January 1, 2003

Factory Stock racer Justin Burcham came upon his love of speed honestly. While most of his friends had older Mustangs that were wicked fast, Justin had to wait to get in on the action. His first car, bought while a junior in high school, was a Plymouth K-car. Although there were speakers and wires everywhere, the sound wasn't the greatest because of the cheap stereo equipment.

Justin's first taste of speed came when he traded the K-car for a '77 Trans Am. The guy he traded with obviously didn't hear the K-car's rods knocking when Justin drove up to make the deal. Nevertheless, Justin hightailed it out of there behind the wheel of the T/A.

Still driving the Trans Am, Justin weaseled himself into a credit card and borrowed some money to bring the car to life. On went a nitrous kit, a converter, headers, a shift kit, a carb, and 3.73 gears. This led to having his school parking pass revoked because of his propensity to showcase the T/A's power by leaving the school in a cloud of nitrous-induced tire smoke. Not to worry-Justin bought an MGB and used someone else's parking pass the rest of his senior year. As for the Trans Am, after too much nitrous it turned itself into a six-cylinder and ended up at the local dump.

Soon thereafter, Justin's aunt gave him a '67 Mustang coupe with a fully operational six-cylinder. The first thing he did was add gears, a spool to the 8-inch rear, an MSD ignition with a two-step, and a line-lock. Not surprisingly, burnouts were the norm. "You should've heard that six-cylinder up on the two-step," Justin says. Of course, the six-cylinder just wasn't cuttin' it, so he took out a loan and converted the car to a long-rod 302 with lightweight pistons and 351 Windsor heads. The engine made more than 400 hp on a Superflow engine dyno, while the car ran 11.10s at 123 mph with a 125 shot of nitrous and a C4, on radials. "I'm a radial racer from way back," Justin says. The scary thing was, the '67 only had lap belts, it didn't have a cage, and the driver-side door would fly open at the most inopportune times, such as when going down the track. Even so, he still owns the '67, and until last year, he drove it every day.

Justin has always loved '85 GTs. So when a friend decided to sell his '84 GT-which also happened to be the first 5.0 Justin ever worked on-he had to have it. The GT featured a 306 with 351 Windsor heads, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, a Holley carburetor, 4.10 gears, and a T5. The car routinely ran mid 12s at 111-112 mph. Oh, yeah-Justin still has that car too, except now it has a Richmond five-speed in it. He has never sold any of his Mustangs, including the '87 coupe he races in Factory Stock.

The coupe was his next purchase after the '84. It was a nasty stocker he bought for $3,200 in 1996. It featured the usual bolt-ons and ran in the low 13s. After he got his paws a little deeper into it, the car ran 12.50s with the bone-stock motor on slicks. The car has had several different engines in it and has seen its fair share of late-night street action. Justin also used it for the weekly trip to visit his girlfriend (and now wife), Melanie, while she was away at college, so it saw a lot of road action.

What made the '87 a little unusual was the lack of power amenities. "No power," Justin says. "The only electrical things on the car are the battery and the power mirrors." Back in his street-racing days (not that they're over), one guy refused to race Justin simply because the car didn't have A/C or power windows. "I've heard about those cars," he muttered.