Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
March 1, 2003
Photos By: Steve Turner

Editor Turner recently stated his disbelief that there's now a Skinny Kid-built chassis and a Glidden-powered car in Real Street. Skinny Kid chassis are usually reserved for the likes of the Pro 5.0 and Outlaw elite-and fast-crowd, with a few Hot Street racers thrown into the mix. If you're facing a Skinny Kid-built car in the other lane, 9 out of 10 times that car's ready to rock and roll at the drop of the hammer, and you better have done your own homework to even have a chance of keeping up. Likewise, any car with a Glidden-built powerplant under the hood is a threat to win on any given Sunday. However, even with the influx of big-name chassis and engine builders into Real Street, Fred Felt is keepin' it real by proving the little guy is still capable of mixing it up with the best.

Fred has owned this '87 LX hatch since December 1999, when it had basic bolt-ons and ran 13.50s. "Some tuning, suspension work, and slicks netted a best of 13.16 at 103 mph," Fred says. Soon after, performance started to deteriorate. Fearing the worst, he freshened up an '86 5.0 short-block and dropped it in with his existing E7TE heads. With the new short-block, and on BFG drag radials, the combo proved worthy by running a best of 13.06 at 104 mph.

At this point, Fred and his car experienced their first taste of heads-up racing, NMRA-style, at the '00 Ford Motorsport Nationals at Maple Grove, Pennsylvania. Entering the Factory Stock class, he qualified fifth but lost to Joffre LaFontaine in the second round.

After Maple Grove, Fred wanted to give the LX a new look, so he brought it to his brother Dave in South Carolina to have it painted. "The plan was to paint it red again with some graphics," Fred says. Dave, along with Randy Kinsley, prepped the body and applied the new paint, although it ended up being anything but red. "What came out was a color-changing beauty," Fred exclaims, or more exactly, Blue Steel Prism from DuPont's line of Chromalusion hues.

"With the paint done," Fred continues, "it was time to put some power under the hood. A Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger bought for a previous Renegade project car was installed." Fred also ditched the speed density in favor of a Pro-M mass air conversion with a Bullet 75mm meter and added 42-lb/hr injectors. Subsequent trips to the strip resulted in 11.80s and a lot of head-gasket troubles. So, with the '01 Reynolds, Georgia, NMRA race fast approaching, Fred decided to install another stock engine and race in Factory Stock. "My Real Street debut would have to wait," he says.

Getting serious after Reynolds, Fred added a complete Aeromotive fuel system. "I didn't want to take any chances with the new class-specific engine," he explains. That engine was lowered into its new surroundings just two days prior to the '01 Ford Motorsport Nationals. After a few shakedown runs at Englishtown, Fred loaded up the car for Maple Grove.

During test and tune at Maple Grove, it was discovered the car needed to be revved past the factory 6,200-rpm rev limiter. Tracking down Autologic's Mike Wesley solved that problem lickity-split. Simply getting rid of the rev limiter improved the car's times by three-tenths and enabled Fred to qualify in the fifth spot. "Qualifying fifth raised a few eyebrows," Fred says. "So did the working A/C and the stock clutch fan." The car ran its first 10-second pass in the first round at Maple Grove with a 10.94 at 124 mph, but it wasn't enough to take out Ed Curtis behind the wheel of the Evil Twin.

In the search for more power, Fred took the LX to Crazy Horse Racing for a batch of dyno tuning, which revealed an overly rich mixture and a bad distributor. Fixing both problems netted a 50hp improvement, which resulted in a new problem-a lack of traction that would haunt Fred the remainder of the '01 season. Even so, he finished 10th in Real Street points while attending only three races.

During the winter and in preparation for the '02 racing season, Fred remained steadfast in his search for more speed by making the car more race than street. The front end was updated with a QA1 tubular K-member, new struts, and a manual rack. The A/C was also pitched. "Goodbye, old friends," Fred says about his decision to remove the cool stuff. An electric fan was added to free up some horsepower being dragged down by the factory fan and clutch. The factory T5 gave out at the NMRA World Finals, so he replaced it with a Liberty pro-shifted TTC TKO II transmission.

The rear suspension took a huge leap forward with the addition of a Kasper Fabrication's antiroll bar to complement D&D Motorsport adjustable upper and lower control arms.

Only the Novi 2000-fed powerplant carried over to 2002, but all the work paid big dividends at the NMRA Bra-denton opener where Fred qualified fourth and took home a runner-up finish for his off-season troubles. The same couldn't be said of his trip to the NMRA race in Reynolds, Georgia. He again qualified fourth, but lost in the semis. At Columbus, he had trouble in qualifying and came in at the eighth spot with a 10.68 at 126 mph. He rebounded in the first round with a 10.42 at 130 mph (his best time to date), but Gabe Large bounced him from competition in the next round.

Even with all the changes to make the car more race-oriented, Fred still drives it on the street every once in a while. "To me," he says, "it's still a real street car."

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Stock ’87
Bore 4.030
Stroke Stock
Displacement 306ci
Crank Eagle forged steel
Rods Eagle H-beam
Pistons Speed-Pro
Cam Stock
Heads Trick Flow Twisted Wedge
Intake Trick Flow Street
Throttle Body Ford Racing Performance Parts 65mm
Mass Air Meter Pro-M 75mm Bullet
Exhaust FRPP 15¼8 short-tube headers, MAC Pro-chamber H-Pipe, DynoMax Bullet mufflers
Power Adder Paxton Novi 2000
Transmission TTC TKO-II, Spec clutch, Steeda Tri-Ax shifter
Rearend 8.8, Moser 33-spline axles and spool, 3.73 gears

ELECTRONICS
Fuel Management Stock A9L computer, Autologic chip
Ignition MSD 6BTM
Gauges Auto Meter and Nordskog

SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member QA1
Control Arms Stock
Springs Moroso drag
Struts Lakewood 90/10
Brakes Stock
Wheels Weld Pro Stars
Tires Futura 165R15
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Stock four-cylinder
Shocks Gabriel
Control Arms D&D Motorsports adjustable uppers and lowers
Antiroll Bar Kasper Fabrication
Brakes Stock
Wheels Weld Pro Stars
Tires M/T 26x10.5 slicks
Rollcage Wild Rides six-point
Subframe Connectors Homemade