The 30th Annual NMRA Ford Expo - Doing It Better In The Buckeye State
The 30th Annual NMRA Ford Expo
From the March, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
By Mark Houlahan
Photography by Paul Rosner
While the NMRA has been going strong for 10 years now, they're still wet behind the ears when it comes to the annual Columbus Ford Expo, now in its 30th year. While the NMRA picked up the event a few years back and made a few changes, the Columbus venue is still a watershed event for all manner of Ford fans. From heads-up drag racing to the positively ginormous auto show, Columbus should be considered a can't miss event. With the rainout that occurred in Atco, New Jersey, the month prior, racers, car show attendees, and spectators alike were frothing at the mouth for some hot Ford action before the winter weather rolled in and the car show and racing season closed for the year.
Columbus, being centrally located within half of the U.S. population, the fourth largest city in the Midwest, and the fourth most populated capital, hosted a huge turnout of spectators and full stands all weekend, not to mention a vast car count in the show field. From classics of the '40s and '50s right up to Ford's latest offerings, such as the Shelby GT500, the Harley-Davidson F-series, and more, there was plenty of eye candy all over the expo grounds. If you attend next year, be sure to have plenty of memory for your digital camera and a boatload of batteries.
Columbus local Joe Greene...
Columbus local Joe Greene brought his '84 Capri RS Turbo out for the NMRA Ford Expo's Auto Show & Shine. The car sports the RS graphics package, the original halo headrest seats, and T-tops. Joe updated the exterior with a set of 16-inch '91 Mustang Pony rims for a quick bolt-on handling upgrade.
Wild Strawberry Clearcoat...
Wild Strawberry Clearcoat Metallic is one of our favorite Fox Mustang topcoats and it certainly made us do a double take when we came upon Eric Ellington's '92 GT hatch. The Englewood, Ohio, resident has his GT loaded with the top names in Mustang performance parts, including a 347 stroker stuffed into an FRPP Sportsman block with AFR 185 heads topped with a Holley SysteMax intake. If that wasn't enough to make the power gods happy, Eric added a ProCharger D1SC to the mix. The original T-5 was swapped for a Tremec TKO-600 to handle the newfound power and a 3.73 geared 8.8 wearing Nitto 555R Drag Radials at each end handle the traction issues, which we're sure there's plenty of.
Of course, with the name "Ford...
Of course, with the name "Ford Expo," the show field has more than just Mustangs on it. Amelia, Ohio's Larry Pitzer didn't disappoint us when he showed up with his '72 Torino. We really dig the whole NASCAR look with the Bassett-style wheels, Goodyear Eagle yellow-lettered tires, and flat-four side exhaust. The 429 lurking underhood sports Dove cylinder heads, a Weiand intake, and a 750 Holley.
As it is with the show field,...
As it is with the show field, you'll never know what you'll see heading down the 1,320 at the Columbus Ford Expo. Case in point is Matt Jennings of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his '67 Sunbeam Tiger. Often referred to as the "poor man's Cobra" due to it's lightweight chassis with Ford power, this Tiger has some serious fangs in the name of a PER Race Engines 347ci small-block with a set of John Kaase-worked Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads on top (good for 10.90s at nearly 120 mph). A 4.11-geared 9-inch and a built C4 trans helps spin the slicks.
Many of the NMRA classes are...
Many of the NMRA classes are strictly Fox chassis Mustang based, like Real Street, but the NMRA's Open Comp and bracket classes allow Ford enthusiasts to run whatever Ford they like. Craig Connery of Mantua, New Jersey, runs NMRA's Open Comp class with his '67 Mustang fastback to the tune of mid-10s at over 130 mph. To get there, Craig uses a 521ci 460 stroker with aluminum Super Cobra Jet heads with a Victor 460 intake and a Holley 1050 Dominator. A pair of 10.5-inch Mickey Thompson slicks handles the power from the 9-inch and its 4.11 gears. Between the 9-inch and the all-motor 521 is a C6 trans with a 9-inch ATI Treemaster converter set for 4,700-rpm stall.
It's always a treat to see...
It's always a treat to see something like this '57 Custom 300 two-door on the show field amongst all the modern iron, but John Jinnings of Leo, Indiana, wanted modern power for his classic ride and stuffed a Dart block-based 427W between the front fenders. The big-inch small-block wears Victor Jr. heads and a Holley 950HP that's fed via a Paxton NOVI 1200 blower. John's Custom 300 is ready for the highway, too, with an AOD trans sporting a 2,500-rpm stall Art Carr converter and a 9-inch with 3.25 gears, but all he has to do to show off at cruise nights is open the electric exhaust dumps and hit the boost.
Shawn Talboo of Streetsboro,...
Shawn Talboo of Streetsboro, Ohio, is a paint and body man by trade and figured a rolling business card is a better way to get business than handing out those little paper versions any day. While we admit it's hard to ignore the killer Sherwin Williams paint expertly laid on the '86 GT's flanks, what's under the hood is certainly not to be ignored and on par with the paint work. A Coast High Performance 347 breathes through a set of ported Trick Flow High Ports with a pair of Turbonetics 60-1T3 hair dryers added for good measure. An ACCEL DFI setup controls the show.
It's always great when you...
It's always great when you have friends or club members who want to tag along and head to the race, show, or cruise-in with you, but it's even more special when it's your significant other. Bill Darnes of Heath, Ohio, knows exactly what we're talking about, as the Zinc Yellow '01 Cobra behind his Lime Green '91 Mustang GT is his wife Susan's ride. The SVT coupe is Susan's baby and currently wears a BBK cold-air kit on it. It's not track abused, but it sees its share of passing lesser vehicles on the highway. When we looked at Bill's car, we easily figured out why Susan's car had only a cold-air system on it; Bill puts all of their car money into his ride! The '91 sports a Dart block-based 347 (We're beginning to think every car at Columbus had a stroker in it) with CNC-ported Canfield heads, a CHP Spider intake, a Compucar wet nitrous system, and stock electronics helped by a custom SCT chip. Finally, 4.10 gears in the 8.8's center and a World Class T-5, which must be begging for mercy at this point, round out the drivetrain.