Eric English
March 1, 2004
Photos By: Steve Turner

The story of John Wilde's '92 Mustang is a story of dreams postponed, fantasies fulfilled, and friendships formed. Sound familiar?

Our tale begins when pal Rob Remmers offered to sell his bone-stock '92 LX to John at a buddy price. It seems Rob's plan of building a hot street Mustang was short on both time and money, courtesy of a demanding teaching position. That being the case, what better option than to hand off said project to a friend? No sell job was required, as John says he knew he could "improve my lot in life" by turning up the wick on an EFI 5.0.

The transaction turned out to be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Rob could occasionally fool around with the '92 on someone else's dime, and John would have an experienced hand and mentor as he assembled his dream machine.

The duo started down modification road by thoughtfully working up a plan for the car, followed by massive parts orders and the initiation of real work. A complete exhaust system from MAC was first up, resulting in John's first experience at seat-of-the-pants performance improvements-he was duly hooked. During the ensuing months, John and Rob spent many a late night bending wrenches on a full gambit of performance mods-engine, rearend, and most things in between.

It was when the modifications turned to serious power building that a glitch in the system occurred. It wasn't that Rob and John had particular trouble installing the GT-40X cylinder heads, the E303 cam, or even the ubiquitous S-Trim supercharger. No, the trouble was get-ting the most out of the combination.

Initial performance was somewhat disappointing considering the hardware, and Rob realized his experience on carbureted, non-computer-controlled machines left him ill-prepared for the controlling nature of Ford's EEC IV.

About the time John was seeking some professional expertise (1998), Factory Stock and Real Street competitor Robin Lawrence was operating his now-closed Progressive Power Systems shop in Monmouth, Illinois. If ever there were a group of guys who could wring the last ounce of oomph from a small-cube Windsor, the F/S and R/S groups have the credentials-with Robin being a dominant force. It wasn't long before John's '92 ended up at PPS for some serious fine-tuning. Robin added an Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS, among other items, and the combination eventually proved its worth on Cerra Racing's Dynojet in the form of a reported 427 horses and 407 lb-ft of torque. Needless to say, John was ecstatic with the results from his modest little 302.

With the engine squared away, little time was wasted testing the hatchback's mettle at Cordova Dragway, where an impressive 12.20 pass further proved the expertise of Robin's work. John makes such occasional dragstrip forays on his street rolling stock-245/45-17 Nitto drag radials on 17-inch ROH Snypers. More help comes from the 3.73 gears, Auburn dif, and Strange axles in the factory 8.8, while gear changes are accomplished by a sturdy Tremec 3550.

Despite John's preoccupation with getting the '92 to run impressively, the exterior has obviously received plenty of attention as well. For cosmetic bolt-ons, John decided on the unique combination of a '93 Cobra rear wing, a louvered Steeda cowl hood, and a Cervini's Stalker front air dam. Dave Fecht and Stan Jones are credited with the striking results of a complete strip and repaint in the factory Calypso Green, with Dave's raging flame job featuring eight different shades of white and violet pearls. The result is striking and ensures this Fox Mustang won't be mistaken for any other in John's Midwest stomping grounds.