Eric English
July 1, 2004

For those of you who spent your time in geography class daydreaming about Mustangs, it's likely you don't know that the beautiful province of British Columbia, Canada, lies in the upper reaches of the Pacific Northwest. No matter the time of year, it's an area rich in outdoor sporting opportunities-hunting, fishing, rock climbing, hiking, boating, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Ask Rashpal Dhaliwal what kind of outdoor activities he enjoys near his Vancouver, B.C., home, and the answer is liable to be short, sweet, and even surprising considering the beautifully rich environ. While many Canucks get their thrills in a more natural setting, Rashpal is immersed in the world of 117-octane fuel, pressurized atmospheres, and wailing 9,000-rpm small-blocks-a passion he readily recognizes as his "disease."

Such drag-race endeavors are shared by a number of other devoted local go-fast types, though the comparative numbers are nothing like they are in other parts of the continent. Nevertheless, we've caught up with plenty of high-powered Mustangs that make their home in the greater Vancouver area, of which this '90 LX may well be the most impressive straight-liner. The fact is, the 7.84 at 179 turned in August 2003 appears to make it the quickest small-tire 5.0 Mustang in Western Canada at the time of this writing. The road to impressive e.t.'s is an interesting one as well, as Rashpal is the original owner of this formerly Strawberry Red notch. Follow along as we chronicle the transformation of this once showroom stocker to 7-second screamer.

In August 1990 Rashpal purchased his new 5.0 LX from Vancouver's Brown Brothers Ford, and started turning wrenches within the first week. Not anticipating how far the mods would eventually take him, the first tweaks were typical stuff-underdrive pulleys, a K&N filter, and an off-road exhaust. A quick trip to the track demonstrated the worth of these basics, clicking off 13.80s on street tires. Before long, a 150-horse nitrous hit shaved nearly a second off the prior best, resulting in 12.90s at 112 mph.

Plenty of laughing gas soon put the hurt on the factory head gaskets, and with the top of the motor opened up for repair, cast-iron GT-40 heads and a B303 cam-shaft got the nod. Soon after came a GT-40 intake, at which time Rashpal reports the combination was tough to beat on the local street-race scene, with help from typical supporting hardware such as gears, a throttle body, and an aftermarket mass air meter. This was in 1992, and there would be no turning back.

Rashpal stayed with nitrous rather than a blower, but a ride in friend John Siderfin's Paxton-equipped '92 was a real conversion experience. A Vortech A-Trim quickly replaced the nitrous, and when teamed with a set of slicks, it netted a 12.10 e.t. right out of the box. Further tuning and additional boost worked the LX into the 11s at 120 mph, whereupon the need for a safety enhancing/chassis stiffening six-point rollcage became mandatory. Danny Beaudry at Pro Gas Engineering performed the task, and with the car legal again, yet another round of upgrades began.

Twisted Wedge heads and a custom blower cam took up residence, and the nitrous system that had been shelved in favor of the Vortech was now stacked on top. Double power adders weren't allowed at Rashpal's Mission, B.C., home track, so he returned to the mean streets of Vancouver with a vengeance. As you might imagine, plenty of parts breakage began to occur-mostly in the way of T5 trannies, but also with a resumption of head gasket issues. In time, the A-Trim/nitrous double team was abandoned in favor of the ubiquitous Vortech S-Trim, while transmission reliability was resolved with an All-Tech Transmissions-built C4. By the summer of 1998, the described combination had been good for 10.50s, but the real fun was just beginning.

As power increased by leaps and bounds, the limits of the stock 5.0-liter H.O. block were quickly discovered. Rashpal hadn't lasted long on the S-Trim before switching to a Mondo J-Trim from C&L Performance's Lee Bender, and it seems this was the straw that broke the stock-block's back. After trashing three such castings in rapid succession, the solution was found with a new 347 built around an A4 race block and a Probe forged stroker kit. Trick Flow R cylinder heads were chosen to top the new biggun, and the combination was good for the first 9-second pass for a "5.0" Mustang at the Mission track-a 9.93 at 136. Once again, Rashpal was running too fast for his safety equipment, and he turned to Pro Gas Engineering for the necessary 10-point upgrade. The year was 2001, and the best e.t. of the season turned out to be a quick 9.30 at 149.

