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1988 Ford Mustang GT - Green Vibrations
From Wreck To Righteous, This '88 Mustang GT Has Been Winning Hearts And Minds Across Central Florida And Beyond
Vince And Christina Mojzak's 1988 Mustang GT
Ladies and Gents, say hello to Green. Owned by Christina and Vince Mojzak, Green is a 1988 Mustang GT with factory T-tops. Fairly rare by anybody's standards (estimates peg a few thous-and were built before Ford canned the option early in '88), Green began life in Ohio and was well on its way to the crusher when Vince came across it in a Florida salvage yard. Mojzak, a self-employed electrician is a certifiable car nut who began playing with them when he got his hands on a 1972 Olds Cutlass. With a 455 under the hood, the Olds was, in Vince's words "quite a beast," but then, via friend Tim Manes, Mojzak discovered the 5-liter Mustang. Needless to say things snowballed from there. Mojzak's first foray into the Ford world came via a 1989 LX. "I discovered the true meaning of bolt-on performance with this car. Tim and I found that with just a few simple tricks here and there, this car could keep pace with my Olds and then some." Vince ended up selling that hatch to his friend Kenny Kearce, but the Mustang bug had well and truly bitten him. "I found a 1988 LX four-cylinder T-top car a mechanic was selling. It may have been only a four banger but this thing was mint - it had no stress cracks or rust - nothin'. It was a T-top car which was unusual - they are rare so I was interested in fixing it up." But then, Vince met Christina. "She was a single mother and we just hit it off. She had never had a 'performance' car before, but then she met me." Now at about the time they met, Vince came across another Mustang one day - Green. But it wasn't green then, rather Medium Cabernet. "Here I was, all set to fix up this four cylinder and I found a genuine 5.0 T-top car in the junkyard. The motor was still in the car, but the guys couldn't get it running. Christina and I talked about building this car together so we went halves on it and I brought it home for $1,000." As is often the case, it can be the simplest of things that prevent a car from firing up and as far as this one went, it turned out to be a faulty fuel pump relay. "I replaced it and the motor fired right up." Now while the car might have been running, it needed a lot of work. "It was full of junk when I came across it and it had rust. The floors were gone, the hatch was rusted - it was just a mess. I found an Ohio license plate under all the stuff in the trunk and it turned out that the guy had brought it down to Florida with him. I also found out that, despite having a 'clean' title, the car had received accident damage. I did a bit of investigating and found out that the original Ohio title was marked 'salvage.'
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I was pretty annoyed. I had a look at the damage and it seemed like this car had somehow landed on a telephone pole. There were two big humps on the rocker panels. When Christina and I stripped the car down, we decided to keep the ground effects, because they hid the humps (I didn't want to try and hammer them out because it would probably only make things worse." Now Vince readily admits that he doesn't really like late Fox GTs. "All the ground effects stuff is gaudy - I really prefer the LX, but because of those bumps the car wouldn't look right without the skirts, so I got an ABC 'Cobra' body kit." With the car in bits, Vince and Christina sanded and smoothed the body, cut out and replaced the rotten floors, sourced a new hatch, front fenders and hood among other things. "The roof is about the only thing still original or untouched on this car," laughs Vince "I remember the ABC body extensions weren't good quality pieces so I had to spend a lot of time smoothing them out to make them look good - that's why you don't see the center molding." As for the exterior color? "That came about when Christina saw a VW Beetle one day. It was painted that Cyber Green and we both thought that it would be neat to paint [this Mustang] the same color. We wanted the car to stand out and this was one sure-fire way." So green it was and Green it became via the hands of Rick Farmer. "Our friends thought we were nuts, but now they love it," remarks Mojzak. Originally the plan was to just build a 'beach cruiser' as the Mojzak's dubbed it - a car with T-tops to take them cruising around and to and from the beach - wind in the hair and all that. "That was the plan at least," says Vince, "but in the end it just turned out too pretty." In fact when Green was more or less completed, some eight months after the Mojzak's originally took it home, the car turned out to be nothing less than a show stealer.
