Michael Johnson Associate Editor
February 1, 2004

While he didn't exactly plan it this way, sod farmer and Bethel, Delaware, resident Brian Alloway purchased this '92 Emerald Green LX hatch in August 1993. "I had always wanted a Mustang, but I could never afford the insurance," Brian says. We won't say how old Brian was when he bought the car-let's just say he had recently passed an age that brings with it a drop in insurance rates, and he had moved to Delaware from Jersey. When he first bought the car he thought he'd do a couple bolt-ons and that would be it. Yeah, we've heard that one before!

"At the time, I thought I would never even have to pull the upper intake off," Brian says. "It seemed quite fast as it was." But before those words were barely out of his mouth, Brian began adding the obligatory underdrive pulleys and K&N filter, bumping up the timing, and so on. "I then decided on subframe connectors, a G-load brace, and a strut tower brace," Brian says. He also wanted to add better brakes and do a gear swap, but at the time he was a little strapped for cash. Ever the resourceful Mustang owner, Brian discovered '87-'88 T-bird Turbo Coupes came with disc brakes and 3.55 or 3.73 gears. After locating a complete 8.8 out of an '87 Turbo Coupe with 3.55 gears, he modified the quad shock brackets and bolted it in the car.

"Later on, I installed Ford Racing Performance Parts B springs, caster/camber plates, and Monroe Formula GP shocks and struts," Brian says. "I figured this would be good enough to make a nice street car, but after a while I got bored and decided I wanted the car to handle a little better." To that end, he mixed a Global West catalog with glue and drove his car through it. The result was new front control-arm bushings, a Trac-Link, and rear lower control arms stuck to the car. He also changed out the B springs and installed FRPP C springs and a '93 Cobra front sway bar. "This was a killer street setup, and I had a lot of fun with it."

Brian thought the car could use a boost in power, so he installed a Cobra intake, GT-40 heads, 24-lb/hr injectors, 1.7 rockers, a Pro-M 75mm mass air meter, and an FRPP E303 cam. Unfortunately, the car went in the wrong direction-from 14.20s to 14.80s. "It was one of the biggest letdowns I've ever had with my car," he says. After exhausting all his options, Brian yanked off the heads only to discover they were GT-40 marine units with 70cc combustion chambers and 21cc exhaust ports. "After this, I decided to do it right and get a pair of Edelbrock Performer heads." The addition of the new heads cured the problem and resulted in a best of 13.40. Brian was "ecstatic."

He then decided to stiffen the chassis more by adding a rear shock-tower brace from Sussex Machine, which was welded in by Doug Davidson. "This helped tighten up the car even more," Brian says. He drove the LX in this trim until he again became bored. This led to the addition of the current Wolverine WG1087 camshaft and a set of 1.6 rockers. Doug, who owned his own shop at the time, recommended the Wolverine cam. He also installed and degreed the cam for Brian. Other than Brian, Doug was the only one to work on the car, save for Rhodes Custom Auto Works which you'll read about shortly.

"I really didn't pick up much power from the cam change," Brian says, "so I decided to swap the 3.55s for a set of 3.73s." As he also eventually wanted to move up to Cobra brakes, he went the five-lug route. Out came the 3.55-geared T-bird rear, which Brian sold, and in went another Turbo Coupe rear with 3.73 gears. "I also bought the complete brake setup off a '94 V-6 Mustang and installed the 3.73 rear with the V-6 axles and brakes."

More pilfering of junkyard vehicles followed when Brian added a '95 GT electric fan with a fuel pump relay from an '89 F-150 to activate the fan. He installed a 130-amp alternator to handle the extra load the fan would place on the charging system. As a result, the electric fan knocked off a tenth and the car gained a mph in the quarter. With the car running 13.10s, Brian wanted 12s real bad, but he drove what he called the "Cookie-Cutter Special" with this setup for a while. "I called it that since everyone had heads, a Cobra intake, 24-lb/hr injectors, a 65mm throttle body, etc."

Brian eventually added a set of Cobra R wheels and gathered enough money to add Cobra brakes, including a '93 Cobra master cylinder and brake booster. "I did some other things like add Tokico adjustable shocks and struts, a QA1 tubular K-member, an oil and power steering cooler, and coilovers," he says. He was having a blast with the car, but he still couldn't bust out a 12-second pass. The closest was a 13.008 at 106 mph. "Of course, all my racing buddies wanted me to put slicks on it, pull the sway bar-all the usual drag racing tricks. But I always wanted to see what the car would do the way it ran on the street."

Brian's quest for speed hit high gear when he purchased a used Vortech B-Trim, to which he added 42-lb/hr injectors, a Kenne-Bell Boost-a-Pump, a 255-lph in-tank pump, an Edelbrock intake, and a 70mm throttle body. "To tune the car I bought an EEC Tuner," Brian says. "I put it all together and-boy-did that wake up the car." On his first pass with the new setup, he skipped right past the 12s and into the 11s with an 11.77 at 124 mph. "It scared the hell out of me," Brian says. "When I was coming up on the finish line, I didn't know whether to shift into Fifth or not. I remember thinking When is the win light going to come on so I can let off the gas?"

