Tom Wilson
May 1, 2005

Horse Sense:
Awesomely fast race cars make an adrenaline-fueled impression that's impossible to convey in print. Strap a saddle on a great white shark and ride it through an aquarium if you want to know what it was like to drive Old Blue on a track choked by schools of Miatas.

As inventive but unorganized auto writers, we often dream up ideas that more motivated people implement and make money from. One of our better concepts yet to be capitalized on is a line of customized model Mustangs. These display models would be configured and painted to represent either the model purchaser's own car, or one of the many famous and visually compelling Mustangs such as The Boss or Mike Murillo's old "flag" Super Street Outlaw drag car.

Another sure-fire candidate on our short list of significant Mustangs is the car shown here, Bruce Griggs' Old Blue. While not necessarily well known on the East Coast, the 40 car, as it is also known, is an institution in West Coast road racing. It's a multiple NASA American Iron Extreme champion, a dominating performer that amassed 20 race wins in a row to claim an undefeated AIX season in 2003, and it has also been the spoiler in SCCA American Sedan and ITE contests. For more on Old Blue's impressive record, see the 40 History sidebar.

Long ago the victor in more races than many race cars are ever entered in, the 40 car is still going strong. An engineering testbed for Griggs Racing [(707) 939-2244; www.griggsracing.com], Old Blue is still trying out new, typically radical, hardware and waving the Griggs banner at numerous events. The car has been cut and stretched, beat on, drilled full of holes, crimped and welded, crashed and rebuilt, and hammered and massaged. It's no beauty queen, but it's always fast and sports something new and trick each time we see it.

When we visited Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, the latest trick part was represented by Griggs Racing's newest project, a Short/Long Arm (A-arm) front suspension. The SLA details are in The Short and the Long of It sidebar, but suffice it to say it completely eliminates the strut front end and provides unprecedented, incredibly powerful front-end grip.

Poking around the 40 car, you soon realize that the number of stock, unaltered Ford parts on the car can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The unibody is made nearly redundant by the Griggs rollcage and through-floor subframe connectors, while in back a Griggs 9-inch rear axle hangs off Griggs control arms, torque arm, and Watts link. Coilovers are used all-around, of course, as are huge Sierra disc brakes.