Twenty-year-old Matt DaSilva set out on a mission to transform his '05 GT into an 11-second street car. There was one hitch, though. He wanted to do it without a power adder and with the stock long-block-from cam covers to oil pan. Not only was he able to do it, but he did so while creating a unique look and a forging a legacy of his own.
Being the son of legendary Pro 5.0 racer Joe DaSilva, Matt was born with racing in his DNA. Growing up, he worked with his dad at the family business-DaSilva Racing. "When I turned 16, I took my driving test in an '00 GT," says Matt. That GT became one of Matt's many project cars including an '86 GT, an '02 Focus, and an '89 LX coupe.
The Fox-body was slated to be an all-motor 11-second street car. Matt sent the shell off to be painted, and wasn't happy with the finished product. Let down, he put the project on the back burner. Meanwhile, Carlos Florenca had broken the 11-second barrier with his naturally aspirated, stock long-block, '06 GT. Inspired by Carlos' accomplishment, Matt sold the Fox-body and began searching for the perfect S197.
"I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like before I even bought it," Matt tells us. When he found the right one-in bone-stock form-he drove from his home in Pickering, Ontario, to Niagara Falls to pick it up. When he first saw the car, it was "covered in a barn surrounded by old muscle cars," as Matt puts it. It's as though it was resting, waiting for its big day to come.
Back in Pickering, Matt started to implement his plan. "I took a lot of weight out of the car with lots of trick parts. It now weighs 3,065 pounds-just over 3,200 with me in it," says Matt. "It had to run 11s on motor with a stock long-block and a standard transmission, of course." So Matt, along with his girlfriend, Nadia, and his buddy Tony began throwing the best bolt-on parts available at it.
With the help of Brian Wolfe, then director of Ford Racing, Matt got his hands on a prototype FRPP Three-Valve intake. He combined that with 24-lb/hr injectors, Kook's long-tube headers and off-road mid-pipe, C&L Performance's mass air meter and cold-air kit, and a custom SCT tune by Diogo at DaSilva Racing. Other driveline mods include an aluminum one-piece driveshaft from Axle Exchange, 4.56 gears, and a Strange spool.
The key to Matt's 11-second timeslips, though, is in the suspension. Matt removed the front sway bar, and added QA1 coilovers and Racecraft K-member and A-arms. Out back, he added UPR adjustable uppers and lowers, QA1 shocks, FRPP springs, and a BMR sway bar.
"I wanted it to have the heart of a Fox," Matt tells us. "Fifteen-inch rims were a must." So he made room for 15-inch Holeshot Revolvers with a Strange front brake kit. Elsewhere, Matt added a 2.5-inch cowl hood from Cervini's, a Classic Design Concepts chin spoiler, and a Bullitt-style grille.
On the dyno, the Mineral Grey coupe laid down 326 rwhp and 320 lb-ft of torque. And on the track, Matt has run a best of 11.87 at 117 mph with a 1.50 60-foot. "When I'm not cruising on the street, I like to compete in JDM Engineering Super Stang and OSCA's 11.90 index," he tells us. In fact, Matt won in JDM Super Stang this year at NMRA Milan-his first NMRA victory.
"My intentions on the track are to murder the tree, and bang those four gears like it is part of me," says Matt. We're sure that with that outlook, Matt and his '05 GT aren't going anywhere but up in the world of Mustang drag racing.
So what's next for the GT? "It's never, ever complete," Matt says. "So now it's time to make over 400hp NA with my new combo and some more chassis tricks, and shoot for south of 11.30s."
See you in the history books, Matt. We're sure you'll be there.