Top 10 Mustangs For 2014
Every year we finger through our published car features from the entire past year and painstakingly narrow down our Top 10 Mustangs.
We also include Mustang racers or other interesting Fords from time to time. The focus is on late-model Stangs, including full-blown racecars, pristine show cars, manufacturer new releases, specialty Stangs, and pretty much everything in between. With a wide array, it’s never an easy task to pick just 10.
Arguably, this highly anticipated annual list features the rides that excite us most. Just when we think we’ve seen it all, we are surprised all over again, whether it be from an out-of-the-box build; the innovation and skill of a brand-new car straight from FoMoCo’s pearly gates; or just a driver racing, rebuilding, and repeating, only to rip the wheels off yet again. The Mustang platform is indeed malleable, and it is proven over and over again.
For many Mustang enthusiasts, the running Pony is a symbol of our freedom, expression, and of course, that American pride that dates back 50 years—five whole decades. It’s not just a car that gets us from point A to point B, but a passion and lifestyle lived by so many. It doesn’t matter whether the owner has a stock V-6 daily driver and is dreaming of that first mod, or a Ford Racing Cobra Jet, we all share that passion for America’s favorite Pony car. It’s safe to say that the Blue Oval pride runs deep.
Ford Motor Company
’15 Ford Mustang
To us, this all-new Mustang is more than just a car. It’s a total game changer. Months of anticipation finally came to fruition as we got behind the wheel. We drove the EcoBoost and GT versions (full report next month), and we’re proud to report that Ford has nailed it! Enthusiasts all over the world watched the covers roll off of the ’15 Ford Mustang simultaneously in six cities spanning four continents, and they will be in your hands by the time we publish this issue. That’s right. This all-new pony is now global for the first time ever.
With a brand-new platform, dubbed the S550, this new Mustang was given a complete design overhaul from head to tail, with no details left untouched and no stone left unturned. The handling is truly world-class, with improved steering feel, braking, and acceleration. Most of all, we were impressed with the handling dynamics and the amazing stability in cornering and under braking. We are taken back to the golden days of the SVO with Ford’s new 2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost, and we’re sure battles between the four-cylinder and GT crowd will ensue. With aftermarket parts trickling onto the market, we think the ’15 Mustang is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
’88 Mustang GT
To celebrate 25 years of MMFF, we wanted to do something big to celebrate a quarter-century of your favorite Mustang brand. We did so with our very own Project Hypersilver, which made its debut on the ’13 SEMA show floor. We wanted to bring a “wow” factor and something completely unexpected out of a Fox-body, not just slap on a blower and call it a day. It is a SEMA car, after all.
For Hypersilver, we went with big-inch power in the form of a 427ci Jon Kaase Racing P-38 engine with a wild IR cross-ram induction system capable of a 600-plus naturally aspirated horsepower on pump gas. Next, we added TMI Products upholstery, had our boys at Spike’s Performance spray on that pristine silver hue, installed Dakota Digital gauges, and added a mean Kicker sound system complete with an iPad Mini head unit. On the show floor, it seemed like a breath of fresh air among a sea of modern Mustang builds, and while a bit self-serving, we’re adding it to our list of amazing Stangs.
’13 Cobra Jet
Chris Holbrook is his name and setting records is his game. Cobra Jet pilot Holbrook is a familiar face at NHRA events, where he roars down the strip in his Watson Racing and Varsity Ford-backed Cobra Jet. Watson has three NHRA Factory Stock Showdown wins, along with numerous ADRL and NMCA CJ wins. Holbrook also builds his own engines. Most recently he won the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at the 60th Annual U.S. Nationals, where he topped 20-plus competitors in Dodge Drag Pak, Chevy COPO Camaros, and other Cobra Jets to take the title.
In addition to outstanding mid-8-second runs, the Coyote-powered and Ford Racing–blown 5.0 powers the CJ to sick wheelies, which we love.
At first glance, Tom Miller’s fully modified GT, nicknamed Bad Karma by his wife, screams Terminator, but it’s much more, boasting 900-plus horsepower. While it is not a factory SVT by any means, it features multiple ’03-’04 Cobra parts along with many other impressive modifications.
The original Two-Valve was swapped for a Four-Valve Teksid aluminum block bored and stroked to 282 ci along with Kellogg crankshaft, Manley billet rods, and JE flat-top pistons. Miller then added two Precision 6262 turbos with a front-mount air-to-air cooler, two 38mm Tial wastegates, and two billet Bosch-style blow-off valves with custom piping, all capable of handling 32 psi of boost. He also added a Freddy Brown 4R70W with a 9.5-inch PTC torque converter with a 4,600-stall speed routing massive power through a custom carbon fiber driveshaft and 4.10 gears.
As you can tell, Miller’s mod list goes on for days—including an upgraded suspension, a thirst-quenching fuel system, an audio system, exterior parts, and more—giving it a well-deserved spot on our top list. We loved the custom touches and the clean finish work done to the GT. It’s truly a custom done the right way, and that’s what got our attention and made this a bona fide cover machine.
