Don Roy
October 1, 2006
Photos By: Francis Butler

Paul Galtieri used to drag race Plymouths in the 70s, along with his brother. When he decided that it would be good to get back into racing, along with his son Nicholas, he chose to base his efforts on a Mustang. See, the fact is that you can't find much in the way of Plymouth performance parts these days. That's surely not the case for our Mustangs, though. After a few months of searching, Paul located the Pony you see here... though it was dead stock at the time. That's changed - a lot.

In fact, change seems to be something that is pretty regular around the Galtieri household. Since we visited Paul and took these photos, the car has continued to develop. In part, that renewed growth was spurred by a trip to Atco, NJ, that saw Paul come back home with a cracked engine block. The 4-bolt main, DART block that replaced the original is in for the long haul and so is Paul. This car has been built up over time, a natural progression, given the real world availability of disposable time and money that many of us face.

Way back when, that process started with a top end rebuild of the car's 5-liter mill.Obviously pleased with Trick Flow components (these make a significant contribution to the motor, both then and now),Paul used their aluminum cylinder heads and intake manifold, as well as a custom ground rollercamshaft and rocker arms to build the base for a Procharger D-1 blower. With a few Mustangs in his background, Paul was able to handle much of the engine work himself. His originalintroduction to the ponycar culture came courtesy of a black 1982 example. Aside from the current car, there is also his son's black 1993 Cobra in the driveway and a blue 1992 GT.

Classic Performance
Paul also added a strong list of support equipment to the engine bay. The chore of making sparks is handled by a Crane Fireball ignition coil, with a set of Ford Racing plug wires handling delivery of the high tension messages. A set of BBK long tube headers, an off road H-pipe and a set of Flowmaster mufflers are charged with evacuating thecylinders and making suitably gratifying noises. Once running reasonably, the car was taken to LaRocca Performance of Old Bridge, NJ, for fine tuning. The car remains street legal and young Nicholas has had his time behind the wheel. As I was writing this article though, his first attempt on Atco's 1320 was frustrated by rain. Doubtless, there is more to come on that particular storyline.

Until the most recent round of modifications, the interior of this Mustang had remained deceptively stock. Auto Meter's Pro-Comp series monster tach, shift light, oil pressure, water temperature, boost pressure and fuel pressure gauges handle the information transfer initiatives. The Hurst Quarter Stick shifter for the C-4 automatic transmission might be a hint to the observant that this pony is more than just a clean club car.Actually, you don't have to be hugely observant anymore, as Paul has added an 8-point roll cage to the spotless interior since we took our photos.

When you're after consistency in the drags, there's nothing like having an automatic tranny shifting for you. Rowing your own gears may be a lot more fun during the run, but accurately knowing your dial-in for bracket racing means a lot more trips to the winner's circle. Of course, if you want it to stay fun, the transmission has to be built. Knowing exactly this is why Paul sent his C-4 automatic out to Dynamic Converters in Newark, DE. Frank Lupo did his number on the slushbox,transforming it from... well, a slushbox... into a hard-shifting, power-gobbling piece ofcompetition equipment. A nine-inch, 4500-rpm stall torque converter is the beginning of renovations. The renewed assembly also includes a full manual reverse pattern with trans-brake operation, hardened input shaft, solid filled forward drum, rollerized planetary, billet servo cover, deep fluid pan, reinforced low/reverse servo cover, five clutch high drum, along with high performance bands and clutches. A TCI trans cooler helps keep this thoroughbred running hard all day long.

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Street Lethal
Now, staying street legal doesn't have to mean being a cream puff. Galtieri lightened the front end by tossing the power steering system and installing a Flaming River manual rack and pinion gear. In this Pony, both front and rear sway bars have also gone the way of the dodo bird. With the front end rising more snappily now, it is also important to ensure that the rear axle can do the job. To do that, the 8.8-inch solid axle sports 3.55 ratio gears, 33-spline Moser axles and a full spool. A combo like that can get you hopping in an underground garage, but there's nothing like it when going straight in a hurry is theobjective. Anybody that has grown up with wrong wheel drive cars is certainly going to find this one a handful.

When the original block departed our mortal world, LaRocca Performance was nominated to handle the replacement work. The DART engine block, already mentioned, formed the basis for a 331-cid fire breather that coupled some of Paul's previous Trick Flow pieces with a new camshaft and all-new internals.Bumping the boost up a notch to 15 psi rewarded the lads with an output of 580 RWHP and 520 RWTQ. Returning to Atco, Paul took the car to its best ever result of 10.94 seconds at 126 mph. His stated objective for the car is to break into the nines and he's well on his way now.

In order to raise the bar again, Paul is looking at some suspension work to get the car hooking more solidly than the current lower control arms allow for. Renewed efforts to pare down the front end weight are going to be helped along with a tubularK-member. In the meantime, a new set of 10-inch M+H slicks are sitting in the garage waiting for more exercise, ready to replace the Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 Pro ET Streets the car has been riding on.

These future upgrades will come in due time. Based on Paul's previous experience in drag racing, he nows that the fundamentals never change, despite the onward march of technology. Ask him and he'll tell you, "Keep it light and fast."

Paul Galtieri's 1990 Mustang GT

LaRocca Performance 331 cid V8

Engine Modifications
DART engine block, 4-bolt mains;Trick Flow roller camshaft, rocker arms, aluminum cylinder heads, intake manifold; EFI 50 lb/hr fuel injectors; ATI Procharger D-1 supercharger, 15 psi boost; Crane Fireball ignition coil; Ford Racing plug wires; BBK long tube headers, offroad H-pipe; Flowmaster mufflers; Tuning by LaRoccaPerformance, Old Bridge, NJ.

Ford C4 automatic transmission; TCI oil cooler; Dynamic Converters' 4500 rpm stall, 9" torque converter, competition C-4 automatic transmission with trans brake; Hurst Quarter Stick shifter; 3.55 rear axle gears; Moser 33-spline axles on a full spool

Front and rear sway bars removed;Steeda lower control arms; Grippcaster/camber plates

Interior / Exterior
Paul Galtieri's 1990 Mustang GT

Fiberglass cowl hood, 3" rise

Auto Meter monster tach, oil pressure, water temperature, boost pressure, fuel pressure gauges

Wheels And Tires
Weld Pro Star wheels, 15" x 3.5" front, 15" x 10" rear; Mickey Thompson tires, Sportsman 165R15 in front, Pro ET Street 275R60-15 rear

Flaming River manual steering rack; Battery relocated to trunk; Subframe connectors

580 RWHP, 520 RWTQ Best ET to date: 10.94 @ 126 mph

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