Can a Mustang GT Go Faster than a GT500 for Less Money?

If you’ve been following Project Magneto, our 2018 Mustang GT, then it is no surprise that our goal from the very beginning was to go faster than Shelby GT500 for less money. Ultimately, we’d also like to make Project Code Orange a notch on our belt as well, but we’ll pick on the stockers first. For the first time, we are going to break down the cost associated with the build to see if we were successful. If you watched the video, then you know if we hit our e.t. goal. Here’s the tale of the tape in the Mustang GT vs GT500 debate:

Stock 2018 Mustang GT – $28,000

Our starting point was a 90,000-mile 2018 Mustang GT that cost $28,000. In retrospect, a Gen 2 with a 6R80 would have saved us $5,000 off the starting price and probably got us a more reliable transmission. The RC Street King wheels and Mickey Thompson used in baseline testing cost an additional $2,468.

Steeda Suspension – $4,515

There are certainly cheaper ways of skinning this cat, but Steeda insured us we weren’t chasing our tails and gave us a foolproof recipe for hitting our e.t. goals. The Ultimate Stop the Hop kit, front coilovers, rear drag springs, rear shocks and sway bar sured up the suspension and kept our stock aluminum differential intact.

TDSS Axles & QA1 Driveshaft – $4,323

If our goal was simply to do this as cheaply as possible, again, we may have tried to save a couple bucks. But we knew our budget would allow for a more reliable and foolproof recipe that would work well at a drag n drive event or even in a daily driver. The QA1 carbon driveshaft was a safer choice that also doesn’t shock the tires off the hit as bad as a heavier driveshaft. As for the axles, these are good for 2,000hp. There are some people that claim to have gone 10s or faster with stock axles, but why risk it? That’s just playing with fire.

Melling Oil Pump Gears – $300

With boost on the horizon, Melling was our go-to for upgrading the infamous oil pump gears on the Gen 3 Coyote. 

VMP Loki Supercharger – $7,999.99

What better way to catch a GT500 than with the very same Eaton TVS2650 that’s been repackaged and improved by VMP Performance for aftermarket use. The 50-state legal Loki kit is easily upgradeable to the Odin kit should the need arise for more power. Having seen some of the turbo kits on the market, the VMP kit was much more in-line with the level of fit and finish befitting our S550 while more than capable of providing enough power in a simpler and more reliable package. In fact, that alone may have been enough for our goals…until trouble struck.

Kooks Headers, Exhaust, and Suncoast 10R80 Rebuild – $14,770

In terms of cost, this was the real heartbreaker. We didn’t expect to melt the transmission, or for one of the cats to explode. But, hey, it happens. And guess what. We still have a badass ride for a fraction of the cost of a GT500.

GRAND TOTAL = $62,376

So far we are about half the cost of a 2020 Shelby GT500, and already faster. We are betting that with a pulley and fuel upgrades, this car is capable of low 10s (maybe faster) for just a few more bucks. There’s no doubt this could be done cheaper, but we chose not to cut any corners. These are all quality parts that ensured the safety and reliability of the vehicle, and this formula can be repeated by anyone. Stay tuned as we continue our Mustang GT vs GT500 contest.

mustang gt vs gt500

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Scott Parker

Scott dreamed of being in the automotive media in high school, growing up around car shows and just down the street from Atco Raceway. The technology, performance capability, and craftsmanship that goes into builds fuels his passion.
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