Michael Johnson Associate Editor
June 1, 2005

After a talk with Hermann Stolzenberg, Mark decided to go the carbureted 347 stroker route, and he hasn't looked back. Without the juice, and after Hermann ported the heads and added a new Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, the car ran a best of 11.86, basically equaling the performance of the previous combination on the juice. Of course, everyone knows nitrous is addictive, so in went the 150hp jets, with 10.80s as the result. With suspension changes and 225hp jets, the LX hatch with the pink stripe now runs 9.50s at 140 mph.

Meanwhile, when Randy was faced with rebuilding his '00 GT's engine, he had to become creative since the modular aftermarket wasn't what it is today. Randy contemplated scrapping the modular engine plan and going back to pushrod power. He even went so far as to purchase an '89 coupe from a friend, but says, "I just couldn't get into it and eventually sold it. My drive to do something different motivated me enough to stick to building up the modular engine. The fact that everyone kept telling me it couldn't be done motivated me even more to be successful."

Off went the stock modular block to Charlie's Machine Shop in Glen Burnie, Maryland, to clean up the bores, especially the cylinder torn up by the ring-land failure. Charlie's fitted the block with an '01 Cobra crankshaft, Manley rods, and a custom set of 18cc-dished Ross pistons. The original PI heads were sent to Shannon Wheeler at DTA Performance for a port-and-polish job, and before the heads were reinstalled, a pair of Houston Performance blower cam regrinds found their way into place. Knowing the capabilities of his new Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, Randy skipped reinstalling the stock plastic intake and instead added a Bullitt intake.

Randy blew the ring land in the original engine with just 8 pounds of boost from a Novi 1000 supercharger, which led him to build the current engine. At the time he was building the engine (2002), the modular aftermarket wasn't what it is today. He had to be creative, so he sent the block to Charlie's Machine Shop in Glen Burnie, Maryland, to have it bored 0.020 over to come in at 283 ci. "At the time, there were no off-the-shelf pistons available for the modular motor," Randy says. Ross made a custom set of pistons for the engine, and they swing from a set of Manley rods attached to a Cobra crankshaft. Shannon Wheeler of DTA Performance ported the heads, and Randy added a pair of Houston Performance blower-cam regrinds. To keep from shattering the plastic intake, a Bullitt intake was installed to withstand the 12 pounds of boost from a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger. Kauffman's Motorsport tuned the car using an Autologic performance chip. The GT responded by laying down 515 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque, and running 10.40s at 128 mph.

Noting the potential power of the combination and seeing the performance of Mark's LX, Randy also replaced the stock five-speed with a Performance Automatic Competition C4 transmission. Mark pitched in to make the PA C4 mate with the New Edge's transmission crossmember. Another technology throwback came when Randy added a return-style fuel system with a Weldon 2025 fuel pump, 42-lb/hr injectors, and UPR fuel rails.

It's a good thing Mark offered the garage space, because it took more than a year to get Randy's car running again under its own power. But, once back on the road, a trip to Kauffman Motorsports allowed tech expert Dave to tune the car in less than an hour. All the hard work and time was definitely worth it, as the car pounds out 515 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. Its durability almost matches that of Mark's car, with a couple years worth of mid-10s at almost 130 mph.

Both Mark and Randy are known to frequent Maryland dragstrips, of which there are around 130 or so (just kidding, but there are a few). So if you see these two unassuming vehicles pitted together, don't let their exteriors fool you. These two friends and their Mustangs are definitely double trouble.

"First and foremost," Randy [right] says, "I would like to thank my fiancée, Tammy, for being there to encourage me when I was ready to give up on this project many times. I would also like to thank my good friends Mark Hicks [left] and Brian Klug [third from left] for all their help with this project." Randy also sends thanks to Randy at Universal Ford in Randallston, Maryland, for his knowledge and help with small parts during the car's buildup, to Chad Smith for the excellent welding, and to Dave at Kauffman Motorsports for the expert advice and tuning. As did Randy, Mark has an equally long list of people to thank for help in getting his LX where it is today. "Special thanks go to my wife, Rebecca [second from left], for her understanding over the years," Mark says. He also thanks Brian Klug and Randy Walker for many years of assistance on the car, along with his buddy Ed, Performance Welding, Tinker Machine, Jay Dee Supply, Jackson Machine, Will and Chad's Welding Service, I.G.S. Body/Paint and Grafix, and Summit Signs (www.decalman.com).