Eric English
July 1, 2008

Horse Sense: While the SSP package was primarily intended for police work, other government agencies also got in on the act. We've heard of SSP Mustangs that officially served in local fire departments, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Border Patrol, to name a few.

Among favored Mustangs of the Fox-chassis era, the Special Service Package units are some of the most unique. Such law enforcement specials were short on accoutrements and long on performance, befitting a car that was destined for frequent-and legal-high-speed running. With virtually stock drivetrains, most with 225 horses and a five-speed, the SSP cars got by just fine. The real meat came in the form of the more rigid and svelte two-door bodystyle, the weight savings of the common manual windows and door locks, and less obvious upgrades such as reinforced floorpans and an engine-oil cooler. The mystique of a police pursuit vehicle seems to have a special draw-each one has a unique history of chasing down bad guys.

Mystique is definitely one of the draws for Ed Allen, the current owner of this former Washington State Patrol Mustang. The allure goes well beyond that component, as it's important to understand that this former reserve police officer knew the trooper who was assigned this car when it served with the WSP. Ed periodically asked the trooper how the car was treating him, how he liked it, and what interesting escapades the two had recently experienced. Ed recalls a story about a chase that lasted well over 100 miles, finally ending at the Canadian border. He also remembers when the trooper told him the car was at the end of its service life and about to be auctioned to the public. The rest is history, as they say, for Ed obviously took the information to heart and made a winning bid for the '89 cop car.

Beyond the legendary chases, Ed enjoys his ride for the bare-bones Fox Mustang that it is-and, of course, for the end result of its most recent build. Who wouldn't appreciate what this near sleeper has to offer? It's an impressive performer if not an impressive looker.

From the start, Ed knew he wanted to keep the exterior virtually stock-well, at least in its pre-WSP form. To that end, there's nary a scoop, spoiler, or cowl-induction bulge to be seen, though the hunkered-down look and 10th Anniversary Cobra wheels should be clues to its true intent. The perfectionist in Ed has him complaining about the PPG paint he personally laid down a number of years back, but it looks good in both pictures and the flesh-particularly for a car that he plans to thrash on the track. Significant touch-ups occurred recently as part of an extreme makeover, and we think you'll agree that the cosmetics are magazine worthy.

As is so often the case, Ed's early modifications were all motor, and super trooper or not, the SSP bits and pieces weren't enough to contain the new-found enthusiasm. A visit to Brad's Custom Auto in Seattle was the cure, where Scott Hicks and Brian Holsten fitted the '89 with a chassis-and-brake setup to handle a then-potent 347. A full array of Maximum Motorsports suspension pieces makes for far more capability than the State Patrol could have imagined, and includes a tubular K-member, control arms, coilovers, a Panhard bar, a torque arm, and much more-in short, just about everything in the book. The brakes are Baer's ever-popular and effective front Track kit and rear Sport kit. In layman's terms, this means 13-inch rotors and twin-piston PBR calipers up front, with 12-inch rotors and PBR single-piston calipers in the rear. While not exotic these days, this particular production-based Baer setup is wholly capable, particularly considering the notch's nearly 3,000-pound curb weight.

While 347 ci is the goal for many a pushrod enthusiast, it didn't take long for the new chassis to convince Ed that if some is good, more is better. To that end, he sold the 347 to a friend and launched a thorough rehash of the underhood landscape. Not only did Ed desire something wicked in engine terms, he also wanted it to be a looker beyond the norm. To that end, Brandon Knowles at Brand X Customs stepped in to freshen the engine compartment, weld and smooth over countless mounting holes, and spray a fresh coat of Oxford White. Next, Brian routed the factory wiring and necessary harnesses for the new FAST XFI completely out of sight.

Simultaneously, Britco Racing Engines was assembling a killer street/track short-deck Windsor-with a clear bias toward the track component. Ed also wanted to maximize the weight balance of the '89 for optimal handling. To that end, he's eschewed power adders and stayed all throttle. Beginning with a Dart aluminum block sporting a cavernous 4.125-inch bore, Britco assembled a tough-as-nails bottom end consisting of a Sonny Bryant billet crank, Oliver rods, and custom JE forged pistons yielding an 11.8:1 compression ratio. CNC-ported AFR 205s continue the alloy theme up top, with 2.08/1.60 valves popped by a big Erson solid-roller and Jesel valvetrain. Decidedly different and cool is the Hogan sheetmetal intake, configured for maximum flow and a low-profile hood clearance. Once installed and ready to rumble, the 364-inch mill belted out a peak of 468 rwhp at 7,100 rpm with a pushrod-screaming 7,600-rpm redline.

Backing the whole affair is a Viper-spec T56 from D&D Performance and a Scribner hybrid 8.8 filled with all the good stuff. Needless to say, everything was built to take a major pounding, and that's exactly what Ed has planned when the skies finally clear in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, we're talking about open-track events at Seattle- and Portland-area venues, but if we know Ed, he'll test the mettle of his '89 on the 1,320 as well. A much bigger question is whether he can ignore the inevitable street challenge, for sleeper or not, you know such a confrontation is bound to happen. Ed, we recommend you walk away from such a skirmish, because we can tell you this: "Hey, officer, did you realize this used to be a WSP car?" isn't likely to be your ace in the hole.


5.0 Tech Specs

Engine And Drivetrain

Block
Dart aluminum block, 4.125-in bore
Displacement
364ci
Crankshaft
Sonny Bryant 3.40-in billet
Rods
Oliver H-beam
Pistons
Custom JE forged, friction-coated, 11.8:1
Camshaft
Erson solid-roller, 260/266 @0.050, 656-in lift, Isky Red Zone lifters
Cylinder Heads
AFR 205s, CNC-ported, 2.08/1.60 valves
Rocker Arms/
1.6 Jesel shaft
Intake Manifold
Custom Hogan sheetmetal
Throttle Body
Accufab 90mm
Fuel System
Aeromotive pump, stainless lines, Hogan fuel rails, Accufab regulator, FRPP 42-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust
BBK 13/4-in long-tube headers, Dr. Gas X-pipe, Spintech mufflers, Dynomax 21/2-in tailpipes
Transmission
D&D Viper-spec T56, Pro-5.0 shifter, SPEC Stage 3 clutch
Rearend
Scribner Welding hybrid 8.8, 4.10 gears, Dura Grip diff, Moser 31-spline axles


Electronics

Engine Management
FAST XFI
Ignition
MSD dizzy, MSD crank trigger, MSD 6
Gauges
Auto Meter


Suspension And Chassis

Front Suspension

K-member
Maximum Motorsports
Control Arms
Maximum Motorsports
Springs
Hypercoil
Struts
Bilstein/Maximum Motorsports coilovers
Caster/Camber
Maximum Motorsports
Sway bar
Adjustable Kenny Brown
Brakes
Baer 13-in Track kit w/PBR pads
Wheels
10th Anniversary Cobra, 17x9-in
Tires
Toyo RA1, 275/40ZR17
Rear Suspension Springs
Hypercoil
Shocks
Bilstein/Maximum Motorsports coilover
Control Arms
Maximum Motorsports
Panhard Bar
Maximum Motorsports
Torque Arm
Maximum Motorsports
Sway bar
Maximum Motorsports adjustable
Brakes
Baer 12-in Sport kit w/PBR pads
Wheels
10th Anniversary Cobra, 17x9-in
Tires
Toyo RA1, 275/40ZR17
Chassis Stiffening
Eight-point rollcage and Maximum Motorsports full-length subs