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

Horse Sense: While replacing the quarter-windows on your Fox Mustang can be expensive, with prices reaching almost $600 each, several Mustang mail-order outlets have replacement quarter-window molding kits for around $100.

We all have different reasons for buying a particular Mustang-maybe it's a certain color, engine combination, or body style. Some want a Chrome Yellow '98 Cobra or a Tangerine '96 GT just because of the rarity of these colors. Some buy a pre-'93 5.0 simply because it has forged pistons, not hyper-pathetic jobbies as in later models. For others it's the nos-talgia of a square-light car. Whatever those desired features may be, we all do whatever it takes to get our paws on that coveted Mustang.

But the story of Peter Champani's Drag Radial racer takes the cake. He purchased it for its quarter-windows. That's right. Peter was the owner of a Mustang with jacked-up quarter-window moldings. As we all know, the window and moldings are one unit, and Ford wants an arm and a leg for new ones, if you can even get 'em. Peter bought what he thought was a basket-case four-cylinder '89 Mustang with perfect quarter-windows and moldings just so he could transfer them to his other car. After closer inspection, however, he decided the little four-banger would be the one he'd revive to take on the street.

Once rejuvenated, a nitrous/carburetor combination found its way under the '89's hood, along with a D.S.S. short-block, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, and a Victor Jr. intake. That combo was good for mid-10s on a small shot of the good stuff. At that time, Peter used the car primarily as a street car and for local, street-oriented drag-racing events.

When Peter sprung on the Drag Radial scene, the then-black car would've looked right at home at a black-tie affair. However, the new-for-'03 Prowler Orange made it too hip for the uptown crowd. Now he's ready to prowl downtown Main Street thanks to Diamond Collision in Pocasset, Massachusetts. The mostly stock body wears a fiberglass hood and decklid and a carbon-fiber wing, all made at Anarchy Racecraft. Timeless Weld Pro Star wheels reside at each corner with the customary BFGoodrich Drag Radials out back.

Soon thereafter the car received a homemade turbo setup with a single T62 turbo, which improved times to a best of 10.1 at 142 mph. It was during that same time the drag-radial craze was gaining popularity. Peter thought Drag Radial was the way to go, and he contacted Turbo People to help point him in the right direction. With the basic tune in the computer, Peter and crew were able to manipulate the curves to enable the car to run consistent high-8-second times at more than 165 mph. In the coupe's '02 NMRA-legal trim, Peter ran a best of 8.72 at 165 mph. At the end of the year, using 315/60-15 BFGoodrich Drag Radials, he ran an 8.52 and had the ability to drag the back bumper out of the hole.

Peter made quite a name for himself in 2002 in the NMRA. By the Sunday morning of every event, he was always near-if not at-the top of the Drag Radial ladder. Following such success, he headed to the Orlando World Streetnationals in Florida to do battle in the Radial Tire class. Although he qualified second with an 8.83 at 161 mph in a field of 67 cars, Peter ended up being bounced in the semis.

When Peter sprung on the Drag Radial scene, the then-black car would've looked right at home at a black-tie affair. However, the new-for-'03 Prowler Orange made it too hip for the uptown crowd. Now he's ready to prowl downtown Main Street thanks to Diamond Collision in Pocasset, Massachusetts. The mostly stock body wears a fiberglass hood and decklid and a carbon-fiber wing, all made at Anarchy Racecraft. Timeless Weld Pro Star wheels reside at each corner with the customary BFGoodrich Drag Radials out back.

For 2003, the NMRA changed its method of keeping tabs on the turbocharged Drag Radial cars to include checking the size of the turbo, and not just the inlet size as in the previous year. The new rules mandate a 76mm limit on the turbo and the same inlet size as in 2002. This change has all but chased most turbo players away from the NMRA, but Peter says his car 60-foots so stout, he can still compete. He does think there will be a rule change by the time you read this to make the class more competitive.

After finishing runner-up to Chris Little at the NMRA Bradenton opener and skipping Reynolds for family reasons, Peter did little for the turbo guys after qualifying with an 8.78 at 156 mph at Columbus. The air was cool and the track was hookin' at National Trail Raceway. Peter took advantage of both during qualifying. However, Saturday-evening showers washed off what rubber was laid down, and with Sunday's sun and warmer temps, he was unable to capi-talize on the previous day's success. Even though he was on his usual trek to the finals, he lost traction against Phillip Clemons in the third round, ending his weekend.

Peter (left) shown here with Joe Andrade, Kyle Roberts, and Miagi (with NMRA hat) would like to thank his friends and family for making the sacrifices that ensure he makes it to the track and to the next round of eliminations. He would also like to thank Dynamic Racing Transmissions, TCT Converters, Ford Performance Solutions, Fox Lake Power Products, Quest Racing, and Rebello Racecraft. "I would especially like to thank my wife, Heather, and my son, Nicholas, for being so supportive," Peter says.

Could Peter's Mustang-buying technique trickle down to the everyday Mustang owner? We doubt it. The rest of us are waiting for that perfect Mustang specimen to fall in our laps for less than $3,000. And we doubt there are many people looking to buy a car just to have its quarter-windows. Even seasoned 5.0&SF staffers would never do something as crazy as that. Then again, we're not crazy enough to run an eight-second Drag Radial car either.

Ford Performance Solutions built Peter's short-block using a Ford Racing Performance Parts R302 block, a Sonny Bryant billet crank, Oliver billet rods, and JE pistons. With a stock bore, the cubic inches come in at 342 with a boost-friendly 8.5:1 compression ratio. A Comp Cams mystery grind manipulates valves measuring an equally secret size. Up top lies a pair of Fox Lake Power Products-ported Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads with a Turbo People intake, which ingests incoming air from an Innovative Turbo T76 single turbo. Intercooling does make power, so Peter runs an Anarchy Racecraft liquid-to-air intercooler to keep inlet temperatures at their lowest. Kooks turbo headers make up the exhaust portion of this eight-second horse. Peter uses a Dynamic Powerglide with a TCT 10-inch converter and a Hurst shifter. Residing out back is a Moser 9-inch rear with a spool, beefy axles ("beefy" being a technical term), and a top-secret gear set.

5.0 Tech specs
Engine AND Drivetrain
Block FRPP R302
Displacement 342
Crank Sonny Bryant billet
Rods Oliver billet
Pistons JE
Heads Edelbrock Victor Jr, Fox Lake Power
Products-ported, Comp Cams rockers
Camshafts Comp Cams
Intake Turbo People tunnel ram
Throttle Body Accufab 90mm
Fuel System Weldon fuel pump
and fuel-pressure regulator, Anarchy
Racecraft rails, FRPP 160-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Kooks turbo headers
Power Adder Innovative Turbo 76mm single turbo, Anarchy Racecraft
sheetmetal liquid/air intercooler
Transmission Dynamic Powerglide, TCT 10-in converter, Hurst shifter,
aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 9-in Ford, Moser spool and axles
Electronics
Engine Management ACCEL Gen VII DFI
Ignition MSD
Gauges Auto Meter
Suspension and Chassis
Front Suspension
K-Member Anthony Jones Engineering
Struts QA1
Springs QA1 coilover
Brakes Aerospace
Wheels Weld Pro Stars
Rear Suspension
Traction Device Wolfe Race Craft antiroll bar
Control Arms Wolfe Race Craft double adjustable
Shocks Lakewood 50/50
Springs Stock
Brakes Aerospace
Wheels Weld Pro Stars
Tires BFGoodrich Drag Radials 325/50-15
Chassis Stiffening Rebello Racecraft rollcage and subframe connectors