The holiday season notoriously strains budgets and nerves as frazzled shoppers peter aimlessly around packed mall parking lots fighting crowds and wasting time. The folks at Ohio's Lebanon Ford Performance can help with a budget-friendly Mustang that solves both problems.
The Project M is a 2020 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 1 tuned up with one of two supercharger kits to make up to 1,000 horsepower at the crankshaft running E85, or about 700 horsepower running 93 octane. The price? Just about $54,995, before options, with a 10-speed automatic—maybe less if you want to row your own.
Holy Christmas is right, buddy. Lebanon Ford Performance isn't new to this either. The Ford dealer in Lebanon, Ohio, near Dayton, has turned out incredible builds such as the Mustang LFP 550, which is a 550-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4 Mustang for $32,995, and the 800-hp Mustang Hellion for $51,995.
The dealer's newest creation, called Project M, aimed for four-figure horsepower with a reasonable five-digit price tag—just in time for the holiday season. The base vehicle is a 2020 Mustang GT equipped with a 5.0-liter V-8 and Performance Pack 1 tacked on, which adds better Brembo brakes, staggered 19-inch wheels, a strut tower brace, a K brace, and a 3.55 rear end when equipped with an automatic. (Presumably it's a 3.73 with the manual, although Lebanon Ford Performance didn't specify that.)
From there, the path to Project M diverges.
Route No. 1 to 1,000 hp: A Whipple 3.0 Gen 5 Stage 2 supercharger with pulleys for 93 octane and E85 is strapped to the 5.0-liter V-8. Two tunes by Palm Beach Dyno handle both fuel types and Lebanon says they'll dyno, drain the fuel, and dyno again each Mustang that leaves the shop for the specific tune to run on both fuel types. Beefier cooling and heat exchangers will help dissipate heat from all that awesomeness, and a Fore Innovations Double Pump L2 fuel system and 1050X injectors will feed it more fuel.
Route No. 2 to 1,000 hp: Keep the cooling, heat exchangers, fuel system, injectors, and two tunes from Palm Beach Dyno, but change some of the hardware. A D1X Procharger Stage 2 supercharger does the dirty work here, complete with two pulleys for E85 and 93 octane. A Big Red blowoff valve, a race intercooler, GT350 mass airflow tubing, and an MMR intake manifold runner control straps are added. Perhaps our favorite detail? Straight cut gears in the supercharger so it sounds the jazz off-throttle, too.
No matter what direction buyers decide, maximum power is the final destination with a $54,995 price tag attached.
Lebanon Ford offers multiple options to add on to the Project M to keep it from tearing itself apart (billet oil pump gears and upgraded halfshafts), lower it (drag or street springs), drag it (carbon-fiber driveshaft, safety loop, drag wheels), or blast it (catback and long tubes). Each adds a few thousand to the price.
The bad news? There's no powertrain warranty and you'll need to do some homework on changing the pulleys depending on fuel type.
However, for those who can't stand puttering around the parking lot during the holiday season, imagine doing it behind the wheel of a 1,000-hp Mustang for less than the cost of a 2020 Mustang GT350. That's sure to bring holiday cheer to many.