Ford’s Mustang has long been a favourite for modifiers as it’s cheap, upgrades are plentiful and it easily morphs from runabout to racecar.
The latest S550 is a great grand tourer but there’s plenty of scope for improvement and while American companies have already released parts to turn them into hypercars, Aussie tuners are also unlocking the S550 Mustang’s hidden horsepower.
Craig Dean at Mustang Motorsport has been converting Mustangs for 30 years and racing them for more than 10. He doesn’t mince words when it comes to the S550: “The car is a bargain for $65,000 and the build quality is really very good.
“I’ve raced the previous platform since ’07 and the S550 was a bit of an unknown. We were lucky to get the new Mustang 12 months ago to kickstart testing and development of products. The independent rear end, better brakes and lighter vehicle were great but took some development to really refine. Once we raced the car we could see the potential. It’s a good car, it’s strong but you need fluid coolers if you’re racing it as well as good quality oils.”
Rob Herrod of Herrod Motorsport and the official Australian Ford Performance Racing and SCT distributor, has been a key figure in setting up local infrastructure to supply parts and train tuners on the S550 Mustang, and was involved with Ford USA and SEMA.
“It’s been a five-year project to get the Mustang program up and running and we have invested $60,000 of work to get ADR certification,” he explains.
“On our hub dyno, our compliance package supercharged cars make over 450kW at the wheels with warranty; MOTOR’s own Dave Morley recently ran a 12.0 on the quarter with one.”
The research and development is extensive, with every aspect investigated to ensure customers don’t upset the Highway Patrol or Environmental Protection Agency.
“We worked with Ford Performance and Borla to create an exhaust system that is legal in Australia as the US market Ford Performance system is too loud to comply with our laws. There’s a huge difference between our system and the straight Ford Performance US system. We are finding people buying direct from the USA but they aren’t legal in Oz. We have the backing of Ford USA so we can sort out warranty issues.
“We are here for our customers to assist them and back our warranty. Our cars are sold as standard with the supercharger, tune, exhaust and the like. If someone wants more, we can upgrade the boost pulley and update the tune, but that will affect warranty.”
The aftermarket industry isn’t all about raw horsepower however, and while the new Mustang is a looker, it can benefit from simple aero additions, aftermarket wheels and a suspension and braking upgrade.
Australian OEM and aftermarket stalwart Harrop Engineering has been busy developing Mustang packages. Its Project Whitehorse development Mustang has been on a diet, gained KW V3 suspension, lightweight Harrop brake rotors and Forgeline VX1 20x10 and 20x11 forged wheels, with much more to come as Harrop has a wealth of supercharger experience.
Harrop general manager Heath Moore said: “We’re extremely proud to have been a key supply partner to Ford Australia with our TVS1900 supercharger system that has been the most exciting home-grown OE engine program to date. While vehicle manufacturing might be leaving Australia, Harrop is growing its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to support global vehicle platforms like Mustang for our passionate customers.
“Our Mustang program will include a range of Australian-engineered performance systems with warranty, and our latest S550-specific supercharger will provide market-leading efficiency and quality. We look forward to providing locally developed and crafted systems and demonstrating that Aussie know-how is world leading.”
Read on as we talk to the Aussie companies that can really get your Mustang moving!