Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
April 19, 2007

Horse Sense: Joe Charles made the transition from pushrod to modular between the '99 and '00 racing seasons. The car was completed a week before the Bradenton race, which he ended up winning. He tested the car at Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds, Georgia, the Saturday before Bradenton. It also happened to be the same day he found out he would be a father. What a week!

When you shop for a product, you hope the salesperson knows something about what they're selling. Regardless of the place or product, a salesperson is there to help you make an educated purchase-not just for the sheer enjoyment of purchasing something, but also for the reason you need the item in the first place. In the Mustang realm, we have to go fast, but sometimes we need help along the way to reach our speedy goals. Not everyone is a mechanical genius, so sometimes we need to be told that 4.88 gears are probably not the best idea for a daily-driven 5.0 Mustang, and we should take a step back and try 3.73s or 4.10s. We need someone who knows what he's talking about and can educate us on a product or combination.

Arguably one of the nicest factory Mustangs ever, '03 Mach 1s look great stock. Joe's is devoid of the rear spoiler and wears a set of CCW Classic 18x9 front wheels, while 18x10.5 rear wheels take the factory Mach 1 exterior several levels up. For rolling stock, the CCWs are wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KD treads, 265/40 front and 295/35 rear.

A place that does that is Parkway Ford, its performance center [(888) FORD-SVT; www.parkwayperformance.com], and the owners of the Mustangs you see here. Joe Charles owns the '03 Mach 1 and Paul Dishroon pimps the '92 LX coupe.

Joe's Mach follows in the footsteps of a highly competitive LX coupe and an aborted attempt at building a race car. In 1999, he competed with the coupe in the old NMCA's EFI 11 class, an index class in which you couldn't run quicker than 11.0, so reaction times were of the utmost importance. Joe won six races in a row, and in many of those final rounds he competed against current modular Mustang racer Rick Doern when Rick ran a Fox GT with pushrod power. Joe used nitrous to tune the car into the 11.0 range with pushrod power and a C4 transmission. He then made the jump to modular power with a Two-Valve under the hood of the coupe with a Vortech T-Trim supercharger.

It was in this form Joe raced Mike Murillo at the Fun Ford Weekend 2000 opener in Mod Motor. Wanting a more entertaining race, Joe and Mike agreed to race heads-up in the final. Both guys ran in the 10s, which was astonishing because there weren't too many 10-second Two-Valve modulars at that time-much less full-weight street cars such as Mike's. Joe won the race because Mike was DQ'd for the lack of safety equipment, but the two agreed to split the purse, which was $7,500.

After racing the coupe for a while, Joe decided to sell the car and start from scratch with a car to be built at MV Performance. Life got in the way, however, and Joe abandoned that project, but the car did make it on the track in a big way. The car was purchased by MV's Tim Matherly and was turned into his current and successful NMRA Real Street car. After taking a step back for a couple of years, Joe re-entered the Mustang foray with the '03 Mach 1 you see here.

With MV Performance only an hour away and Joe already having a good relationship with them, it's no surprise the Mach underwent instant modifications. With MV's Tim Matherly tuning the car with DiabloSport software, it picked up impressive horsepower, and Joe had the car running 12s on street tires. Steeda Autosports is one of Parkway Performance's main suppliers, so it didn't take long for the Mach to have the Steeda catalog bolted on the car. Since Parkway Performance is a division of Parkway Ford, Ford Racing Performance Parts goodies practically fell from the sky, and Joe has capitalized on getting first dibs on performance parts. Furthermore, the tech information Joe is able to gather has been instrumental, not only for Parkway customers, but also for his own performance goals.

The exterior of Paul's coupe is simple yet timeless. One would never know he started with a "very used" four-cylinder coupe (or notch, for our Northeast boys). Paul didn't have to tell us the car's color is PPG Hot Red, as we could tell from the photos.

On the Fox side of the coin, Paul has owned a couple of fast cars with Bennett Racing powerplants underhood. As with his Parkway Performance counterpart, he has taken the race-car route but decided to build one for the street when he rescued his '92 LX coupe from a salvage yard. Paul describes the car as a "very used" four-cylinder automatic. With help from his dad, Gene, Paul rebuilt the car and converted it to V-8 specs-but he didn't stop there. The duo performed the paint and bodywork and the mechanical changes except for any machine work, which was handled by MG Race Engines and Bennett Racing.

Although the coupe sees regular upgrades, it took Paul and his father two months to get it on the road. But Paul faced an automotive conundrum when the car was finished. His idea for the coupe was to bridge the transportation gap between his shoes and his 9-second GT. "I originally intended to use the car as daily transportation," Paul says, "but I changed my mind when it turned much nicer than expected." Paul says the coupe is a car he can jump into and drive anywhere, and it's still somewhat fast and comfortable.

Speaking of fast, both Joe and Paul are known to take their cars to the dragstrip, where Joe has run in the 12.30s and Paul in 11.80s. Paul's coupe has made a best of 335 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, and Joe's has made 363 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.

Judging by Joe's and Paul's performance past and future, it seems that your Mustang's performance future is in good hands at Parkway Performance.