5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
Mike Smith's and Jason Cohen's Outlaw '86 Coupe
Enough To Make Their Competitors Believers
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When it comes to flying high in style, the sleek Model 35a Lear Jet would be our first choice. With its Twin Garrett 731 engines each producing 3,500 pounds of thrust, and plenty of room for six or eight in the cabin, you probably have to beat the supermodels off with a stick. If you can't afford such a luxury, then being a mechanic on one of these babies has got to be the next best thing. I'm sure the owners would gladly take you for a cruise for keepin' her sky worthy. We don't know how much of Mike Smith's and Jason Cohen's jet mechanic knowledge went into designing their Outlaw '86 coupe, but after the trounce they've been on this year, it had us checking for one of those Garrett engines under the seat.
Jason hails from Florissant, Missouri, and Mike resides on the other side of the mighty Mississippi in Bethalto, Illinois, but they seem to find time to get together for their 'Stang project, and for weekend assaults on several shootout series. There is so much to do, from trip planning to working on the car, that it's hard to believe working separate shifts in different states they can find a way to make it all happen.
Jason says he got the bug long ago when he was a runner-up at the '93 Spring Break Shootout in his daily driver. "This is our fourth Mustang project," he says. "The other cars were low-10- second street cars that we bracket raced. We had not finished the car in time for the '98 World Ford Challenge, so we went as spectators, something that as racers is hard to do." Jason gets a glow in his eyes as he tells us how mesmerized he and Mike were with the Pro Street Outlaw Class. It was then that they decided to go after the '99 WFC Outlaw crown. Knowing that the heavy hitters would be there, they devised a plan.
To take advantage of the weight breaks, they decided to use a new siamese-bore 351 Windsor block and destroke it to 348 cubes. The Bryant Racing crankshaft sets the GRP aluminum rods and J&E pistons, from Keith Eickert Power Products in Palm Coast, Florida, into action. When it comes to teardowns, the Ford Racing belt-drive makes it easy. With most heavily sprayed combinations, frequent inspection is the key to a long engine life. When asked about the cam specs, all we could get out of them was that it was a big Reed bumpstick with lots of duration. Keeping all the whirling parts lubricated is a Petersen single-stage, external, wet-sump oil pump with dual remote filters.
That kind of bottom end could easily support some serious flowing heads. A set of Yates heads was definitely the ticket for flow, especially after John Gullett took a grinder to them. The titanium 2.125 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves fit pretty tight with just 39cc chambers. Dished pistons make the compression ratio 13.5:1. The fully adjustable Barry Grant Gold Claw throws fuel through a Keith Wilson-ported Victor Jr. intake. To keep the fuel volumes up to snuff, a single Barry Grant 400-gph unit does the deed for the carb and both NOS systems. The newest tuning aid addition is the Holley Annihilator ignition, which allows individual cylinder timing along with about a thousand other functions. Jeff Prock from Applied Nitrous Technology is the man behind the tuneup. On the exhaust side are RCI 2-1/8-inch headers with 4-inch collectors flowing into 4-inch Borla XR1 Shootout mufflers. The entire package is kept cool via the Messier electric water pump which circulates through a Griffin aluminum radiator, cooled by a single 16-inch Flex-a-lite electric fan.
With a powerful combination under the hood, it was time to get the suspension in order. Making lots of power eventually means a continuously growing pile of C4 parts. That, coupled with the traction problems of the real 10-inch slicks, preempted the use of a Trans Specialties Powerglide with a 1.76 first gear and a Hipster valve body massaged by Trans to Go in Arnold, Missouri. Shifting gears is done with a Turbo Action Cheetah Shifter. The team used a 9-inch, 4,000-rpm stall with the 10-inchers, but have now switched to a 5,000-rpm converter to run with the bigger W tires that are allowable in the NSCA Limited Street class, even though they qualified No.1 at the St. Louis event without them. To remove weight from the car, a D&D coilover kit (with HAL coilovers), a tubular K-frame and A-arms was bolted up.
The rearend is a 9.5-inch extra-heavy duty housing with 42-spline Strange axles and 4.10 gears on a spool, suspended by Chassis Engineering ladder bars. All the suspension work and safety issues were handled by Randy Doulthet, from Extreme Racecars in Arnold, Missouri. Four-wheel, lightweight racing discs, also from Strange Engineering, handle the whoas at more than 160 mph. While Mike is always wearing a smile, Jason is quite subdued. He only gets wound up when he's in the driver seat or thrashing on the car. Better watch out, these guys want to be one of the big dogs of the sport, and we think they've built quite the thoroughbred for battle. The opening shot at the World Ford Challenge was enough to make their competitors believers.