With all the major performance upgrades in place, I decided to switch attention to the interior of the car for a while. It actually started off when the car was parked at Shelbyfest in MO in 2018 and someone scratched the cowl on my passenger mirror. That started the search for carbon-fiber covers which led me to TruFiber’s products. Actual carbon-fiber is not cheap, but the results are great so I bought a pair.
I was so happy with the result that I decided to upgrade the whole interior console too, starting with the cover over the beverage holder and the center console lid. These two were stick on panels of real carbon fiber.
That followed with replacing the gearshift panel and the fascia around the GPS. These were a much bigger deal, however, because the c/f panels actually replace the OEM ones – they are not stick on covers. Ford (in all their wisdom) do not make it easy for you to release the gearshift bezel and boot so it took a number of hours to remove numerous plastic welds and re-attach the new c/f panel using a hot glue gun. The results, however were stunning.
With a lot of performance upgrades done, it was time to pay attention to the brakes. The OEM discs on the 2013/14 Shelbys are huge but the pads can fade under very hard track work and are extremely dusty. The brake dust even under normal driving conditions is really bad – this is bad for a show car as arriving at an event required a lot of wheel cleanup. The dust coats the inside of the wheel well and the side panels of the car, Not good! After some research, the answer was to replace the OEM pads with Porterfield Kevlar-Ceramic pads. Luckily they make ones that are a direct replacement so it’s an easy swap.
I decided that since I am working on the brakes, it would be a good time to repaint the standard black calipers gold to match the black/gold theme of the car so I did that too.
A later safety upgrade was to install a quick-release Fire Extinguisher in the cabin. I have seen high power cars catch fire due to a fuel rail failure or from an accident and it’s a scary sight so this was a must have for me. The choice of extinguisher is important. I chose a 2.5lb H3R Halguard Premium model that one that uses a clean agent – no messy powder or damaging discharge.
I found a nice bracket assembly from The Bracketeer that bolted on to the passenger seat rail along with a quick-release catch from Drake. It took some minor modification to get it all installed but the result looks great.
With the extinguisher in place, the sliding mechanism of the seat cannot be used, which is not a big deal since the only reason to slide it forward would be for leg room for a rear passenger – I may have had a rear passenger once in the entire lifetime I have had the car – but releasing the extinguisher and storing it in the trunk frees up the seat rail – so problem solved!
Lastly, my Michelin Pilot Super Sports, which had served me well for the last 20,000 miles needed replacing. I always replace tires from a safety viewpoint, not cost. Michelin now produce the Sport 4S tire which has replaced the original Super Sport – and they are fantastic.
It came as no surprise that upgrading to 800HP would accelerate clutch failure. I was actually quite surprised the OEM one lasted as long as it did. In April, 2017, I entered a freeway and hit the gas in 4th to punch out to the fast lane and I could hear the rpm surge way beyond actual road speed. This was the first clue – and it started doing it every time I applied power, so clearly, the clutch was shouting “help”. The car had 27,500 miles on it.
I had already started doing some preemptive research on clutches and there are several popular ones to choose from. What I was wary of was those models that “rattled” in neutral or were clunky in traffic. Out of all the models I considered, I ended up choosing the Mantic 1,000HP Cerametallic Twin Disc Clutch which at close to $2,000, was not the cheapest on the market, but it did come with a new throw out bearing and a lightened steel flywheel. If you are going to replace the throw out bearing, this is definitely the time to do it and the idea of the lightened flywheel appealed to me (more on this later…).
So in May of 2017, the clutch arrived and I booked the car in for the replacement (this sort of job requires a lift for sure!) I used my local Ford Dealer who have certified SVT mechanics. I also got the clutch line replaced with a braided steel line. The car was ready two days later and they warned me that the new clutch was pretty rough as it would need breaking in – that was an understatement! The pedal feel was about the same but it came in a bit higher on the pedal; however it had about two modes – all or nothing. The lightened flywheel meant less inertia so without some rpm; there was a danger of stalling, particularly as the new clutch would bite hard.
The break in period was about 600-800 miles so I daily drove the car for weeks to give it lots of shifts and avoided any hard acceleration or clutch dumps. It was pretty brutal the first couple of weeks but gradually it got better but in neutral with the pedal off the clutch there was still quite a pronounced rattle – which was just what I was trying to avoid. After every 1,000 miles, however, the clutch became smoother and smoother and the rattle all but disappeared. At the time of writing this (Dec 2018 at 43,500 miles), its turned out to be a great clutch. It’s smooth as butter and instills a lot of confidence. It still bites harder than an OEM one and I still need to take off with more throttle, but it’s nothing like the all or nothing one it was like when new. For sure, a lightened flywheel revs more quickly! A couple of Shelby friends of mine have since driven the car and both got used to it very quickly.