For nearly 20 years, Lidio Iacobelli has not only been part of the Mustang performance scene, he’s been near the center of it. His shop, Alternative Auto Performance, grew with the explosion in 5.0 Mustang performance in the early 1990s and has evolved with the industry as the cars and powertrains changed.
“It was all 5.0-liters and Vortech blowers in the early days,” says Iacobelli. “Now, it’s stroker 4.6s, Kenne Bell superchargers and more.”
Iacobelli started tuning Mustangs as a side job while working as a Ford technician. Today, Iacobelli and his staff of technicians work out of a 7,500-square-foot facility they moved into last year.
On our recent visit, the shop was packed with a variety of cars and projects that depicted a snapshot of the current state of the Mustang performance world. There were several supercharged New Edge Mustangs on hand, along with a new GT awaiting its Vortech. There was also a new GT “Eleanor” clone fitted with a Shelby GT500 5.4-liter engine, as well as a classic Fox-body GT undergoing a complete revamp. A 392-inch stroker Windsor small-block powered it. Naturally, it was supercharged.
Iacobelli’s personal cars have always been the quarter-mile calling cards of his business. His yellow Fox notchback is well known, as are his more recent projects, including a supercharged ’03 Mach I that has run 10-flat in street trim. He’s also tinkered with ’05 and ’07 GTs, other Fox-body racecars and he even helped get the Marauder craze off the ground with a supercharged example.
“I use all these cars to experiment with performance boundaries,” he says. “I push them to the limit and sometimes break them, but then I know what’s safe and reliable for my customers.”
That’s a good philosophy for a professional tuner and, with nearly two decades of experience under his belt, it appears to work very well for Iacobelli.
As for the future of Mustang performance, Iacobelli is experimenting with E85 ethanol fuel as a method of extracting maximum performance from his projects.
“The octane of E85 is over 100, so it affords great tuning possibilities,” he says.
The end of the racing season came too quickly last year for Iacobelli to continue with his supercharged ’07 GT. He made one run with the car on E85, but that was it – and he no longer has the car.
“We keep moving upward and onward,” he says. “The next ‘shop car’ will take us even farther.”
Lidio Iacobelli and his crew spend a lot of time cramming more air and fuel into Mustang engines, but what goes in must also come out. That’s where a high performance mufflers and exhaust system comes in. Installing a free-flowing, high performance exhaust system is one of the first things anyone looking to improve their Mustang should do.
A great example of how performance mufflers can easily improve a typical Mustang can be found with the db Series Mufflers from CORSA Performance Exhausts. Their mufflers for 1986-2004 V-8 Mustangs (4.6L and 5.0L GT, LX and Cobra models) provide increased horsepower and torque plus a bold performance exhaust note that’s music to enthusiasts’ ears.
The perfect sound is a result of their patented Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC) technology. RSC reduces cabin noise and cruising speed drone without disrupting exhaust flow.
The Mustang mufflers are available in three pipe diameters—2.25”, 2.5” and 3.0”. In the sound department there are two levels—Red Label and Black Label. They’re both aggressive, but the Black Label is more so with a “wide open” sound.
CORSA Performance Exhaust