Tom Wilson
November 1, 2004
Photos By: E. John Thawley, III

Horse Sense:
Maximum is not the kind of place that throws around a bunch of money and has contractors do everything. When it came time to make its new in-house race car beautiful, the company rented a paint booth and turned to employees Chris Artac, Luka Dugandzic, Ron Horowitz, and Sean Dinneen. Great job, guys. It's one fast chassis, and the same stuff any Maximum street or track customer would buy

Some people believe in a circle of life-the idea that what goes around comes around. Tough to say if they're right, but we do know Jack Hidley's Fox hatch has come, gone, and returned, in a manner of speaking.

Jack's street car, you see, is the yellow American Iron racer gracing these pages, but since he bought it, the car was stolen, stripped, recovered, and bought from the insurance company by Jack's night and weekend employer, Maximum Motorsports. It's also been completely rejuvenated by the company.

What Maximum Motorsports owner Chuck Schwynoch was looking for when he bought the rather used ex-Hidley Fox was a testbed for prototyping Maximum Motorsports' gear. As Maximum is primarily in the Mustang chassis and suspension business, this naturally meant going racing in NASA's American Iron series, and so the midnight oil began to burn in Maximum's San Luis Obispo, California's shop.

With the car stripped nearly to a bare shell by the thieves, Maximum took the car down the rest of the way, then sprayed on epoxy interior paint and bolted in a custom rollcage. Next up was Maximum's standard Maximum Grip Box-its headlining suspension kit for street cars. This includes everything to transform a Mustang into a sure-hooved handler, including a torque arm, a Panhard bar, lower control arms, and an adjustable sway bar in the rear, along with a tubular K-member with an extra two-point brace, tubular control arms, a sway bar relocation kit, adjustable tie-rod ends, caster/camber plates, and a solid steering shaft at the front end. Urethane sway bar bushings and end links went in, along with coilover shocks all around, aluminum steering rack bushings, and the all-important subframe connectors.

For those following our own 5.0&SF open-track car, this chassis and suspension combination is essentially identical to what we have under our car. In other words, it's one fast chassis, and the same stuff any Maximum street or track customer would buy.

Because it was destined for the track, Bilstein shocks and struts with Maximum's proprietary race valving were selected, along with race-rate Hypercoil springs. Another substitution was Maximum's adjustable length, aluminum, rear lower control arms. These feature rod ends at both ends-that's where the adjustment comes from-the better to square the axle to the chassis. They weigh only 2.5 pounds apiece, they do not have provisions for the stock rear sway bar (they work with the Maximum bar), and with dual rod ends, they are definitely a race-car piece. For rolling stock, Maximum selected its usual Konig Villain rims in the near-universal 17x9-inch configuration. They are shod with the American Iron spec tire, the Toyo Proxes RA-1.

Maximum has more than suspension tricks up its sleeve, however. It has been working on a clutch quadrant and adaptation of the stock clutch cable to rectify that common Mustang fault. Therefore, the new racer received Maximum's clutch quadrant, universal clutch cable, firewall cable adjuster, clutch pedal height adjuster and clutch cable insulation kit.

Inside, a Kirkey aluminum road racing seat was fitted, along with Crow harnesses, a MOMO steering wheel with removable hub, a manual steering rack with a 15:1 ratio, a Pro-5.0 shifter, and Auto Meter instruments. Also sans assist is a prototype Maximum manual brake conversion system, connected to StopTech front calipers and two-piece, 13-inch, floating rotors, along with Baer PBR-based rear brakes and Hawk race-compound pads all around. Supporting pieces are Maximum's hub-centric wheel spacers in the rear and Gorilla open-ended lug nuts. Tech inspectors appreciate those because they can easily confirm thread engagement that way.