Eight-second performance was Rashpal's goal as 2002 dawned, and extensive consultation with Super Street Outlaw racer Jason Cohen helped determine a successful approach. The resulting combination would result in stratospheric power levels, so Rashpal hit up Danny at Pro Gas yet again-this time to upgrade the cage to 25.5-spec certification. At the same time, the car was fitted with a 9-inch rear and a Powerglide trans, and was mini-tubbed to allow for new 31x14.0-15 Goodyears. FAST computer management was also part of the game, but the real hardware came in the form of an FRPP 351 block, a 3.70-inch billet Scat crank, GRP aluminum rods, JE pistons, and a Vortech Igloo. Jason sourced most of the engine components, while the machining was done by Burnaby, B.C.'s High Performance Engines, and assembly was done at Rashpal's own Smooth Performance Automotive. All the extra cubes and traction proved their worth, as the 8s were nearly obliterated with an eventual best in 2002 of 8.03 at 179. The 7s were close enough to taste, and while Rashpal knew the power was there, he admittedly had difficulty finding the right setup for the sensitive ladder-bar rear suspension. As such, the next big milestone would have to wait for a new season.

Demonstrating why Rashpal doesn't have time for more typical Northwest outdoor endeavors, the winter of 2002-2003 saw enough revisions to make the elusive 7-second pass a slam-dunk. When the wet clouds of winter disappeared, it wasn't a new chassis setup that would take the LX into uncharted territory; it was a whole lot more heat under the hood. Count a new Spearco air-to-water intercooler, Brodix BF202 heads, a Cam Motion solid-roller, and a spider-style intake manifold that would make all the difference. The Brodix canted-valve castings were prepped and assembled by the skilled hands of Brian Tooley at Total Engine Airflow, as was the highly modified Edelbrock intake. Rashpal reports his first run of 2003 netted the big 7-second number-with a 7.99 at 178, while further tweaking resulted in the 7.84 previously mentioned.

Now that we've thoroughly chronicled one car's transformation from mild to wild, you might be asking how one uses a seven-second Mustang in a region devoid of Fun Ford and NMRA competition. The answer for Rashpal is multifold, and includes an insatiable need for speed, the age-old desire to be faster than the next guy, and compelling advertising for the capabilities of his Smooth Performance Automotive shop in Surrey. He typically runs in the local Pro Street or Super Street series, where he obviously carries the FoMoCo banner with pride.

We're understandably sympathetic toward Rashpal's automotive affliction, and we figure most 5.0&SF readers suffer from the same to one degree or another. In this case, however, the illness seems to know no boundaries. Rashpal recently made the decision to hang it up with the '90 for now, but that's because a continuing quest for speed led him to the purchase of Phil Pickering's former Pro 5.0 car in roller form-a New Edge racer built by Skinny Kid Race Cars. Parts acquisition is currently in process for the new ride, including a ProCharged 400-plus-cube, all-aluminum engine and Rossler Turbo 400 that should make a strong bid for 6.50s-6.60s.

In the end, we figure Rashpal will be successful in his reasons for racing fast Mustangs, but the greater question is whether his disease will subside enough to allow him to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Only time will tell.

5.0 Tech Specs

ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block FRPP M6010-W351, 4.060 bore
Crank 3.70-in billet Scat
Rods GRP aluminum
Pistons JE w/JE Hellfire rings
Cam Cam Motion solid-roller
Heads Brodix BF202 by Total
Engine Airflow (TEA)
Intake Edelbrock modified by TEA
Throttle Body Accufab 90mm
Power Adder ATI-ProCharger F-3SC
w/custom Spearco intercooler
Fuel System MagnaFlow 700 series
pump, Walbro regulator, TEA custom fuel
rails, Speed-Pro 160-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Kooks stepped headers,
Borla 4-in mufflers
Transmission Powerglide
w/Dedenbear case, Vasco gears and
input shaft, 9-in Continental converter
Rearend Ford 9-in w/Strange
aluminum carrier, spool,
4.11 gears, and 40-spline axles

ELECTRONICS
Engine Management FAST tuned by
Smooth Performance
Ignition MSD 10 plus
Gauges Auto Meter
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member UPR
Springs QA1
Struts QA1 coilovers w/Hotchkis
caster/camber plates
Brakes Aerospace
Wheels Centerline Convo Pro, 15x3.5
Tires Hoosier front runners
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Strange
Shocks Strange
Traction Devices Ladder and wheelie
bars by Pro Gas Engineering
Brakes Aerospace
Wheels Centerline Convo Pro, 15x12
Tires Goodyear 31x14.0-15
Chassis Stiffening 25.5 spec cage by
Pro Gas Engineering