By Mary Lendzion
Photos by Jessica Hassing
Tyler Hassing had his heart set on a Grabber Blue Mustang for a while when he found a picture of one for sale at a dealership in New York six years ago.
Distance didn’t matter to Hassing, who lives in Michigan. He had to have it.
He purchased the 2013 model with only 2,100 miles on its odometer and made plans to have it delivered to him on a truck.
“There were only a few in that color with an automatic transmission available at that time, and I could tell from the pictures that it was in such good shape on the inside and on the outside,” said Hassing, who co-owns Force Engineering, a performance shop in Plainwell, Michigan, with his father, Kenny Hassing.
About three weeks later, a truck pulled up to deliver Hassing’s new hot rod, which had a stock 5.0L Coyote engine backed by a 6R80 automatic transmission.
“It had been on an open hauler, and it was covered in road grime,” said Hassing, with a laugh. “It had to go straight to the car wash.”
Hassing immediately began learning everything he could about the Coyote engine platform.
“We had done a lot of import stuff at Force Engineering, and I wanted to move into the Coyote platform when they came out, and a lot of what we had learned with the import stuff transferred to what we were learning with the Coyote platform as far as head design and cam design,” said Hassing.
He introduced the car to Hot Rod Drag Week’s Street Machine Eliminator in 2016, and ran to 11.40s on engine-alone, but then he enhanced his combination with an 80mm Borg Warner-based turbo massaged by Forced Inductions, and has since run as quick and fast as 9.18 and 150 mph while rolling on Mickey Thompson drag radials wrapped around Weld wheels.
“The engine internals, including the camshaft, are stock, and I have stock timing components,” said Hassing, who can often be seen traversing the track surface for Bracket and No Prep racing, as well as testing, at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan in his 3,900-pound car featuring a full interior and air-conditioning. “The heads are stock, and I took a Holley Sniper intake, cut the bottom of it and put a Garrett air-to-water intercooler on it.”
Hassing, who lives in Allegan, Michigan, with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Everly, also has a modified exhaust system.
“I made 180-degree headers, so the car has a unique sound,” said Hassing. “At part throttle, it sounds like a V6 car, and under load, it sounds like it’s turning more rpm than it actually is. I like it because it helps my Coyote engine sound different than other Coyote engines.”
Now, Hassing, who takes his daughter to daycare in his Mustang, is preparing to run it in NMRA QA1 True Street/NMCA TorqStorm Superchargers True Street at the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, this weekend, Aug. 27-30 at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park. He’ll have his car tuned to run 10s, and he’ll also compete in NMRA ARP Open Comp in a 2011 Mustang which belongs to Force Engineering customer Andrew Rutherford.
“This will be our first time racing in True Street, and I’m looking forward to it, especially the cruise part of it,” said Hassing, who will have help from his wife, Jessica, as well as his crew chief, Levi Kaminski. “We’ll have some Force Engineering customers racing in True Street as well, and it will be a lot of fun.”