Stephanie Davies
May 21, 2015
Photos By: Henry DeKuyper

Does this 1987 Ford Mustang look familiar? You may have seen it thrashing down the “strip” on the Discovery Channel series Street Outlaws (Season 2 finale), or maybe you caught it around the internet somewhere—it seems to be the talk of the forums. Regardless, the Gray Mare, as she’s affectionately named, has made quite the name for herself in the grudge racing scene.

Tony Politano of Lancaster, California, owns the naturally aspirated Fox-body, which switched hands within the AV Boys crew quite a few times before ending up with Tony about three years ago. Tony says, “I bought my first Mustang 17 years ago when I was 19.” He currently owns a 1991 Mustang and a 2013 Boss 302 as well.

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The Mustang is powered by a 302 block, bored and stroked to 331 ci and using an RPM Stroker Kit, JE pistons, and H-beam connecting rods, for a resulting compression ratio of 12.0:1. The engine was built by Murray’s Performance Garage in Lancaster, California. The machine work was done by Pettis Performance of Hesperia, California.

A Canton oil pan seals the bottom end with a Melling oil pump, D.S.S main support, and crank scraper.

A Bullet custom hydraulic roller camshaft has been installed within the 331, as have aluminum AFR 205 cylinder heads and Comp Cam Pro Magnum 1.6:1 rocker arms with a stud girdle. Atop the powerful foundation sits a Holley 750-cfm HP carburetor from Ted’s Carburetor in Lancaster, with an Edelbrock Super Victor intake. Murray’s Performance Garage and Ted’s Carburetor are credited with tuning the Gray Mare. An MSD 6AL ignition box with an MSD coil, distributor, and wires and Autolite plugs round out the list of ignition system components.

A Fox-body is nothing without its signature growl. The Gray Mare’s exhaust gases flow through Bassani headers stepped from 1 3/4 to 1 7/8 inches, with Vibrant Performance aluminum mufflers and 3-inch pipes.

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Power means nothing if it can’t be put to the ground. The Gray Mare has that handled with a Pro-Shifted Tremec TKO-600 built by Liberty’s High Performance Products in Taylor, Michigan, paired to an Advanced Clutch Technology single-disc clutch. She also possesses an ACT pressure plate, an aluminum Fidanza flywheel, and a Pro 5.0 shifter. An aluminum driveshaft is held safely in place by a chromoly custom safety loop by Murray’s Performance Garage.

Suspension modifications include Team Z A-arms and springs, Lakewood 90/10 struts, and a Flaming River steering box up front, working with Team Z upper and lower control arms and springs and Strange shocks out back. Team Z subframe connectors and antiroll bar help keep the body tight.

An 8.8 rearend stuffed with 4.33 gears and Moser 31-spline gun-drilled axles, as well as a Moser spool, is built to efficiently handle the torque delivered from the powerful engine.

A potent combination of power, suspension, and skillful driving pulls the Gray Mare up on her hind quarters with ease.

Tony tells us that the Fox doesn’t sport its original paint but was painted its current shade of gray before he got his hands on it. Inside, you’ll find a single Carbon seat by Unlimited Products and a roll bar by Murray’s Performance Garage.

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The Gray Mare has been fitted with a carbon fiber 4-inch cowl hood and sits on Weld Magnum wheels up front and Weld Magnum Import wheels in the back, wrapped in Mickey Thompsons (26x4.5 and 28x10.5 respectively). Aerospace front brakes work with stock rear brakes to bring the Fox-body to a stop at the top end.

While Tony couldn’t give us power ratings or track times, we've seen the Gray Mare in action. You aren’t going to stand a Mustang up on its rear wheels without quite a bit of power pulling at the reins.

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When asked how the car runs and drives, Tony matter-of-factly answers, “Hold on and grab the next gear. I leave the starting line at 6,500 rpm and shift at 8,200. Usually the car will hold a wheelie for 60 feet.”

The Gray Mare is constantly evolving to keep a competitive edge but retains quite the following courtesy of its dominating reputation. You just never know where she might show up next.