Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
April 1, 2009
The body is actually an '87 LX, but the car now features a Cervini's Auto Designs Stalker front bumper cover and cowl hood to wake up the exterior. If you're wondering about the color, it's Sikkens Eagle Eye blue. The color definitely sets the car apart from others at a Mustang show. The other standouts are the wheels, which are Holeshot Performance Wheels Hole Pro 2 big 'n' littles wrapped in Mickey Thompson boots.

Horse Sense: In addition to instructor Todd Collins, those who helped oversee the Mustang's build include Tony Collins, Brent Daniel, Michael Lampley, David Carroll, Ronnie Christian, Curtis Krueger, William Depriest, and Mickey Harris. "This was a true community effort with numerous contributions," Todd says.

If you took a poll from 5.0&SF staffers about their high school lives, you will get vastly different answers. Editor Turner says he was a B-/C+ student. "I really gave my best effort at chasing girls," he says, "with the same sort of mixed results." Really? Turner's dad taught shop class at his school, so naturally he wanted nothing to do with that. Though he started dreaming of Mustangs around 7th grade, he didn't get serious about making that dream come true till after high school. Tech Editor Jones says he did well enough to graduate. In KJ's day, the legal drinking age was 18, so he partook in plenty of extracurricular activities including as he puts it, "cars, cars, girls, cars, music, drinking, having fun, more girls, and more cars."

As for your author, my family moved several times while I was in high school, so I was unable to plant myself into a school long enough to get any formal automotive training. I "missed" a lot of classes, played a lot of basketball, and failed miserably at girl-chasing. I was however, able to garner a couple of autobody courses at one high school, along with the same as part of a half-day program at a community college while finishing my scholastic career at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Of the three of us, Tech Editor Jones has proven he has what it takes to build a Mustang. If it was up to Turner, he would be too busy detailing parts for the car to get done. If a car's build were up to me, I would simply take forever trying.

Editor Turner and I should start sending our project Mustangs to East Hickman High School in Lyles, Tennessee. The Mustang you see here was built by students in the school's Automotive Technology class.

Under the tutelage of instructor Todd Collins, the students at first wanted to simply build a street-legal sleeper, but that plan was shelved for the chance to compete on the show Drag Race High aired on Speed Channel. The car's plans went from street sleeper to the audacious strip brawler seen here. East Hickman's GT was scheduled to battle the Chevy Monza of Fairview High School.

Before doing battle, the students had plenty of work to do. To get started, they stripped the LX to its bare bones, commencing from scratch. Through community effort and volunteer overseers, students performed the bodywork, the paint, all the mechanical, and the rollcage. "This is a true kids' car," Todd says. The car's color, Sikkens Eagle Eye blue, is a custom hue exclusive to East Hickman High School. The color was even mixed there at the school. Mickey Harris finished off the paint with custom airbrushing.

The GT's interior sports Kirkey race seats with tweed covers that make them comfortable for about 8 seconds at a time. New carpet from ACC covers the car's floor, while Auto Meter gauges keep an eye on mechanical events. A B&M Pro Bandit shifter clicks the Wayne Transmissions Powerglide into the next gear as a 4.30-geared Chris Alson Chassis Works Fab 9 rearend sets the car in motion.

To make sure that Monza had zero chance of victory, BES Racing was called on for a built 434ci Windsor using top-shelf components. As insurance, the students employed an Edelbrock nitrous kit, tuned for optimum power and reliability by Induction Solutions' Steve Johnson, to guarantee the Monza a nice view of the Fox taillights. Backing the juiced Windsor is a Wayne Transmissions Powerglide with a PTC converter and 176 Pro Tree valvebody.

Since the car started life as a four-banger, the students went straight past a built 8.8, opting for a Chris Alston's Chassisworks Fab9 rearend setup, including upper and lower control arms--just like KJ's T-top coupe. Once the rear suspension is done doing its job, Aerospace Components' brakes at all four corners brings everything to a halt.

Speaking of stopping, East Hickman students didn't have to worry about stopping the Fairview Monza on the day of the show's taping; it wasn't ready. Steve and I promise we had nothing to do with the Monza's unfinished state. No matter--East Hickman's GT was ready to go. The end result of the students' work is 5.50s in the eighth-mile and 8.60s in the quarter. We give the East Hickman High School students an A+. Great job.