Eric English
May 1, 2004

Doesn't it seem as if some Mustangs are just destined to become show cars, while others were born to whip up a frenzy on the track? Of course, within such a question lies another issue worth consideration. Is it possible to build a machine that can perform both show and track chores at a pinnacle level-you know, really excel? John Siderfin's gorgeous '86 is an interesting case study in the subject, and it appears well on its way to accom-plishing such a twin-faceted goal.

A look around the hard-core racing community reveals many devoted speed freaks working hard to put a nice spit shine on their go-fast metal. Yet when push comes to shove, most racers would usually prefer to spend their hard-earned cash on something that either makes their car more reliable, more consistent, or run faster. Throw in the added dimension of safety as the trump card for all the above, and there's no shortage of hungry mouths waiting to eat up the unspent leftovers from last week's paycheck. Of course, the enthusiast who likes to spend his weekends on the show tarmac, where beauty and image reign supreme, has to factor in the same financial implications. Truly it's a rare car that combines the best of both worlds-if not for the cubic dollars required, then perhaps because of a lack of time, patience, or divided focus.

John's GT may well be one of those cars that ultimately succeeds in its dual intent, spelling double trouble for the various competition that gets caught in its crosshairs. Built with an unrelenting eye for perfection, the brightly hued hatch would be an odds-on favorite at any show venue, yet it has 8-second speed written all over it. As we went to press, John had run just a few initial shakedown passes, yielding a promising best of 9.02 at 161 mph. While the limited track action falls well short of meaningful race competition, putting rubber to the road goes a long way in establishing the car as more than just another pretty glam queen.

As do many high-powered crazies, John worked through several other Mustangs before arriving at his current concoction-the nicest and fastest by far. The first step toward performance perfection was selecting choice, used material, which John found in a 62,000-original-mile GT near his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The car has actually been "done" on several occasions during John's seven years of ownership, and while the mechanicals have changed dramatically each time, the stellar paint job was nailed right out of the box. That's a Sikkens three-stage topcoat in '92 feature-car red, as applied by Rich City Collision, with rear fenderwell stretching by Jeff Lewko and Terry Hartree. We particularly dig John's commitment to the factory-style GT graphics-though little else on the '86 remains stock. Likely the most glaring example of major modification are the 31x14.5-15 Mickey Thompson ET Streets, which require plenty of chassis work to tuck in where they belong. To that end, Surrey, British Columbia's Pro Gas Engineering performed a back-half job that includes a Bickle four-link suspension and narrowed 9-inch rear, while the same crew also lays claim to the jungle gym rollcage and custom wheelie bars. Up front, John relies on a Southside tubular K-member, QA1 tubular con-trol arms and coilovers, and Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates. Wil-wood Dynalite discs put the whoa to all four corners.

For motorvation, Northwest Ford expert Dave Bliss was called on to bring together the smattering of top-quality hardware. Beginning with an R302 block, Dave assembled a potent 331ci mill with a Scat billet crank, GRP aluminum rods, coated Ross blower pistons, and a Cam Motion solid-roller stick. John Haskell at Aire Research Engineering worked over a set of iron World Products heads to the tune of 328 cfm on the intake and 242 cfm on the exhaust-at 0.700 inch lift. Riding along on top is a Hogan's sheetmetal upper intake and a ported Victor lower, fitted with an Accufab 90mm throttle body and 160-lb/hr FAST injectors.

Of course, no short-deck small-block is going to propel an all-steel Mustang well into the eights without some help, so John turned to LaRocca's Performance for a ProCharger D2R and cog-drive assembly. The high-pressure cause is furthered by an air-to-liquid Spearco intercooler, with all custom tubing fabricated by Gary at Specialty Engineering. The boosted power hasn't been measured on a dyno, but John believes the output to be somewhere in the range of 1,100 horses based on mph/weight calculations-a number due in large part to the masterful FAST programming by nearby Smooth Performance. Transmitting all the oomph rearward is an Ultimate Vasco Powerglide from Mike's Transmission, sporting a J.W. case, transbrake, and 9-inch Continental converter.

So does this '86 represent the best that a show car and race car have to offer? While we're not prepared to go that far out on a limb, we are convinced John's GT is one of the most beautifully constructed square-light cars we've seen, and it certainly has the capability to turn impressive numbers. It would seem perfectly suited for double duty, but for now, the main goal is to dial in the car a bit better before considering a more competitive environ-perhaps the Super Street class of the local fastest street-car scene.

Taking a breather from the financial commitment of building or campaigning a race car will also be a welcome change for John, as the monetary implications of such a project are a sobering reality for all but the well-heeled. In the end, plans for his red-hot Fox body remain somewhat up in the air, but we predict success-perhaps even double success-wherever it lands.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Ford Racing
Performance Parts R302
Crank Scat 3.25-in billet
Rods GRP aluminum
Pistons Ross blower pistons
Cam Cam Motion solid-roller
Heads World Products iron Windsors by
Aire Research Engineering,
2.08/1.60 valves
Intake Hogan’s sheetmetal upper, ported
Edelbrock Victor 5.0 lower
Throttle Body Accufab 90mm
Fuel System RCI cell, Product
Engineering pump, Paxton regulator,
CCM fuel rails, FAST 160-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Pro Mustang 2-in
full-length headers, 4-in collectors,
DynoMax mufflers
Transmission Ultimate Vasco
Powerglide by Mike’s Transmission,
9-in Continental converter
Rearend Narrowed and braced 9-in w/Strange aluminum carrier, spool,
35-spline axles, 4.11 gears

ELECTRONICS
Engine Management FAST tuned by
Smooth Performance
Ignition MSD
Gauges Auto Meter

SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Southside Machine
Springs QA1 coilovers
Struts QA1
Brakes Wilwood Dynalite
Wheels Weld Racing Draglites
Tires Goodyear front runners
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Strange coilovers
Shocks Strange
Traction Devices Jerry Bickle four-link
Brakes Wilwood Dynalite
Wheels Weld Racing Draglites
Tires Mickey Thompson
31x14.5-15 ET Streets
Chassis Stiffening Back half and rollcage
by Pro Gas Engineering