Justin Fivella
June 10, 2014
Photos By: Joshua Coleman

As the sun set on the high desert, the underlying energy slowly intensified as the last ounces of daylight faded into the night sky. Nearly 30 miles from the nearest town, the road rolls through an arbitrarily placed half-finished industrial complex—the remains of an ill-fated oasis that died on the vine. For most it’s now an intersecting grid to nowhere, but to a select group of gearheads, this road leads to destiny. It’s a place where everything is won or lost in an instant—this is known in the underground world of street racing as, “the track.”

The desolate stretch of pavement, void of life only moments before, was then lined with a handful of trailers carrying race cars. A dozen people were moving about, walking the starting line and inspecting their vehicles. Few words were exchanged, aside from the sound of spinning wrenches and checking air pressure, it was silent—nobody was there to make friends. Tonight was to be pivotal, as there was a challenge for the top spot from an unknown contender. The tension heightened with every passing minute—one had everything to lose, one had everything to prove.

The moon began its ascent into the night sky, and the temperatures began their descent into the 50s, typical for the mile-high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and perfect for making horsepower. The layers of molten rubber adhered to the pavement glimmered under the glow of the moon, and the big desert sky cast an unsettling backdrop indicative of the lawless acts that would soon follow.

While the rest of the population is fast asleep, there’s an underground world of racers who take to the streets and risk life, limb, and jail time in the name of respect, because out here what matters most is being crowned, “The fastest street car.”

The Duo

It’s the classic tale of David versus Goliath, the super star versus the up-and-coming. In one corner sits the defending champ, the blue ’67 Fastback, eager to keep his title. And in the other corner sits the new guy, the ’69 Mach 1, hungry for the top spot.

Some might recognize the blue Fastback sporting Shelby attire from the many Internet videos it’s started in. To be honest, that’s how we found the owner, Brain Henry and his flawless Fastback. His shiny Mustang is infamous for taking down modified GTRs, turbocharged LSX-powered cars, and any other fast car that gets in his way. It’s the baddest street car in the area, and the faster the competition gets, the more he turns it up.

But it’s the quiet ones who avoid the limelight that you have to look out for, and Ernest Plasencia’s murdered-out ’69 Mach 1 is a force to be reckoned with. Its high-compression big-block sounds like gunshots each revolution and the sweet aroma of race gas billowing from its open headers makes its intentions clear: to kick ass and take names.

Tonight was months in the making, as Plasencia laid back and watch Henry’s every move and every race. He wasn’t a spectator at all the big races for fun, this was calculated and he wasn’t going to be caught slipping.

They’re both classic Mustangs powered by big-inch Fords sucking down massive quantities of nitrous, but the similarities stop there. Let’s have a look at these two contenders now, shall we?

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback G.T. 500 Tribute

Purpose built doesn’t even begin to explain Brian Henry’s wicked fastback. Don’t let the slammed stance and flawless finish fool you, everything has a purpose; if it doesn’t have a function, then it didn’t make the cut.

“After selling my first ’67 Fastback I had several fast Fox-bodies, but I always missed my Fastback and was tired of emissions, so when I got this one, I decided I wasn’t holding back, I wanted to build the fastest street car in the area,” Henry explained.

His other requirements: no forced induction, and it had to be powered by a pushrod Ford.

“I did my homework before building this motor; I basically designed the entire combo around the limits of E85 fuel, even down to the compression, the cam, the size of the nitrous jets, and all,” Henry explained.

At the heart of this no-holds-barred badass is an aluminum 351W-based Dart block that’s stroked and poked to 440 cubic inches. Inside you’ll find a Callies forged crank and I-beam rods underneath Ross pistons and home-ported Trick Flow Specialties R heads that create a lofty 12.3:1 compression ratio. In true street racing form, we have a feeling the term “home ported,” is quite the understatement. Nonetheless, other underhood goodies include a massive solid-roller cam that specs out at 280/296-degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift, 0.727/0.720- inch lift on a 114-degree LSA along with Harland Sharp rockers. The rest of the induction duties are handled by a ported Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold and a FAST 4150-style 1,275-cfm throttle body that’s controlled by a BigStuff3 standalone fuel-injection system.

“E85 and nitrous works well with roughly 12.0:1 compression so that’s what I stuck with, I also fabricated some 2-inch to 21⁄8-inch stepped long-tube headers and a dual 4-inch exhaust system to let it breathe,” Henry explained. “The BigStuff3 makes tuning a breeze and driveability on the street is unparalleled to a carb,” he added.

And breathe it does, as the Fastback cleanly spins to 7,500 rpm with ease even at the oxygen-depleted elevations of 5,000 feet in Albuquerque. For those that like to compare correction factors, it’s nearly a second up there! Although Henry has been spraying a much bigger shot on the street, on the dyno with a 175-shot the car has made a corrected 742 hp and 618 lb-ft of torque. On motor, it’s made 550 hp and 457 lb-ft.

