The recipe for the ultimate street car is something different for everyone.
For some, it's a comfortable ride, cold A/C, and a crystal clear stereo, while for others, 1,000-plus rwhp freaks are not enough. Somewhere in the middle is where most of us find perfection.
Carl McGill of Morganville, New Jersey, has found an incredible balance of performance and handling with his daily driven Screaming Yellow '04 Mach 1. The truck driver and former Bow Tie boy told us he never thought he'd see the day when he was a Mustang guy.
"I grew up a diehard Chevy guy, particularly Camaros," Carl explains. "I have a '69 Camaro and a '70 Nova that I've been building from the ground up for the better part of 12 years. A few friends have tried to get me into Mustangs for years, but the stubborn rivalry always got the best of me--until about a year ago."
After spending a number of years driving a pickup truck to and from work, the go-fast bug bit, and Carl started looking for something a little more fun for his daily commute. Initially, he was on the prowl for an early '00s Camaro SS when he stumbled on a Screaming Yellow Mach 1. Over the next few weeks, Carl kept coming back to the Mach; before long, he was completely in love with the Special Edition New Edge.
"The ad said the car was supercharged, but offered little information other than there was just over 19,000 miles on the odometer and the car had full exhaust," Carl adds. As he pulled into the lot to look at it, those Fourth-Gen Camaros were soon nothing but a distant memory.
When he opened the hood, a 2.1L Kenne Bell Twin-Screw supercharger greeted him. A peek under the car revealed SLP long-tube headers, a catted X-style mid-pipe, and a 40-Series Flowmaster, but something about the axle-back didn't look right. It took a minute, but Carl soon realized the stock live axle had been ditched for an '03 Cobra IRS. As if that wasn't enough, the stock K-member had been replaced with a tubular version with coilovers from UPR Products.
Next thing you know, Carl was signing the paperwork to trade in his truck and take the Mach home. He took it easy on the boosted Four-Valve, not knowing what kind of tune was in it or how much boost the Kenne-Bell was making. This proved to be a smart move as the Check Engine light illuminated within the first few days and the car began to run on the rough side. Carl headed to Big Daddy Performance in Lakewood, New Jersey, where Dwayne Gutridge and Mike Rozman gave the car a thorough once-over and a full custom dyno tune. The result was a stout 504 rwhp and 446 lb-ft of torque at 10 pounds of boost, which made the car a whole new animal.
Putting all that power to the ground soon became an issue, and Carl turned to maximum Motorsports and QA1 to remedy the problem. The IRS was upgraded with Maximum's Super Street Grip Box, which upgrades all of the bushing, fortifying the IRS and reducing wheelhop. He also replaced the stock shocks with adjustable versions from QA1.
"The car has the perfect balance of power, handling, and daily driveablity," he says. "It has power everything, ice-cold A/C, it's more comfortable and fuel efficient than my old Chevy pickup, and it'll run door-to-door with a stock Z06. How can you beat that?"