FIT FOR A KING Lethal Performance celebrates 15 years of speed
By Steve Turner
Starting a new business is not easy, especially in the hyper-competitive world of performance parts. In general, many new ventures of any kind don’t make it past five years. Fewer still survive a decade, but only a quarter of those have their doors open 15 years after turning the lights on.
One of the sharpest machines at the show was this 2004 SVT Mustang Cobra owned by Adam S. Pumping out well north of 700 horsepower at the rear wheels courtesy of an E85-swilling stock Four-Valve inhaling 20 pounds of Kenne Bell boost cooled by a Killer Chiller, this Screaming Yellow Terminator definitely stood out. As it left the show, the gleaming Cobra sounded superb with a tight, loping idle courtesy of custom billet cams. Its departure announced through a Borla Stinger cat-back exhaust.
When Jared Rosen and Jonas Cooper joined forces in forming Lethal Performance, they had no idea it would be a long haul. As the company approaches 16 years of slinging parts, the gravity of its success began to sink in.
“I had no idea,” he said. “Honestly, it wasn’t even meant to be. We got into selling car parts to make money, to do something else, but it’s just kind of grown and grown. And it was really like the last couple of years where it's finally taken off,” Jared reflected. “I never would have imagined us being where we’re at with everything we do. The amount of business we're doing, the brand recognition that we have, the support that we get from the Mustang community, the vendors that we deal, and everyone who reps us, it’s a great feeling.”
“When I left, I was working 55-60 hours a week doing programming work,” Jonas added. “When came to Lethal full-time, it was probably one of the biggest risks I've ever taken in my life.” Clearly that risk paid off, and given the fact Team Lethal beat the odds, it was definitely an occasion worth marking with a group of the people who helped make it happen. That’s just what they set out to do on December 5, 2020 with the company’s first car show.
“We’ve never really thought about doing it before. It was our 15-year anniversary last year we wanted to do a show, but we got so busy coming into 2020 so there wasn’t enough time,” Jared added. “And here we are approaching at the end of this month, 16 years in business.” The initial event at the company’s Wellington, Florida, headquarters was a huge success. Team Lethal handed out swag bags, awarded raffle prizes, and even collected toys for needy children heading into the Christmas holiday. Most of all, the show brought together like-minded enthusiasts to enjoy cars at a time when most of us needed a distraction.
With any luck it won’t be another 15 years before the Mustang King and his team host another show, but in the meantime, we documented several of our favorite machines in the show.
Your humble scribe felt a little guilty after seeing all the ground that Chad and Julia Morlock’s Shelby GT500 has covered. Having made stops all across the country, this S197 puts down 538 horsepower and 534 lb-ft of torque at the wheels courtesy of a smaller pulley on the stock blower, a VMP Performance inlet elbow, a JLT Performance intake tube, and other bolt-on upgrades.
Fox fans will love Niko Kalfas’ 1993 Mustang LX. He rescued the coupe after it sat outside for more than 14 years. He restored the suspension with factory parts, added a cowl induction hood, and treated it to a fresh coat of Electric Currant paint. The one-year factory color really popped in the South Florida sun.
In addition to inviting customers and car owners to the show, Lethal Performance hosted a number of its partners and suppliers, including Palm Beach Dyno, Lujan Motorsports, McLeod Racing, RareFab, Stainless Works, and UPR Products.
Ken Bjonnes of Palm Beach Dyno displayed the shop’s 1,100-horsepower 2020 Shelby GT500. This Carbon Fiber Track Pack car now wears a host of Anderson Composites carbon fiber parts.
Under the hood, its Predator engine is pumped up with a JLT Cold Air Intake, an SPE thermostat, an SPE blower pulley, a Jokerz-ported factory blower, Injector Dynamics ID1300 injectors, Kooks headers, a Whipple intercooler, a Late Model Throttle billet supercharger lid, and more. It serves as the test bed for the company’s new 2020 GT500 CX1100 package that is now available for purchase.
Ben and Jess Launerts definitely love boost. Ben’s S550 packs a Whipple blower that helps it generate 845 horsepower and 642 lb-ft of torque, which it plants with a full Steeda suspension.
Not to be out done, Jess’ 2015 ROUSH Mustang sports a Hellion Turbo Sleeper system and delivers 875 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque to the wheels courtesy of a Palm Beach Dyno tune.
Some have an appreciation for the Fox Mustang, but Matt Heimer loves these cars. His shop, Horseplay Auto is dedicated to keeping these machines alive. Not only does he know the cars inside and out, but he collects parts and uses his expertise to make other Fox fans’ project car dreams come true. One of his personal projects is this 1979 Mustang Ghia retromod. With a plaid interior and two-tone paint, it looks the part of a pristine stocker, but upon further review it has an 1993 SVT Cobra 5.0-liter under the hood and an ’03 Cobra IRS out back. It serves as his daily driver.
When we arrived at the Lethal anniversary show, the thunderous sounds of classic rock filled the parking lot. It wasn’t the product of a DJ with a portable sound system. Rather it emanated from Diego Navarro’s DS18 Audio 50th anniversary 2015 Mustang. Fitted with an array of amps, speakers, and subwoofers, this S550 definitely rumbles with huge audio horsepower.
Frank Perdomo, of Coyote-swap specialists Power by the Hour, brought out Fox Mustang. Far more at home carving corners that sitting in a show, this Coyote-powered coupe benefits from a full Maximum Motorsports suspension, a Tig Vision roll cage, Wilwood brakes, and Astro Performance-prepped TREMEC TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission.
Another 5.0 swapped Fox at the show was none other than Willie Lujan’s clean four-eye with a Whipple-blown Gen 3 Coyote under the hood. Knowing how potent this powertrain is in a modern Mustang, it must be a real blast in a lightweight Fox.
Andy Speranza brought out his Shelby GT500. Not only does it wear a Shelby widebody kit, but it is fitted with one of the rare Shelby 1000 hoods. These bonnets follow the factory lines, but offer a taller profile to allow for much larger superchargers. Andy’s car still sports a factory blower, but he has plenty of room to grow on this one.
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