Kristian Grimsland
Associate Editor, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
December 6, 2013

My 1990 Ford Mustang GT is a California car and it has quite a story. I’m the original owner and received it as a high school graduation gift. From day one, I started modifying it, adding simple bolt-ons such as a K&N air filter, Hurst quick shifter, H-style midpipe, Flowmaster mufflers, underdrive pullies, and a NOS Stage 2 dry kit. I later installed TFS Twisted Wedge heads, an E303 cam, Crane 1.6 roller rockers, and a Cobra intake.

This setup lasted almost 200,000 miles until the stock crank broke. Stroker engines were just starting to come out at the time, and Coast High Performance just released a 347 Street Fighter kit. My goal was to have a California emissions-legal Mustang that would run 11s. I purchased the kit and had Ben Alameda Racing assemble the engine, port the Cobra intake, and set it up with a custom cam.

I was happy with the overall performance, however, things changed once I rode in a friend’s 347ci supercharged car. He had the exact same setup except for a blower. I had to have one. After finding a used Paxton kit, I had it installed and the car dyno tuned at Brother’s Performance. It cranked out 408 rwhp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

When the day finally came to run at the track, I made a total of three passes. The first pass I ran a 12.9 at 120 mph. The second pass came in at a 12.1 at 121, and the third pass was 11.6 at 123. I was content with my setup as I had met my goals, but shortly after, I read that Paxton was realeasing a new blower—the Novi 2000. Once released, I immediately purchased one. With the new supercharger installed, I set a new goal to run 10s.

In September 2000, I moved to Arizona. After settling in, I was ready to install a new camshaft. But before I could, I realized the stock block was cracked. I ordered a new R302 block, and while the motor was out, I cleaned up the engine bay and installed a UPR Products front K-member, along with front coilovers. The short-block was assembled by Duffee Motorsports, but after completing the build and putting less then 2,500 miles on the new motor, I lost interest.

I went to Firebird Raceway a few times, but I was always plagued with misfortune and never made a full pass. The first time out failed due to a bad RPM Extender, which was cutting spark at 3,500 rpm. The second time out failed due to a tossed cog blower belt. Frustration set in—having been at it for 10 years, I decided to garage her. There it remained for 10 years.

In 2012, I decided to go after that 10-second slip. I went back to working on the ’90 GT, adding UPR rear upper and lower control arms, and also battlebox reinforcement plates. I tuned the car to run 15 pounds of boost. I made my first attempt for 10s in February 2012. Once again, I was unable to make a full pass. Track conditions were extremely poor and I managed to snap my cog belt on the launch.

I changed the pulley setup from cog to an eight-rib serpentine. With everything installed, I headed back to Firebird Raceway. This time out would prove fatal for the motor. With untested boost levels and air/fuel readings, I still hit the strip. The pass proved to be strong initially and the blower belt stayed on during launch, but going into Third gear, I knew something was wrong. Later, compression tests showed extremely low readings on cylinders 7 and 8.

With a new engine build on its way, I sent the heads back to Ben Alameda Racing. During the teardown, he discovered the spring rates were very low, which may have caused valve float. I’ve rebuilt the engine to 349 ci and purchased Coast High Performance boost-friendly -15.3cc pistons. I also went with a much more aggressive camshaft.

I’m almost ready to revisit the track again, and this time I’m expecting to reach my goal. Wish me luck.

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