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1987 Ford Mustang LX - Family Matters
A One Owner LX Coupe Goes From Daily Driven Drudgery, To Open Track Warrior To Family Heirloom, Without Leaving The Clan. That's Because In The End It's All About
Once he had the new pieces, however, a plan was put in action to have the car repainted in its original shade of Medium Shadow Blue Metallic, a process performed by Classic Autobody in Madison Heights, who partially disassembled the LX and used the then latest urethane clear coat process when repainting the Mustang. Once the paint had cured, reassembly of the car began, but Minnick felt that with the body done and the mechanicals having already been attended to, it was time for some love to be fostered on the interior.
Dick wanted a certain style of Recaro seats, but when the time came to purchase them, he discovered they'd been discontinued. "I didn't really care for the new ones, so I spoke to the guys at Recaro. They found some old frames and actually had enough parts left over to build me a pair of the old style seats, the only problem, was that the black fabric didn't go to well with the rest of the interior, which was Regatta Blue. I ultimately decided to convert the entire interior over to black, so I had the rear seat recovered in black fabric. However, as I'm sure you know, black interior panels, especially for a Fox coupe aren't always that easy to find ..." By the spring of 1998 things were coming along, but Dick wanted to do something with instrument cluster. "A lot of people just add on gauges, but I didn't want to do that, so I designed and built my own instrument cluster with seven Auto Meter gauges and put them in place of the stock ones inside the pod - I became a poster child for Auto Meter and they put my cluster on their website."
Once the gauge cluster had gone in, along with the seats, it was time to take the car back to D&D, this time for some engine work. "It was time to put on a supercharger, so I went with a Vortech A-trim and upgraded both the ignition and cooling system."
Having finally scored his missing black interior pieces, Dick figured now was a good time to install a roll-cage. "I put in a Kenny Brown 8-point cage, both for stiffness and to add protection, then I changed over the interior panels - everything was changed to black except the headliner." However, one of the toughest aspects of the whole project concerned the steering wheel. "I must have tried four different wheels. I wanted a Momo, but every time I tightened it down the hub would bind. I even changed the steering column and that didn't make a difference. In the end, I used the hub from an OEM wheel and designed a solid steel mounting adapter with a machined flange on top to mount the Momo - that cured the problem and it's worked fine ever since."
After the Minnick's moved to a new house (with a much larger garage), Dick started working on the car again and got into open tracking, so that meant more new gear, namely racing seatbelts and tires. Further suspension upgrades were also added. In 2002, Dick finally retired from Ford Motor Company, giving him more time to work and play with the car. "The fuel system was next on the list - I replaced the stock tank with a fuel cell, fitted a larger fuel pick up and filter, added braided lines, bigger fuel rails, adjustable pressure regulator and 42-lb injectors. I decided to eliminate the FMU that came with the blower and had Don Walsh Jr. custom program the EEC-IV with a performance tune. That was a huge improvement and the previous issues I'd had with a fuel mixture that was too rich at idle and too lean at high rpm were eliminated." So that was one problem dealt with, but the Mustang was still suffering from cooling issues. "The car ran hot after the supercharger was installed, so in 2003 I decided to tackle the cooling system. I fitted an Aluminum radiator, installed a Flex-a-lite electric fan and replaced the theromstat, but the car still ran hot. I decided to remove the A/C, fit an oil cooler and install a cowl induction hood and electric Meziere water pump, but I later went back to a mechanical pump and also upgraded to a more aggressive Flex-a-lite cooling fan - which finally solved the problem.