In 2007, Sergio started thinking about turbocharging. He had always considered them more of an import item, but after going for a ride in a friend's turbocharged Merkur that featured an adjustable boost controller, Sergio was sold on the power and having the ability to change power levels at the touch of a button.
"I liked the idea of using the waste byproduct to make power. There's less strain on the crank as well." With a plan to turbocharge his Mustang hatched, Sergio considered his engine options and sought out some advice.
"Jeremy Martorella (of UPR) explained that if I added up all of the money spent on the four stock blocks that I split, I could have paid for the good block already," says Sergio. With that said, Sergio called Kuntz and Company in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and had the famed engine shop assemble an 8.2-inch-deck Dart block with an Eagle crank and H-beam connecting rods, Probe pistons, and a bore and stroke configuration that resulted in 331 ci.
Total Engine Airflow (Tallmadge, Ohio) worked its magic on a set of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge cylinder heads, and a custom bumpstick from Cam Motion actuates the valves. Edelbrock's Victor Jr. 5.0 EFI intake manifold was then placed on top with 75-lb/hr fuel injectors and an Accufab 75mm throttle body. A full complement of MSD products lights the air/fuel mixture, while a sumped stock tank is drained by a pair of Bosch fuel pumps. Thanks to the MegaSquirt engine management system, Sergio is able to run the car on just one pump up to 3 psi of boost; then the second pump kicks in. This helps prevent heat buildup in the gasoline.
Power By the Hour (PBH) of Boynton Beach, Florida, handled the fabrication of the turbocharger system, which employs a Garrett 76mm turbo and an air-to-air intercooler. Boost pressure is regulated by a Turbosmart eBoost electronic boost controller, and Jake Long of PBH programmed the MegaSquirt fuel injection computer to engage the custom methanol injection at 11 psi to help keep air charge temperatures down.
At this time, the Saleen was converted from a manual to an automatic transmission by using one of PBR's custom 4R70W overdrive units with an FTI 3,500-stall-speed torque converter. Sergio also opted to upgrade the 8.8 rear axle with 3.27 gears and Moser Engineering 31-spline axles. If you've already checked out the pictures, then you've seen the Pony wheels and Nitto drag radials. The wheels are Mavromont Industries' Pony R hoops, measuring 17x6 up front and 17x10 out back.
In this configuration, Sergio's Saleen put down a stout 767 rwhp and 814 lb-ft of torque through the Magnaflow exhaust system. This translated to a 9.71 at 143 mph in the quarter-mile, but apparently that wasn't good enough, as Sergio recently upgraded the turbocharger to a Borg Warner 80mm unit, and has O-ringed the block in hopes of reaching 900-plus rear-wheel horsepower on E85 fuel. "I want to go 8s on the 17-inch Nitto drag radials," claims Sergio.
It's apparent that Sergio's success in building such a powerful and fast street car is the result of a team effort. The Power By The Hour crew no doubt has a lot of wrench time on the ride, and Sergio credits/blames Kevin Dunn for his Fox-body obsession, and for "helping me spend tens of thousands of dollars over the years." At the end of the day, though, Sergio Rojas can drive his sedate Mustang pretty much anywhere he wants.
Working in the medical field, Sergio finds that a lot of people think they have fast cars. We're guessing there's more than one Porsche owner who's had his ego broken.