"We had the body done and the car was on the road by December 2002. We took it to a show in Ocala and people just loved it. There was a crowd around the car and they voted for it. We came home with our first trophy and it was cool because everything on this car was a joint effort, including all the welding and prep. Because it's a T-top car I wanted to prevent flexing as much as possible. It's got subframe connectors and a strut brace, but I added extra bracing along the rocker panels and underneath with W cross sections. I also installed a roll bar and now, every Mustang I build gets a strut tower brace and that roll bar - it makes such a difference." Although Green turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser, Vince and Christina have never been afraid of driving the wheels off it. "That was our intention, to have fun with it. The motor isn't that radical. When we first built the car - I kept the stock bottom end - it's still a 302, but I got my hands on some Ford Racing GT40P heads and Nathan Marler in Kissimmee did a port job on them and open up the bowls." One thing Vince is kind of particular about is the intake assembly. "I've got this Cartech upper, GT40 lower setup on the car. People tell me its junk - I know, but I just like the way it looks and no matter what I do to this car, it's going to be one of the last things I'll change." Not that Green is sluggish by anybody's standards, despite being loaded with the body extensions, roll cage, T-tops and full interior. The '88 has 24-lb fuel injectors, Accufab 75mm throttle body, Bosch fuel pump, MSD ignition, Ford Racing shorty headers, BBK 2 1/2-inch X-type pipe and good ol' Flowmasters, but the real kick is a 75 horse Nitrous Oxide Systems kit with a 10-lb bottle. With a World Class T-5 five-speed tranny, put together by Tony Baugh and 3.55 gears in the 8.8, Green has turned a best of 12.20 @ 112 mph in the quarter, at Orlando Speed World Dragway - not bad at all when you consider that with Vince in the driver's seat, the thing weighs about 3,800 lbs. However his first experience going down the track is the one he remembers most. "I'd put it together but it still had the stock brakes on the car - I almost went into the trees at the end of the track!" That was the last time he ran on the stock brakes - from that point on it was a five-lug conversion all the way. Being the resourceful chap he is, Mojzak scrounged some SN95 brakes and put those on, along with Bullitt 17-inch rims and BFG treads (drag radials out back of course). Both he and Christina however, view Green as a long-term project. "I know it's mostly done," says Vince, "but there is always something you can do and that's the approach we're taking with this car. The way we figure, it's kinda boring if you just build the car once and are done with it - for example, this winter we did the motor - I've still got that intake on it, but upgraded to a 90 horsepower nitrous kit. With the heads, intake and Ford Racing B-cam, it's probably now good for the 11s, but I haven't taken it down the track yet." Regardless, Green was built to be a cruiser and the Mojzaks go driving as often as possible, in fact, Vince even took it on the Hot Rod Power Tour, but that episode happened almost by accident. "I had originally planned to take my Olds, but I couldn't get it ready in time, so I took this and you know what? It was probably about the only car that didn't break on the trip. I just put gas in it and it went. I even managed a couple of passes on the track at Englishtown, NJ and got my picture taken, now that was awesome."
Vince has understandably grown quite attached to Green, and so has Christina, in fact she now has a 2005 Mustang that she's been playing with - guess what color it is? Not only that but the Mojzak's have no fewer than seven other Mustangs and a Fox Capri in their possession. "I like these cars," remarks Vince "and I just seem to keep collecting them. They're easy to work on and they make good power - a lot of people still like these cars and they are affordable - it's our passion." Among the stable are an '86 Notch, an '84 G.T. 350, a pair of LX four cylinder cars, another '88 GT T-top car with an automatic and the '85 Capri which Vince describes as his 'baby'. "I have a plan for that," he says. "I'm thinking about putting a 393 Windsor in it." As for Green? "It might get a turbo - I thought about the 393, but that's a lot of cubes in a stick car, there's also that welding underneath. I've learned a lot since I did the fabricating underneath on this car and the roll cage, so it's probably time I got to work on it." So Green remains a work in progress, but one that continues to gain admirers - it won at the Fun Ford Spring Break Shootout in Orlando earlier this year - so people still like the car. And now it appears that Green's charms have been rubbing off on Christina's new Steed. "We took both her car and this one to the NMRA event in Bradenton on March 9-10 2007. It was funny that Green didn't get an award but her '05 did." Ah, but who's got the magazine spread?
