With Ford readying one or more special-edition Mustangs to slot in between the GT and the Shelby GT500, there is a need for an engine that will bridge the gap between the SOHC 4.6L's 300 HP, and the supercharged DOHC 5.4L's 500 HP. And it's impossible to ignore the fact that the Mustang GT will soon be bringing a knife to the gunfight, with both the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger threatening to hit the streets with over 400 HP.

We've done some speculating in the past, as have others, about what this mid-level V8 Ford might be, and it appeared as if the direction was towards a naturally-aspirated 5.0L or 5.4L DOHC engine. Stangs Unleashed is reporting that it will indeed be a N/A DOHC engine, but with an aluminum-block bottom end providing only 4.6L of displacement. Such an engine would be similar to that which powered the '99 and '01 Mustang Cobras (pictured above), but possibly with the more potent FR500 heads and a new intake manifold. It's reasonable to wonder if this would be enough to take on the competition, as the proposed modifications may not be sufficient to bump the 320 HP of prior DOHC 4.6L engines up to competitive levels.

Apparently, there is also a bit of speculation around what name (or names) will be used on these special pony cars. We've been saying that the Boss name will return, while it sounds as if the Bullitt or Mach1 badges may also be used. And a bit of daydreaming leads one to think that maybe a Shelby GT350 will join the GT500 in Ford showrooms. Whatever it's called, we look forward to turning over the odometer a quarter-mile at a time.

[Source: Stangs Unleashed]