Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 1, 2003

Step By Step

View Photo Gallery

With the air conditioning still intact, this high-powered pony still remains very much a street car.
Jeff recently changed his nitrous system, mounting the nozzle in the intake manifold after the throttle body.
This vivid Mustang rides on a set of chrome-plated 16-inch wheels from Autumn Fleet Sales. Tires up front are BFGoodrich 225/50 radials, while out back Jeff has two sets, one with a matching pair of BFGs and the other wears Mickey Thompson ET Street rubber.
The stock interior remains, although it now shares space with a Maximum Motorsports rollbar. The stock shifter is used to stir the AOD transmission which features a Lentech shift kit, a B&M cooler and a Performance Automatic 3,200-stall torque converter.
Hard to believe the paint job is about seven years old, but Jeff keeps it pretty. Even during the long burnouts that we subjected the car to in order to get the cover shot, the rubber was never able to stick to the quarter-panel.
Owner Jeff Edwards gives credit to TNT Auto in Columbia, Maryland, as they performed about 95 percent of the work on the car. At the show, on the track or heading down the road, this Mustang is ready for anything.

It had been a long time since Jessup, Maryland's Jeff Edwards banged gears on the quarter-mile in his '69 Torino Talladega, but this time around he traded in his carburetor for fuel injection and his high-bank hauler for a muscle Mustang. The 53-year-old mechanical engineer had frequented the dragstrip in his youth with his 428 Cobra Jet-powered Ford, and when his son Barry needed to part with his '87 GT, Jeff saw an opportunity to get back on track.

Originally Oxford White with Gray trim, Jeff's son had the Mustang repainted in vibrant Chrome Yellow two years before selling it to his father in July of 1998. After seven years the paint still looks magnificent. But while the paint was mint, the 105,000-mile AOD transmission was in need of some TLC.

With a fresh AOD on board, Jeff proceeded by installing 3.73 gears and underdrive pulleys, followed by a larger mass air meter and a BBK 70mm throttle body, and shorty headers. At the track, these mods produced less than inspiring 15-second elapsed times. Jeff had hoped the modifications would make the little pony a potent street contender, but the dismal e.t.'s just convinced him he needed to go much faster.

Next thing you know, a set of Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads and Edelbrock's Performer intake manifold topped the stock high-miler, as well as Crane 1.7:1 roller rockers and a 190-lph fuel pump to provide adequate fuel flow. Mid 14-second times were the norm now, and while they aren't exactly stellar, progress was being made and that was good.

As one might expect, the 13-second zone became the next goal for Jeff's project. A Pro-M 77mm mass air meter, 24 lb-hr fuel injectors and 4.10 gears helped considerably. Those parts and a set of Lakewood drag struts and shocks enabled the GT to gallop its way to a 13.54.

Since Jeff had been getting more serious by each quarter-mile pass, he decided it was time for a new short-block. Not one to go weak, Jeff coughed up the coin for a Coast High Performance (CHP) 347 stroker and, as future plans called for a power adder, the short-block was fitted with a Scat crankshaft, Probe forged pistons and a Pro Mustang #4017 nitrous/blower-grind camshaft, which featured an advertised duration of 279/289 degrees and a valve lift of .493/.510 inch. The new bullet, along with a Performance Automatic 3,200-stall converter propelled the pony to low 13-second elapsed times, but an oil pump failure on the way home from the track one night prompted Jeff to have the motor gone through again.

AHM Performance in Baltimore, Maryland, disassembled the engine and installed a new, blueprinted Melling oil pump, followed by the CHP windage tray and Canton 7-quart oil pan. The combination was good for 330 rwhp and a best e.t. of 12.73, but Jeff searched for more power.

His friend Tim Canova, who happens to own TNT Auto Repair in Columbia, Maryland, helped pull off the heads and intake for a little massaging. AHM milled the heads to bring the compression up to 10:1, and they installed 2.02 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves, as well. Tim and Jeff ported and polished the heads as well as the lower intake manifold. The upper manifold was swapped for a Performer RPM piece, the air meter was upgraded to an 87mm unit and a set of 42 lb-hr injectors were also employed. These mods knocked another tenth of a second off the quarter-mile time to a best naturally aspirated run of 12.64.

Nitrous oxide was on the list next, but Jeff thought it best to improve the safety factor. To achieve that, TNT welded in a Maximum Motorsports six-point rollbar with swing out sidebars. Five-point harnesses were also installed and Jeff fabricated his own rear seat delete, since any rearward passengers would have to climb through the cage to get back there.

Jeff swapped out the 4.10 gear for a 3.73 since he now had a bottle on board that offered 150hp worth of Nitrous Express giggle gas. With the spray the pony scooted to a best time of 11.88 at 117 mph. "The 75/80 Dragway in Monrovia, Maryland, has Mustang shootouts a couple of times a year and I won one in July of 2001," said Jeff. We caught up with him at the 2002 Ford's at Englishtown event where he was competing in Real Street, but running without nitrous prevented him from moving up in the pack.

And despite its great on-track performance, this horse is not just a track-only pony. Although Jeff's second coming of quarter-mile mischief continues to offer plenty of fun, the Mustang still sees street duty just about every weekend, and with a potent powerplant and a clean appearance, it's at home both on the track and off.