About that nitrous. Henry said he uses the BigStuff3 for the fuel enrichment with the N20 system that consists of an Induction Solutions dry system with a two-stage cross plate that’s good for a 400-shot when it’s all in. Again, Henry’s explanation seemed a bit sparse when we asked about the nitrous, but despite more prodding, he wouldn’t budge. Something tells us he’s got a street racer trick up his sleeve, but he stonewalled us.

All that nitrous runs alongside plenty of E85 that travels from the 22-gallon ’69 Mustang fuel tank by way of an Aeromotive Eliminator pump and return regulator before hitting the massive 160-pound injectors.

All that fuel, air, and spark isn’t much without a solid transmission, so Henry decided to jump straight to a big-boy unit.

“I decided to run an ATI Powerglide with a 1.87 first, trans brakes, and an ATI 4,000-stall so that the car would hook up on the street, a C4 or C6 has such a deep first that it would just blow the tires off,” Henry explained.

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Henry has gone to great lengths to get this Pony to hook. The front suspension consists of Heidts weld-in front suspension with coilovers and rack-and-pinion steering, while the rear utilizes stock-style leaf springs with Calvert tractions bars. Out back you’ll also find a Ford 9-inch rearend filled with a 35-spline spool spinning 3.89 gears. There’s plenty of Mickey Thompson rubber underneath the ’wells and larger Wilwood brakes are hidden beneath Billet Specialties front and Weld rear wheels.

If the stance and the big’n’littles don’t do it for you, then certainly the BMW 381 blue paint that was thrown down in a friend’s garage will.

“We painted it a Bimmer blue, painted on the stripes, and added Tony D. Branda fiberglass G.T. 500-style nose, hood, trunk, sidescoops, and taillight panel,” Henry explained. “Despite the ’cage, full interior, and all of the other street car amenities, the aluminum motor and fiberglass front end helped it weigh in at 3,200 pounds with me in it,” he explained.

You might have also noticed the ’69 Shelby headlights and grille lights on the outside, or the 10-point rollcage on the inside, which coincidentally was homebuilt and ties into the home-crafted subframe connectors—Henry is a real racer and as resourceful as they come.

The Details
Vehicle: Brian Henry’s ’67 Mustang G.T. 500 clone
Owner: Brian Henry
Ford small-block 351, Dart aluminum block, 440ci
4.120-inch bore
4.125-inch stroke
Trick Flow R heads aluminum cylinder heads, home ported, 2.080 intake valves, 1.600 exhaust
Harland Sharp rockers, 1.6 ratio
Callies I-beam rods
Ross forged pistons
HellFire file-fit rings
12.3:1 compression ratio
Callies stroker crankshaft
Melling high-volume oil pump
Milodon 7-quart oil pan
Solid-roller cam, 280/296-degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift, 0.727/0.720-inch lift, 114 LSA
Edelbrock Super Victor aluminum intake, home ported
4150 FAST throttle body 1,275 cfm
BigStuff3 standalone fuel injection system
MSD Digital 7 ignition, coil, and crank trigger
Meziere electric water pump
Griffin 3-inch aluminum radiator
Flex-a-lite electric fan
Power Masters 140-amp alternator
McClintic vacuum pump
Aeromotive Eliminator pump and regulator and return fuel system
160-lb/hr injectors
’69 Mustang 22-gallon tank
Power Adder
Induction Solutions Dry Nitrous System with two-stage cross plate and fuel enrichment handled by BigStuff3
ATI PowerGlide with 1.87 First gear and trans-brake, and 4,000-rpm stall
Mark Williams custom aluminum driveshaft
Ford 9-inch housing
3.89:1 Motive gears
35-spline axles
Spool differential
Homemade stepped long-tube headers, 2 to 21⁄8-inch primary, 4-inch collectors
4-inch tubing
Dynomax 4-inch Bullet mufflers and Dynatech Split-Flow mufflers
Front: Heidts weld-in front suspension with coilovers and rack-and-pinion steering rack
Rear: Calvert traction bars with Ford mono-leaves, Rancho adjustable 9000 shocks
Wilwood discs front and rear
Wilwood master cylinder
Front: Billet Specialties, 15X3.5
Rear: Weld Pro Magnum 2.0, 15X10
Front: Mickey Thompson ET, 26x4.50-15
Rear: Mickey Thompson MT Pro Drag Radial, P275/60R15
Custom homebuilt 10-point rollcage and subframe connectors; stock rear seats, bucket fronts; Auto Meter tachometer, shift light, oil pressure, voltage, fuel pressure, and battery voltage gauges
BMW 381 Blue paint and bodywork done at home; painted stripes; ’69 Shelby headlights and grille lights; Tony D. Branda G.T. 500 style fiberglass nose piece, hood, trunk, sidescoops, and taillight panel
Chris Grooves at The Dyno Edge, Roy Shank and everyone at Automotive Machine
Family Allison, Autumn, and Justin