Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 24, 2014
Photos By: Henry DeKuyper

Horse Sense: While Terminators are a rare breed for many reasons, the '04 version is far less prevalent than its '03 predecessor. Only 5,664 were built in the second year of production versus 13,476 in the initial year. The real question is, how many of those 19,140 engines have ended up in other Mustangs?

That's definitely not the case with David Dean. He's a mechanic by trade, but he obviously loves his work. It's obvious because he used his mechanical talents to create the outstanding ride you see on these pages. However, the project didn't really start out smoothly.

"I finally made my dream car a reality," David explained. It started eight years ago when I first bought this '86 LX coupe. It was all stock; from the AOD transmission to the 10-hole wheels. It was a first-year-of-fuel-injection, unmolested 5.0 notchback. I had to have it, but I sold the car after owning it for only a few months."

He might just have loved working on cars too much, as he had so many project cars going that this one was almost the one that got away. Obviously that didn't happen. He described having immediate seller's remorse. We've certainly been there, but in Dean's case he turned his frown upside down by buying the car back. He really did want it after all.

"I've had a lot of different mustangs over the years, but the four-eyed coupe was always my favorite," he said. "I love the body lines of the car."

With the car in hand, he quickly discovered what we all did with Foxes—a Fox coupe is really cool, but a stock one isn't going to hold our attention for too long. After the initial excitement wears off, you instantly starting thinking about what mods to add. In David's case, he couldn't wait to start from scratch.

He revamped the notch with a Lightning 351W-based 408ci engine backed by a 4R70W auto trans. Along the way, it got even more aggressive, as he hesitantly caged the coupe after getting the boot from several drag strips. With that step taken, he was on the slippery slope. He installed nitrous and swapped in a C4. He was sliding toward race-car territory...

"The car was great, but was still missing something. It wasn't what I had in mind for my Four-Eye dream," he explained. "I then stripped the '86 down to the bare chassis and the rebuild would start all over again."


The '86 is much lighter and has more horsepower. It is absolutely awesome to drive. It can go anywhere. I would drive it across the country


Dean didn't have to look too far for inspiration. It was sitting right there in his driveway. Yes, he also owns a Terminator, which had just over 4,000 miles on the odo at this writing.

"I always wanted to put the same drivetrain that is in my '04 Cobra in a Fox..." he confessed. "I had the Fox I wanted and now I needed to find the drivetrain."

Obviously, Dean found a donor car with the drivetrain. From there he spent months fabricating, installing, and tracking down parts. Yes, he did the work himself, which makes it all the more impressive, as are the results of his efforts.

"I did a few things differently on the Fox (than the '04). The '86 has tons more detail work, like polished and chromed engine components and a ported supercharger," Dean explained. "The '86 is much lighter and has more horsepower. It is absolutely awesome to drive. It can go anywhere. I would drive it across the country."

While it might look finished to us, Dean still has plans for the car. He hopes to dial in even more power, possibly with a TVS supercharger upgrade. Whatever path he takes, Dean's dream four-eye is bound to thrill.

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Tech Specs: 1986 LX

Engine and Drivetrain


Block: '03 Cobra iron 4.6
Crankshaft: '03 Cobra forged
Rods: '03 Cobra forged
Pistons: '03 Cobra forged
Camshafts: '03 Cobra DOHC
Cylinder heads: '03 Cobra Four-Valve aluminum
Intake manifold: '03 Cobra intercooled lower
Power Adder: '03 Cobra Eaton, ported by Posi Performance
Fuel system: '03 Cobra fuel pumps w/ Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump and 60-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: MAC midpipe w/ Flowmaster after-cat
Transmission: Tremec T-56 six-speed manual w/ a SPEC Stage 3+ clutch and a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter
Rearend: 8.8-in w/ Auburn Posi differential, 3.73 gears, and Moser 31-spline axles

Electronics


Engine management: '03 Cobra
Ignition: '03 Cobra
Gauges: Auto Meter w/ Florida 5.0 cluster

Suspension and Chassis


Front suspension
K-member: PA Racing tubular
A-arms: Stock
Struts: Bilstein
Springs: Eibach
Brakes: Stock
Wheels: Chrome '04 Cobra
Tires: Nitto 555R

Rear suspension
Shocks: Bilstein
Springs: Eibach
Control Arms: Maximum Motorsports
Brakes: Stock
Wheels: Chrome '04 Cobra
Tires: Nitto 555R