The following spring, Brian continued with a string of 11-second passes at 120 mph, which got the attention of track officials who told him either the car needed a rollbar or he needed to slow down. "This was a big decision," he says. "Rollbars are for race cars. I always said I had a street car that I ran at the track for fun." After talking it over with a lot of people-including his wife, Sande-Brian decided to take the rollbar plunge and have Rhodes Custom Auto Works weld in an eight-point rollcage with swing-out door bars to keep the car street-friendly, along with adding a Baer bumpsteer kit.

Once back at home, Brian added a blowproof bellhousing and a five-point harness. That fall, he made a trip up to LaRocca's Performance for a dyno tune. Even with the B-Trim still on the car, it made 480 hp and 463 lb-ft of torque. "I was pleased," Brian says. "Of course, after all this good fortune, something bad was bound to happen." It did. On a Friday-afternoon street blast down his tuning road, Brian's T5Z gave up Third gear. "Half the teeth were stripped off both the main shaft and Third gear." Brian replaced the T5Z with a TTC-Tremec 3550 and shortly thereafter installed a used Vortech S-Trim.

With the newfound power came a learning curve to find the right tune-up. "With the S-Trim, people could just look at the car funny and it would blow a head gasket," Brian says. The trials continued in the fall of 2002 when Brian burnt up his clutch at the Fall Superstallions race at Cecil County Raceway. "Since I always wanted to try an aluminum flywheel, I figured this would be a good time to do it." He installed a Fidanza aluminum flywheel along with an FRPP King Cobra clutch.

Then came a used Spearco intercooler and a windage tray. Brian bought the Spearco kit off the Corral Web site (www.corral.net). The seller had it advertised on eBay twice, but both times the reserve was more than Brian (or anyone else, for that matter) wanted to pay. He e-mailed the seller and told him what he'd pay for it, but the guy didn't want to hear it. After the eBay auctions ended, Brian saw it listed again in the Corral classified section. This time the price was closer to what he wanted to pay. You can see the intercooler tubing in the engine photo. Brian says save for a light dimpling of one of the tubes to keep it off the spark plug wires, the kit bolted right in.

At the spring SuperStallions Nats race at Cecil, Brian was having problems with the EEC tuner communicating with his low-impedance, 55-lb/hr injectors and injector driver. No matter what he tried, the car wouldn't run right. When he returned home, he swapped out the injectors for high-impedance, 50-lb/hr injectors and added a blow-through Pro-M mass air meter. The problem was solved.

Brian has yet to dyno or run the car, but once it's dialed in, it won't take long for this green hatch to mow down the competition.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Stock
Displacement 302ci
Cylinder Heads Edelbrock Performer 6037, 1.94/1.60 valves, FRPP roller rockers
Camshaft Wolverine (0.510/0.534)
Intake Manifold Edelbrock Performer RPM
Throttle Body Edelbrock 70mm
Mass Air Pro-M blow-through meter
Power Adder Vortech S-Trim,
Spearco intercooler
Exhaust FRPP 15¼8-in short-tube headers, Hedman Hedders off-road H-pipe,
Borla mufflers, DynoMax tailpipes
Fuel System Walbro 255 in-tank, Kenne-Bell
Boost-a-Pump, stock lines, ’94-’95
fuel rails, MSD 50-lb high-impedance injectors,
Aeromotive fuel-pressure regulator
Transmission TTC-Tremec 3550,
FRPP King Cobra clutch, Fidanza 13-lb
flywheel, Steeda Tri-Ax shifter
Rearend T-bird Turbo {{{Coupe}}} 8.8, TA girdle
and stud kit, 28-spline Traction-Lok,
SN-95 28-spline axles, 3.73 gears
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management Stock A9L
computer, EEC Tuner, Sneec datalogger
Ignition MSD 6AL, ACCEL coil, FRPP plug wires, Autolite plugs
Gauges Auto Meter
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member QA1 tubular
Control Arms Stock w/Global West
Del-a-lum bushings
Caster/Camber Plates Steeda
Springs H&R
Struts Tokico five-way adjustable
Sway Bar ’93 Cobra, Energy Suspension bushings
Wheels Autumn Fleet Sales Cobra R
Tires {{{Cooper}}} Cobra GTZ 245/45/17
Brakes Cobra 13-in cross-drilled/slotted rotors, Twin-piston PBR calipers,
Performance Friction Z pads,
Baer brake lines
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs H&R coilovers
Shocks Gabriel
Traction Devices Global West Trac-Link
Control Arms Global West upper and lowers
Wheels Autumn Fleet Sales Cobra R
Tires Nitto 555 Extreme Drag 275/40/17
Brakes Cobra 11.65 cross-drilled/
slotted rotors, ’94 Cobra calipers,
’94 Cobra pads
Chassis Stiffening Kenny Brown G-load brace and double-cross subframe
connectors w/jacking rails, Sussex Machine rear shock-tower brace
Rollcage Rhodes Custom Auto Works
eight-point w/swing-out door bars