Michael Johnson Associate Editor
April 1, 2002

Horse Sense: Jimmy Vaccaro would like to promote his own race-if he can get enough people together for it. He wants to start the Geezer Nationals. You have to be 50 or older to qualify. So far, he has 9 people interested, but he's looking for 16 so he can have a full field. When he gets enough players, the race will be held at Englishtown in Jersey.

If you've never met Jimmy Vaccaro of Howard Beach, New York, you're truly missing out. When you're around Jimmy, it's a laugh a minute. However, at the same time, he's a serious person. He's one of those guys who will poke fun at you, but if you ever needed something in a pinch, he'd be the first person offering to help.

With the boost the blower is capable of, and the fact that a larger blower is in the future, the stock plastic intake seen here was discarded in favor of a Bullitt intake. Just by adding the intake, Jimmy gained almost 30 hp. A PA-Performance Bullitt conversion kit made the swap easier by making room for the intake's larger dimensions.

Jimmy will never own an import because he still remembers Pearl Harbor (yeah, he's that old). He's old school, but that's OK with him. He's an ambassador, of sorts, for the Northeast Mustang fraternity, including his role as promotions director for the Superstallions of the Net (www.superstallions.com) family. He brings people together to have fun with their Mustangs, but he also gets in on the act with his own Kenne Bell-blown Cobra and this ATI ProCharger-fortified '99 35th Anniversary GT.

Jimmy's love of everything fast was fostered by his father, who took him to West Hampton Dragway (now Long Island Dragway) on Long Island at the age of 12. Just four years later, Jimmy would race his own '51 Ford convertible down the strip to the tune of high 17s. "That was considered pretty fast back then," Jimmy says. The Ford featured a 239 Mercury Flathead V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor. From the '51, Jimmy stepped up to a '60 Ford Starliner with a 360hp 352 under the hood. The big Ford ran low 14s with a three on the tree (a three-speed manual on the steering column, for those under 25). The Starliner didn't run that well stock, though. With solid lifters onboard, Jimmy put a major gear in the car to keep up with the Chevys, which were the major competition before the Hemi Mopars came along.

The exterior of the GT remains in its 35th Anniversary mode. Scott Winger stainless bumper letters reside at the rear of the car, and for track duty a set of Bogarts are put into service. The tag may be confusing for some. "MUGOOTQE" means a copious amount of torque is on hand at all times.

After the Starliner, Jimmy owned a '65 Mustang, an '85 GT, and an '89 LX. He currently owns the previously mentioned '96 Cobra and the '99 GT. But this isn't just any GT. Jimmy went for it all and purchased a 35th Anniversary GT automatic. Originally, he bought the '99 to be a daily driver so he could race the Cobra and have the GT around for street duty. Ironically, the opposite has happened.

Shortly after purchasing the GT, Jimmy drove it to Florida, getting whipped by just about every Z28 and Trans Am in the process. Naturally, he couldn't stand such humiliation, so he began modifying the GT to address the situation. For an automatic, the GT was fairly fast out of the box, with a stout 14.28 in stock form. Jimmy's first modifications were pulleys, a throttle body, a Pro-M 77mm mass air meter, and 3.73 gears. With these mods, the car responded with instant 13.7s. Then he put a Stallion 3,200-stall converter in the car and it ran 13.40s. With Drag Radials, JBA headers, and a Superchip from Amazon Racing, the car ran 13.0s at the '99 Modular Shootout at Cecil County Dragway in Maryland. There, Jimmy finished runner-up in the Two-Valve Naturally Aspirated class. What he liked so much about the car was that it responded well to those simple additions.