Fans of fast Ford Mustangs flying the Steeda Autosports banner are no strangers to Steeda’s Silver Bullet project car, an S550 that was the first naturally-aspirated 2018 Mustang to dip into the 10s with nothing more than some carefully chosen bolt-ons. From there the upgrades and progress started to snowball until Silver Bullet became the first 2018 Mustang in the 9s on motor. To this day, Silver Bullet holds the title of fastest naturally aspirated 2018+ Mustang on pump gas.
But what happens when the 9s isn’t fast enough? Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the shop where all of this Mustang magic happens.
To start with, the name “Steeda” is a mashup of the names Steve and Dario; Dario Orlando is the founder of Steeda Autosports, and Steve Chichisola is one of Steeda’s main technicians who has been working side by side with Dario for nearly 40 years.
Steeda operates out of two facilities; one in Pompano Beach, FL, where the company originated, and one in Valdosta, GA, which is a modern 100,000-square-foot building that houses all of their manufacturing, engineering, marketing, sales and even a shop with in-house dyno to service local customers. The Pompano Beach location houses more sales and administrative staff as well as another shop to service South Florida customers. The growing company currently employs a staff of 47.
Steeda has been an authorized retailer of Edelbrock products since the late 1980s, right about the time when they were developing an 11-second all-motor performance package for drag racing. Today, Steeda is one of Edelbrock’s largest suppliers of Mustang/Coyote performance parts on the east coast. In October of 2021, Edelbrock expanded its involvement with Steeda to participate in the Silver Bullet project.
“This partnership has created the opportunity for the team at Steeda to explore the power potential of Edelbrock E-Force Superchargers when used in a race-prepped vehicle, configured in race trim, and in the hands of a capable driver,” said David Page, Edelbrock’s Product Development Manager for Forced Induction Systems.
The Steeda Silver Bullet Mustang is the company’s R&D car intended to test components from the best names in the performance aftermarket, all while retaining a comfortable interior with all of its factory accessories intact including stereo and A/C so that street cruising would not be compromised.
“We had high expectations for power production with this blower and it did not fail to deliver.” –Jamie Bell, Steeda Technician
Scott Boda, Steeda’s Director of Manufacturing and driver of the Silver Bullet, said that this project set the standard for all-motor Gen 3 Coyotes on the drag strip. The goal was to combine impressive performance with a package that was so driver-friendly that it would become a favorite choice for Steeda’s many street customers. You can see how the Silver Bullet project has evolved in the video below.
The original plan was to be the first naturally aspirated 2018 Mustang running in the 10s on motor. The car had to showcase Steeda’s suspension parts and cold air intakes, as well as other aftermarket parts. Boda said, “We wanted something that wouldn’t kill the drivability. We didn’t want any solid bushings so you can still cruise to dinner with your wife on a Friday night without her asking why you ruined this brand-new car. It still needed to have stereo, A/C, and be something you can drive to the market.”
Steeda’s normally aspirated goals for Silver Bullet were achieved by reducing weight, improving traction and increasing horsepower with bolt-ons that included a Steeda closed-lid cold-air system, a COMP Cams camshaft, ported heads, long-tube headers, and a Lund Racing tune.
“Getting into the 10s was easy,” said Boda. “We paved the way for the Gen 3 naturally aspirated game for over three years going as fast as 10.25 with a 100% stock long-block.” With more head porting, a set of COMP Cams Stage 3 NA camshafts and C85/E85 fuel, the Steeda Mustang dipped into the 9s with a 9.94-second pass at 139 MPH with a stock bottom end. From there, a built short block netted a 9.76 on C85/E85.
And this brings us back to the question: What happens when the 9s isn’t fast enough?
Like many Mustang owners, the Steeda team wanted more. It was time to push the envelope even further. The video below is an introduction to the new Edelbrock-supercharged Silver Bullet Mustang:
The next logical step was to add forced induction with the race-proven Edelbrock Supercharger system. According to Chris Cervenka, Steeda’s E-Commerce Marketing Manager, going with Edelbrock was a no-brainer. “Choosing Edelbrock wasn’t a difficult decision to continue pushing the envelope on a build that is still relatable to the average drag racing enthusiast,” said Cervenka.
