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1991 Mustang LX - A Fresh Start - Tech 5.0
Breathing New Life Into Our Project Roadkill's Four-Valve Short-Block
It's been a long time since we showed you the progress-or lack thereof-on our Project Roadkill. [With any luck we'll see another update before February 2003! -Ed.] As a matter of fact, the first and last time we did anything on it was back in the Feb. '01 issue ("11-Step Program," p. 109). It's not that we haven't touched the car since, but we've had to do a lot of parts gathering just to get to the point we're at today.
That first installment entailed resuscitating the car's exterior by adding a Cervini's Auto Designs Stalker front bumper cover, 4-inch cowl hood, and a seven-piece Cobra conversion kit, along with new fenders from Year One. Xtreme Custom Paint & Body in New Port Richey, Florida, performed the exterior CPR for the article, and we thought we were well on our way to project-car utopia. However, the wheels fell off when Xtreme's Jimmy White and Whitey Molnar felt a better starting point was necessary. In other words, they didn't want to work on the pile of garbage we brought them. But they had the "perfect" replacement sitting at their shop in the form of a '91 LX four-cylinder hatchback.
In surveying Project Bosnia's (the car's original nickname) replacement, we agreed with the boys and patiently waited our turn to have everything transferred onto the "new" car. In between painting and assembling Pro 5.0 cars, Jimmy and Whitey transferred the Cervini's panels and the new fenders onto the '91 and jammed in the hood, hatch, and door areas. You'll have to wait to see color pictures of the car, but you can take a look at Gene Hindman's Pure Street LX hatch to get a good idea of the color. The boys at Xtreme will also be applying a graphics package to our LX to give it a little more zip.
From Extreme we took it to MV Performance in Statham, Georgia, just prior to last year's NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. MV Performance has handled a slew of swaps, involving exactly what we had planned for Project Roadkill, and we knew the company was more than able to get us up and running, and fast.
So that's our story up to now. What we're covering in this article is the building of our 4.6 Four-Valve's short-block. Remember, we planned to use a 4.6 Cobra engine in the car, and we've stayed on the course for modular power. We procured a used engine from USA Motorsports in Arlington, Texas. Basically, we needed a rebuildable engine since we were going to go through it anyway, and that's exactly what USA provided us. With a supercharger oil-return line coming out of the oil pan, we knew the engine likely led a rough earlier life. But all that has changed thanks to the wrenching of Tim Matherly at MV Performance and the insertion of ModMax components. Follow along as we give new life to our Four-Valve Cobra masterpiece.
If Looks Could...Well, we can't say much about the car's looks right now. The only good things about the exterior are Cervini's body kit and areas on the car that have already been jammed with paint. After deciding they didn't want to work on the piece of crap we originally brought them, Xtreme Custom Paint & Body found this little honey of a four-cylinder hatch with which to start our project. So say goodbye to Project Bosnia and hello to Project Roadkill. Even with the "new" car, Xtreme had to install a new radiator-core support we obtained from Year One, so much work was still needed to get the car ready to go to MV. And since we're doing a complete color change, the doorjambs had to be painted along with the engine compartment and the hatch area. Then the Cervini's body components had to be swapped over to the new car. Once all that was done, we rented a tow dolly from U-Haul and towed it up to MV Performance-with the help of an '02 Explorer from Ford-just prior to the '01 NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.