Project Underdog at COBB Tuning


Project Underdog

Actor Sung Kang revealed Project Underdog 3, a 1972 Maverick he built with three students from Alhambra High School in California, at SEMA 2016.  After it’s debut at the SEMA Show, the car spent the better part of the last 10 months on a media tour which will culminate at the Barrett Jackson auction in Palm Beach, Florida on October 19th.  It’s sale will benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Foundation which provides financial support to students pursuing a career in the automotive industry.

The parts list for Project Underdog is extensive.  While a number of parts are bespoke, dozens of manufacturers jumped on board to help with off-the-shelf parts as well.   With Pennzoil being the title sponsor, the below SEMA-members also contributed resources to Project Underdog.

  • 09 Racing
  • Aeromotive
  • AJE
  • Amada America
  • American Power Train
  • Art in Motion
  • Baer Brakes
  • BBK
  • Bendpak
  • Bilstein
  • Carbon Signal Automotive
  • Cerullo Seats
  • COBB Tuning
  • Currie Enterprises
  • Dapper Lighting
  • Eaton
  • Flaming River
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • GReddy
  • Griffin Thermal Products
  • Hillco Fasteners
  • Hotchkis Performance: swaybar
  • L&G Enterprises
  • Maverick Man
  • Maverick Maniac
  • Nitto Tires
  • NRG
  • Painless Performance
  • Pilkington Classics
  • PPG
  • Prothane
  • Quick Time/Lakewood Clutch
  • Rocket Bunny
  • Steele Rubber Products
  • Stratasys Inc
  • Topolino Junkyard
  • Tremec
  • XRP Inc.


At the heart of Project Underdog is a Ford Performance Products 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost crate engine kit.  A unique part of this kit is the Ford Performance ECU Pack which differs from the ECU found in the Mustang EcoBoost. With the addition of an impressive list of upgrades, a simple off the shelf style map wasn’t going to cut it for this car so custom tuning would be required.  Since vehicles that this crate engine kit is being swapped into almost certainly do not have other various modules found in the Mustang, it is programmed slightly different and uses a different ROM strategy not supported by our standard Ford Accessports.


Enter the COBB Engineering Team.

With the vehicle in-house, our Reverse Engineering Team was able to make quick work of adding support for the Ford Performance ECU Pack.  A new Accessport will be released shortly along with full tuning support in Accesstuner.  These enabled our Calibration Team to custom tune Project Underdog on our in-house Dynojet Dynamometer.

maverick dyno

When all was said and done, the car was cranking out 318hp and 381tq at the wheels.  Seeing how light the car is, we reckon it to be plenty for a very fun street-driven car.

Be on the lookout for some news on additional Ford Crate Motor ECU support in the near future.  In the meantime, head over to the SEMA Page for a full write up and dialogue from Sung Kang himself regarding this project.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *