The Secret Letter is “R”

Hurst high performance parade hits high gear with the R-CODE Mustang

Words and Photos by Prince Cameron Benty IV

In performance circles, “R” model vehicles feature increased power and handling features designed to enhance the driver experience. Unfortunately too often, cars and trucks wearing this prestigious letter are more about marketing than motivation. But with the new Hurst Kenne Bell “R-CODE Mustang” we can assure you it has earned its letter, exhibiting a Race-bred legacy for hard-shifting, tire-searing performance.

The latest Hurst-monikered machine officially debuted at the SEMA Show last November, but it was not until recently that we had a chance to drive and fully experience the newest of the breed. Starting with a basic 2017 Mustang GT, the folks at GSS Supercars, captained by Larry Weiner, have done a magnificent job moving this highly touted Ford from fast to fearless.

That’s not surprising when you consider Weiner is not only well versed in performance upgrades from decades of car building, but he really likes cars. While that may seem like a given, it is something glaringly rare these days in modern specialty car building. Clearly not just another cookie cutter tuner car cranked out by a group looking to make a buck, the newest Hurst-branded vehicle is a smile widening experience.

GSS Supercars is the builder of record for the Hurst Kenne Bell R-CODE Mustangs, Hurst RPO SERIES Camaros, and Hurst GSS Challengers. Weiner and his team devoutly maintain the common goal of building reliable, fast, and great handling cars carrying key Hurst-specific content.

Just like back in the 1960s, this Mustang features chrome-plated and gold-accented Hurst “Stunner” wheels, measuring 20×9 up front and 20×10 in the rear. Massive Nitto tires help with traction and handling, 265/35ZR20 to steer and 305/30ZR20 tires to motivate. And for those thinking what we are thinking . . . yes, a Hurst shifter is always present, standing ready for your command.

Boost with a Bang

Hurst Mustang 2

You may miss it, but these very cool airflow-tuned side skirts are a functional addition that complement the dual intake hood and rear deck spoiler.

For some vehicles, the massive tire sizing is more for appearance than traction. Not the case here. Using one of Weiner’s long-time project vehicle favorites when it comes to real world performance, Kenne Bell supplied the 3.2-liter, liquid-cooled supercharger that tops the 5.0-liter Coyote engine, boosting power from 435 hp to 750 via 10 psi of pressure.

One of the more impressive elements of this engine package is that this Mustang is 50-state emissions legal, one of Weiner’s biggest mandates when building any Hurst-equipped muscle cars. Insuring exclusivity, production for the “R-CODE” 2017 Mustangs is limited to just 50 vehicles.

In addition to the Kenne Bell supercharger, supportive changes include a 4.5-inch fresh air inlet tube that drafts cool ambient air from just behind the front fascia, a Kenne Bell 168mm throttle body, along with increased capacity fuel rails and injectors. Underneath, three-inch diameter tubing feeds a low restriction Hurst cat back dual exhaust system by Flowmaster that’s capped off with a set of four-inch stainless steel dual wall exhaust tips, which wear Hurst logos.

Accommodations

The current factory Mustang interior is one of the best performance cockpits around. To take it to the next level, Katzkin recovered the Recaro high-back bucket seats with Tuscany Leather, accented with center-mounted Hurst embroidered logos. To finish the look, both door panels and console lid carry matching multi-hued leather trim.

If there is a center focus to the interior, it has to be the Hurst 6-speed Competition Plus shifter with a reverse lockout and white ball that juts from the factory console. The tight gate and short throw shifter makes gear changes a lock, which is very important when dealing with 750 hp under hood.

Body, Basics, and Beyond

There is a great tradition when it comes to Hurst vehicles. One look at the Hurst Kenne Bell R-CODE Mustang and there’s no question this time-honored tradition has been adhered to faithfully. With all of the Hurst Performance vehicles, the signature gold exterior colorations are retained in some fashion. With the R-CODE Mustang, there is a predominance of Hurst Gold on various panels (including the valve covers), while for some cars, the gold is more accent than main body color. The R-CODE Mustang features a high-quality PPG basecoat/clear coat Envirobase paint scheme.

Hurst Mustang 10The initial renderings of what the car would look like were developed by Weiner, working with noted designer Jeff Dutton, and award-winning artist/pinstriper Lil Louie. It was Louie who laid out the car’s final graphic treatment so that Rounsville Custom Paint in San Bernardino, California, could execute the intricate paint plan.

A clean-sheet-of-paper design, the front fascia on the Hurst Kenne Bell R-CODE Mustang, along with the side skirts, grilles, and hood replace the factory parts. Out back, a distinctive rear wing and rear diffuser are unique to the vehicle, adding further exclusivity. That front splitter does a good job cutting the air, but makes it extremely hard to negotiate grocery parking lot entrances. Hey, don’t take this car there in the first place! This is an R-CODE Mustang — Remember?

The custom hood has functional twin intake scoops that assist in moving fresh air into the supercharged engine bay. As noted earlier, the hood also gives a slight amount of additional supercharger space underneath, and just for good measure, gas assist shocks hold the hood up – so you can toss that factory hood prop rod in the trash. Side splitters dress each of the rockers, and the rear deck wing adds significant downforce at speed, in addition to delivering terrific appearance merits.

Epilogue

To drive the new R-CODE Mustang is to witness the perfect blend of old and new. With all the high-tech features inside and out, this is a modern vehicle that sports such great driver aids as traction control and ABS braking, just to hit the highlights. But in addition to the navigation and great sound system, the creators of the Hurst Kenne Bell R-CODE Mustang have not forgotten to include that old school, tails out, on-demand engine power that snaps the neck and kicks the backside.

Of course, you can drive the Hurst Kenne Bell R-CODE Mustang in a moderate mode, too. It is docile in traffic and smooth when you are looking for a comfortable drive with passengers. But should they be in for some fun, just crack the throttle, shift down, and remind them of just how much fun driving can be. This is the R-CODE Baby!

About Cam Benty - PPN Editor

Cam Benty’s name is instantly recognizable to those that have been around the automotive aftermarket over the last 25 years. He has built a stellar reputation as a well-rounded automotive journalist while holding positions with Popular Hot Rodding, Car Craft, National Dragster and Motor Trend.