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1982 Ford Mustang GT - Keeping It In The Family
The Ford Family That Is..
Out back a bit of reengineering has also taken place - no more 7.5 four-link and traction bars. Instead the 8.8 is tied to the car via stock upper arms, Mustang SVO lower control arms - Schneider's own rear coilover kit that includes 250 lb springs and Bilstein 'take apart' shocks. "I can pull them apart which allows me to adjust the valving inside the shocks", plus a rear sway bar pirated off a 1993 Mustang GT. When it came to the brakes, Mike decided that since he'd done quite a bit of home brewing with the suspension, why not try the brakes too? "During my original build, I went with SN95 spindles and Cobra 13-inch front rotors and two-piston calipers with racing pads. Because open tracking causes the brakes to heat up pretty good, I needed some ducting to help keep them as cool as possible. However, my intention from the beginning was to retain the stock front fascia, and because I didn't want to modify it, I ended up making my own fiberglass brake ducting. At the back, I also went with a disc package but I decided to have a little fun and save pennies wherever I could. What I ended up doing was utilizing aluminum calipers and rear discs from a C4 Corvette. I made my own mounting brackets for the calipers and redrilled the rotors to fit the Mustang's bolt pattern. It's similar to the Baer kit in some respects and I've had a lot of success with it."
Other tricks employed on this '82 include Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors, extra friction plates in the diff to prevent heat build up and a Recaro front racing bucket for the driver, a stock '94 Cobra one for the passenger (the rear is long gone), plus a battery mounted behind the Cobra chair on the floor. Along with a stock looking instrument panel housing an original 1982 vintage Ford Motorsport 140 mph speedo and a tach taken out of an old Turbo four-cylinder car. "The tach on the four-banger turbo cars actually went up to 8,000 rpm so I found one, installed it and changed the resisters to calibrate it for the V8 powertrain - it's an interesting touch and different than these monster tachs that you see all the time."
When time permits, Schneider gets the car out on the road course for open tracking as often as he can. "I really enjoy driving this car - I don't have a lot of money tied up in it and it really works well - it has proven to be reliable and it runs with a lot more sophisticated and newer machinery." He even drives it to work a few times a year. "Although I primarily built it for track use, the car is still streetable," though even he admits that with a dog-leg gearbox, driving it on the street can be "a bit of a challenge." Still he's grown quite attached to the venerable warhorse. "It still wears the original paint. I have painted the front fascia and did some other stuff like the engine bay and K-member. It's not perfect but from 10-feet away it still looks good." Like any car that's driven hard it does have a few nicks and dings and Schneider does say that he'll get around to painting it sometime soon, but for now is intent to enjoy the car largely as it is. "I've recently upgraded the brakes on it," he mentions enthusiastically. "I got my hands on some 14-inch Shelby GT500 front rotors and some Baer four-piston calipers - brand new off eBay. I found that by modifying the caliper bracket to center it over the rotor - it all fit. People say you can't use 14-inch front brakes with 17-inch wheels but my Cobra Rs fit right over the brakes and there weren't any clearance issues." So there you go. Even though Schneider does enjoy hot lapping and the attention the car gets wherever it goes ("people just swarm around it - they seem to love '82 GTs,") he does enjoy helping others to learn driving techniques and car control out on the track. "I instruct for the SVTOA and go out to several tracks. Sometimes I take them for a spin in my car, but a lot of the time I love going around as a passenger, with them driving - I get a real kick out of seeing the progress the students can make, especially when they start out at the very beginning and are eager to learn. It's good to help them get where they want to be."
And before we go, we should probably mention that Mike is in the process of building a house. "Yup, it's going to be a big project." And with a lot of big projects that means he'll be selling a lot of his toys, but the '82? " No I'm keeping that one - I'm too fond of it - some people say I should go racing in American Iron with it, but the car is really too nice for that. If I did chose that route I'd buy another Mustang and transfer all the road race parts to that one and probably return this car to stock." Whatever he decides, it is clearly obvious that Mike Schneider's '82 GT is destined to stay in the family.