5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1994 Ford Mustang GT - Murphy's Mover
BBK's Mustang Project Helped Pave The Path To The Road Course
Horse Sense:Originally, Brian Murphy was thinking about keeping his yellow GT on the street and buying a body-in-white to make into a race car. Ultimately, the cost savings of working with an existing car won out.
In the 15 years we've been chronicling Ford performance, we've lost count of project cars that started as bone-stock daily drivers, moved to heavy bolt-on status, then occasional-use fun cars, and finally to trailered race cars. Following the domestic tradition of straight-line performance, nearly every one of these machines traveled from street to strip, their engines gaining power while their chassis lost weight.
But there's another game in town these days, and the yellow '94 GT under inspection here is one of several high-visibility cars marking the definite swing toward that game. The "new" sport is road racing, and while there is,of course, nothing new about it-American cars and drivers have been competing in road races since the invention of the automobile-in the lower-cost, V-8, rear-drive performance segment young men have traditionally cut their automotive teeth on, road racing has become an accepted destination.
Furthermore, this car's owner figures prominently in the equation. He's Brian Murphy, who, along with brother Kenny, owns parts giant BBK. The then tenderly young Murphy brothers started in the performance-automotive world roughly at the same time we did-the major difference being they had the good sense to materially participate by selling Mustang go-fast parts, while we chose to write it all down. The result is their finances are now vastly more capable of supporting their driving-suit fantasies than ours, and their cars are considerably more interesting than anything with our names on the title.
It's also worth noting that Brian could have built any sort of car he desired. That this '94 GT goes around corners as well as blasts down straights is a sure indicator the new game of road racing has arrived. After all, besides indulging his own tastes, Brian has to consider the flagship he builds resonates with his customers.
Naturally, the yellow GT didn't start out looking this way. In the beginning, Brian bought the car as a daily driver for his equally new wife, Tracy. The '94 was then a new- fangled SN-95 Mustang, and part of the plan was Tracy's car would provide important BBK experience with the new body style. As such, successions of bolt-on parts were developed on it, with the 302 eventually succumbing to a 377 Windsor stroker. By 2000, the resulting coverage in Motor Trend and Super Ford magazines helped propel BBK forward, along with highlighting the big Windsor's Edelbrock induction and other technical highlights.
Also by this time, Brian had taken his interest in performance driving to the track. In BBK's Southern California home, robust, Ford-based, open-track action has long been the norm thanks to a rather muscular Cobra Owners Club and its open-track activities. The GT was Brian's logical choice in which to zoom around Willow Springs, and much of the 377's reason for being was to provide the major thrust this high-speed track can absorb. You can imagine that Tracy's involvement with the car had tapered off from its once daily interaction at this point.
But that was comparatively nothing when after five years of open-tracking Brian decided to go American Iron racing with NASA. As Tim Gilpin, who was the project manager over both this and his own American Iron Mustang, noted, when the yellow GT came down to the Brothers' shop for its AI transformation, it did so under its own power. Tracy, we've been told, hasn't seen it since.
Twin Sparco Monaco seats and Crow harnesses are used-so Tracy can still hitch a ride in her old daily driver-all of which looks considerably more stock than a single seat. Of course, the custom blue anodized Auto Meter bioluminescent instruments, clear anodized aluminum interior panels, missing door glass, Lexan rear window, rollbar padding, and other performance accouterments give a fun, racy look the racer in all of us enjoys.
She won't recognize it when she does. With balance and power-to-weight being the key road-racing ingredients, the GT was gutted and nearly every major component replaced. The too-torquey and too-heavy 377 was replaced by a built 331; the interior was removed in favor of a custom 0.120-inch-wall rollcage; and the suspension was replaced by Maximum Motorsports gear. Still, even though the license plates are long gone, Brian's idea was to retain a street-able look while building on a Trans Am car theme.