Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
December 30, 2013
Photos By: Steve Turner

Sadly, not every shop or performance manufacturer is on the up and up. Still in this day and age, there are people out there in Mustang-land just looking to make a buck, with no performance return. Many a Mustang enthusiast has dropped off their pride and joy, in the hopes of returning to pick up the car making several hundred more horsepower than when it entered the shop.

Unfortunately, when nothing gets done, you have to go pick up your Mustang. Sometimes the car sits in pieces when you arrive. Such is the position Rossville, Georgia's Ray Blankenship found himself in with the 1991 Ford Mustang LX seen here. As you can see, the car rebounded and Ray had the last laugh.

He purchased the car from his good friend Jon Goff way back in 1994. "I paid $7,500 for it and thought that was not a bad deal at all for a '91 LX," Ray says. He tells us the car was already awesome and in great shape. He drove the car back and forth to work for years, but then he set a goal for the car. "My goal was to some day make it in this magazine," referring to the rag you hold in your hands. To that end, Ray got to work.

"I mainly worked on the induction side, adding parts as I could," Ray said. He thought the story hit its stride when he decided on a power adder. "I decided to do a remote-mounted turbo kit on the car," he adds. He found a manufacturer that had developed a remote-mount turbo kit, sending a cashier's check for $13,800 to said company, then drove the car 13 hours to the shop so the work could be done. Three months later the car still wasn't done. "I finally decided I would finish what he started on the car and went there to get it," Ray tells us.

When he arrived the car was torn apart. Ray had to assemble it to a point to where he could drive it back home. The guy had cut the exhaust system to pieces, so Ray had to drive the car all the way back home—13 ear-splitting hours—with open headers. "He had cut big holes on the rear quarters to mount the turbos," Ray says. The holes just amplified the sound of the open headers, Ray was almost completely deaf by the time he got the car home. "My ears rang for days after that."

Remember when you were a kid, and your mom or dad would be standing out in the driveway or front porch waiting for you to come home? Well, when Ray pulled in the driveway, his wife was standing out there waiting for him, but not in the same manner as a parent waiting to beat your tail. "She about threw up after seeing the car," Ray says.

Finally, sick of the whole situation, Ray aired out his frustrations on the interwebs. "Next thing I knew, I had all kinds of people calling me wondering about their car," he said. Turns out, Ray wasn't the only guy who was fleeced out of a lot of money.

Even after all this, Ray still had a Mustang to finish. He had to decide which direction to go. He could either repair the quarter-panels or do a radical widebody kit. Obviously, you see what he chose. "The repairs were extensive, and it took me three years to develop the kit the way I wanted," Ray says.

In 2010, life dealt Ray another, way more dramatic blow. His wife, Bunny, developed breast cancer. "This rocked my world," he confessed. Still in the process of finishing the car, Ray says had it not been for the project, "I would've gone crazy with worry."

Bunny thought Ray was neglecting her because he was always in the shop working on the car. The truth was that Ray was so scared of losing his wife, the only thing that kept his mind off her illness was working on the car. It was his outlet, the thing that kept his mind busy. It kept him sane during a difficult time in his life. "To some people it's just a car," Ray says, "To me, it is more than that." We're with him on that one.

"Working on my car has also brought me closer to a lot of people that share my passion with Mustangs," he said. Case in point is one of Ray's favorite outlets, www.Ultimatefoxbody.com. "Those guys are great. They are some of the most respected and trustworthy people I know," he said. According to Ray, the site's members are always willing to help fellow enthusiasts. However, Ray is also quick to point out his car wouldn't be done without the help and support of his loving wife, Bunny; daughter, Hayley; son, Anthony; and friends Tim Acuff, Donnie Walker, Bob Flatt, and Lee Lowry.

Regarding his wife's condition, her illness is in remission as of this writing. "I hope and pray I can spend a whole lot more time with her now that she has a second chance," Ray says. "She has been my inspiration to live life to the fullest."

We're also inspired that Ray and his LX got a second chance. His story should inspire you to get out there and finish your Mustang project.

The interior of Ray’s Fox boasts Corbeau FX1 seats, Auto Meter Lunar series gauges, and an Auto Weld 10-point rollcage. The A-pillar gauge pod he made himself, and sells through his website, Fatfoxx.com, as well as other components.

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5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain
Block: '93 Cobra
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Stock
Pistons: Stock
Camshaft: FRPP E303 w/ stock lifters
Cylinder heads: Edelbrock Performer w/ 2.02/1.60 valves and Crane Cams 1.6-ratio roller rockers
Intake manifold: Trick Flow R-Series w/ BBK Performance 70mm throttle body, and Cervini's Auto Designs ram air
Fuel system: 190-lph fuel pump w/ FRPP 24-lb/hr injectors, and a Crane Cams adjustable fuel-pressure regulator
Exhaust: BBK Performance 15⁄8-in short-tube headers w/ Magnaflow 21⁄2-in X-shape crossover pipe, and Flowmaster after-cat exhaust
Transmission: Richmond R.O.D. six-speed w/ Centerforce Dual Friction clutch, and Long shifter
Rearend: 8.8-in w/ Yukon differential, Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, and 3.27 gears

Electronics
Engine management: Stock computer
Ignition: MSD 6AL w/ an MSD Blaster coil, MSD spark plug wires, and Autolite spark plugs
Gauges: Stock w/ Auto Meter Lunar series tach, water temp, air/fuel, vacuum, and oil temp

Suspension and Chassis
Front suspension
K-member: Stock
A-arms: Stock
Struts: Tokico five-way Illumina, Steeda Autosports caster/camber plates
Springs: Steeda Autosports Competition
Brakes: Baer 13-in Track system
Wheels: '93 Cobra replica, 17x81⁄2-in
Tires: Nitto NT01 255/40-17

Rear suspension
Shocks: Tokico five-way Illumina
Springs: Steeda Autosports
Control Arms: Hotchkis uppers and lowers
Brakes: '93 Cobra
Wheels: '93 Cobra replica, Eric Vaughn-widened, 17x91⁄2-in
Tires: Nitto NT01 315/35-17

Horse Sense: Ray fashioned his own dual-gauge A-pillar pod out of fiberglass. He says the A-pillar pods he tried hit the rollcage so he made his own.