The system chosen to propel the Silver Bullet Mustang to the next level of performance and into the 8s is the Edelbrock E-Force Stage 2 Supercharger Kit for 2018-2021 Mustang GT. This is Edelbrock’s highest horsepower system and is 50-state emissions-legal when the supplied calibration is used. This is a true bolt-on that installs cleanly without modifications to the Mustang’s factory hood or body.
At the heart of this power adder is the highly efficient Twin Vortices Series (TVS) R2650 rotor pack with a housing and manifold that is cast and manufactured in-house by Edelbrock at their San Jacinto, CA, facility. This system features Edelbrock’s DP3C (Dual-Pass, 3-Core) air-to-water intercooler with Eaton’s 170-degree high-twist rotors with bigger bearings and beefy timing gears for unparalleled reliability. Steeda runs the blower with an Edelbrock 3-inch Competition Pulley with additional mods that include Air Flow Solutions trunk-mounted 7-gallon supercharger water tank, Lund Racing nGauge with C/E85 tune and trans brake tune. A complete list of Silver Bullet parts and modifications can be viewed HERE.
Steeda Technician Jamie Bell handled the E-Force installation and said, “The overall installation of the kit was straightforward and hassle-free. The kit quality is very good and complete; we did not need to provide any hardware except where we had made other changes.” Bell went on to say, “I have installed many superchargers from various manufacturers and found the fit and finish on this product to be of the highest quality.
“With what we learned from this project, I would not hesitate to recommend this system to our customers. Since we now have a good understanding of this system, we can work with our customers to determine if this is the correct power upgrade for their needs. In most cases I think it will fit their expectations. We had high expectations for power production with this blower and it did not fail to deliver. In our quest for more power and higher speeds, we feel like this system will provide more than enough room to grow.”
For racers who want to reach peak levels of performance, a custom tune is a key part of the program. For the Silver Bullet build, Steeda chose the best in the business, Jon Lund Jr. of Lund Racing. Scott Boda, who pilots the Mustang GT, says that Jon and his team are amazing at what they do and their ability to dial in a combo so quickly is mind-boggling. Simply put, Lund Racing has earned their reputation because of their knowledge of Mustang performance is second to none.
As for performance, the Edelbrock-supercharged Silver Bullet continues to impress. With less than a dozen passes on the current combination, the Steeda team is knocking on the door to setting a new Edelbrock blower record. Boda says that he and the team can’t wait for the NMRA season opener at Bradenton. With some good rods and pistons they’re expecting 7-second quarter-mile times. “I was absolutely shocked that a blower with 2.65 liters of displacement had to be detuned to keep the stock rods in their happy place inside the engine block,” said Boda.
With the new blower, Steeda was hoping for 800 horsepower to the tires, but when the first dyno pull netted 880 RWHP, they knew that they had a stout unit that was ready to party. “We actually installed a larger pulley for that first pull to keep boost down so we could run more timing,” said Boda. “With less boost and safe timing, it still made 905 horsepower and 768 lb-ft of torque!” On the drag strip, those numbers turned Silver Bullet into an 8.69-second car which is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. All this with a stereo and air conditioning, too!
Edelbrock’s David Page confirmed that the E-Force Supercharger on Steeda’s Mustang GT is unmodified and straight out of the box as it ships from the Edelbrock Distribution Center in Olive Branch, MS. The only difference is that Silver Bullet runs the optional 3-inch Competition Pulley, which is one step smaller than the standard pulley that ships with this kit (part number 15388). Page concluded by saying, “We have a lot more planned for the Steeda Silver Bullet project so look for more details to come and more records to fall!”
Brian Hatano is a veteran automotive journalist and former editor of Car Craft, Petersen’s Drag Racing, Sport Compact Car and Motorcyclist magazines.