What you read in Magizines and Watch/see on TV should be taken with a grain of salt...
What Altitude, Temperature, ect, ect was it that day they did the runs??
110% humity, 110Degrees and 10,000feet up for the 5oh
50% humity, 62Degrees and sea level for the NA 3.8??
Unless all the cars are ran back-to-back on the same day and time frame the numbers Will not be right..
With that said..
1991 XR7 5.0L Blown AOD did 15.7 (or 15.8) in the 1/4.. only mods Air silencer, K&N panel and `off road exhuast' (YAH that helps getting these heavy asses moving)
And the thing never had a tune up, not the timing advanced (stock setting) had basiclly a full tank of gas, and a smallish stereo in the trunk...
Before the exhuast i was able to do LOW (7.2-7.3) runs up to 62MPH (i'm canadian eh so i went to 100km/h eh
AND when i first got it, it spun the wheels off the line, not for too long (untill the weight transfered to the rear wheels) but a good 1-2 feet...
With the 2nd AOD, (wide ratio gear set, ect) power brake too 1500-2000 got a fair amount of spin off the line.. 1-d-1 shuffle into 2nd spun the tires another 5or so feet EASILY and i had somewhat sticky tires (160 thread wear) at that time..
NOW with the 5spd.. it's a totally different beast.. haven't taken it to the track with the 5spd.. But it shure is quicker
even with a tired 5oh propelling the beast
OH the 1/4 stuff was done at NEar sea level, cool evening (sorry forget the Temp, it was like 2-3 years ago
), and just next a nice wide river