Ford Motor Company, sometime in the mid-'90s, made the decision to dump the popular 5.0L engine from the Mustang lineup and add a new V-8 powerplant.
It broke tradition and ushered in the modular engine lineup that utilized an overhead camshaft design. The base Mustang used two valves per cylinder, while the specialty SVT Cobra relied on a four-valve-per-cylinder, 4.6L engine-some 21 or so cubic inches smaller than the outgoing pushrod engine.
Most of us in the aftermarket shed a tear and believed the glory days of the late-model Mustang were over. But to a select group, the mod movement presented an opportunity to learn, develop, and produce horsepower no matter what Ford put under the hood. One of those select few was Sean Hyland and his shop-Sean Hyland Motorsports (SHM).
SHM was one of the pioneers in the modular market, as the company didn't shy away from the new technology. It embraced the modular powerplant and helped pave the way for others to do the same.
Fast-forward 15 years, and Hyland and SHM find themselves in a similar situation. Ford has rolled out a new V-8 engine and SHM has immersed itself into the new platform. While this time SHM is in a crowded room as others also flood the market, the company is taking a huge step by offering supercharger systems.
To prove his point, Hyland brought his SHM-blower-equipped 5.0L coupe to Englishtown, New Jersey, for us to sample-and the results were outstanding. Not only did the GT show off docile, near-OE attitude on the street, it laid down an 11.86 at 118 mph on track. Hyland did some more tweaking after our test day and claims the car's new best is 11.49 at 124 mph. Its only modification was the SHM Supercharger that stuffed the engine with 7 psi of boost and boasts 605 hp at the flywheel on 91-octane fuel. The SHM kit, when used with the supplied tuning, should be CARB-legal by the time you read this issue.
The SHM supercharger is based on the Eaton TVS 2.3L (known as 2300) rotors and the SHM staff added a new twist (no pun intended) with it. This certainly isn't the first time we've seen the TVS guts used as the basis for a supercharger kit. The 2.3L has seen uses in OEM applications like the Corvette ZR1 blower system, as well as other kits from aftermarket companies. According to Hyland, "While we are manufacturing our own kit, we're not a primary manufacturer. So we decided to use the Eaton TVS mainly due to the OEM durability testing. The supercharger was designed to go for 100,000-150,000 miles-that was our main motivation." SHM is so confident in its supercharger system that a 3-year warranty is standard, with an optional 5-year warranty available at an additional cost.
Hyland and his staff focused on airflow before and after the rotors. According to Hyland, the SHM blower incorporates the factory 80mm throttle body to preserve the excellent driving manners with regards to the drive-by-wire throttle control. The upper and lower lids are two CNC-ported pieces to ensure all cylinders have equal airflow, something not all systems employ. The company also added a divider under the intercooler to help direct airflow into the ports and cylinders. In fact, SHM applied for two patents with the manifold design and divider. The US-made intercooler is a highly effecient dual-pass system. It has a heat-exchanger core measuring a massive 18x11 inches, which dominates the front of the car as if it's an air-to-air intercooler on a turbocharger kit. Cooling the intercooler water won't be a problem on a hot day in the desert.
The SHM group didn't just build a supercharger system, it also studied the 5.0L engine. Hyland has some insight into the new powerplant. "The engine is a fantastic piece. It's well-built and the level of performance you can get from a stock engine is far greater than what we saw on the Three-Valve."