Paul Rosner
March 5, 2003

Those who have strolled the grounds of the nation's largest car shows have seen lots of cars that are oh-so-near to perfection. Loaded full of every trick engine, suspension, and interior part or gadget it seems their packing list itself would have more items on it than the dollars most of us have to complete our projects. But, then the engine fires-up and the sound of a throaty blown powerplant echoes up and down the rows of polished beauties. Proving that in addition, they may have more than just a pretty face. That's about when you say to yourself, "Yeah, and look at how much money he's got in that baby."

After paging through your favorite aftermarket catalog, it doesn't take long to realize just how much all those little bells and whistles can add up to. However, in the case of Timothy Barber, who just happens to be a pretty good bodyman, painter, and mechanic, you can imagine how much one could save by doing it all himself. Especially if you were to buy a project car from an auction, after it was wrote off as a total loss, with 46,000 original miles, for a hint over three grand.

Just think how far 25 grand would go with such a small initial investment, especially since a new Stang can easily run upwards of 28 smackers or so--without any of the trick performance and stylish-looking goodies. And that's not including your average $5,000 to $8,000 trick paint job like this one has.

If you're a real blue blood you'll never forget those wild-eyed nights you spent awake dreaming of your next project car, particularly after you've done a couple. Tim had already built an '82 GT drag car that ran in the mid-10s, and then graduated to a '91 GT that would eventually run in the 9.90s. Both cars ran open headers and had full rollcages. Tim has always been a die-hard drag freak but yearned for a quiet sleeper that his wife Janet would have no problem driving and would still prove to be a handful for the typical local big-block Chevy cruisers. Tim definitely knew what he wanted, something that was both beautiful and bad.

Beings the car was a wreck; the exterior makeover was first on Tim's agenda. He fixed up the extensive frontend damage and utilized the 46,000-mile original motor. A Cervini Stalker kit and Cincinnati Composites hood would highlight the wicked intense Blue Pearl paint that Tim applied himself.

The addition of a Cobra intake, twisted wedge heads and a matching Stage I TFS camshaft equaled mid-11-second timeslips. Now hold on, we forgot to mention the Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, which is a necessity for that kind of performance and docile streetability.

After blowing a few head gaskets he decided it was time to update the stock under-hood innards, Timothy carefully chose a rotating assembly kit from DSS Racing Engines. The Eagle stroker crank was part of the package and when combined with the minimum .030 overbore, custom JE Pistons, and matching Eagle rods it would boost the cubic inches up to 331. Rob from Hunt Machine of Bay City, Michigan, handled all the machine work on the otherwise stock '94 engine block. They assembled the block with a set of Eagle 5.315-inch long rods to support the custom JE pistons that compress the air/fuel mixture to a 9.4:1 compression ratio for the blower motor combo.

The entire assembly was balanced and blueprinted. After a lot of research he chose an Anderson Ford Motorsport B-41 hydraulic roller cam, which serves up .544 inches of intake lift and .568 inches of lift on the exhaust. On the breathing side he chose a set of out-of-the-box twisted wedge heads with 1.6 Ford Racing roller rockers. Anderson Motorsports picked out the proper valve springs and 10-degree retainers and locks. For intake, a TFS Track Heat was his first choice as both the intake and heads are CNC port-matched from TFS and work well together. Since Timothy had every intention on utilizing the same Novi 2000, purchased for the stock engine, he chose a 75mm billet MAF, a 75mm BBK throttle body, and 42-pound Bosch injectors to enhance his supercharged combo. Fueling the beast would come via a pair of Walbro's Twin 255-lph units from Total Performance.

Now you would think with the healthy cam and big NOVI 2000 supercharger it would take some serious exhaust. This can be quite a misconception, the exhaust needs to be free flowing but not at the expense of all the backpressure. A set of MAC 1 5/8-inch long tubes, a 2 1/2-inch MAC Pro Chamber, two 2 1/2-inch Flowmaster two-chambers and full-length tailpipes will complete the powerplant part of this project car puzzle.

Next on the agenda would have to be getting the power to the ground. Standish Transmissions in Michigan promised they could build his stock AODE to withhold all the punishment he could dish out to it. One of Art Carr's best 3,500 lock-up style converters and a little magic from the stand-alone transmission computer from Bauman Engineering for perfecting the shift points--and you have no worries! Further down the powertrain lies the stock 8.8-inch housing with a Powertrax carrier and a set of Mosier 31-spline axles. The unit is suspended by a set of UPR lower control arms and an adjustable set of uppers. Vibration dampening from the road comes from a round of KYB shocks and struts. The front suspension is enhanced with a lightweight HAL QA-1 tubular K-member, Hotchkis adjustable caster and camber plates and Motorsport 'B' springs at all fours. The adjustability was a necessity for lining up the monster 245/45-17 front and 275/40-17 rear meats. At the project's completion it just wasn't measuring up to Tim's expectation, so he surrendered his efforts to the capable hands of the guys from Walsh Motorsports who immediately recommended a larger 77mm Pro-M piece that turned out to be worth 45 rear wheel horsepower. Although the stock computer is intact, an MSD 6-AL ignition box and coil were added to heat things up a bit. Speaking of heating things up a bit, Mike Wesley, owner of Autologic, and Don Walsh, Jr. heated up the dyno sheets in a relentless effort which resulted in an outrageous 544 hp at 6-grand and 525 lb-ft of torque. The critical info from the combo was then documented on a custom chip from Autologic. "Their efforts were sick," Tim said as they started at around 5 p.m. and worked until around 1:30 in the morning. With these numbers he knows that a FRPP-R or Dart engine block isn't far off.

The interior was tricked out with a full array of billet goodies from URP Products and other goodies that include stainless steel sill plates and homemade polished door panel pieces. The upholstery really sets off the tone of the project with custom embroidered seats from Linwood Upholstery.

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Tim has been a hardcore drag racer, owning a couple 9- and 10-second racecars, he built this car so his wife, Tina, could equally enjoy their passion for fast Mustangs.
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The Stalker kit from Cervini added a trick front nose which highlights the intense Blue Pearl paint Tim applied with perfection.
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With the car being a convertible the interior tends to be the focus of passers-by. Not to disappoint anyone, every knob and handle, including the e-brake handle, is made from metal. Timothy painted all the panels silver, which completed the billet look to the interior and makes the white-faced gauges right at home.
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With 544 hp at the rear wheels the 331-cube TFS head and intake exhibiting powerplant may look like all show but the numbers prove quite a different story.
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The seats were beautifully embossed with the 331-supercharged insignia boasting reality, while warning off those brave enough to question its show car appearance.
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The Stalker Kit also came with a trick rear bumper, side scoops and a rear spoiler, giving the Barber's ride an all-out customized look.
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Both the intake and heads come CNC port-matched from TFS making them an excellent choice along with the BBK 75mm Power-Plus throttle body.
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Tim told us that the Paxton NOVI 2000 supercharger was far-and-away the best investment he's ever made.
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The 331 insignia boasts the stroker powerplant, and the 17-inch Cobra wheels and low-profile tires assure proper adhesion in the curves.
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