Featured Builds » Carlson Mustang
'2009 Super Snake 1000
2009 Mustang GT500/GT1000 Finished at JBA Performance
JBA Speed Shop/Carlson Mustang
By: Justin Fort
Photography: JBA Performance
The four-year build of Edgar Carlson’s highly evolved Super Snake came to conclusion, thanks to JBA. As a restaurant mogul in Houston, TX, Carlson understood that patience and focus were essential if his Mustang was going to be right and he developed a clear set of expectations for JBA to pursue. “J. Bittle understood what I wanted,” Carlson said. “Something advanced, technical and black, full of detail and dripping with power. I have lots of friends who own nice European cars, so I wanted a domestic that was built to that level—like AMG had built a Mustang. Plus, it had to be capable of running 200 mph at The Texas Mile,” he said.
Carlson had originally intended for Shelby to build him a Super Snake, their turnkey 600-horse up-rated GT500. However, the Dallas-based Shelby mod shop, Quantum, was unable to finish the car. The buildup of Carlson’s Shelby (which had only 100 miles on it at the time) had stalled. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Fortunately, Shelby’s shop in Las Vegas stepped in at Carlson’s behest and got the project back underway. Meanwhile, 2010 had become 2012.
If you’ve ever done a buildup that stops and starts then stops and starts, you know – the devil is in the details. This 2009 GT500 is full of details, and they took time: imagine planning out a race car suspension to be used on the street, which commonly translates into a nightmare to set up and drive. Every detail of it needed to be sorted out. Carlson’s Super Snake (which had become a hybrid or at least certainly early Super Snake/Shelby 1000 prototype, by the time it was finished), was this sort of project when he shipped it from Las Vegas to JBA Speed Shop in San Diego.
JBA’s part in the custom-built Carlson Mustang was not unlike connecting dots. The car was there, but it needed to work. The 1200hp-capable 5.4-liter modular engine had been bored and stroked to 5.8 liters (351 cubic inches) and was breathing 16psi through the finest in Kenne Bell blowers, but the parts combo had a production tune, and would flash lean on JBA’s dyno.
JBA has been building and racing modular Ford engines since the platform’s introduction in 1996. So, when Carlson insisted on two distinct maps that provided pump-gas drivability and 200 mph-capability on race gas, we knew what to do: re-engineer and re-plumb the entire fuel system on the car and extensively map it on the dyno.
A Griggs Racing complete torque-arm rear suspension for Carlson’s Shelby (which was originally installed at Shelby) was bolted in at the Las Vegas facility. Since JBA is a certified Griggs installer, setting up proper adjustments and corner-weighting the car was a another order of business. It now sits almost perfectly 50/50 corner bias, and the Griggs hardware works as well as Bruce Griggs said it would. These details were in addition to countless others that JBA sorted out: custom painted (car color) roll cage with back seat delete, custom bodywork and aero, fire control, safety harnesses equipment, augmented cooling, special exhaust parts and custom interior parts (down to the stitching on the Recaros).
There was an upside to the extended build time that had affected the creation of Ed Carlson’s Mustang—what had been a brand new Mustang was now five years old. As a result, in that time, the parts available for it had expanded significantly. This time provided “soak” for Carlson and JBA, who were able to come to grips with exactly what the Shelby’s owner wanted it to be. JBA’s advanced understanding of the SN-197 platform Mustang meant that they could turn a very expensive collection of performance parts into a standout Shelby 1000 Super Snake.
Sidebar: Providing adequate fuel delivery to support the Carlson Shelby’s blown 5.8 liter engine on 200 mph runs became one of the principal goals for Bruce Tucker and the JBA team. The car arrived from Shelby with a tune that maxed out the mass-air meter and the fuel pump duty cycle. On the JBA dyno Edgar’s GT500 was going dangerously lean over 5300rpm (which can be instant death for a supercharged motor). In the case of the Carlson combination, the owner also wanted a dual-map solution for the car so he could run pump gas on the street and race gas for his planned 200 mph pass at the Texas Mile – the system had to work right for both. JBA’s redesign included a return-style fuel system boosted by two Walbro 465s, Division X rails and return plumbing, an Aeromotive regulator and a Diablosport MAFia Mass-Air Extender, all of which were followed by more tuning and dyno time.