Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
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."

One look at the interior of Jesse's LX and you can see it's not built for comfort, but he didn't put it together to be comfortable-he built it with function in mind. The interior features Jeg's racing bucket seats, several of Auto Meter's finest gauges, UPR Products' billet accessories, and a rear-seat-delete kit. We have fond memories of our own Auto Meter gauge pod like the one Jesse added to the dash of his LX.

"The car ran great for quite a while, but being that it was my daily driver and had more than 138,000 miles on it, the engine was wearing out," Jesse says. So the engine came out for a rebuild, but not just a regular redo. Jesse wanted more power. He sent the short-block to Shively Speed Machine to machine the block 0.030-inch over and add an Eagle stroker crankshaft and connecting rods, as well as JE pistons. Before the short-block left Shivley's, a Comp Extreme Energy camshaft was also added. Jesse topped the new short-block with a pair of AFR 185cc, aluminum cylinder heads with upgraded valvesprings and an Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake. The car's T5 transmission was also rebuilt while out of the car.

While the engine was getting rejuvenated, Jesse put time in underhood to spruce up an otherwise-neglected area. He swapped out the factory K-member for a ProFab unit featuring tubular A-arms and QA1 coilover struts with Strange Engineering 10-way-adjustable dampers. To take some weight off of the car, Jesse ditched the power steering in favor of a Flaming River manual rack-and-pinion system. "While the engine was out, I painted the engine compartment, tucked the wiring in the fenderwells, and relocated the battery to the rear," Jesse adds.

"When everything was back together, I took the car back to the track to make some passes with the new engine," he says. "After the first pass, I realized the rear suspension wasn't going to handle the new engine combo." Back to the drawing board for the rearend, Jesse went with UPR Products' adjustable upper and lower control arms and antiroll bar. The upper control arms featured spherical bushings, and welding up the torque boxes added even more rigidity. He finished it off with a pair of Lakewood 50/50 shocks.

The rearend grabbed Jesse's attention when he went back to the track, but not in a good way. On his second pass, he broke an axle, so it was time to bolster the 8.8. "I added Strange Engineering's 33-spline axles and spool, C-clip eliminators, a Trick Flow rearend girdle, and changed to a 4.30 gear," Jesse says. Back at the track, his changes yielded 7.20s in the eighth-mile, which is usually good for mid-11.30s in the quarter-mile. And that time was made without any engine or updated rear-suspension tuning. "I had a horrible 1.89 60-foot time on that pass," Jesse says.

Like we said at the outset, Jesse built his LX one piece at a time, and like our Mustangs, Jesse says there's more to come.

When a Mustang is actually driven and its engine has to be fully operational, this is most often how it looks. Jesse tried hiding as many wires as he could, but he had to make a few concessions in return for street worthiness. However, the Shively Speed Machine-built 347 mill is equally at home at the track. With eighth-mile times in the 7.20s and a terrible 60-foot time, the power and suspension can go quicker, and Jesse will get there. He's just shy of running 10s in the quarter-mile, and for a street car, that's still respectable, even today. On a Mustang dyno, Jesse's hatch made 411 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque. Just in case that's not enough, Jesse may reinstall the nitrous kit.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINELECTRONICS
BlockEngine Management
Stock 5.0, Bored 0.030-InStock A9L Computer
Rotating AssemblyIgnition
{{{Eagle}}} Stroker Crankshaft AndMsd 6AL w/ Blaster Coil, Taylor
I-Beam Connecting Rods, JEThundervolt Spark Plug Wires,
Forged Pistons, Total SealNGK Spark Plugs
Piston RingsGauges
DisplacementAuto Meter
347ci 
CamshaftSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
Comp Cams Extreme EnergyFront Suspension
282H, FRPP LiftersK-member
HeadsProfab Tubular
AFR 185, 2.02/1.60 Valves,Springs
Crane Roller Rockers, CompQA-1
Cams ValvespringsStruts
IntakeStrange Engineering 10-Way
Edelbrock Performer RPM IIAdjustable
Throttle BodyCaster/Camber
Professional Products 75mmSteeda Autosports
Mass Air MeterBrakes
Pro-{{{M}}} 76mm, Anderson {{{Ford}}}Stock Disc, Hawk Brake Pads
Motorsport Power Pipe, K&NWheels
FilterWeld Racing Pro Stars 15x3-in
Fuel SystemTires
Walbro 255-Lph In-Tank FuelRepublic 165R15
Pump, Stock Fuel Lines AndRear Suspension
Rails, FRPP 30-lb/hr Injectors,Springs
Aeromotive Adjustable Fuel-Stock
Pressure RegulatorShocks
ExhaustLakewood 50/50
BBK 1 3/4-Inch Long-TubeTraction Devices
Headers w/ Corresponding X-UPR Products Adjustable Upper
Shape Crossover Pipe,And Lower Control Arms And
Flowmaster One-ChamberAntiroll Bar
Mufflers w/ DumpsBrakes
TransmissionDisc, Hawk Brake Pads
T5, Spec Stage 3 Clutch AndWheels
Pressure Plate, Pro-5.0 Shifter,Weld Racing Pro Stars
FRPP Aluminum DriveshaftTires
RearendMickey Thompson ET Street
8.8, 4.30 Gears, StrangeRadials 275/60
Engineering Spool And 33-Chassis Stiffening
Spline AxlesHP Motorsport Weld-In Subframe
 Connectors