Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
September 19, 2016

Mustang Week organizers have taken a beating for changing up the dates of the annual event that has become a Mecca, of sorts, for Mustang enthusiasts. Instead of the event being in July, organizers moved it to September in the name of cooler temperatures and access to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center’s large parking lot for the event’s two main shows on Friday and Saturday.

You may not like the change of dates, but if we know anything, it’s that Mustang Week organizers are Mustang enthusiasts like the rest of us.

Case in point, Mustang Week’s Mike Clay owns a 1980 Cobra, a Mach 1, this 1981 coupe, and he is half-owner of a 1982 GT with his dad. We’re going to focus on his 1981 coupe here, which could be the only dyno-tuned ’81 six-cylinder on the face of the earth, but more on that in a minute.

The interior of the car was in pretty bad shape when Mike bought the car, but somehow, the dash pad was perfect. Mike sourced TMI Products for seat covers, and Fox Mustang Restoration for smaller items, and a full-length console.

Mike’s friend Steve Floyd found the car, and told him about it. “The ‘81 was a very well documented 44,000-mile car, but it was in need of attention,” Mike says. The car had been sitting for a bit, therefore the seats and carpet were in bad shape. “The car still had the original date-coded spark plug wires,” Mike tells us.

Mike added TMI Products’ seat covers, along with LMR TRX wheels, SVE springs, and KYB shocks and struts. “I had Fox Mustang Restoration finish off some of the interior and install a factory console,” Mike says. Mark’s Paint and Body out of Rustburg, Virginia applied new paint to the car to bring the car’s exterior back to life.

This is how the car looked when Mike first purchased it. It had been sitting for a bit when Mike’s friend Steve Floyd told him about it. “Knowing I wanted one, Steve called me, and I went to check it out,” Mike says. Obviously you know by now Mike bought the car, and restored it to its former glory.

When Mike initially bought the car, he did what you do to every car that’s been sitting. He changed all the fluids, did a tune-up, all that stuff, but the car still wouldn’t run right. He took the car to Carolina Speedworks for Jonathan Wilburn to diagnose. Jonathan says the car wouldn’t even make a pull when he first received the car at the shop. “When flooring it, the engine was so lean, it would almost slow down,” Jonathan says. “We put a new rebuilt carburetor on it,” he adds. With the new carburetor, the car would finally make a full pull on Carolina Speedworks’ Mustang Dyno.

To remind how far we’ve come, the straight six in Mike’s coupe left the factory rated at 85 horsepower, so it wasn’t setting the world on fire by any stretch. Looks like those numbers were a little pessimistic because Jonathan tells us Mike’s car made 72 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque.

“Coolest 72hp car I’ve ever driven,” Jonathan says. We couldn’t agree more.

Don’t sleep on this 72 horsepower juggernaut. Actually, you probably can, but Carolina Speedworks’ Jonathan Wilburn calls it, “The coolest 72 horsepower car I’ve ever driven.” Mike is contemplating selling the car to finance an engine build for his 1980 Cobra. This honey can be yours.