Eric English
October 19, 2012

For as long as car culture has existed, young enthusiasts have been more likely to cut their teeth with do-it- yourself exuberance than cold, hard cash. Budget restraints typically motivate the hands-on approach, with a distinct side benefit being the acquisition of pertinent skills hewn from necessity. Such is the case with Steven Black of Coquitlam, British Columbia--that's Canada, eh, for those of you who slept through world geography--just above Washington state. His first Mustang pink slip was at age 18, and now at 25 he has a few more under his belt--and the commensurate experience that comes with it.

Members of Steven's Generation Y demographic are more likely to fill their leisure time with gaming rather than screwing together a hot small-block, yet he breaks the mold on that one. He articulated an addiction to Mustangs that's been ongoing for half his life, which means Ford's ponycar caught his eye even prior to his teen years. It wasn't until his senior year of high school, however, that Steven scored his first Steed, and he hasn't looked back since. Within just a couple of years he turned up this particular '93 notch--little more than a bare shell, clear across the continent in Kentucky. By then, he had already spun plenty of wrenches including a V-8 swap on a four-cylinder '88, and he felt emboldened to take on a complete project that would yield the Fox of his dreams.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

We think it's worth mentioning that Steven doesn't come from a family of Mustang crazies, or racers for that matter, but came by the obsession all by himself. Of course, once immersed, he developed a network of like-minded friends who are all about encouragement, hands-on help, and swapping parts from prior projects. These resources enabled Steven to save some critical dollars, as well as build the entire car himself rather than farming out the work to professionals. The lone exception to that DIY theme is the paint and body--that Mars Red layer of PPG goodness was sprayed by Mega Autobody.

The '93 wasn't built to show, but rather to enjoy as any 5.0-liter Mustang should be. “I never hold back from beating up the car and drive it as hard as I can,” Steven said. To wit, the current powertrain is the fourth he's experimented with since the car's completion, the two immediate predecessors being naturally aspirated 408s. In truth, the first one was probably just right, but in the ever-present quest for more, the second was an 11.3:1 solid-roller bruiser that in time grew tiring. He says neighbors complained, and the car was something of a bear to drive on the street. Since the latter is what the owner most enjoys, it was just a matter of time before the current combination was dreamed up and installed in 2011.

The present setup is a single-turbo 306, which yields a docile, yet potent machine that does equally well on street and strip. The docile part comes from a bottom end that runs a stock block, crank, and camshaft, bolstered by Scat rods and forged Probe pistons. Steven screwed the assembly together himself, and topped it off with Twisted Wedge heads and a '93 Cobra intake and throttle body. It's all pretty mild and affordable stuff until you pump it up with as much as 13 pounds of boost thanks to an owner-fabricated turbo system featuring a T70 turbo, Tial wastegate, and Tial blowoff valve. B&G was Steven's source for the headers and downpipe, but he put together the rest of the setup in his home garage. For the moment the system eschews the complications of an intercooler, but we imagine that will turn up at a later date considering the double-digit psi. You know the story--car builds are never finished.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

With roughly twice the stock horsepower coursing through its veins, the rest of the '93's drivetrain has been revised to include a Tremec 3550, SPEC Stage 3 clutch, FRPP aluminum driveshaft, and Moser 31-spline axles. Such fortification has proven reliable during several visits to nearby Mission Raceway, where the current combination has run a best of 11.30 at 129 mph on drag radials. Being that the prior 408 was in the same e.t. range with less miles per hour and far less driveability, Steven is understandably pleased. Since straight-line numbers are more a test of mettle rather than the reason for the build, typical Fox-chassis shortcomings have been duly addressed. For brakes, that means SN-95 Cobra four-wheel discs, while the suspension is vastly revised with pieces from PA Racing, MMR, Maximum Motorsports, and Koni. For chassis stiffness, Steven welded in Maximum's subframe connectors and bent up his own five-point 'cage.

Admittedly this build didn't consist of bargain-basement components, but the wrenching experience Steven developed in his late teens resulted in a much less expensive proposition than if he'd paid for the work out of pocket. He also has the satisfaction of a job well done, along with a Mustang that is powerful, reliable, and a flat-out hoot to drive. If that's not enough, we're happy to report that peace has even returned to a sleepy Coquitlam neighborhood!

Horse Sense: In the name of making the most of the combination, Steven Black turned to a racer's trick that seems to work well on his dual-purpose Pony. Using a hidden vacuum pump behind the front fender, he's created a crankcase evacuation system that is particularly helpful with ring seal while under boost. Black says a side benefit is a reduction in the number of typical oil leaks.