5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
1987 Ford Mustang LX - Love at First 'Stang
Kurt Yankolonis Fell In Love With Mustangs At The Ripe Young Age Of 11
There aren't many cars that can compete with a properly accessorized Fox Mustang. Kurt outfitted his former four-cylinder car with a Cervini's Auto Design Stalker front bumper cover, a Cobra ground effects kit, and a Stormin' Norman hood. Kurt came across the Spitfire Orange color while attending a car show. The car was stripped of any removable body panels and bathed in several coats of the orange stuff, along with liberal coats of clear to arrive at the desired mirror-like finish. Kurt helped with the reinstallation of various components. The exterior is finished off with a set of chrome Cobra R wheels from AFS Wheels (bought off eBay) and wrapped in Parnelli Jones rubber. The day Kurt picked up the car was a sunny day, in more ways than one. "When I drove the car out of the shop and into the sunlight, it just glistened," he says. "I'll never forget the feeling of looking at it and thinking back to where I had started two years earlier."
Using a new wiring harness, Kurt wired up the engine compartment and then added a new brake booster, master cylinder, and brake lines. "I also found a pair of new '01 GT leather seats off the Web," Kurt says. "They went in with ease, and I added the wiring for the driver's seat for six-way power and lumbar control." He finished the interior by adding Auto Meter gauges.
By late fall of 2000 Kurt was in need of an engine. This need for speed led him to Muscle Motors Performance [(818) 888-7778], which would build Kurt's engine using a stock bottom end with SRP pistons, a Ford Racing Performance Parts X303 cam, FRPP GT40X heads, and a Cobra intake. "While the engine was being built, I searched the Internet for a transmission," Kurt says. "I lucked out and found a used (900 miles) Tremec TKO, a bellhousing, and a Centerforce clutch for a reasonable price." Amazingly, Kurt couldn't wait for his dad to get home, so he installed the engine and tranny combo by himself. "It only took me about an hour," Kurt says, "but it was a bit tricky, with the long-tube headers hanging up on the K-member." He also hooked up the accessories and the cold-air intake.
It was at this time that Kurt added the Cervini's Stalker front bumper cover, the Cobra ground effects, and the Stormin' Norman hood. With all the fluids in their respective components, it was time to put the fire in the hole and start the car. "I called my brother and his friends and told them it was time to start it," he says. "They all came-bunches of them." He pulled the distributor and cycled the oil pump with an electric drill to get oil pressure. However, as is somewhat common, when Kurt pulled out the drill the oil-pump driveshaft came out as well and fell down in the oil pan. Kurt and his dad got under the car and fished around to find the driveshaft and reinstall it. "When I reinstalled the distributor," Kurt says, "it wouldn't seat properly. It turned out I had put the oil-pump driveshaft back in upside down." So back under the car he and his dad went. At this point Kurt realized the fuel pump wasn't cycling. By that time his brother and his friends were long gone. Kurt would have to wait for another day to start his car.
For the next week Kurt tried to track down his fuel-pump troubles, which ended up being mismatched wiring harnesses. With that problem solved, Kurt was once again ready to light the fire. "I was so nervous," he says, "my foot was shaking while depressing the clutch pedal." However, everything came on as scheduled and the car fired right up. "What a sweet sound," Kurt recalls. After setting the timing and fuel pressure, he set out on the maiden voyage. "It felt great to finally have it on road," he says.
There was one problem, however, and it was a biggie. The car was still white with the Cervini's components in black. Kurt met a gentleman at a car show who had a truck painted in Spitfire Orange. The man worked at a body shop and told Kurt he would paint the car, but it would have to wait until after the winter. Kurt kept in touch with him, and the body shop owner eventually painted the car Spitfire Orange, with several coats of clear thrown in to give it the right luster. Kurt picked up the car the last week of January 2001.
Kurt couldn't resist the urge to take the car to Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland, to see the results of his hard work. He ran a best of 13.1 at 107 mph with slicks, but on his fourth run the front U-joint gave out and cracked the aluminum bellhousing. "Luckily, the driveshaft loop caught the shaft and the car was towed home," Kurt says. "At that time my financial backing [Kurt's dad] said no more drag racing until I could pay for the costs myself." Kurt replaced the driveshaft with a steel unit and added a McLeod scattershield for good measure.
"This has been the most educational and satisfying two years of my life, and I have the car of my dreams," Kurt says. "I will most likely have the car for the rest of my life." Oh yeah, Kurt's head over heels.