Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
August 10, 2004

We get a lot of questions asking how one gets their car in the magazine and while our reply is often "send us some pictures and information," sometimes being in the right place at the right time is all it takes.

While discussing this special notchback issue in one of our editorial meetings, Tech Editor Evan Smith noted that he found quite the coupe at one of Englishtown's test-and-tune nights. What we didn't know at the time was that coupe's owner had a brother with an equally nice notchback.

Both cars go about producing power in a slightly different manner, yet they can both run mid- to low-11s at the drop of a hat. What's even more interesting is that Bill and Eric Fischer offered the MM&FF staff a chance to drive both of their cars and experience them firsthand.

Autumn Orange Assassin
Don't let the pretty Ford Explorer paint fool you. Eric's little coupe has eclipsed the quarter-mile in a mere 11.26 seconds at 119 mph. No nitrous, no supercharger, and no turbo--just a stroked 302 and a suspension that gets the power to the ground.

The sedan started out as a project with Eric's brother Bill, as the two New Jersey natives pooled their resources to build one bad-ass street/strip Stang. The $400 rust-free shell was put together with spare parts and a donor car, and it continues to evolve to this day.

A best short time of 1.52 seconds means this Mustang moves out in a hurry. Consistent 1.60s are the norm, and these short times are acquired through a properly tuned suspension. The front suspension consists of a Griggs Racing tubular K-member, tubular control arms, and Griggs coilovers, which use Tokico shocks along with 150lb springs. The rear coil springs remain stock, but UPR upper and Griggs lower control arms secure the 8.8, which features Ford 9-inch ends, Moser 31-spline axles, a 4.30 gear, and a Detroit Locker differential. Lakewood shocks are employed out back as are 27x11.5/15 Hoosier Quicktime Pro tires mounted on Weld Pro Star rims.

"We started with a 302 that went 12.50s with a mild cam and a GT-40 intake," said Eric. "An AFM N-65 camshaft and a Holley Systemax intake brought that down to a 12.16, and then the 347 dropped that to an 11.26."

Said 347 is based on a production 302-block that's been worked over by Fischer Automotive (no relation) in Edison, New Jersey. Eric assembled the iron core, stuffing it with a 3.4-inch stroke Scat crankshaft, SRP 4.030-inch pistons, and Scat connecting rods. Combined with the old-school TFS High Port iron heads, the result is a 10.8:1 compression ratio. Keith Craft and Fox Lake both had their way with the heavily modified heads that feature 2.02 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves along with 1.72:1 ratio rocker arms.

"We set-up some parameters at the beginning," noted Eric, "one of which was absolutely no carburetors." To that end, a donor '89 GT gave up its wiring harness, which was wired up to work with the least favorite of EEC computers, the '94-95 U4PO processor. Eric, who also happens to be an electrical engineer, tweaks the ECM with an EEC Tuner. "The biggest reason for using that computer and the AODE transmission was that we bought the trans, computer, converter, and shifter as a package deal," said Eric. "The '94-95 processor also allows for data logging."

Level 10 in Hamburg, New Jersey, had already modified the AODE, and the converter was a Vigilante 3,000-stall lock-up unit. Eric told us that the AODE is more durable and is set-up to shift automatically at wide-open throttle. He also credits Jerry Wroblewski of Fordchip.com with helping him tune the transmission parameters.

Since the coupe started life in the Fischer household with a salvage title, the car needed to be inspected to be registered. The MAC shorty headers, H-pipe with cats, and UltraFlo mufflers keep it smelling clean and sounding far more quiet than any 11-second Stang should. Needless to say it passed with flying colors, and Eric and Bill both drive it on the street frequently.

"The thing I like most," noted Eric,"is the car is so well balanced. It hooks up on the street or on the track and runs consistently." Future plans for the Autumn Orange assassin included a new 418-inch Windsor motor, but upon our invitation for a photo shoot, it found its way between the fenders of Bill's copper coupe.

Don't Mess With The Copperhead
Since his brother Eric wrenched on the Autumn notchback, it spent most of its time at his house. Bill happened to look into a 358-powered sedan located in Ohio, and, after Eric went to look at the car, the two decided that they couldn't build the same vehicle for what owner Mike Gaster was asking for it. The copper-colored Mustang was purchased and shipped to New Jersey.

Gaster swapped the V-8 drivetrain into the four-cylinder chassis and had already painted the car the vibrant Copper hue, but Bill needed to finish the interior. A new rug and headliner were installed, and Wild Rides of Farmingdale, New Jersey, gave the rollbar a few tweaks. Bill also fixed some wiring issues that got some of the power accessories working again.

