L Whipple supercharger, and a sick custom paint job, our June '09 cover car has earned its stripes and the top spot on out list.
David Salardino '91 Mustang Coupe
As soon as we set our eyes on David Salardino's Laser Red coupe, we knew it was something special. From its understated looks to its impressive power output, David's LX is arguably the perfect street Fox. The combination of 825 rwhp and extremely mild manners on the street make it perfect for cruising to the track and running well into the low 9s without so much as changing tires.
The Coast High Performance 347 hiding under the stock hood makes more then enough power to satisfy anyone's adrenalin needs, while the FB Performance AOD and custom camshaft give David's coupe an incredible level of driveability. Anytime "low 9-second e.t.s" and "daily driveable" are in the same sentence, we think its pretty awesome!
'08 Cobra Jet
Forty-one years after its historic debut at the '68 NHRA Winternationals, the Cobra Jet is back. The '08 Cobra Jet rolled into '09 NHRA Winternationals with some massive shoes to fill and raced into the top spot, with John Calvert taking the win at the coveted meet, as well as the No. 3 position on our list.
Ford produced a mere 50 FR500CJs designed around the NHRA Stock Eliminator class. Calvert, of Calvert Racing Suspensions, piloted Brent Hajek's '08 CJ to the victory in its first outing, running the A/Stock class. Ironically, the CJ was lettered as a tribute to Al Joniec's winning CJ from 1968. With a supercharged 5.4L under the hood and a conservative horsepower rating from the factory (425), Ford has jumped back into factory racing with both feet. Look for the '10 CJ to be even more lethal on the track.
Lidio Iacobelli '88 Mustang
Few cars captured the simplicity and innovation of the Fox-body movement in the late '80s and early '90s, as well as Iacobelli's LX. For the past 21 years, his Tropical Yellow '88 coupe has been on the forefront of Mustang performance. Since it was new, Lidio has used his coupe as a research and development tool for his shop, Alternative Auto Performance, and the Stang has been through many transformations. The car even graced the famous BFGoodrich ad (and subsequent poster) showing the basic profile shot, many years ago.
Over the last two decades, Lidio's LX has had multiple combinations on the road to its current turbo configuration. Big cubes and lots of boost help this terror stay on the cutting edge of street performance. With low 9-second e.t.'s and 843 rwhp, Lidio and his '88 LX have raced into the No. 4 spot on MM&FF's Top 10 Mustangs of 2009.
'08 Shelby Super Snake
Mean looks, 725 hp, 10-second quarter-mile times, great handling, and air conditioning-what else is there to say? If Shelby Automobiles hasn't created the perfect Mustang, it's come very close. When the MM&FF staff got its hands on this red tester, 10-second street performance was obtained with nothing more than a wheel/tire swap. Heck, we ran well over 130 in he quarter as well! As if that wasn't impressive enough, the Shelby did it with 93-octane in the tank. The Super Snake's extreme performance and overall total package definitely make it one of the Top 10 Mustangs of 2009.