Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
June 1, 2005

Horse Sense:
For being a relatively small state, Maryland has several dragstrips from which to choose, including Maryland International Raceway, Cecil County Dragway, 75-80 Dragway, Mason-Dixon Raceway, and Capitol Raceway. That tells us drag racing is alive and well in Maryland. No wonder so many racers come from that neck of the woods. When Mark bought the car, it was bone stock, but with the addition of only 3.55 gears and a K&N filter, the 49,000-mile car ran a 13.89 at 101 mph

Hobbies are much more fun when you have friends who are into the same things, especially if they involve Mustangs. If you were the only person in your area with a Mustang, it wouldn't be as much fun, right? While that may be the situation for some people, it's different for Mark Hicks and Randy Walker. Together (but not together, if you know what we mean), the Pasadena, Maryland, duo makes for double trouble at the track and on the street with their unassuming Mustangs.

The two met when Randy's '00 GT blew a ring land after a year's worth of 8 pounds of boost. Problem was, Randy lives in an apartment complex, and he was sure his landlord wouldn't appreciate him rebuilding the engine in the parking lot. He obviously needed garage space, and he wasn't sure how long it would take to get the car back on the road. Thankfully, Mark offered the garage space and even lent a helping hand in getting Randy back behind the wheel.

Mark is the owner of the '89 LX hatch seen here with Randy's '00 GT, and the car boasts a Horsepower by Hermann-built 347 and a Performance Automatic C4. In other words, Mark could understand what Randy was going through because he had been around the block with his LX. Mark bought the hatch from the original owner who was a female, a fact given away by the pink stripe on the moldings. The stripe has sort of grown on Mark, and we're not really sure how to feel about that. While most people wouldn't think a car with a pink stripe around it would be quick, it takes Mark only 9.5 seconds to prove them wrong.

When Mark bought the car, it was bone stock, but with the addition of only 3.55 gears and a K&N filter, the 49,000-mile car ran a 13.89 at 101 mph. With those times, Mark knew he had a runner on his hands, but after missing Third gear a few too many times (he needs our map to Third), he added a Performance Automatic Competition C4 transmission. He also installed an NOS 75hp dry nitrous kit, a pair of Edelbrock Performer heads with a matching intake, a Ford Racing Performance Parts E303 camshaft, 1.6 roller rockers, and a 65mm throttle body. With these upgrades, the car ran 11.90s at 115 mph-with a step up to 150hp nitrous jets, it ran 11.70s at 118 mph. Roughly 400 runs and 30,000 miles later, however, the engine hung three rods out to dry.

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).

Tech Specs
Mark Hicks' '89 Mustang Lx
Engine and drivetrain

Block
'68 302
Displacement
347 ci
Rotating Assembly
Scat crankshaft, Eagle rods,
JE pistons, Total Seal rings
Camshaft
Lunati 51018
Heads
Edelbrock Performer 6037, ported by Horsepower by Hermann, 2.02/1.60 valves, FRPP 1.6 roller rockers, Comp Cams valvesprings
Intake
Edelbrock Victor Jr.
Carburetor
Barry Grant Mighty Demon 650-cfm
Power Adder
NOS Big Shot 225hp nitrous kit w/purge and bottle heater
Fuel System
Holley fuel pump, Aeroquip lines, Barry Grant regulator
Exhaust
Hooker long-tube headers, Dr. Gas
X-pipe, SpinTech 3-in mufflers
Transmission
Performance Automatic
Competition C4, 3,500-stall converter, Winters reverse pattern shifter Rearend
Stock 8.8, Strange spool, 3.55 gears, Moser 31-spline axles

Electronics Ignition
MSD, FRPP spark-plug wires, Autolite 3910 plugs
Gauges
Auto Meter

Suspension And Chassis
Front Suspension
K-member

D&D Performance tubular
Control arms
D&D Performance tubular
Springs
D&D Performance coilover
Struts
Lakewood 90/10
Caster/Camber
Stock
Brakes
Stock
Wheels
Weld Racing Draglites 15x3
Tires
Pep Boys
Rear Suspension
Springs
Stock
Shocks
Lakewood 50/50 Control arms
Southside Machine upper and lowercontrol arms, D&D Performance antiroll bar
Brakes
Stock
Wheels
Weld Racing Draglites15x8
Tires
Mickey Thompson E/T Drags 28x10.5 (track), Hoosier Quicktime Pro (street)
Cage
Performance Welding eight-point
Chassis Stiffenin
Dugan Racing subframe connectors

Tech Specs
Randy Walker's '00 GT
Engine and drivetrain

Block
Stock
Displacement
283 ci
Rotating Assembly
'01 Cobra crankshaft,
Manley rods, Ross pistons,
plasma-moly rings
Camshafts
Houston Performance custom regrinds
Heads
Stock PI, DTA Performance-ported, ModMax Racing valvesprings
Intake
Bullitt
Throttle Body
Accufab single-blade
Mass Air Meter
Pro-M
Power Adder
Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger,
Morpheus intake pipe
Fuel System
Weldon 2025 fuel pump, custom lines and rails, 42-lb/hr injectors,
Aeromotive regulator
Exhaust
BBK long-tube headers w/BBK H-pipe, Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers
Transmission
Performance Automatic Competition C4 w/3,800-stall converter,
Winters shifter
Rearend
Stock 8.8, C-locker differential, 3.73 gears, Moser 31-spline axles

Electronics
Engine

Management
Stock computer, Autologic chip
Ignition
Stock
Gauges
Auto Meter

Suspension And Chassis
K-Member

D&D Performance tubular
Control Arms
D&D Performance tubular
Springs
D&D Performance coilover
Struts
Lakewood 90/10
Caster/Camber
D&D Performance
Brakes
Stock
Wheels
Weld Racing Draglites 15x3.5
Tires
Pep Boys
Rear Suspension
Springs
Stock
Shocks
Lakewood 50/50
Control arms
Stock upper control arms,
Steeda lower control arms,
Steeda antiroll bar
Brakes
Stock
Wheels
Weld Racing Draglites 15x10
Tires
Mickey Thompson E/T Drags 28x10.5
Cage
Chrome-moly eight-point
Chassis Stiffening
Steeda subframe connectors