The T-Top Option
With the demise of the Mustang convertible after 1973, open air motorists had few options to experience that 'wind in the hair' feeling when it came to Ford's pony car. That changed when Ford introduced removable T-roof panels, so named because the center divider that they mounted was fashioned in a T-configuration. They first appeared as an option on Mustang IIs in 1977 and lasted through 1978. When the Fox car debuted as a 1979 model, the T-roof appeared on the three specially prepped pace cars for the Indianapolis 500 that year, but these were one-offs - production Pace Car replicas and all other Ford Ponys for 1979-80 could only get the removable flip open air roof. Beginning in 1981 Ford reintroduced the option on the Mustang. It was available on both coupes and hatchbacks and regardless of model trim or powertrain. Contracted by Cars and Concepts, the T-roof cars featured unique doors, headliner and weatherstripping. They were an expensive option - even in 1981 at $874, but became quite a popular one, particularly on Mustang GTs from 1982-86. When Ford facelifted the Mustang for 1987 the option continued, however; by that point, with true convertible sales coming on quite strong, and a combination of poor sealing and rattles, along with weight - which had afflicted the T-top option since new, the decision was taken to can it late in 1987, so only a few Mustangs for the 1988 model year actually received it, making such cars (like Vince and Christina's) quite rare today. Interestingly, in its last year, the T-top option retailed for $1800 - the price of a decent used automobile back then.
Vince and Christina Mojzak's 1988 Mustang GT
Ford 5.0-liter V8
Ford Racing GT40P heads ported by Nathan Marler; Ferrea intake/exhaust valves; Ford Motorsport 'B' camshaft; Cartech upper intake, Ford Motorsport GT40 lower intake (both ported); Accufab 75mm throttle-body; C&L 80 mm Mass-Air Meter; MAC cold-air intake: K&N air filter; Ford Racing 24 lb/hr injectors; Bosch 190 lph fuel pump; Ford Motorsport fuel pressure regulator; MSD 6AL ignition control box; Duralast battery; Ford Motorsport 9mm ignition wires; Autolite spark plugs; chrome Ford oil pan; Nitrous Oxide Systems 90 hp wet nitrous system with 10 lb bottle: Felpro gaskets; ARP bolts: AFCO radiator; SN95 dual electric fans; Ford Motorsport shorty headers; BBK 2 1/2" cross pipe; Flowmaster 2 1/2" mufflers and tailpipes
Borg-Warner World-Class T-5 five-speed manual gearbox built by Tony Baugh; Valero stock replacement clutch; Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft; 3.55:1 ring and pinion
Suspension And Brakes
TR2 Motorsports lower rear control arms; Ford Motorsport 'B' springs; SN95 11" front disc brakes; SN95 10.25" rear disc brakes
Best ET To Date:
12.20 @ 112 MPH
Subframe connectors, custom W chassis bracing; strut tower brace
ABC 'Cobra' body extensions modified and smoothed; Cobra front and rear fascias; Cobra rear spoiler; Kennan 3" cowl induction fiberglass hood; repainted VW Cyber Green by Rick Farmer
Custom mild-steel 6-point roll cage; 1988 Buick Grand Sport front seats; interior refinished in black, courtesy of Universal upholstery; UPR billet trim pieces; Grant 14' steering wheel; Kicker four 10" subs housed in closer behind rear seat; Alpine AM/FM/CD head unit
Wheels And Tires
Ford 'Bullitt' 17 x 9" five-spoke wheels; BF Goodrich Comp T/A tires 245/45-17 (Drag Radials rear)
Special thanks to Tim Manes and American Autosports, Orlando, FL and to Christina for putting up with so much and keeping up with the action this car brings