Dale Amy
January 1, 2003
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: Without a huge hatch opening, the notchback is by far the stiffest of the Fox body configurations.

Those of us who bolt this magazine together every month range in age from near-virginal young-uns who hardly need a razor, to cranky, old curmudgeons who hardly need a hairbrush. But what we all have in common is an overpowering affection for the world's first, and best, ponycar. We're all certified (or certifiable) Mustang enthusiasts, despite our differences in decades.

So what is it about the Mustang that can transcend normal age barriers? Of all the cars on the road and in dealerships today, how is it that one can somehow stir people at both ends of the age spectrum and everywhere in between? From a market-research perspective, those are interesting questions for which we have no answer. If we did, we'd be highly paid consultants to the auto industry instead of poverty-stricken magazine scribes.

With a naturally aspirated 306 that'll run mid-11s, Steve Saurman Sr.'s underhood acreage doesn't have to look this good, but it does. The winters are long in Steve's Levittown, Pennsylvania, hometown, leaving him plenty of time for detailing.

But our point (and we know you were wondering if we had one) is this: Late-model Mustangs have such broad appeal that, looking at this knockout '92 LX notchback, you can't tell whether it belongs to Steve Saurman Sr. or Jr. In fact, it belongs to the elder Steve, who lists his occupation on our tech sheet as "retired" (we'll be featuring his son's car in an upcoming issue). Now these days, "retired" doesn't necessarily mean your beer must be laced with Geritol, but Steve Sr. freely admits to being comfortably past the half-century mark. Yet the car he has put together would look right at home with a backward-ball-cap 20-year-old at the wheel.

And he wasn't always into Mus-tangs. Thirty-odd years ago, Steve campaigned a number of cars-most of them Brand-X-in the NHRA's various stock classes and then sort of burnt out on that deal. He drifted into 4x4s and fast boats for a long time. But he never lost contact with his drag-race buddies, one of whom is East Coast Mustang maven Wild Bill Devine. Needless to say, hanging with Bill exposed Steve to some notably quick Mustangs, the irresistible charm of which finally became-well-irresistible. This resulted in Steve suddenly owning "at least nine" Fox-bodied ponies over a fairly short span of time. A couple years ago, he was actually building a '90 LX with a serious intent of running it in Pure Street, until the financial and time commitments necessary to be competitive began to sink in.

Sparco seats, Stroud harnesses, Auto Meter gauges, UPR billet accessories, and stitched running-horse door panels by Artec. Did we leave anything out? You bet-we have only so many pages. All is secure within a custom eight-point chrome-moly cage.

About that time, this '92 coupe came up for sale, showing only 30,000 miles on the odometer. Again, Steve couldn't resist. The '90 was promptly sold, but its 306-inch Bennett-built short-block was first transplanted to the notchback and topped with ported Edelbrock Performer heads, attended to by a likewise-ported GT-40 intake combo. Inside, a Bennett custom-grind hydraulic roller still rules the roost. Right now, the combo is back to 24-lb/hr injectors. But with 30 pounders in place, and on 26x10 slicks and skinnies, the rev-happy little mill would zing the 2,980-pound sedan through the quarter in 11.50 seconds at 117 mph.

But drag racing is no longer where it's at for Steve. He built this car for show and occasional street duty, so you'll most often see it wearing the chromed Cobra R rims and fat Nittos shown in our photos, though he says he keeps changing the car "to keep it from getting boring." We certainly don't think it's boring, especially after Steve Jr. sprayed on the BASF Extreme Caribbean Night Mist that may appear purple in these shots but actually has multiple hues at different light angles.

Though the car is scheduled for fairly light duty, Steve nonetheless had the driveline prepped to handle most anything. His T5 was pro-shifted by Liberty and is fronted by a Centerforce clutch and a Ford Racing Performance Parts billet flywheel. The 8.8-inch rearend is fitted with 9-inch ends, an LPW girdle, Moser 31-spline axles, and an FRPP diff modified for extra clutch packs. The suspension, too, is full zoot, featuring a Griggs tubular K-member and AFCO coilovers up front, and Eibach drag springs with airbag, along with Wolfe control arms, out back. Yellow Konis and Baer brakes can be found at all four corners. And the interior, starring those supportive Sparco seats and Stroud harnesses, would be right at home on the road course.

Not bad for a retired guy's "show car." Oh, and he's going to add a blower shortly. Like his Mustang, it sounds as if Mr. Saurman is getting faster with age.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Stock
Bore 4.030
Stroke 3.00
Displacement 306ci
Crank Stock
Rods Stock
Pistons Ross
Compression 10:1
Cam Bennett custom grind
Heads Edelbrock Performer, ported by B&B Performance
Valves 2.02/1.60
Intake {{{GT}}}-40, lower ported by owner
Throttle Body Accufab 70mm, with BBK cold-air kit
Mass Air Pro-{{{M}}} 75mm Bullet, with air adjuster
Injectors 24 lb/hr
Fuel Pump 255-lph in-tank
Headers Bassani stepped long-tubes 15¼8 to 13¼4
Exhaust Bassani 3-in X-pipe, and SpinTech mufflers
Power Adder None
Transmission T5, pro-shifted by Liberty
Clutch Centerforce
Rearend 8.8 with modified FRPP diff, 4.10 gears, Moser 31-spline axles
Subframes Custom through-the-floor 2x2-in square tubing
Cage Chrome-moly eight-point
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management EEC IV, with DiabloSport chip
Ignition MSD
Gauges Auto Meter
CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Griggs
Control Arms Griggs
Springs AFCO coilover
Struts Koni Yellow
Brakes Baer, 13-in
Wheels Chrome Cobra R
Tires 245/45/ZR17 Nitto
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Eibach Drag-Launch, with airbag
Shocks Koni Yellow
Control Arms Wolfe Race Craft
Brakes Baer, 12-in
Wheels Chrome Cobra R
Tires 275/40/ZR17 Nitto