It’s no secret that we’re fans of modular-powered Mustangs, and the 4.6-liter Three-Valve iterations in particular. Debuting first in 2005 under the hood of the Mustang GT, which was also the dawn of the S197 generation, the Three-Valve V8 certainly had one of the shortest lifespans of any modular Ford engine; but that’s not to say it wasn’t a contender — especially when modified.

When you are given the name Shelby, one aspect of your life is set for you; a love for cars. — Shelby Wendel

Son of Chad Wendel, Shelby Wendel, and his cousin Levi Wendel, both drive Three-Valve Mustangs of their own. And, like Shelby’s father, all three of the Wendels compete in the NMRA’s Roush Performance Super Stang class, which takes place ever NMRA season. We recently featured Chad’s Three-Valve Mustang which features a Paxton NOVI 2200 supercharger on a stock-bottom-end, and Chad’s Mustang is knocking on the door of 10s.

Our own 2005 Ford Mustang GT project car is much like the Paxton-blown Mustangs you see before you today. What all four Mustangs have in common is that, they are all Three-Valve S197 cars. However, only three of them feature a Vortech/Paxton supercharger combo, and that leaves Shelby’s cousin Levi to his naturally aspirated devices. Don’t sleep on Levi for not having a hit of forced induction, however, as this young man is already making big moves, and he hasn’t even graduated from high school yet.


Livin’ The Dream

At ages 18 or 22, like Shelby and Levi, we would have killed to have a Mustang in our garage, must less a race car.

They say it’s hard to be a young adult in today’s economy, and that’s not necessarily far from the truth. Young people these days still subscribe to the “go out and get it by working for it” methodology that many of our parents instilled in us, and the Wendel cousins are a prime pair of examples of that. Levi Wendel, who is the younger of the duo at just 18 years old, is from Union City, Indiana. A high school student who is almost ready to graduate, Levi was a natural when it came to Mustangs and drag racing.

“I have always been interested in cars,” Levi told us. “At an early age, I could tell you the make and model of almost any car. I’m definitely a Mustang fan — I started drag racing in the NMRA in 2017 and got runner-up in my very first race.”

Apart from drag racing Mustangs, Levi enjoys riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes in his spare time. He also loves to travel, and, after he graduates, would like to get into welding.

Shelby (left) and Levi (right) compete in the NMRA Super Stang class.

Shelby, who is 22, is long gone from high school now. As a pre-chiropractic student, he spends most of his days indoors, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t jonesin’ for a race or two in his Paxton-blown Three-Valve Mustang.

“When you are given the name Shelby, one aspect of your life is set for you; a love for cars,” he told us. “I got my first Mustang at just 20 years old — and within six months, I was participating in my first NMRA race in Maryland. I went to four races that year and finished 12th overall. In what could be considered my first full season in NMRA, I was able to attend five races and finished eighth overall. Other than racing, I’m just a typical college student. Lots of sleep, food, and studying. A lot of people have come on board as we’re trying to push the car faster and faster.”


Shelby Wendel’s Blown 2006 GT

Shelby’s 2006 GT is pure and simple, just the way we like it.

2006 Ford Mustang GT Mods

Color: Redfire Metallic

Hood: H.O. FiberTrends 1.5-inch Cowl Hood

Interior: Light weight front racing seats, MMR rear seat delete kit, Maximum Motorsports roll cage

Engine: Stock 4.6-liter SOHC Three-Valve 281ci V8

Fuel System: DeatschWerks 300-lph fuel pump w/ 39 lb/hr Ford OEM ’03-’04 SVT Cobra fuel injectors

Tuned by: Brenspeed

Exhaust: Pypes high-flow X-pipe w/ Violators axle-back exhaust

Power Adder: Paxton NOVI 1200 non-intercooled supercharger system

Transmission: Ford OEM 5R55 w/ PTC 4000 torque converter

Driveshaft: 4-inch one-piece aluminum

Rear end: Eaton TrueTac differential w/ 4:56 gears and Moser M88, and 31-spline axles

Suspension: BMR K-member w/ A-arms, lowering springs and bushings, and Lakewood 50/50 shocks

Wheels & Tires: Weld Racing RT-S wheels w/ Mickey Thompson drag radials

Don’t be fooled by that tri-bar pony emblem on the front fenders and the lack of foglights or a spoiler – Shelby’s 2006 Mustang is a GT, and it’s got a lot going for it. Like his father Chad, Shelby has also churned out a near 10-second pass in his Paxton-blown Three-Valve Mustang.

“It’s been as fast as 11.1-seconds at more than 122 mph with a 1.58 60-foot time,” Shelby said.

With a respectable 424 horsepower at the rear-wheels on just 8 pounds of boost, in a full weight Mustang on an all-stock engine, we’re impressed by that e.t. to say the least — especially when you consider that Shelby’s Mustang is rocking a much smaller, non-intercooled Paxton NOVI 1200 supercharger system. Safe to say, it just goes to show how efficient these centrifugal superchargers are.

Shelby’s S197 GT is rocking a host of other components aside from the supercharger, however. For starters, what makes his Mustang so quick down the strip wouldn’t be possible without an array of suspension components which help in aiding to keep the car stable, all the way from the launch to the 1,320 mark.

A K-member, A-arms, lowering springs, lower control arms and bushings all from BMR Suspension do the trick, as well as a pair of Lakewood 50/50 drag shocks in the rear. Moreover, A PTC 4000 torque converter and a 4-inch aluminum driveshaft help his Mustang transfer the power to a Moser Engineering M88 complete axle housing package which consists of its 31-spline axles, an Eaton TrueTrac differential and 4:56 gears.


Levi Wendel’s Naturally Aspirated 2006 GT

Also a subscriber of the “less is more” notion is Levi’s 2006 GT, and we dig it just as equally.

2006 Ford Mustang GT Mods

Color: Satin Silver

Hood: Stock GT

Interior: Stock w/ Shaker 500 sound system

Engine: Stock 4.6-liter SOHC Three-Valve 281ci V8

Fuel components: Stock

Tune: Brenspeed

Exhaust: Pypes high-flow X-pipe

Power Adder: n/a

Transmission: Ford OEM 5R55 five-speed automatic

Driveshaft: Stock

Rear end: 4.10 gears

Suspension: Ford Performance K series springs

Wheels & Tires: Weld Racing drag wheels w/ Mickey Thompson drag radials

As we mentioned previously, Levi is the younger of the two Wendel cousins, and he’s taken a more simplistic approach with his ’06 Mustang GT. Levi likes to ride naturally aspirated, and this young-gun likes a challenge. He was 2017’s runner-up in the NMRA Bradenton Spring Break Shootout’s Roush Performance Super Stang class —running a 12.66-second pass at more than 107 mph with a 1.96 60-foot time – and that was in his very first ever drag race.

Save for a JLT Series 2 cold air intake system, a Pypes off road X-pipe and a custom tune by Brenspeed, Levi’s Three-Valve Mustang is virtually stock. Though, it doesn’t hurt to have a set of 4.10 gears, Ford Performance K series springs, Weld Racing drag wheels and Mickey Thompson drag radials, either.

Those modifications help Levi rocket his virtually stock Mustang into the mid 12s, and he doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“My goal is to keep perfecting my skills in drag racing,” Levi told us. “Maybe one day I will throw some boost at this car. But for now, I would like to go as fast as I can while the car is naturally aspirated. This is my first Mustang, so I want to have fun with it before I start tearing into it and modifying things on a more permanent scale.”

Talking to Levi reminded us of how young and reckless we were at that age, so we commend his way of thinking and having such a level head when it comes to hot rodding his Mustang.

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