How much horsepower will a cam change give me?
Contrary to popular belief, a bigger cam will not necessarily make more power, in fact it can sometimes cost you performance. The stock 5.0 HO cam is actually a very efficient profile and can propel a naturally aspirated Mustang into the 11’s with the right pieces.

A larger cam will generally shift the power band of an engine upwards. This is fine if your engine is set up to make higher rpm power but the stock heads and intake are done making power right around 5000 rpm, so it doesn’t do any good installing a cam that makes peak power at 4700. Often a cam change will make a car seem faster because it’s down on power in the low rpms and then suddenly at 4000 it comes to life, but when you go to the track you may find it isn’t going any faster, or maybe picked up a tenth, and there are a lot of cheaper ways to pick up a tenth.

The bottom line is that if your car has stock heads, intake or both, installing a larger cam is a waste of time and money because your car will most likely go slower. We’ve gotten cars to go low 12’s and high 11’s with the stock cam. In fact our ’88 LX ran a 10.89 with the stock cam. On the other hand, if you’ve got a good set of cylinder heads and the right intake, a cam change can be worth the effort.

I’m on a fairly tight budget, what is the best way to spend my money?
Without a question the two most effective modifications you can make are headers and the right gear. Headers and a gear will make your car a whole lot quicker than the guy in the other lane (providing they didn’t have the same idea). After headers and a gear change there are a few other cost efficient modifications that can make a big difference. A few good suggestions are under-drive pulleys, 1.72 Roller Rockers, K & N air filter and a performance tune up. All of these items are included in our Street Fighter Performance Package, a good buy for the money and an excellent way to get your car in front of your competition.

I’ve done everything you said and when I took my car to the drag strip it wouldn’t even run 13’s!
Your car could have 500 horsepower but if you can’t get it to the ground it doesn’t do any good. Perhaps the most important piece of equipment you need to make a car run good numbers is a set of slicks. Even on the street if you’re interested in leaving the line before the other guy you need traction. Peeling out may have been cool when we were teenagers, but when you’re making real power and trying to get it to the ground tire spin isn’t cool, it’s a problem.

We’ve seen completely stock Mustangs with a set of slicks pull away from mildly modified cars that are defiantly making more power. In a race, if someone puts two or three car lengths on you right out of the gate it’s always difficult to catch up. As a general rule of thumb, a good pair of slicks is worth 4 tenths, although cars making more power will benefit even more.

A few years ago when our ’88 LX was running low 11’s, we put a pair of street tires on just for fun. The tires were awfully wide, 295’s to be exact but they were still just a radial street tire. The car couldn’t even get into the 12’s! It ran a couple 13.0’s but couldn’t go any quicker. We were spinning tire almost to the 1/8 mile mark. After bolting the slicks back on the car promptly ran 11.20’s. So in our case the slicks were worth 1.8 seconds, that’s roughly 18 car lengths in a race!

So now you’re asking what kind of slicks should you buy. We’ve found Mickey Thompson, Goodyear, Hoosier and Firestone to be excellent choices, although the Mickey’s seem to offer the best traction at the strip and on the street. If you’re driving on the street and don’t want to run the risk of getting caught with non-DOT tires, M & H DOT slicks aren’t bad, but they’re not as good as a true slick. Mickey Thompson now offers their ET Street, which has D.O.T. approval and works as well as their ET Drag. If that’s still too serious for you and you’re looking for a full tread tire, Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro’s, Hoosier Quick Times and BFG Drag Radials are the next best choice. Once you’ve got a good tire on the car, traction bars like Mega-Bites are the next logical step and work well in putting power where it should be.

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