Ben Stoner and his team at Fathouse Fabrications are clicking off 8-second passes in a Coyote-powered Mustang faster than you can finish this sentence. His turbocharged machine currently stands as the quickest Coyote-powered, manual transmission-equipped Mustang. Of course, an accomplishment such as this did not happen over night, and a lot of trial and error led up to the team’s 8-second quarter-mile pass.
Ben was kind enough to share his story with us and what it takes to drive a manual transmission-equipped Mustang in the quarter-mile, breaking the seal on the eights and hopefully beyond. As Ben divulged, a car is only as fast as its platform allows, and that’s exactly why he started with a Coyote-powered S197 Mustang.
We finally broke into the eights. It took two years and a lot of broken parts, but we finally met our goal. — Ben Stoner, Fathouse Fabrications
“I bought the car right after we started the shop in 2012 to use as a development car,” Ben explained. “We had always planned to build a twin-turbo kit for it. I bought all of the parts to complete the build, but unfortunately, we never found ourselves with the time build it, so we scrapped the project and sold the parts.”
Ben and his team tried again Spring of 2013, but time just wasn’t on their side. Fast-forward more than a year later, and the crew at Fathouse Fabrications finally began working on creating a monster in the quarter-mile.
“In 2014 we finally made time to build a custom turbo kit.” Ben recalled. “This time we elected to us a single 76mm turbocharger from Forced Inductions. We never expected to make more than 1,000 horsepower with this car, so the 76mm was the perfect-sized turbo for our street car build.”
As Ben explains, the car was never built to be a one-trick pony. In fact, it had to meet a list of his personal stipulations. It had to be a fun street car that he could take to a plethora of events to showcase the shop’s fabrication abilities, along with competing in a race from time to time. It was a tall order to fill, no doubt, but Ben says the combination worked.
“The original build featured a stock engine and the stock MT-82 six-speed manual transmission,” he detailed. “On E85, it made just over 800 horsepower at the rear wheels. I drove the car a lot when it was setup like this and went through a few stock transmissions before I finally gave up on them. We only made one pass at the track on this setup, and it managed a 9.9-second pass at more than 145 mph.”
For most of us, running a high-9-second e.t. in the quarter-mile is more than enough to call it quits. Ben, on the other hand, wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
“In the fall of 2015, we decided to build the engine and swap in a Tremec T-56 Magnum XL transmission,” Ben enthused.
The team decided on building a short-block combination based on forged Wiseco 11:1 pistons and forged standard-stroke K1 Technologies connecting rods spun by a more-than-capable factory forged crankshaft. The factory aluminum 5.0-liter block was massaged with a set of sleeve supports, though its displacement remains the same at 302 cubic inches, making the combination truly a “budget-build.” The cylinder heads are completely stock, save for a set of Livernois Engineering valvesprings, which ensure the turbo Coyote can spin a tad higher than the stock rev limiter.
Running nines was fun, but Ben wanted to be one of the cool kids, and he knew his ’Stang could handle it. With the engine and transmission in check, Ben and his team pieced together a complete return-style fuel system for the car which features custom dual-fuel-pumps, along with a set of Injector Dynamics’ ID1300 fuel injectors.
With air and fuel in check, it was time for the Coyote to hit the rollers for the horsepower lie detector.
“On the first dyno session, we put down more than 1,100 horsepower at the rear wheels!” Ben enthused. “The car exceeded everyone’s expectations — we were shocked at how much power it was making, and how the powerband looked.”
They say all good things come to an end, and it seemed the ’Stang had finally met its match after destroying a clutch for the first time. As Ben put it, “…this started a string of bad luck with clutches. We went through six different clutches over the next year and a half trying to get into the eights…”
But all hope wasn’t lost. Just last month, Ben and his team were able to find a clutch solution that would hold more than enough power.
“The weather was terrible here in Indiana, so we had to break it in on the dyno,” Ben explained. “After the break-in process, we started turning the power up to see if the clutch would hold. The clutch held, and the car made an additional 100 horsepower more than it did on the same boost setting. We ended up making 1,235 horsepower at the rear wheels on 25 pounds of boost!”
With power on tap, he and his team headed to Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Florida, for the Street Car Takeover event last January. Armed with a new Mantic triple-disc clutch assembly in his ’Stang, Ben had to relearn how to launch that car, as the new assembly was more aggressive.
“Our first attempt at launching the car resulted in a broken driveshaft,” Ben said. “You can imagine we were pretty disappointed after driving 15 hours to go racing. The track made an announcement for a racer in need of a driveshaft and Jordan Performance and Racing came to the rescue with a brand new driveshaft to get us going. We have to give a huge shoutout to Justin Jordan and his customer Jason for allowing us to use that driveshaft!”
Ben was able to get the driveshaft swapped in time for some test passes, with his first pass resulting in a 9.1-second pass at 160 mph. High-octane running through his veins, Ben quickly packed the car’s parachute again and lined up for a back-to-back run.
“I launched the car and it bogged again, but I decided to run it out anyway. To my surprise when I got my slip, we had done it! Finally broke into the eights. It took two years and lots of broken parts, but we finally met our goal!” he enthused.
So, what’s next for Ben, the crew and the 8-second ’Stang? Possibly a new owner…
This car is a blast to drive and a bit of a handful on the track, and it’s still really fun to drive on the street too. – Ben Stoner, Fathouse Fabrications
“If it doesn’t sell, we will go after the overall Mustang stick-shift record and keep racing!” Ben told us. “This car is a blast to drive and a bit of a handful on the track, and it’s still really fun to drive on the street too.”
All the more impressive, Ben wheels his Mustang on 20-inch wheels with a full interior when in street trim. The car has retained its original radio, power leather seats, power steering, and a full exhaust keeps things quieter when in street mode. All in all, making an 8-second pass in a streetable, stick-shift ’Stang is an incredible feat, but it may be just the beginning for this Fathouse Fabrications ride.