Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1986 Ford Mustang GT - Radical Rebuild
After a bad accident totaled Keith Lewbart's all-original '86 Mustang GT, the go-fast fun began.
Fox-bodies are a speed demon's dream.
Think about it. For the most part, they're cheap to buy, cheap to build, and super fun to drive. The Internet is flooded with Foxes for sale—anything from five-owner fixer-uppers to beautiful, well-built, show-worthy models. It's not usual, however, to come across a beautiful four-eyed hatchback that remains with the original owner. The fine specimen you see here is just that. It's like the unicorn of Ford Mustangs.
Keith Lewbart of Mount Laurel, New Jersey bought this Jalapeño Red 1986 Ford Mustang GT off the showroom floor at Muzi Ford in Needham, Massachusetts in 1986.
"It was the first new car I ever bought," Keith told us, "I always knew I would keep it forever."
For the first 20 years of its existence, the Mustang remained bone-stock. As Keith's young sons, Tyler and Ryan, grew up around the car, Tyler expressed interest in going faster. When the car was rear-ended and totaled as Keith pulled into his neighborhood in October 2011, a father-son project was in order.
An '86 hatchback donor car was located just a few days after the wreck and a winter rebuild ensued. To pay homage to the widely loved stock look of the car, the exterior and interior bypassed modification. The hood, front bumper, doors, and interior were all salvaged after the wreck, so they remain original. After the addition of a fiberglass hatch, Sano's Auto Body in Dayton, New Jersey, handled the task of restoring the Fox to its former glory with a thick coat of the original red paint.
While the hood remained stock, what lies beneath is far from it. D&D Motorsports of Valencia, California built the engine—a Ford 342-inch stroker outfitted with a 5140 forged crankshaft, Probe forged pistons, and forged H-Beam connecting rods. It's also equipped with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge aluminum cylinder heads and a Crane custom-ground hydraulic roller camshaft, while a Holley SysteMax II sits atop the powerplant. BBK headers connect to a Pypes exhaust system, giving the Fox that signature throaty growl.
The real moneymaker, however, is the Vortech V-3 Si-Trim supercharger, creating 10 pounds of boost with an air-to-air intercooler. Radical Racing of Atco, New Jersey equipped the now-beastly Fox with a Diablo custom tune.
All 595 horses are put to the ground via a Liberty's High Performance Products Tremec TKO 600 with a SPEC Stage 2+ clutch, while 3.73 gears and a Ford 9-inch reside in the rear. Strange adjustable coilovers and an Eibach sway bar ride up front, meanwhile QA1 double-adjustable shocks and UPR coilover springs in the back make for a comfortable gait. The chassis is stiffened with help from Wild Rides subframe connectors and battle boxes.
Ford Racing Performance Parts Bullitt 17x9-inch wheels were fitted in the rear and are wrapped in Mickey Thompson ET Street drag radials to provide traction, while Cobra brakes all around ensure a quick stop every time.
Unbelievably, the little Fox was back to terrorize the streets in June 2012, just eight months after that fateful wreck. "Oh, it's street legal," he told us, "I drive it to the track!"
Keith has run a best of 11.06 at 131 mph in the quarter-mile and is desperately shooting for that sweet 10-second run, but conditions have not been ideal as of yet.
In the meantime, Keith and Tyler are focusing on 18-year-old Tyler's newly bought '93 GT with preparations being made for a heads/cam/intake setup in the near future.
Keith has quite a few people to thank for taking part in the build, including all of the shops that contributed their expertise as well as Fonse Performance of Erial, New Jersey, his friend Joe Meron, and of course, his sons. We can't wait to see what this father/son duo will build next—maybe a certain '93 GT will eventually make friendly competition for this sick '86.