Michael Johnson Associate Editor
November 1, 2008
Smooth Custom Auto Paint's Tom Milazzo and Jeremy Dewitt applied the PPG red with blue flames over the stock body with a Cervini's Auto Designs 4-inch cowl hood thrown into the mix. In addition to the Weld Racing big 'n' littles, a Fast Chassis aluminum wing lends to the LX's street/strip mentality. Jesse would like to thank Tom and Jeremy for their hard work on the paint and body, as well as J.P. O'Mary, Philip Meisner, Dale Marble, Tony French, LouisvilleMustangs.net, and most definitely his fianc, Ashley.

Horse Sense: Thanks to several weight-reduction measures, Jesse's hatch totals 2,877 pounds with him in the car. That's really light, people. Weight-savings items include the removal of the power steering and A/C systems, using Jeg's plastic racing seats, rear-seat-delete kit, and the reduction of needless wiring.

The paint shows some street use, but it's definitely bright. The Weld Racing Pro Stars are played out to the point that they're old-school cool. The car still wears drum brakes out back. The engine compartment isn't the most detailed we've seen-not even close-but we've seen a lot of them so we're kind of jaded. Speaking of the engine compartment, there's not a blower, turbo, or nitrous in sight. The combination isn't exotic, it doesn't feature titanium valves, and a manufacturer didn't build it for the SEMA show. The car wasn't hauled to a shop and dropped off with an unlimited budget.

Not that any of the above is inherently wrong, but this hatch was built by a regular guy on a regular-guy budget. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in cars featuring six-figure builds, but Jesse Humbles built his '93 Mustang LX the same way you built yours-one piece at a time. The Louisville, Kentucky, resident built the car using funds earned as an assistant manager at an auto parts store.

Of course, it wasn't always this nice. Jesse bought the car from the original owner in 2002 with only 77,000 miles on it. "It was as stock as can be," Jesse says. At first he wanted to leave the car stock, but it only took race defeat to throw that idea out the window.

Like you and me, Jesse started with the usual. He bolted on 3.73 gears, then added headers, an H-pipe, mufflers, a cold-air intake, underdrive pulleys, and an A/C delete. We wouldn't have deleted the A/C since we live in Florida, but ours never works anyway so we might as well remove it, too. Those additions did wake up the LX, but Jesse found himself wanting more.

As Jesse researched engine modifications, he took care of the suspension by adding Steeda Autosports Sport springs, a g-load brace, a strut-tower brace, caster/camber plates, KYB shocks and struts, MAC upper and lower control arms, HP Motorsports subframe connectors, and a Maximum Motorsports Panhard bar.

After draining his wallet with those additions, Jesse went for budget power underhood. Instead of the exotic stuff, he turned to proven power by adding World Products' Windsor Jr. heads, a Ford Racing Performance Parts F303 cam, Crane roller rockers, a Cobra intake, a BBK 70mm throttle body, and a Pro-M mass air meter. To maximize the combo, Jesse treated the heads and intake to porting and polishing, feeding the combination with a Walbro 255-lph fuel pump and 24-lb/hr injectors. "That picked the car up quite a bit," Jesse says.

Since the car was more street/strip than street, Jesse ditched the stock Pony wheels in favor of Welds drag radials out back. The drag radials must've worked too well because the clutch checked out not long after. A RAM Power Grip unit bridged the gap between the newly reborn small-block and the stock T5. Jesse added a Pro-5.0 shifter to make the most of the new clutch. The car stayed in that form until he grew bored once again. Well, nothing ends boredom quite like nitrous, so he added a Nitrous Express wet kit for, as Jesse puts it, "added fun."