Tom Wilson
October 1, 2002
Photos By: E. John Thawley III

Horse Sense: A bit of custom badging gives a street machine a nice edge in the looks department. Jason went the heritage route with his '65 Mustang fender emblems and raided the Supercharged script on the hood from an "older Mopar."

How many of us have Mustangs that look better 10 years later than the day we bought them new? Jason Krassow does, as a quick glance at the photos shows. Then again, how many of us have 685 hp at the rear tires? Not too many hands up for that question either, so let's skip asking how many of us are both stronger and better looking than we were a decade ago.

For Jason, 10 years ago meant a shiny, new Rio Red Mustang LX hatchback. A daily driver and commuter car for two years, the LX proved itself as transportation around his San Jose, California, hometown. Never one to leave things stock, Jason quickly had the usual bolt-ons in place, followed by what turned out to be a fairly serious autocrossing-parts suite at one point. But he noticed that most of his action came on the street between stoplights, so his interest gradually turned to drag racing. Off came the autocrossing parts and in went the Lake-wood 90/10 struts and 50/50 rear shocks. The front received Lakewood drag springs, the rear Eibach's straight-line coils, Wolfe bushings and torque reinforcement plates, along with Hotchkis control arms, J&M subframe connectors, a six-point Magnum Racing rollbar, convertible engine mounts, and a Flaming River manual-steering rack. The front sway bar came off.

More drag-specific suspension parts include airbag-assist springs, Weld Racing wheels, and 28x12.5-inch Mickey Thompson big and 3.5-inch front-runner little tires. The brakes are stock in back and feature cross-drilled front rotors with stainless steel lines and Hawk pads.

Feeling the need for single-digit e.t.'s, Jason knew he had to have a bulletproof rear axle. Sticking with the 8.8-inch architecture, he installed spool holding 3.55 gears, reinforced bearing caps, a T/A girdle cover, and Moser 33-spline forged racing axles with C-clip eliminators. The driveshaft is an SVO aluminum unit caged with a safety loop.

Drag racing being mainly an engine looking for a place to party, the biggest action is under the 3-inch-rise Maier hood. Starting with a '69 351 block, Jason had Coast High Performance bring it up to 408 cubes in its Dominator Series format. That means an Eagle forged-steel crank, ARP hardware, Probe forged 8.5:1 pistons on Eagle rods, and O-rings in the block provide a stout foundation, while the breathing parts are built around 2.02x1.600-inch-valved Twisted Wedge heads with Stage III porting by Probe. A custom blower cam measuring 0.580/0.590 inch of lift and 232/242 degrees of duration at 0.050 inch valve lift calls the tunes. A Probe Spyder intake atop an Edelbrock Victor manifold fitted with tweaked MSD 50-lb/hr injectors feeds the heads. The valvetrain is built from various parts, with the lifters being Lightning truck units, the pushrods from Ford Racing Performance Parts, the valvesprings from Crane, and the rocker arms from Probe.

Not wanting to fall down in the fuel department, Jason laid out the cash for twin Aeromotive 1,000hp fuel pumps and filters. The braided steel line plumbing is as large as -10, dropping to -8 at the fuel rails, and a single -8 return line back to the Summit Racing fuel cell. An Aeromotive regulator sees to the pressure. The chore of lighting all that fuel is shouldered by a Crane HI-TR box and PS92 coil. The secondary wiring consists of 10.5mm Taylors attached to NGK N6K spark plugs. Engine management is via a stock A9L computer and a custom chip burned while on Powertrain Dynamics' chassis dyno.

With those impressive engine parts on board, Jason was free to go all the way on the power adders. Most obvious is a cog-driven Paxton Novi 2000 pullied for 17 pounds of boost, protected by a custom oil cooler, a Vortech racing bypass valve, and fed by an AFM Power Pipe. But that's not all. Looking for a bit of chemical aftercooling, Jason also fitted a 75hp shot of NOS nitrous. That system includes such niceties as a remote bottle opener, a bottle heater, and a high-pressure filter. As for engine cooling, a Griffin two-core aluminum radiator, Flex-a-lite twin electric fans, and a Stewart high-flow water pump see to shedding the BTUs.

Just as racy is the Performance Automatic custom C4 sitting behind the two-forced Windsor. A real drag-racing piece, the PA box sports a reverse manual valve body, 9-inch torque converter with a neck-snapping 4,000-rpm stall speed and transbrake. With an empty weight of 2,900 pounds and just 3,080 pounds ready to race with Jason inside, the combination promises to put Jason's neck brace to good use.

While most of us would have run to the track at this point, Jason is determined to keep working on his project until it is both complete and durable before shaking it down at the track. Thus the interior is as chock-full of go-fast parts as the rest of the car. RCI racing seats, Auto Meter instruments, and Wolfe Race Craft aluminum door panels and rear bulkhead let anyone wanting to slip inside know that this is a serious ride. The instrumentation is especially complete, no doubt in response to the precision and control required in Jason's day job as a fireman/paramedic for San Jose. His LX's instrument panel is about as comprehensive as the engineer's station on a pumper. Besides consulting the Monster tach, Jason can check in on dual EGT meters, dual air/fuel monitors, fuel pressure, oil pressure, transmission temperature, voltage, water temperature, and nitrous pressure. That ought to keep anyone busy for nine seconds!

Speaking of which, that is Jason's goal. Not on the track yet-remember he wants everything in place and dialed in before heading down the strip-the combination is aimed at a nine-second time-slip. While dialing it in, he has allowed the rest of us the pleasure of seeing his handiwork-he's done all but the obvious machine and other specialty work himself-at car shows. We caught up to Jason at the Knott's Berry Farm show this spring, which starts this car's sunny-weather schedule rolling. But it won't be long before the combination hits the strip, leaving us to wonder if Jason's obviously ample supply of discipline will allow him to put it in the garage this fall. We don't think we could!

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block '69 351 w/{{{Probe}}} 408 stroker kit
Cylinder Heads Twisted Wedge (Stage III ported)
Intake Manifold Probe Super Victor {{{Spyder}}}
Camshaft Custom blower cam
Power Adder Paxton Novi 2000/ NOS nitrous
Exhaust Pro {{{Mustang}}} long-tube headers, 31¼2-in X-pipe, and DynoMax Race {{{Magnum}}} Bullets
Fuel Pump Two Aeromotive 1,000hp pumps
Fuel Injectors MSD 50 lb/hr (modified for 77 lb/hr)
Transmission PA C4
Rearend 8.8 with spool, TA cover, 3.55 gears, and Moser 33-spline axles
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management EEC IV with Powertrain Dynamics' Autologic chip
Ignition Crane HI-TR
Gauges Auto Meter
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
Springs Lakewood (front)/Eibach (rear)
Struts/Shocks Lakewood
Rear Suspension Hotchkis control arms
Wheels Weld
Tires Mickey Thompson
Brakes Stock with cross-drilled front rotors