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Aerodynamics
The Mustang had two main shapes between 1994 and 2004, the rounded ’94-’98 shape, and of
course, the sharp-edged ’99-2004 models. Both these schools of design are attractive, and the
overall shape of the car is more a function of aesthetics than aerodynamics. The shape was
dictated by the desired styling, not a particular aerodynamic value. There are a couple of
exceptions, primarily the 2000 Cobra R model. The 2000 Cobra R came from the factory with a high-
mounted rear wing and a front splitter. The stock SN95 Mustang generates up to 300 lbs of lift on
the front end of the car at 160 mph. The Cobra R aerodynamic parts take car of that.
2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R
The 2000 Cobra R incorporates
a front splitter and high-mounted
rear wing to add downforce while
racing. There’s a difference
between parts engineered for
performance, and those
designed just for looks.
The Grand Am Cup cars racing at Daytona without any additional aerodynamic aids are so light in
the front that at 165 mph, the steering gets pretty light as the front end lifts. The Cobra R was
designed as a competition car and spent time in the wind tunnel. Its front splitter eliminates almost
all the front-end lift inherent in the stock Mustang. Ford adjusted the overall balance to suit high-
speed handling, which usually covers the critical corners of a circuit. The rear wing on the R model
is stuck way up in the air, so it has some real effect. The rear wing is really there to balance the
effect of the front spoiler. If Ford only added the front splitter, the back end would have been quite
twitchy and nervous in some circumstances. The airflow over the roof detaches itself from the rear
window as it flows over, meaning the short little factory rear spoiler would not provide any significant
downforce. In fact, the rear of the production Mustang actually generates a small amount of lift. By
sticking the rear wing up in the air, the airfoil operates in clean air and produces effective
downforce. The endplates on the rear wing aren’t just there for show either. They prevent air from
spilling over the edge of the airfoil, making it effective even when traveling slightly sideways.
Overall, Ford did a pretty good job on the Cobra R, adding significant downforce, while only
reducing the top speed of the car by five mph with the increased drag of the aerodynamic add-ons.
Diagram of how a rear spoiler works
This diagram illustrates how
an airplane uses an airfoil to
provide lift. Racecars use the
same principles, only inverted,
to provide downforce.
Okay, so much for the history lesson, let’s talk about what we can do to specifically improve the
aerodynamics of our Mustang.
The objective with any aerodynamic device that we add, front splitter or rear wing, is to add
downforce, improving the overall grip of the car without adding more drag than is necessary. The
aerodynamic drag of a car is expressed as a coefficient of drag or Cd figure. The Mustang has a
Cd of .36. By way of comparison, a C5 Corvette has a Cd of .29, and a Hummer has a Cd of .57!
The higher the Cd number, the more power is required to achieve a given speed, all other things
being equal. With a front splitter, our objective is to separate the air, limiting the amount of air going
under the car, reducing drag and using the airflow over the top of the car to create downforce. To
create downforce, we need to shape the front of the spoiler like an airfoil. An airfoil or wing creates
lift in the case of an airplane, or downforce in the case of an automobile. It does this by accelerating
the speed of the air over one surface, creating a low-pressure area, and maintaining the speed of
the air over the opposite surface, creating a high-pressure area. The difference in air pressure at
both surfaces creates lift or downforce as the case may be.
Sheet aluminum added to Ford Mustang front spoiler to increase strength aluminum sheet exterior with a lightweight plastic core for spoiler reinforcement
You can see the aluminum-clad board added
on the lower surface of the splitter to add
strength and reduce deflection.
Combining an aluminum sheet exterior with a
lightweight plastic core makes for a rigid
splitter material.
Aluminum braces add strenth to this Ford Mustangs front spoiler
Aluminum bars attach
to the bumper for
reinforcement, further
adding strength to
splitter assembly.
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This has been a sample page from

High Performance Mustang Builders Guide High-Performance Mustang Builder's Guide
1994-2004
by Sean Hyland
High-performance ‘94-‘04 Mustangs represent the high-water
mark for late- model Mustang enthusiasts. From the ’94-’95s with
the 5.0L, through the ‘96-‘04 models with the 2- and 4-valve 4.6
Ls, to the Bullitt, Mach 1, and factory supercharged ’03-‘04
Cobras – never before has such a range of highly modifiable
performance cars been available. These Mustangs were amazing
performers straight from the factory, but they can be even better
with the right combination of performance parts.
Regardless of which ’94-’04 Mustang you start with, the availability
of high- performance parts is unparalleled. You can build your
Mustang for drag racing, road racing, or improved street
performance – and High- Performance Mustang Builder’s Guide
1994-2004 will show you how! Author Sean Hyland uses over 300
photos to explain how to upgrade your Mustang’s engine,
suspension, chassis, transmission, rear end, brakes, and body.
There’s even a special chapter on getting active in various forms
of organized racing.

Sean Hyland is the proprietor of Sean Hyland Motorsport, which
builds and supports internationally competitive Mustangs for road
racing, drag racing, and everything in between. Sean recently did
a complete Mustang build-up for Speed Channel’s Sports Car
Revolution and is also the author of the bestselling title How to
Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter Ford Engines.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Chassis
Chap. 2 -
Wheels and Tires
Chap. 3 -
Suspension
Chap. 4 -
Brakes
Chap. 5 -
3.8 Engines
Chap. 6 -
4.6 Modular Engines
Chap. 7 -
Transmissions
Chap. 8 -
Rear Axles
Chap. 9 -
Aerodynamics
Chap. 10 -
Safety Equipment
Chap. 11 -
Get Involved!
Chap. 12 -
Project Cars
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
144 pgs.
300+ B/W photos
Item: SA106P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book
that any Mustang
enthusiast will enjoy!


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