Modding the Shelby: A never ending tale!
If you are a newcomer to my Blog, the story behind my Shelby, “SoScary”, starts here.
If you are reading this and are not big into cars, let me preface this by stating that unmodified Mustangs are quite a rare breed. Sure there are soccer moms who are not into the Mustang scene and use them just for driving to work, the grocery store and schools, but then there is the rest of us – thousands of Mustang owners who live and breath the breed every day! Making your Mustang your own is the name of the game. Some go strictly for performance mods, some focus more on looks, there are many that mod their engines, suspension and tires just for the track or drag strip but for most of us it’s a bit of all of that – usually tempered by budgets or time constraints– or to avoid voiding the warranty!
The first big mod I did in early 2013 was to replace the rear exhaust mufflers (called axle-backs) with sportier ones that sounded more like a muscle-car should. To be sure, the stock OEM ones sounded good, but that was Ford’s sound bite for the general public. I wanted something much racier – and worthy of the Supercharged 662HP monster up front. Choosing which ones to go with is a very personal taste and I read a lot, listened a lot and eventually decided on Borla ATAKs. These are their most “aggressive” model and boy do they sound good! It was important to me that they did not sound obnoxious and did not “drone” in the cabin – which they don’t.
My new Borla ATAK axle-backs – before they went on the car
The Borlas let me sneak reasonably quietly out of your neighborhood in the early hours of the morning, but the minute I hit the gas, they get really aggressive and heads do turn! They are made 100% from stainless steel with rolled chrome tips and have a lifetime warranty.
After I upgraded to the Borlas, I then focused on appearance mods (more on those later) but in the fall of 2014, I got word that MGW who make the best shifter in the world had just released a Generation II version of their famous shifter for the 2013/14 Shelby GT500. The stock shifter on the Shelby is pretty good but one of my fellow Shelby friends had one of the original first generation MGW shifters installed and it felt great. It had a nice short throw and was so precise, so it quickly went on my Wish List. As soon as a new Gen II version was released, it was the only trigger I needed. I got the shifter installed in March of 2015 and it is a precision piece of engineering. I chose to install the race track specification rubber bushings – they are a bit tighter than the standard road one but they will tolerate the fastest possible shifting of the gears through the box without a single hiccup or false shift.
The MGW Gen II Shifter and my new Shelby shift knob.
The precision engineering behind this shifter is awesome!
MGWs Gen II Shifter for the 2013/14 Shelby GT500 – beautifully engineered!
The next mod I did was to add a three Auto Meter Elite gauges in the driver-side A pillar using a tri-gauge pod from Lethal Performance. The Auto Meter Elite gauges are impressive and look really slick! I chose them because they have programmable colored LED lighting. You can set the LED default color then have it change when a user-defined low or high value is reached. So for the Vac-Boost gauge for example, the gauge is displays dark blue in normal more but switches to red as soon as the car goes into boost at or above zero psi. You can also set high and low warning thresholds and the gauge will flash if the value reaches that number.
For the three gauges I chose Vacuum/Boost, Wideband Fuel (Air/Fuel ratio) and Fuel Pressure – the latter two are essential when doing very high-performance tuning on the car as a lean engine or insufficient fuel pressure can cause pre-detonation which can cause serious damage and loss of performance.
Auto Meter Elite Boost Gauge
Auto Meter Wideband Air/Fuel Gauge
Auto Meter Fuel Pressure Gauge
Next Post: Gold Striping, engine bay upgrades and more!