Few engines are as well-known in the Ford lineup as the famous 5.0. With roots dating back to the heyday of the muscle car days, “5.0” became synonymous with performance during the 1980’s when Ford ditched measuring engine displacement in cubic inches and began measuring it in liters. Thus 302 cubic inches became 5.0 liters, and a legend was reborn.
Over the years, the Fox-body has become a platform for all sorts of performance applications, even as Ford ditched the pushrod design in favor of overhead camshafts and smaller displacement. As a result, the famed 5.0 moniker disappeared for almost two decades before Ford brought it back in the 2011 Mustang GT. So it was only a matter of time before a shop managed to get the 412 horsepower 5.0 liter “Coyote” engine and dropped it into the original 5.0, the Fox-body Mustang.
Kurgan Motorsports is among the first shops in the U.S. to get a Coyote 5.0 engine swapped into a Fox-body Mustang. They’ve not only done a beautiful job, but the powerful and modern engine in the lighter Fox platform means the Mustang goes like stink. We talked to Bob Kurgan, famed Mustang drag racer and owner of Kurgan Motorsports about this new 5.0-powered Mustang.
This gorgeous red racer began its life as a humble-but-clean 4-cylinder car, but the engine and drivetrain came out of a wrecked 2011 Mustang GT. The engine swap itself was simple. “The engine just dropped right in,” said Bob Kurgan. “It was everything else that was difficult.” Because the Coyote 5.0 engine has only been on the market for a few months, both in the 2011 Mustang GT and as a crate motor, all the parts for a Fox-body swap have to be custom built.
“Getting the engine running was easy,” says Bob Kurgan. “We had to custom make the motor mounts, air conditioning brackets, power steering brackets ourselves. But it’s a friggin’ animal on the streets.” The car was slated to get a supercharger, though right now it is being fitted with custom Kooks headers. The brake booster came out of an ’03 Cobra, and they performed a T-45 transmission swap to back the much more powerful engine.
The four-cylinder engine this particular Mustang came with had just 100 horsepower, and the V8 made just 235 horsepower. But the Coyote 5.0 engine makes 412 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque, paving the way as the most powerful Mustang GT ever. And thanks to Kurgan Motorsport’s work, the swap will soon be much easier for the rest of us. The car is just the first part in a master plan that will culminate at the Carlisle Ford Nationals event later this year. Kurgan is working with Ford to do the complete Coyote 5.0 swap in front of a crowd at Carlisle. Then they are going to start selling swap kits to other Fox-body owners who want to do this very same swap.