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Eric Pappageorge’s Super-Clean Fox-Body Mustang Was Built to Be a 275 Radial Contender
Show & Go!
You know you’re doing something right when all of your car buddies give you a hard time because your drag car is “too nice.” This type of remark is what Eric Pappageorge hears all the time, as his 1993 Ford Mustang has exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of build quality and overall appearance. Any time he posts something about his car on social media, he gets a few comments about it being a “show car,” or someone may razz him about taking so long to build the car. The truth of the matter is Pappageorge has been very meticulous about his build, and he has also run into a few hurdles along the way.
Pappageorge lives in Sweetwater, Tennessee, an area that is very focused on eighth-mile heads-up drag racing. He has been drag racing for years, but wanted to step up his program with an entirely new setup, so the search was on for a suitable roller. Pappageorge bought the car in 2012 as a rolling chassis and proceeded to change pretty much everything. It was a nice car to start with, as it was a 76,000-mile, black-on-black coupe—a pretty desirable Fox-body. After three years and untold amounts of money, Pappageorge is ready to hit the track with his specially crafted Mustang.
Underneath, the chassis has been tied together in every way possible. It features an extensive rollcage fabricated and installed by Lyons Custom Motorsports in Rossville, Georgia. Up front is a PA Performance tubular K-member, which mounts a set of PA tubular control arms. Santhuff front struts transfer weight to the rear tires, while a pair of Racecraft drop spindles puts the nose a little closer to the ground. Strange disc brakes with billet aluminum calipers ride on all four corners, offering lightweight stopping power. Rolling stock consists of Weld Racing one-piece forged V-Series front runners mounted to Mickey Thompson 25.0/4.5-15 tires, while beadlocked V-Series rears measure 15x12 inches and wear Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 Radial Pros.
Lyons Custom Motorsports built the super-strong boxes, which mount adjustable upper and lower control arms, also fabricated by Lyons. A pair of Menscer Motorsports coilovers rides out back, attaching to custom mounts on the highly modified 8.8 rearend. The rearend housing is narrowed 1 inch on each side and utilizes a Strange 3.90:1 ring-and-pinion, while Strange 35-spline axles send power to the tires. A Mark Williams driveshaft connects the rearend to a bulletproof Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission built by Farrow Motorsports in Chattanooga. The PTC torque converter is set up for nitrous abuse and stalls to 3,500 rpm on the line.
There is no shortage of horsepower under the hood of Pappageorge’s Mustang, as it sports a big-inch small-block Ford engine, which was a complete build by Sam Vincent of Vincent Racing Engines of Graham, Kentucky. It is based off a Dart block, which has its cylinders punched to 4.170 inches, and features splayed main caps to hold the Callies Dragon Slayer crankshaft in place. With a stroke of 4.100 inches, the small-block Ford comes in at 448 ci. It is packed with high-end pieces, including GRP aluminum rods and Diamond forged pistons. The beautiful internals are covered with a Stef’s Fabrication Specialties aluminum oil pan.
Up top is an Edelbrock Victor top end, which has been extensively reworked by Tony Bischoff at BES Racing Engines in Guilford, Indiana. Bischoff gave the 15-degree cylinder heads the full BES treatment and ported the Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold to match. Topnotch valvetrain equipment keeps the custom-grind Bullet 55mm roller camshaft happy. Sam Vincent designed the camshaft profiles and selected the Victory valve springs and pushrods, while going with Jesel shaft mount rockers. The deep-breathing small-block draws fuel and air through a Quick Fuel 1,250-cfm carburetor rests on top of a HVH Super Sucker carb spacer. While the projected horsepower is around 950 without any power-adders, Pappageorge is utilizing a Nitrous Express single-stage fogger system capable of adding 400-plus horsepower. Ignition is controlled by an MSD Grid system, including an MSD Pro Billet distributor and HVC coil. A MagnaFuel ProStar 500 fuel pump adds VP NO2 fuel to the fire. Kooks headers with 2 1/8-inch primary tubes and 4-inch collectors offer an unforgettable exhaust note.
It is hard to ignore the wild graphics and slick appearance of Pappageorge’s drag car. Josh Gill is responsible for the awesome vinyl wrap, which could be mistaken for custom paint, even at close range. The car grabs your attention with a menacing stance and vibrant color combination, while a big cowl induction hood with a lexan scoop poking out makes for even more wow factor. The sheetmetal wing is compliments of Jason Harvey of Top End Fabrication, who also handled a few other finishing details on the car.
Inside, you will notice an all business setup, with a Kirkey seat, a racing steering column, and a quick-release Grant steering wheel. But you will also find is a stock dash, stock door panels, and carpet—definitely not race car material. A collection of Auto Meter gauges keeps tabs on the stroked small-block, while a B&M shifter, assisted by an air solenoid, controls the Powerglide. Taking the place of the passenger seat are a Nitrous Express bottle and a bottle for the Safecraft fire suppression system.
After a few years of work, and lots of help from well-known shops, Eric’s car is ready for battle. We joined him for the car’s first trip to the dragstrip, a day of testing at the Draggin’ for Toys charity race at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. After some all-motor testing to work out the bugs of the new combination, Eric turned on the nitrous and made some real noise. With only four nitrous passes under his belt so far, Eric ran a 4.88 at 145 miles per hour with a 1.16 sixty-foot.
Although he gets plenty of comments about his “show car”, Eric is determined to make some waves in the local eighth-mile 275 drag radial ranks with his very well executed Mustang.