Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
February 1, 2002

Step By Step

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P132531_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_GT Front_View
Horse Sense: The Baumann Engineering’s Baumannator Transmission Control System destined for Vicki Hart’s car is a stand-alone microprocessor that controls shift points, line pressure, and torque converter lock-up function. Each gear’s shift point can be manipulated independently using the Microsoft Windows–based tuning software on your personal computer. Alternative Auto Performance (810) 463-0010 sells the Baumannator TCS for $399.
P132532_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_GT Interior
Solidly in the 11s, Vicki’s car required a cage. She loves her Rhodes Custom Auto Works–built custom cage (302) 378-1701 featuring Alston swing-out bars. Hey, wait a minute—Rhodes Custom is where her husband, Spence, works. OK, we’ll let the shameless plug slide this time. Rick Anderson and Chris Johnson receive major tuning shout-outs, with Chris being respon-sible for the Autologic chip that controls torque-converter lockup and the rev limiter. However, the stock 4R70W will be receiving a Performance Automatic transbrake and a Baumannator Transmission Control System.
P132533_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_GT Engine
The Vortech steals the show, but Spence and Vicki ran across a smokin’ deal on a set of Ford Racing Performance Parts heads and had Accurate Machine (302) 992-9606 port them for even more power. True Blue Performance will be building a short-block using a ’99 block with strengthened internals, along with ’99 cams to step up the power for 2001. An Anderson Ford Motorsport Power Pipe provides cool air to the Vortech S-Trim, which makes 14 pounds of boost at full boogie. Fuel- system upgrades include an FRPP 255-lph in-tank pump, a T-Rex external, a Kirban regulator, and FRPP 36 lb/hr injectors. An MSD DIS4 ignition system ensures proper spark at all rpm.
P132534_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_GT Rear_Passenger_Side
The full-weight GT weighs in at 3,500 pounds with Vicki behind the wheel. With Spence at the helm—well, we won’t go there. Both the front and rear suspensions remain bone stock. MAC subframe connectors control the twist with help from the cage. Firestone SZ-50 treads live up front, while BFGoodrich 255/50 Drag Radials fight for traction out back.

While her husband, Spence's, Mustang was receiving engine and chassis upgrades, Vicki Hart wanted to give drag racing a try in her own '96 GT. With Vicki (a hair stylist) behind the wheel, the Wilmington, Delaware, residents started out with a 15.53 at 89 mph. Not satisfied with this kind of performance, the couple added 3.73 gears, a Pro-M 77mm mass air meter, a Steeda timing adjuster, a MAC Pro-Chamber H-pipe, and a DynoMax after-cat with Ultra-Flo Welded mufflers.

A return to the track turned up a 14.23 at 95 mph. Next, a Vortech S-Trim supercharger combined with relentless tuning and pulley changes really set performance in motion to the tune of 12.40s at 109 mph. Ported FRPP heads, DynoMax headers, and an FRPP 70mm throttle body boosted the Two-Valve modular to 358-rear-wheel horsepower.

At the 2000 Fun Ford opener in Bradenton, Florida, the couple was disappointed with the car's quickest run of 12.35 at 111 mph. Back home, a blown fuse was replaced and the car ran its best time of 11.77 at 116 mph (with 19 lb/hr injectors) in 60-degree weather.