Rod Short
March 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P76879_large 1992_Ford_Mustang_GT Front_ViewP76880_large 1992_Ford_Mustang_GT Rear_Driver_SideP76881_large 1992_Ford_Mustang_GT EngineP76882_large 1992_Ford_Mustang_GT InteriorP76883_image_largeP76884_large 1992_Ford_Mustang_GT Front_View

It’s midnight on Erie Boulevard in downtown Syracuse, New York, and the streets are restless. The night stalkers are just coming out of their hiding places for a little action. After some negotiation, they pair off and go to a discreet location to determine who has the more capable machine. This same scenario is played out on the city streets across America on any given night of the week. The game is show and tell—you show nothing and tell even less. You roll in with a 10-second GT, and tell ‘em that you just picked it up off of some old guy.

When they smile and look interested, you tell them you just got done putting the Flowmasters on it to explain the raspy exhaust note. This game of show and tell, blatant deceit, and outright fabrication, is what drives so many ’Stang-bangers to build their cars. Every town has its Erie Boulevard, and every town has the one man who can’t be beat. In Upstate New York, that man is Bob Restani, Jr.

Of course, Bob’s street racing days are over. He’s content to handle his business matters at the track. It’s not that he’s stopped enjoying that sort of nocturnal, urban recreational activity, it’s just that his ‘92 GT is too far gone. This Mustang has progressed to a level of performance that requires saving the parts for the track instead of a cruise night test session. Besides, it’s not fooling anyone anymore.

It all started innocently enough with Bob ordering up his loaded GT replete with every available option, including the heavy leather seats, power door locks and windows, as well as air conditioning and cruise control. At the time, Bob was switching from monster trucks with big stereos and tires into the street scene. So, he did what he had done with his F-150 and added a brain-melting stereo with lots of speakers and amps. That added more weight to the beast. His first appearance out on the Boulevard may not have been as much fun as he had hoped. You see, while Bob had been adding weight through stereo components, the other guys had been adding performance equipment like gears, slicks, and nitrous. It didn’t take Bob long to get with the program.

He began his performance additions with a Paxton supercharger and a set of 3.73 gears. To that, he added some aftermarket rims, a Compucar nitrous system (in addition to the blower), and a host of induction components. Bob didn’t stop buying goodies until he had an 11.70 street car that terrorized the locals. By 1994, a transformation was starting to take place. The plush (and heavy) show car stuff was starting to come off of the Mustang, and in its place, went some serious iron. After a series of broken stock blocks and transmissions, Bob bit the bullet for a Boss-block 306 and a Dynamic C4. The block had a set of TFS high ports, a solid roller cam, and an R-Trim Vortech. The electronics were the only thing holding him back as he ran a string of 10.20s at over 135 mph.

Getting to this point wasn’t too hard. Sure, there was a ton of money thrown at the GT, but Bob was flying, and he had learned a lot about what makes these things tick. But then, he faced a tough decision on how to take the car to the next level. A stand-alone fuel injection system was in order, but tuners were hundreds of miles away. Not wanting to spend the ’96 season sorting out a fuel injection system, Bob went with something that he could tune at home: carburetion with big nitrous. Bolting together a top-notch 347 Nowak stroker kit with an A-4 block for a foundation, Bob found a renewed love for the GT as his elapsed times plummeted and the trophies and victory cash started adding up. Highlighting the season was a pummeling of the Street Outlaw class at the Epping, New Hampshire, Fun Ford Weekend event with elapsed times in the high–9-second zone.

For 1997, Restani continued the Street Outlaw theme, adding a second stage of nitrous to his 347 and blasting off a best of 9.17/147 at the MOM’s Racing 5.0 Shootout series. The combination was working for him. The GT sported the same 347 mill with 12:1 compression, TFS High Ports, Victor Jr., Compucar fogger and plate nitrous systems, and a Dynamic C4 channeling the power to the 28x10.5-inch M/Ts. But then, as he had done so many times before, Bob decided that a change was necessary. He had grown tired of the GT’s top-end antics with the small tires, and he longed to join the top class in the country: Pro 5.0.

In Pro 5.0, everything about a Mustang has to be extreme, starting with a 1,000hp small-block Ford (just to get into the show) and a chassis that will handle it. Bob started with a total dismantlement of the combination that had taken him several years to work out. The chassis was back-halved by Raulli’s Fabrication (Weedsport, New York) with a custom four-link suspension hung beneath to make room for the jumbo 33x15-inch M/T slicks mounted on 15x14-inch Crager Drag Stars. The cut-down 9-inch holds 4.57 gears, 35-spline Strange axles, and a Strange spool in its nodular case. AVO shocks and coilover springs in the front add to the adjustability. The Powerglide is from Dynamic, with an 8-inch converter that stalls at 4,000 rpm.

For power, Bob went to the roots of drag racing and poked and stroked as many cubic inches as he dared from a Ford small-block. Utilizing the Ford Motorsport 9.5-inch–deck block, Bob assembled it with a billet steel crank, Oliver 6.250-inch rods, and 16:1 Ross pistons. The final assembly measures out to 398 ci. Heads Up Performance ported and assembled the small-chamber (40cc) Yates heads with 2.100-inch intake and 1.600-inch exhaust valves, and got flow numbers of 360 cfm on the intake and 260cfm on the exhaust. Heads Up also ported the tough-to-locate 9.5-inch–specific intake. A Competition Cams bumpstick puts it all into motion with specs of over .800-inch lift and over 290 degrees of duration at .050. A Barry Grant Gold Claw carburetor flowing 975 cfm feeds the motor air, while twin BG 400 fuel pumps deliver the go juice.

The only place on the planet brave enough to build a set of headers for this thing was Kook’s Custom Headers in New York. Their step design channels the exhaust into a 4-inch collector and eventually into two 4-inch Borla mufflers. The light for the fire comes from an MSD 7AL3 ignition. But, what really gets the red sled into action is the Direct Port Compucar nitrous oxide system, accentuated by the Compucar plate system.

Bob has pumped so much nitrous through this car over the years that it has become one of the official test cars for Compucar, making Bob privileged to all of the trick stuff before anyone else sees it. The usual setup has the first system activated right off the tranny brake, and then, the second unit (usually the fogger) smacking the pistons 6- to 8-10ths later. That means that before the 60-foot clocks, something like 600hp–worth of nitrous alone is getting slammed to the ground. Nice!

The best pass so far has been a wounded 8.81 e.t. at 152.97 mph (1.25 short-time). And, that’s at a heavy 3,350 pounds—some 400 pounds over the legal Pro 5.0 weight. Future goals are to sort out the chassis and further refine the nitrous combination in hopes of 8.20s. With help from Holcomb Motorsports, Farrand Engines, Rusty’s Machine Shop, Skin Funk Tattoo, his wife Linda, his dad Bob Sr., and mascot Otis, Bob Restani has once again created a 5.0 Mustang that is red hot. But it’ll never again fool the night creatures prowling Erie Boulevard.