Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
May 24, 2011

Horse Sense: With a new sponsor and a new name for the NMRA drag radial category, Afco’s Xtreme Drag Radial competitors aren’t limited to one drag radial brand, however, they can go no wider than a 275 radial.

Ask 10 different people the definition of a street car and you’ll get 10 different answers. The car-as-an- appliance buying public will wonder why such a question is being asked. “Where else would you drive a car but on the street?!” As Mustang enthusiasts, however, we know our cars were born to do more than just go to the store. We bought them because they’re fast, and we want them to be faster. They still make it to the store, though, no matter how fast they get. Hence, many people’s definition as a street car is simply a car that can be driven on the street.

Since the coupe you see here is local to 5.0&SF’s headquarters, we first saw it in-process at ProFab Performance in Thonotosassa, Florida. We patiently waited for ProFab’s Matt Larue and Troy Pirez Jr. to work their magic so we could zoom in and bring it to you. And zoom we did, right down a main thoroughfare in Tampa, Florida. We caught Don Lamana rolling on Fowler Avenue, which was known for a little street action back in the day.

The next time we saw Don and his coupe he was hangin’ the hoops at the NMRA Bradenton race in Xtreme Drag Radial competition. It’s hard to reconcile this car with the last time you saw it, cruising down the street. Now it’s pullin’ the wheels on the way to 8-second e.t’s at 170 mph at a national event. That’s just crazy.

We’re lucky to even feature Don’s coupe. After selling his eighth Fox Mustang, “I’d had enough,” Don says. The ’89 GT boasted a stroked Windsor with a Vortech T-Trim, but those additions weren’t enough to keep Don from getting out of the game. Fortunately, it didn’t take Don too long to get back in the game, only took a few months.

Don spotted this coupe on AutoTrader out of Ohio and threw out an offer. The offer was significantly lower than the asking price, but three months later, the car was in his garage. It had the present paint scheme already, along with a stock short-block boosted by aluminum heads and a Master Power 70mm turbo. The car ran 10.20s-10.30s in that form until Don turned up the boost and spit out a connecting rod. “That’s when the madness started,” Don says.

Said madness included a new engine and a new turbo. Rockstar Performance in New Port Richey, Florida, a fabrication shop owned by Don’s friends Blair Brannock and Troy Fedora, was chosen to help get the combination up and running. Don started gathering parts to go bigger and faster, including a Precision Turbo T4 unit and all related components from Turbo People. He jumped on a great engine deal, but had it checked out before progressing any further with the build. Rockstar then fabricated the rest of the car’s turbo piping, installed the engine and transmission, and re-wired the car for the ACCEL Gen 7 engine-management system.

All told, those tasks took up two years time, but the car finally made its return to the dragstrip in early 2010. The substantial boost in horsepower revealed some ugly truths about the car’s suspension setup. Don realized the car’s horsepower outran its underpinnings.

“The car had terrible 60-foot times, so I sent it to ProFab Performance for some upgrades,” Don explained. To help get the power and suspension on the same page, ProFab installed a front coilover setup, mini-tubs, a new trunk floor, Strange Engineering brakes, and a braced 8.8 rear filled with Moser Engineering axles and a spool.

The weekend before we saw Don and his coupe at the Bradenton NMRA opener, he raced the car at the ORTC race at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Everything was going good—until the driveshaft broke in half. “We haven’t put a complete run together,” Don says. That’ll come with time, though. Don only has a few passes on the car as we write this, but with any new combination, it takes a while to put together a string of complete passes. Don has run a 1.25-second 60-foot time, which is good for a radial car, and several 8.80s, but those times haven’t come in the same pass. “If we can put it all together, we should see some 8.30s,” Don says.

However, clearly that’s not enough. Don is in the middle of building a more serious X275 car right now. Proline Racing Engines is building a 9.5-deck engine, and PTC is constructing a billet-case transmission to fill the tunnel, as well. “We will be competitive in X275 late in 2011,” Don says. Until then, this little coupe will have to be “enough.”

5.0 tech specs

’89 LX

Engine and Drivetrain

Block FRPP A4
Crankshaft Scat billet
Rods Eagle
Pistons Ross
Cubic Inches 339
Camshaft Fox Lake solid-roller
Cylinder Heads Fox Lake Power Products Stage 3-ported Trick Flow R-series w/Harland Sharp shaft-mount roller rockers, and Isky valvesprings and lifters
Intake Manifold Hogan sheetmetal
Throttle Body Holley 95mm
Power Adder Precision Turbo T4 single-turbo w/air-to-air intercooler and AMS 500 boost controller
Fuel System Accel fuel pump w/custom fuel lines, billet fuel rails, and 96-lb/hr injectors
Exhaust Rockstar Performance custom headers
Transmission PTC Turbo 400 w/4,000-rpm converter
Rearend ProFab Performance-built 8.8-in w/Moser axles and 3.55 gears

Electronics

Engine Management ACCEL GEN7
Ignition MSD, NGK spark plugs
Gauges Auto Meter

Chassis and Suspension

Front Suspension
K-member Maximum Motorsports tubular
Struts QA1
Springs Hypercoil
Brakes Strange Engineering
Wheels Weld Racing RT
Tires Nexen

Rear Suspension
Shocks Koni double-adjustable
Springs Hypercoil
Control Arms Wolfe Racecraft
Brakes Strange Engineering
Wheels Weld Racing RT
Tires Goodyear Eagle SS DOT drag radial 275/60/15
Chassis Stiffening Custom 8.50-certified rollcage and subframe connectors