Tested: BFP 2019 Ford Mustang GT Delivers Budget Performance

Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
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Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
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From the January 2021 issue of Cars and Drivers.
In 2013, a customer walked into the Lebanon Ford north of Cincinnati and asked salesman Charlie Watson about buying a supercharged Mustang. Watson didn't have one, and the dealer couldn't build one, and the customer left. The moment ate in Watson. He hated losing that sale and spent three years creating a benefit program for the dealership to offer what he couldn't that day.
By 2016, Watson had built a number of small upgrades like cold air inlets, roush music, and the occasional compressor. However, he was inspired to grow taller after seeing Smokey and the bandit: "Hearing Trans Am started fire and caused trouble was just as amazing as I remembered," he wrote in April 2016 on the now defunct Dealership Blog Night he couldn't shake off the charge he was getting on screen from that Pontiac. "It struck me that the whole car," he said, "was one chassis and one big engine." It lacked the electronic, aerodynamic, and suspension enhancements that push modern performance cars like today's Mustang Shelby GT500 beyond the average enthusiast's budget.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
Watson wondered what would happen if he took a base Mustang GT, put a blower on it, pushed it up to 700bhp, and sold it for something sensible. He wrote on the blog that "after recalculating, pinching, and rubbing my eyes" he finally had his answer: a 727 hp Mustang for $ 39,995. He was so excited that he announced the deal around 1:00 a.m. Customers made deposits the next day. When the news hit Yahoo's home page a few weeks later, the dealership had to hire a call center to handle all inquiries. Watson had struck a chord with his high-powered, low-dollar Mustangs.
In 2017, he took his program to another dealer a few miles south and founded Beechmont Ford Performance (BFP). Today, BFP is going to sell you a new Mustang GT with a six-speed manual transmission and a Roush phase-2 supercharger that claims to have 750 horsepower and 670 pound-feet of torque for $ 44,994. The changes can be funded by car and are covered by a three-year warranty of 36,000 miles. And because of Roush's close relationship with Ford, you can have the car serviced at Blue Oval dealerships across the country.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
BFP only builds cars to order and has therefore obtained a 2019 Mustang with a 10-speed automatic and a 750 PS supercharger package from customer Charles Gerhardt for testing. At idle, the 61-decibel rumble of the Roush axle exhaust sounds like a warning, and the black 20-inch niche wheels wrapped in offset Nitto NT555 G2 rubber add to the imposing presence. This BFP-built pole likes to smoke its rear wheels at 60 mph, but when shuffling through traffic it feels like a Mustang GT. When we go down ramps we get an almost rollercoaster rush. Step on the throttle at 80 km / h and 70 will arrive just 2.3 seconds later. Repeat as you wish, laughing insanely between the stings until authorities chase you down. That won't take long, because when the BFP Mustang is spurred on after all it has, it rushes positively through that Roush exhaust.
But that was after the car was fixed. On our first trip to the test track, we asked, "Where's the beef?" The BFP car reached 60.0 mph in 4.0 seconds and covered the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds. It was two tenths slower to 60 and three tenths slower in the quarter mile than a production Mustang GT with automatic. The BFP car obviously did not produce 750 hp. In addition, Gerhardt's tire selection had the feel of a greased watermelon, which reduced the performance of the skidpad from 0.97 g on the standard GT to 0.84 g.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
We sent the car back to BFP who, after questioning our ability to test cars, discovered that the Mustang was running the wrong software. With the correct code, we returned to the track for a second run. A Roush pit crew also stopped by to screw on another set of 20-inch wheels and Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires, a combination that comes with Roush's Stage 3 car and that BFP sells separately for $ 3,022.
This time the modified Mustang raced to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and squeezed between the 3.8-second sprint of the production GT and the 3.4-second sprint of the 760 hp Mustang Shelby GT500. The BFP built Stang covered the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 124 mph and tracked the GT500's run of 11.3 seconds at 132 mph. That's a little off when you consider that the modified Mustang's 5.2: 1 ratio of pounds per advertised horsepower is better than the GT500's 5.5: 1 ratio. And while the cornering grip increased to 0.95 g, it could not match that of the GT with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. We also mixed up a software bug that didn't allow full throttle shifts to sixth gear for a 135 mile governor. Roush is working on a solution for this.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
But BFP's customers are not only looking for cheap speed. The market is about both personalization and performance. Alex Hartley from Newkirk, Oklahoma, spent five years researching his dream Mustang. He started with a specially ordered pole because he wanted all the fast hardware but not the weight of luxury options, and when the BFP was done, Hartley had a Whipple compressor, long tube headers, hefty internals, and a high-capacity fuel system. He also insisted on getting the final tune from the Mustang specialists at Lund Racing, which BFP arranged. His baptized Cornyote and used as a daily driver, his Mustang put 750 hp on an E85 tank and cost $ 55,000. Since then he has added a smaller pulley that increases the power to 850 hp. If he screws on a set of 11.3-inch wide radial tires to the rear, Hartley will ride in the middle of the nine on the drag strip.
Of course, modified cars rarely add up to the sum of their parts. Gerhardt's Mustang - especially with these Nitto tires - is a reminder of the dangers of parts catalog technology. With a seemingly infinite number of options in the aftermarket, there are more ways to screw up a car than to improve it. Hot rodders are often their own worst enemies as they spend thousands of dollars putting together cars that perform worse than the factory setup or that just aren't viable in traffic. Building a car that is objectively better than Ford's best work will never be cheap or easy to come by.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
With his tuned Mustangs, BFP isn't exactly David throwing stones at Goliath. But the company has carved out a niche in Ford's crowded pony car lineup. The basic BFP build trades in power rarely used on public roads while doubling down to the no-nonsense grunt most muscle car buyers want. This type of personalized package - with a warranty of less than $ 50,000 compared to the GT500's $ 74,095 - is why BFP receives 1000 calls asking for builds every month. Seven years after disappointing this customer looking for a supercharged Mustang, Watson made their corner of Ohio a mecca for enthusiasts looking for bespoke high-performance Fords they can't get out of the factory.
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