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1993 Ford Mustang LX - Bringing Home The (Canadian) Bacon
Kevin Macdonald’s Baconator LX charges hard with a twin-turbo 4.6L three-valve swap.
As the clock strikes five most workers grab their time slip and punch out, leaving behind the stresses of work and going home to the prospect of doing something other than their vocational habit.
There are those in the workforce, however, who don't have the luxury of leaving it all behind when quitting time comes. Their passion, hobby, and livelihood are a tangled web that produces a blurred line of work and play. The lead calibrator at JPC Racing, Kevin MacDonald, lives this complex lifestyle and his 8-second Fox-body LX coupe is proof of his separation issues.
The 1993 Mustang LX coupe has been a stress-relieving project for the past five years. It began when Kevin worked in the R&D department of DiabloSport (Delray Beach, Florida) and he finished it afterhours at JPC Racing once he moved to Millersville, Maryland. His life as a calibration expert has Kevin meddling with the hottest trends in the aftermarket, which led him to his choice of powerplant.
He picked up a junkyard 4.6L Three-Valve engine from a wrecked Mustang and slid it under the hood before he heading north to JPC Racing. "I have a strong interest in working with the newest and latest technology, and I dreamt about a Four-Valve modular with a four-cam VCT, but at the time it was non-existent," Kevin says. "I scored a takeout Three-Valve from Jay Meagher for a good deal and a few favors, so I went down that path."
Upon his arrival to his new home, the Canadian-born Mustang freak was already halfway through the conversion with a full-cage installed, along with a custom twin-turbo kit. Demon Fabrication was responsible for the work on the cage and turbo kit and it was up to Kevin to finish the rest of it at JPC Racing. This is where having the keys to the candy store come in handy—he tackled the project after hours with lots of help from the guys in the shop.
On the dyno, the LX unleashed 728 rwhp (stock motor with Crower cams), while gulping E85 fuel. The on-track performances were equally impressive with runs deep into the 9s and a best of 9.08 at 148 mph. A little is good and more is better—boost was scheduled to go north and Kevin decided to ship the engine south to MPR Race Engines (Boynton Beach, Florida) for a new life in the 1,000-plus rwhp club at JPC Racing.
The engine returned with a Cobra crankshaft, Manley steel rods, custom Diamond pistons (11:1 compression), and a set of billet oil pump gears. Kevin then grabbed a set of JPC/RGR ported cylinder heads off the shelf and finished the engine himself.
Other highlights are Crower camshafts right out of the catalog and—naturally—a JPC Racing Three-Valve intake manifold.
At the time of the photos he was running a pair of Turbonetics 60mm turbochargers and with the upgraded engine, the coupe managed to crank out 850 rwhp and put Kevin squarely into the 8-second club with an 8.90 at 151 mph. He knew there was more lurking so the small turbos were removed and a pair of Precision 6266 (billet 62mm compressors) replaced 'em.
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The car responded instantly to the new turbochargers with an 8.80 at 157 mph—spinning real bad out of the gate. Another problem reared its ugly head too; Kevin was competing without a parachute. That is a no-no when speeds exceed 150 mph at IHRA/NHRA sanctioned tracks.
"I added the parachute and switched to the Mickey Thompson Pro 275 radials for this year," said Kevin. On the dyno the boost was bumped to 21 psi and the car has laid down a best of 950 rwhp. As he gets more comfortable on track, the boost is going north to 25 psi and Kevin is switching to E98 as well. The goal is to push the LX deep into the 8s and still drive it on nice days.
From the get-go the coupe was built to run hard at the strip, but also feel right at home on the street, prompting Kevin to be a regular at several True Street events each year. The coupe's mundane street manners are possible due to two key factors, according Kevin. The first is the factory Spanish Oak ECU that is standard on the 2005-2010 Three-Valve-equipped Mustangs. Using DiabloSport tuning software, the OEM computer keeps the engine purring smoothly and provides exceptional drive-ability. A factory throttle body with drive-by-wire functionality also helps the part-throttle performance.
Kevin also says the FB Performance 4STB-E transmission, essentially a fully fortified 4R70W transmission with three forward speeds and an Overdrive that is electronically controlled, is the other factor.
Kevin said, "I originally wanted a fast street car on 17s that I could drive anywhere in the country, but it snowballed when the Weld's went on. It's also too easy to make 1,000 hp these days, so why just sit at 600?" He also hopes to bring home the bacon in True Street at several NMRA events this year. "I think I can run with some of the quicker drivers like Mike Jovanis, Chris Gish, and Randy Seward." Street or strip, the Baconator LX helps Kevin blur the line of work and play.