Scotty Lachenauer
May 20, 2016

Thomas Polito grew up running the streets of his hometown of Colonie, New York, in a series of built and boosted Fox-bodies. In his early teens young Polito was bit by the Mustang bug, and it started a Pony-car-packed lifestyle that he has not been able to shake.

Polito remembers the first time he ever drove a Stang. It was a sweet 1990 5.0 LX ride he got to take out for gas runs while detailing cars back in high school. With an aftermarket exhaust and a set of gears out back, the car was a runner, and the stout little Fox-body sounded the part. Polito was hooked the moment he got to put his big foot on the gas pedal. From that moment on, he never looked back.

Believe it or not, Polito’s first taste of competition in the automotive industry was not from ripping up a quarter-mile track. Strangely enough, it was contending in the high-end stereo showdowns across the Northeast. Blasting killer tunes with decibels to spare really grabbed his interest at first. But once he got a taste of what it was like to go really fast, Polito dumped the boom boxes and decided to make an all-out assault on the motor motivation under the hoods of a few topnotch Fox-bodies.

Soon he went out and bought a supercharged 1990 coupe. With its blown small-block, he was soon put under its performance spell. That’s when he realized that he needed to hit the track, and hit it hard. The little Fox became an instant major player on the local circuit. Polito just couldn’t get enough of the thrill of competition. Wherever he went with the hot-rodded Mustang, people took notice.

His 1990 coupe is the latest in a long line of Fox-bodies that have graced his garage. All in all, there have been seven to be exact. Their big drawing power? Polito says it’s the “bang for the buck!”

He says, “I just love taking on Corvettes and the old school guys in their big-block Chevys, and taking names with my little 5.0.”

And this one’s a solid keeper for sure. It is built up to take on the best the locals have to offer.

Polito started the build with a 349ci Ford Motorsports R block bored 0.040 over and filled with a forged 4340 rotating assembly with 9:1 dished pistons. ARP fasteners were used everywhere. Crane rockers and stud girdles were added to the mix next to help keep it bulletproof. The cam is a Bullet solid-roller with 580/589 lift with 114-degree lobe separation. Up top, a combination of both Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads and intake is a vital part of getting this engine to perform at peak level; they were all ported to perfection by DaSilva Racing.

To get the fuel to where it’s needed, Holley 160-pound injectors are fed by an Aeromotive fuel system. For extra punch, a Vortech YSi supercharger gives this engine the boost it needs to crank up the power. Last but not least, a Holley standalone EFI system gives Polito an infinite amount of control over his setup and final tune.

A Lentech Strip Terminator AOD with a non-lockup converter and trans brake help get this race-bred Pony into the right gear. Shifting is done with a B&M ratchet shifter between the buckets. All that power is sent out to a Ford 8.8-inch rear complete with welded tubes and built with a set of Strange axles and spool.

Out back, double adjustable uppers and lowers come courtesy of Team Z. The front suspension is built with a tubular K-member with adjustable struts. Front disc brakes are from U.S. Brakes, and the rear discs are supplied by Strange. Wheels are Champion Cap 5 shod with Hoosier rubber all around. All fabrication work was performed by John Reiner and Jeremy Triddell. The flawless paint was laid down by Clarence at Coleman Auto Repair. The car is set up with a custom 8.50 certified cage for when the track calls.

The car was tuned on E85 by DEZ Racing and makes 682 hp to the rear wheels on a conservative tune.

Polito would like to thank Daniel Filippello at Vince’s garage for his hard work and dedication to the project. A shout-out goes to Dan at Quinns Custom Coatings for his help on this muscular Mustang build.

Now, with this beautiful Fox complete, there’s nothing to do but enjoy it—and Polito certainly does.

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