This is the magic fuel elixir that isn't difficult to find in Minnesota. Dan is literally surrounded by fields of potential ethanol. With an octane rating of around 105, it's stout enough to help him make a big horsepower number from a relatively small-displacement engine. We're only talking about a 5.4L engine. Do the math and the number equates to an impossibly small 331 ci, creating a devastating 3 hp/ci with the supercharger. Digging deeper, Dan is happy to tell you this isn't even close to a wild engine. The heads are just OE versions blessed with a brace of Ford GT DOHC cams. Dan's plan revolves around the one-two punch of a big ProCharger blower and the inescapable notion that four valves do a better job than just two.
Add cubic yards of air volume and 28 psi from the ProCharger F-1R blower with massive 160 lb/hr injectors (corn, remember?) and you have all the ingredients for monster power. Beck Mechanical in Texas built the fabricated lid that fits over the factory supercharger air-to-water intercooler. The now much larger intercooler reservoir is located where the battery used to sit up front in a fabricated tank built by Mark Wilkerson and the crew at RaceCraft in Madison Lake, Minnesota.
But the blower didn't just bolt in place. In fact, Dan says the Internet boobirds all said the F-1R couldn't be bolted to the 5.4L, which was all the motivation he needed to make it happen. Ford DOHC motors are wide, heavy engines stuffed into ponycar engine compartments, so there's not much real estate to squeeze in a blower, a drivebelt, and intercooler tanks. First Dan had to remove a couple of tubes from the radiator to plumb the 41/2-inch carbon-fiber tube from the air cleaner to the blower. This also demanded a custom mount and 10-rib blower pulley. Starting with an offset 12-rib pulley, Dan had APT Machine remove the rear flange, trim two ribs, and fabricate a new inner flange along with new blower mount spacers. Finally, the carbon-fiber tube started out as a piece of hardware-store PVC tube. Dan and Derek used it as a mold to make the tube with two layers of carbon fiber and Kevlar to give it strength. Then painter Dane Schendal coated it with epoxy clear. Dan says it sounds easier to make than it is, and he estimates with time and material, it cost him $2,500.
There's also the ordeal around building the return-style fuel system. Most of the aggravation settled around the Shelby's twin fuel tanks that straddle the driveshaft hump. While the MagnaFuel pump is the main fuel mover, Dan also uses a stock Mustang GT pump in the passenger side to transfer fuel to the driver-side tank along with return lines plumbed in as well. It's complicated, but it works. The main hassle, Dan says, is the blown 5.4 burns E85 at a prodigious rate and because the twin tanks don't fill well, the system balks at quick fuel stops.
Stories abound on this car, which is what makes it entertaining. Even the car itself didn't present itself in the normal way. Dan seeks out wrecked Mustangs as potential rebuilds, and he found one online that had been tagged hard in the rear with barely 2,200 miles on the clock. He rearranged the wrinkled sheetmetal and sold the original engine, building this one out of a similar iron-block 5.4L. With all this potential power, it required some additional modifications. The Car Craft Street Machine of the Year competition demanded that this car handle, and Dan's car just happened to be outfitted with a complete RaceCraft tubular front K-member and control arms. He retained the stock steering rack but added KW shocks and springs on all four corners. In the rear, RaceCraft supplied a Panhard bar, control arms, and an upper link.