As for the turbocharger overture: "I chose a 2000 LS1 engine because they're a dime a dozen, fuel injected, and are all aluminum. It already had Total Engine Airflow heads, cam, roller timing gears, SLP oil pump, and some other stuff. I gave $2,400 for it. Another deal was the Lunati billet connecting rods, still in the box off eBay: $600. Then I found a pair of used Turbonetics 60-1 turbos [.68 A/R ratio, ball bearings, water-cooled] on www.turbomustangs.com for only $600. After a $50 rebuild, they worked great."
Rooting out the best for the least became the credo. The key to low cost is usually doing everything yourself. Scott rebuilt the turbos, the motor, made the stainless steel headers from raw tubing, made a complete wiring harness for the PCM off parts from the old one, made the motor mounts, built an intercooler from two 1,500-cfm Spearco cores and end tanks of his own design, and tuned the engine with EFILive software (www.EFILive.com).
The turbo system appears to be a piece of found art. Plumbing is minimal and routed most effectively. The fresh air intake pulls cooler ambient from beneath the front bumper. You'll also notice that the turbo's incoming air ducting is as short and as compact as possible, but how about this one: "321 stainless steel 1.75-inch headers with a 4-into-1 double-slip merge collector completely designed and built by myself," Scott said. "I welded them with 347 filler using pure argon for backpurge. This helps against 'sugaring' the backside weld to prevent corrosion and cracking." Now what? Tea and sugar cookies?
Quite apparent to the naked eye, Scott's setup is complex; arteries and veins are strung everywhere for oiling, cooling, intake, and exhaust. Since there was no prefab kit to bolt on, Scott screwed on his hot-rodding hat for a couple of years (yes, he wore it in the shower) and built everything himself.
According to its creator, if there's a negative aspect to his monument, it's the terrible torque it produces. "If you're not careful, it can get out of hand real fast. With a quarter-inch of throttle pedal travel equaling about 100 hp, if you go over a bump or slide in your seat and wiggle the gas pedal, the tires will spin."
In lieu of a dancing foot, there is a failsafe of sorts: to help the car hook up, the Turbosmart EA-boost controller is programmed with varied boost settings based on gear selection. It has a lot to process.
On 93 octane at 14 psi and 16 degrees of timing, the 350 pulled 751 hp at 6,100 rpm and 644 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm at the wheels. It was a beginning. Now, Scott's got larger 61mm snails on the thing at 18.5 psi and with 18 degrees timing-still considered a rather mild tune-up. He's looking for 850 hp at the tires.
Practical application of the twin turbo's largesse is another matter. With 10 psi of positive manifold pressure, the 3,750-pounder went a 10.8 at 130 on street tires. At 18 psi, the motor hit the rev limiter at 7,000 and shut off at the eighth-mile-he coasted to a 10.5 at 138. With 3.08:1 gears instead of the 3.42s, and good weather, Scott thinks it'll go nines at a buck forty-five, as in "the power is more than a street car EVER needs."
So it's real bad ass, yes? Yet it idles at 750 rpm, is dead quiet, and the cops won't even spit in its direction. It has 3,000 street miles on it with no gig list and the current tune-up pulls about 15 mpg on the street and 20 on the highway if Scott drives "nice." The motor is quiet enough to finally hear the radio and talk with wife Michelle and daughter Jayden. Best part? The LS1 engine makes 825 horsepower, while the cranky, thirsty, noisy, high-maintenance 427 small-block mustered only 650.
Emanuele does all his own...
Emanuele does all his own work right in his garage, everything from programming his own tune-ups on EFILive software, to welding up his own stainless steel headers and induction plumbing. The LS1 build-up was the biggest ordeal, which required lots of deal hunting and planning. "I sold my old motor for $12 grand, and built my LS1 twin turbo for the same amount," says Emanuele. "I put together a complete list of every single part, right down to the nuts and bolts. I kept putting up posts on forums looking for parts to find good deals, and I did!"