February 1, 2004

This is one of those classic 5.0 Mustang stories-boy meets car, boy falls in love with car, boy adds parts to go really fast, car goes fast until it breaks, boy buys more parts until the car is stupid fast. Well, this story is just like that, except there's a bulldog, a few trips to Jimmy LaRocca's speed shop, and some street racing thrown in for good measure.

The "boy" is one Billy "Blown" Cole from Syracuse, New York. A converted Ford fan, Billy spotted this ultraclean '92 LX hatch in the rare black-on-black color combo at a used-car lot in 1995. With the added pressure of a second buyer looking to gobble up the potent little Ford, he swung a deal for $10,400. The car came with Flowmaster mufflers, a five-speed, and the stock 3.08 gearing. With 40,000 miles on the clock, it also ran 14.20s at 102 mph as delivered.

Billy immediately became immersed in the Syracuse street scene and the 5.0 Mustang phenomenon specifically. Within a year, the car sported box-stock Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads from Summit Racing, a Ford Racing Performance Parts E303 camshaft, an Edelbrock Performer intake, and a Paxton SN-92 supercharger with the ball-bearing drive unit (remember those?). He had a lot of good parts, but the car ran like crap. It wouldn't idle, it surged under load, it back-fired, and it was a general mess to drive.

About this same time, Billy picked up a copy of a magazine focusing on superchargers. In it he found useful information, including the names and phone numbers of some of the top tuners in the country. He called them all, but he settled on LaRocca's Performance [(732) 723-1111] as the place where he'd bring his car. Jimmy LaRocca and his head wrench Jimmy "C" went to work on the black bomber, installing an 83mm Pro-M mass air in the fender, changing the plugs and wires, and fixing an exhaust leak. Drawing on their years of experimenting with some of the fastest street blower cars in the country, the two adjusted the timing and the fuel pressure, and performed other proprietary tweaks.

By July of that summer, Billy was running 12.10s at more than 115 mph with 8-inch slicks and the stock rearend still in the car. However, something he was told at LaRocca's Performance kept ringing in his ears. "Everyone told me the [ball-drive] Paxton was junk," Billy says. "They couldn't believe how fast the car was with it, but they kept telling me it would be so much faster with a newer blower on the car."

The opportunity to upgrade came, and Billy jumped at the chance. For $700 and the old Paxton, he found himself dragging home a box of parts-the remnants of a Vortech S-Trim supercharger kit! He quickly made an appointment at LaRocca's and shipped the heads to Ron Robart at Fox Lake Power Products for the once-over. With those two upgrades, the car exploded with power. LaRocca's measured the car at 493 hp and 496 lb-ft of torque on its chassis dyno. On the way back to Syracuse from New Jersey (yes, Billy drove the car there), he got mixed up with a 1,000cc superbike that wanted to play. The bike hung tough-until Billy pulled away at more than 135 mph.

That weekend on the streets of Syracuse, Billy owned the town. No one could touch the black LX, although everyone tried. It was almost too good to be true-and it was. You see, stock 5.0 Ford small-blocks are tough little hombres. They can take a beating right up to and beyond the 500hp level. But Billy went even further than that, so the cast two-bolt blocks were living on borrowed time. You know what's coming-that first weekend (five days into its completion), with multiple kills and full passes, the stock bottom end gave out. Oh, he broke it like a man-the oil pump was blasted completely through the pan, there was a 3-inch crank up both ends of the block, half the crank flew through the radiator, and the car almost burned to the ground. Luckily, no one was hurt.

What followed was a three-year project to pay off the first combination and fund a second. Billy called Ford Performance Solutions to get all the parts needed for a rebuilt engine with some degree of durability, and the LX was returned to LaRocca's for another final tune-up. The finished car, as you see it here, goes 10.70s at almost 130 mph with a street converter and pump gas. It has also stayed together for much longer than five days!

Billy is quick to thank his under-standing wife, Carin; his loving dog, B.A.; and Mark and Rob Town of Rock Box Racing (formerly TBR Racing) in Syracuse. See, it is a classic 5.0 Mustang story after all.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Mexican 302
Displacement 306
Cylinder Heads Trick Flow Twisted
Wedge ported by {{{Fox}}} Lake Power Products
Camshaft Custom by LaRocca’s
Performance (0.230/0.236, 0.544/0.555, 112)
Intake Manifold Holley SysteMAX II
Throttle Body 75mm Accufab
Power Adder Vortech S-Trim
Exhaust Steeda/Hedman long-tube
headers, Dr. Gas X-pipe,
Flowmaster mufflers
Fuel System Weldon Pump,
Aeromotive regulator, Cartech rails
Transmission Performance Automatic
Turbo 350, 3,{{{200}}}-rpm PA converter
Rearend 8.8 with 3.73 gears,
Strange axles and spool
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management Stock computer w/FRPP Extender
Ignition MSD 6AL
Gauges Stock
Mass Air Pro-{{{M}}} 83mm
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Stock
Springs Eibach
Struts Lakewood {{{90}}}/10
Wheels Weld Pro-Stars
Brakes Stock
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Eibach
Shocks Stock
Traction Devices South Side Machine
Wheels Weld Pro-Stars
Tires Mickey Thompson ET Streets
Brakes Stock
Chassis Stiffening Tim Haefner
subframes and eight-point rollbar