In the 1990s General Motors produced the baddest domestic car ever built at the time, the Corvette ZR-1. We’ll give the General credit where credit is due, the ZR-1 was a salvo against the Europeans, a statement that America could build their own super car (even if it did need help from Lotus and Mercury Marine for the engine).
While we generally think of the rebirth of the horsepower wars as the late 1990s with the introduction of the four-valve mod motor in the Mustang, and the LS series in GM’s pony cars, it would seem that Ford was exploring possibly competing with the ZR-1 for half the price.
In a story posted over at The Mustang Source, Mark Kovalsky details a SVO pet project that he was part of way back in 1988. The goal was to create a ZR-1 killer Mustang that would sell for half of the $60,000 price tag that GM was going to retail their Super Vette at.
To achieve the necessary power the SVO team dropped in a 351 Windsor wearing prototype GT40 heads and lower intake. Obviously in just naturally aspirated form the 351 would have made a venerable performance Mustang, but to beat the ZR-1 more would be necessary. The more came from a pair of turbos shoving boost down the Windsor’s throat. A special upper intake plenum allowed for the use of the stock Mustang hood. Aside from a running horse on the GT nose, a special lower grille, and some unique wheels the car looks decidedly stock Mustang GT of the day. There are no official power numbers anywhere for this car, though Kovalsky claims that 375 hp would be conservative.
Alas problems with the aging Fox platform and the availability of a transmission sturdy enough to handle the power levels all plagued the project, ultimately resulting in it becoming just another legend of SVO lore. Today the car resides in Jack Roush’s personal collection and is on display. You can read Kovalsky’s full account over at The Mustang Source.