As we briefly alluded to in a news report last week, our Project Biting the Bullitt 1965 Ford Mustang, which has been under construction for more than two years, made it’s long-awaited debut at the NMCA WEST’s World Street Finals event at the historic Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California, and by all of our initial measures, the maiden voyage was a certain success.
It was more than two years ago when Biting The Bullitt first rolled into the Power Automedia garage and became the newest addition to the project car lineup. The classic Mustang was in running condition with a less-than-intimidating 170 cubic inch inline-six under the hood, and while it was perhaps in need of a little TLC, for it’s age, it was the perfect canvas to begin our build.
What followed was a complete roll cage, a full front and rear aftermarket suspension, a new fuel and cooling system, a TCI Streetfighter 4L80E transmission, Flowmaster exhaust, new shoes and a host of other components. With the Paxton NOVI-2500 blower bolted up, the engine cranked out 1,030 horsepower on the engine dyno (at 16 pounds of boost) and 720 rear wheel horsepower on the chassis dyno at just 11 pounds of boost – dialed down on purpose for our maiden voyage.
We logged 30-40 road miles on the car recently to check everything out, and performed some final dyno tuning before our debut based on our first driving impressions. We filled the motor with Joe Gibbs Driven HR3 synthetic 15W-50 motor oil and filled the tank with VP Racing Fuels’ C16, which is designed just for forced induction and nitrous engines.
From there, it was off to the races.
For our first outing, we entered Biting The Bullitt in the NMCA’s Mustang Madness category in Bakersfield in order to gain the maximum number of runs, including time trials, three rounds of qualifying, and eliminations. Eventually we’ll put the old girl into True Street, but on this particular weekend, it was all about making laps, getting a feel for driving and tuning the car, and of course, ensuring that every nut and bolt was tight and our entire combination was in running order.
To accomplish this, we began the weekend with a short 330-foot checkout pass, and followed it up with an 1/8-mile hit. With the car performing well and running straight as an arrow, we made a full-pull to the 1/4-mile and tripped the clocks in under 10 seconds, even with a de-tuned combination of only 27 degrees of timing and 10.5:1 air/fuel ratios. In each successive run, the car consistently ran in the 9.80’s and 9.90’s, recording a best pass of 9.83 at 135 mph. As a final summation, the car ran straight, launched straight and left fairly flat rather than lifting the wheels, and truth be told, was even quieter than expected with it’s full Flowmaster exhaust.
As a true footbrake car (no whiz-bang gadgets on this street car), we stalled the motor to about 2,500 rpm in the beams while on the brakes, and consistently sixty-footed in the 1.40 range every pass. Needless to say, our Calvert, Chassisworks, and TCI Engineering suspension did its job.
We utilized our Snow Performance water/methanol injection system on the car, and in doing so, we saw impressive air intake temperatures as low as 125-130 degrees at the finish line. This was measured in the carburetor bonnet, which is before the air/fuel mixture further drops the air temperature.
All told, we accomplished exactly what we wanted to on the weekend by making clean, solid runs to establish as a base for the future – a future that includes an increase in boost in our mission to run in the high eight-second range (which we believe will require around 900 horsepower to the tires) and a fresh new coat of paint. We’re also going to be working with the team at JBA Performance Exhaust in the off season, using Biting the Bullitt as a test bed to develop the first set of of large tube headers on the market made specifically for the first-generation Mustang. Given our current 1-5/8-inch setup, we’re hoping to gain 40-60 horsepower at the tires in the headers alone.
A busy winter lies ahead for Biting the Bullitt, but we’ll be ready to tackle True Street (and perhaps a few poor souls at a southern California stop light) head-on next year when all is said and done.