Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsFeatured Vehicles
GM Ntmar - 1985 Ford Mustang
This homebuilt hauler humbles the competition
Adam Kuffel purchased his '85 Mustang in 1993. It was totally stock with a charcoal gray interior and approximately 140,000 miles on the motor. The car was meant to be cheap transportation during Adam's college years when he was enrolled in Southern Illinois University's Automotive Technology program.
It didn't take long, however, for the Mustang to become a major source of weekend fun, racing at the local dragstrip. One of the first changes Adam made was to paint the car a bright Corvette yellow in his driveway. The university training paid off because his first attempt at an a paint job turned out quite well.
A few years later, Adam pulled the 302 for the first time, even though the 185,000-mile engine was still running smoothly. Working after class at Step Up Performance in Roselle, Illinois, he accomplished the majority of machining required to bring the 302 back into spec. The block was bored 0.030-over and Manley flat-top pistons were installed, along with a Ford Racing "B" cam and World Products Windsor heads, milled to 52 cc for higher compression. A Holley 600 double-pumper carb, an Edelbrock Performer intake, a Mallory fuel pump, and BBK headers transformed the lightweight Stang into a strong daily driver during the week and one that ran in the high-12s on the weekends.
Adam's first job after college was working for Chevrolet Technical Assistance in Detroit, where the newest man on the team got picked on daily for driving a bright yellow Mustang to the Chevrolet building. (This is where the "General Motors Nightmare" license plate originated.) Of course, the Camaro SS and Corvette owners found new respect for Adam when he easily pulled away from them in his home-built special. We're not sure if Adam changed jobs to accommodate the Mustang, but he soon found employment at the Ford Technical hotline, in which parking lot both car and owner felt right at home. Unfortunately, with 240,000 miles on the speedometer, the Mustang was in need of a major refurbishing.
Adam did the work himself, stripping the body and replacing the doors and hatch with parts from a '93 GT. With the motor removed, he smoothed the engine compartment, filling all the excess holes on the firewall and inner fender panels. It was also the perfect time to install the eight-point rollbar that stiffened the chassis and added safety on the strip. Moser C-clip eliminators were added along with HPM Double Cross subframe connectors.
An 8.8 rear from a '92 GT was fitted with 31-spline Mosier axles, a Strange spool, and Motorsport 4.10 gears, controlled by Lakewood 50/50 shocks. A right-side airbag was added to counteract engine torque. Up front, 90/10 Lakewood shocks and four cylinder springs ensured proper weight transfer off the line. Weld 15x3 Drag Light wheels and 26x7.5 M/T Sportsman rubber did the steering, while fat 15x8 versions in the rear with 28x12.5 M/T ET Street tires handled traction.
Once the powertrain was complete, all the body panels were smoothed, emblems were shaved, and a few custom touches were added, like '79 Mercury Capri taillights, a '93 GT wing, '86 SVO sail panels, and an '83 Mustang GT hood. The wheel openings were rolled to make room for the larger tires, while the inner tubs were massaged, a task Adam accomplished with a large hammer. He chose the same shade of bright Corvette yellow, but this time he sprayed a DuPont basecoat/clearcoat combo.
After the body and suspension were brought back to life, Adam turned his attention to the powerplant. The already strong 5.0 was energized even more with an X303 roller cam, providing additional lift for the stainless 2.02 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves. Manley pushrods activate 1.6 ratio Comp Cams rockers. Adam chose AFR 185 heads for improved breathing, adding a Victor Jr. Intake manifold and modified Holley 650HP carb as well.
The combination of an MSD Pro Billet distributor, an MSD 7AL3 ignition, and an MSD Blaster 3 coil ensured that the internal fires burned brightly. Steeda custom long-tube headers were fitted to an H-pipe and aluminized 2.5-inch exhaust tubing that empties into a pair of DynoMax Race Magnum mufflers. Adam fabricated his own 8-quart oil pan to ensure all the moving parts turned smoothly, and added a pair of Flex-a-lite 12-inch electric fans to the upgraded Griffin aluminum radiator. The original '85 four-speed, T5 transmission was replaced with an '83 T5 five-speed, chosen for its 2.95 First-gear ratio. To Adam's surprise, the tranny has held up during hundreds of 11- and 12-second passes.
In 2002, Adam was transferred to Orlando as a field service engineer with Ford Motor Company and now enjoys competing with his favorite Mustang on Florida strips. Although he no longer drives the car every day, it is a frequent visitor to local tracks, a regular on the custom car show circuit, and still an absolute nightmare to the local GM community.