’13 Steeda Q-650
Thanks to Steeda Autosports, the ’13 Q-650 Street fighter Mustang is a capable contender on the street as well as the track. Equipped with a Steeda G-Trac fully adjustable suspension, it makes diving into those apexes a breeze. Trust us, we know after running this suspension around at Palm Beach International Raceway. And with a 650hp Vortech-blown Coyote, there’s plenty of power to run 10s on the strip.
Steeda enhanced the looks with body mods and a wheel-and-tire package that adds a racy look with excellent function.
The guys at Steeda were kind enough to throw us the keys to conquer the long haul from South Florida to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for our ’14 Mustang Week adventure. The Q-650 killed it on the interstate and in heavy traffic. This Specialty Mustang is worthy of a spot on our list due to its ability to automatically switch from aggressive track car to capable street car. It is tame enough to drive every day but has the power to place an ear-to-ear smile on your face when you plant the throttle.
’88 Mustang LX
Michael Newton’s ’88 Mustang LX Fox-body has come a long way since it was found with faded Bright Regatta Blue paint. Netwon and his friend found the perfect Vortech ‘igloo’ intercooler setup online, and then sought out Top-End Fabrications to create the turbo setup with hand-fabricated exhaust and intake tubing. Next, his old 308-inch Ford Racing “R-block” was transformed into a 347ci capable of handling the massive amount of horsepower he was aiming for.
After taking a break from Mustangs and the track, Newton was back in the saddle and running in MMFF’s True Street class at NMRA events. Any Fox-body capable of over 1,000 hp is deserving in our book, especially one with a 9-second title in True Street at NMRA’s Bowling Green.
We were attracted to the superclean, almost stock looks, save for the obvious race equipment. Not to mention that Regatta Blue is one of our favorites. This LX had the stance, the look, and the performance to make out Top 10
Bobby Grasch’s 1986 Mustang was a shoe-in for our Top 10 list. After a handful of powerful racing builds, Bobby decided that the once-racecar was destined to return to its streetcar roots, so he created a build that would be a comfortable street cruiser with plenty of get up and go.
The resulting power plant is a 351 Windsor bored and stroked to 375 cubic inches that’s paired with Twin BorgWarner S300SX3 60mm turbochargers. The build is good for approximately 750 horsepower to the rear wheels according to Bobby, and it has run a best quarter-mile time of 9.50 at 148.22 mph.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this Fox though, is that Bobby can drive it around town and to and from work whenever the urge arises. With all that power, Bobby can take it from mild to wild in seconds flat.
’10 Mid-Mount Turbo Mustang
Brian Faessler is one NASA American Iron driver worthy of our Top 10, and his Coyote-powered ’10 Mustang in ’14 trim seals the deal. Although he may have just received his driver’s license a couple of years ago, Faessler has already dominated the track by setting two track records, placing four pole positions, and bringing home two championships just in his first few seasons. Now that is something to brag about!
Faessler’s dad, Paul, owner of Paul’s Automotive Engineering (PAE), had some tricks up his sleeve when it came to his son’s newfound on-track passion. Everything on Faessler’s car was revamped by PAE, including the front and rear suspension, K-member, A-arms, custom-made front spindles, and the mid-mounted Precision turbo. He even widened the Mustang’s body a whole 5 inches. A special-cambered floating 8.8-inch rear housing can be found in the back, and everything is tied together bumps Faessler’s race-ready Mustang to 575 rwhp. Of course, the menacing Viper- and Vette-killing look doesn’t hurt either.
’07 Mustang GT
If you’re the owner of a performance shop, then you need a car to practice what you preach, right? Ex-Pro 5.0 Mustang legend Dennis Ramsey found his new passion in the form of road racing, and he proves his performance point with his ’07 GT competing in NASA’s American Iron class.
When Ramsey purchased the Mustang, it already featured 2.8L Kenne Bell blower atop the stock block, but that wasn’t good enough for what he had in mind. He decided to ditch that Three-Valve and drop in a 5.0L Coyote crate engine. He then rebuilt the suspension; added a serious cage; swapped the brakes, wheels, tires, transmission, and seats; and hit the track. Ramsey is a race winner who applies his knowledge when building Mustangs for the masses. We love the car and the man who races it.
’93 Terminated Fox-Body
Matt Schelkopf’s ’93 Mustang GT was his very first car and after a trip to Mustang Week, he had the itch for more power. He decided to install a Terminator long-block, a conversion that took two years. And we knew it was a cover-worthy machine when we first saw it at the American Muscle car show a few years ago.
Accompanying his Four-Valve build are Ford GT camshafts, assorted Comp Cams valvetrain components, two Division X 340-lb/hr fuel pumps, and a Whipple blower, bumping this Fox up to an impressive 644 rwhp. Suspension is upgraded with the help of Maximum Motorsports and Bilstein. An Eaton True-Trac differential graces the rear.
Loving the look of the Fox, Schelkopf found a clean teal ’93 Cobra, bought it, sold it, and bought it back again after the buyer couldn’t keep it any longer. We think it’s safe to say that this hardcore Mustang guy bleeds Ford blue, and any Fox-body-meets-Terminator combination is worthy of a Top 10 spot. What can we say? We are suckers for a modern-swap Fox-body.