Tom Wilson
April 1, 2008
Photos By: E. John Thawley III
Aerodynamics clearly play a part in Agent 47's racing philosophy. While there are all sorts of doodads around the bodywork to direct airflow, Agent 47 didn't want the massive, tacked-on fender look, and longed to preserve the clean aerodynamics of the SN-95 bodywork. Thus, the company widened the body in the hood by 5 inches and left the fenders close to stock shape.

Horse Sense: When asked how many races they'd won, the Agent 47 team said, "We'd have a lot more [wins] if Rocco [the AIX National Champion] wasn't there. But he's cool. He's our carrot. He has a light car and has been racing for years."

Race cars come in a variety of flavors. Some are pretty, some are gritty; some win races and some barely run. People gravitate toward the showy winners, but we also have a soft spot for those workman-like machines that aren't overly polished but run hard and exhibit creative craftsmanship. It's probably because many of our own race cars have been more purposeful rather than beguiling.

Agent 47 (www.agentfortyseven.com), the innovative, fairly new, Carlsbad, California-based Mustang specialist, has such a race car. It's what's left of a '94 Mustang built to the max for NASA's American Iron Extreme class. It's quick and handsome in a black and aluminum chic that says it's all business.

Those lucky enough to be at the track will instantly add the car's snarling, high-decibel exhaust signature to their assessment of the Agent 47 car's purpose. It's a particularly aggressive pair of pipes. Once the ignition is off and the car is quiet enough to approach, a close examination shows the Agent 47 machine is studded with tricks. From the NASCAR-like rollcage, widened hood, vortex generators, floating rear decklid, fender vents, and hood fences, and on to Agent 47's major fare, including the A-arm front and three-link rear suspension, this car bristles with crafty speed trinkets.

Agent 47 supports its Baer Brakes 14-inch 6S clampers with its own brake-duct-cooling kit. It's a fast-selling item with SN-95 owners because it features a TIG-welded aluminum scoop and a quality silicone hose.

To understand all these parts, we should begin by saying that Agent 47 is a partnership of Corey Weber, Bill Osborne, and Heath Oyama. While others help, for example, Todd Harveston fabricates and Jerry Taylor puts in hours working out parts in CAD, Corey, Bill, and Heath are the principles. So far, their business is true specialty parts for Mustangs, including the pieces that don't fit into larger aftermarket outfits' product lines or items too racy or innovative for the bolt-on giants. The race car is the company's test mule and showcase.

The Agent 47 crew looks the contemporary part-goatees and ear studs here and there-except for Bill. He's old school, and we're sure he doesn't mind that coming from our gray selves. He has a long, storied career fabbing together all sorts of circle track, Trans Am, and other race cars. Bill is a whiz chassis man and the brains behind the race car's 'cage structure and suspension geometry. He has a pragmatic eye for assembling hardware that works without a moon-shot budget and is just the sort of character we'd befriend if trying to roll our own Mustang chassis.

All business from any angle, the Agent 47 racer is a menacing presence on the grid. Feeding the beast is a relatively modest 22-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell. Given the racer's efficient 5-mpg fuel consumption, it holds enough fuel for NASA's longest race, the 40-minute national championship contest. Most AIX races measure 20 minutes of hardcore competition.

What he's wrought started out as an American Iron car. Initially it was fitted with Agent 47's "inner frame," a substantial bit of iron works that's proved expensive for the street and over-built for a race car getting a 'cage, but it's ultra rigid. To this, Bill added his carefully designed rollcage/chassis and his own lightweight, three-link rear suspension, which features aluminum arms long enough to reach the front seats from the rear axle. A stock-block, 331ci noisemaker from Auto Dynamics was installed. From there, the Agent 47 guys spent all their time trying to reduce its power. American Iron has a power-to-weight-ratio rule, and with a 2,780-pound car, it doesn't take anything from a pushrod Ford small-block to earn the NASA tech inspector's disdain. Join Auto Dynamics background in Winston Cup and lightweight drag engines with Agent 47's zeal, and the engine simply wasn't basic enough.

After pinching this and choking that and still coming up with too much power, Corey and the Agent 47 gang decided American Iron Extreme was more their style. Extreme has no power limit, and the freer chassis and tire rules better accommodate Corey's tinkering tendencies (imagine a mechanical engineer at play and you have the idea). Thus, the engine was rebuilt into its now-snarling self by Auto Dynamics but retaining the paid-for iron block. Ported AFR heads, a cam with more than 0.700 inches of lift, custom shaft rockers, an Aviad dry sump, custom headers, 12.5:1 compression, and a Holley carb on an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold explain all the underhood racket.