The 358ci powerplant also went through some growing pains as did the rear axle. The 8.8 still sported 28-spline axles until a sticky launch snapped one off. Bill fortified the rear with Moser 33-spline shafts and a spool so there would be no further problems. He also heaved the T-5 that the car came with in favor of a Tremec 3550 five-speed gearbox and Ram/Valeo clutch combination.

The chassis on this Mustang has been dialed in using the stock four-cylinder springs and Lakewood drag struts up front. Aft of the transmission you'll find stock GT rear springs with Competition Engineering rear shocks and a UPR/Steeda combination of control arms. The stock brakes have served the sedan thus far, and the Mustang rolls on Centerline Telstar rims with 27x10.5/15 Hoosier Quicktime Pro tires.

Those growing pains that the 358 went through came shortly after Smith met up with Bill at the track. Evidently a piston met a valve, which made a mess of the Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads (among other things). Bill used the term "grenaded" in his tech sheet, which is never a good thing. It was then decided that Bill and Eric would slide in the 418.

The Windsor started life as a '95 production 351 block, and now features a 4.100-inch stroke Scat crankshaft, Probe pistons, and Scat 6.200-inch rods. Eric then added CNC-ported AFR 225 aluminum cylinder heads that have 2.08 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves, and a Comp Cams XE282HR out at 232/240-degrees duration at .050, and 0.565/0.574-inch lift.

If you didn't notice already, the Fischer brothers prefer naturally aspirated power and this 418 with a 10.5:1 compression ratio makes plenty of it. An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold and a Holley 750 carburetor feed the hungry Windsor, while spent gases are expelled through a MAC full-length 1 5/8-inch headers, a 3-inch H-pipe, and 3-inch Pro Dump mufflers that give the coupe a more rowdy attitude compared to its sibling.

The new and relatively untuned combination recently went 11.17 at 126 mph, and we saw consistent 11.20s--even in 90-degree temps with 100-percent humidity. The Autumn Orange coupe was right with it running mid to low 11s throughout the day. Both cars tilt the power-to-weight ratio in their favor with the copper car coming in at 3,050 lbs and the Autumn Orange notch at 3,140 lbs--both with driver aboard.

During our test drive, we found both cars to run dead straight down the quarter-mile. Both hook hard and leave in a hurry, thanks in part to their relatively light curb weights. And both pull hard from the starting line to the finish. Obviously the stick car keeps you a bit busier behind the wheel, but they are both fun to drive, and, from a financial standpoint, not that expensive when you factor in how quick, how reliable, and how consistent they are.

Eric and Bill give credit to their wives, Amy and Janet, for their undaunting support in their husbands' pursuit of automotive elation. For the future, the brothers plan on optimizing the 418, as they feel the headers, cam, and carb are a bit on the small side. This alone should put the pony solidly in the mid to low 10s. And both Mustangs are damn near show quality too.

Who says going fast with class is a Buick thing?

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Both notchbacks have the line lock wired into the horn button, which makes smokin' the hides an easy task. Note the '93 SE wing on the deck lid.
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A 65mm throttle body and a Pro-M 77mm mass air meter work with 30 lb/hr injectors to supply the needed combustibles. Did you notice that the power steering and AC have vanished, yet the smog pump remains? This puppy passed New Jersey's strict emissions and vehicle check and still runs low 11s on motor only.
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The interior is basic but clean. The horn button doubles as the line lock switch, and Eric has mounted jacks in the console to plug in his laptop. International Sheet Metal in Somerville, NJ, is credited with the welding chores including the S&W five-point rollbar.
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Corbeau seating is lightweight yet extremely comfortable. An S&W rollbar was installed, as were through-the-floor subframe connectors.
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The 418-inch motor makes far more horsepower and torque than the last engine, and Bill has found that he needs more tire and more chassis tuning to get it planted.
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The copper coupe is strictly business, yet docile enough to hit the street on occasion.
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Aside from the Wild Rides rollbar and racing buckets, the interior is mostly stock. A Pro 5.0 shifter gets a handle on the Tremec 3550 five-speed.
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Hoosier Quicktime Pros are the tires of choice at the rear of the Mustang and help produce 60-foot times in the 1.50-1.60 range.
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The AODE coupe is a stab-and-steer operation that hooks hard and goes straight. Driving it has made this author realize he needs some good aftermarket components beneath his own 11-second car.
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Both cars wear Hoosier Quicktime Pro rubber.
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Since our photo shoot, the Mustang has run a best of 11.11 at 126mph with more tuning to come still.