Modified Mustangs & Fords
1983 Ford Mustang GT - Reagan Rounder
With A Few Carefully Chosen Mods, An '83 Mustang GT Mixes It Up With The Best Of Them On Both Street And Track
Of course, if any track-time was planned, something clearly needed to be done about the brakes. "It still had the 10-inch front rotors and factory rear drums on it. I managed to get my hands on Ford Racing's M-2300 Cobra brake kit with 13-inch front rotors and installed that along with the 10.25-inch rear discs," he says.
Of course, that required changing the spindles and now that the car had five-lug hubs, new wheels and tires were needed. A set of '96 17-inch Cobra wheels and Riken performance tires were ultimately selected. You can judge for yourself from the pictures, but we think these powdercoated wheels with the dark painted inserts really look at home on this car.
Engine mods run to a boring on the original '83 block, out to 306 cubes, TRW rods, Forged Diamond 9.5:1 compression pistons, an Edelbrock Air Gap intake, a Barry Grant Demon 750 carburetor, Comp Cams roller grind, and a pair of E7 iron cylinder heads prepped by Ronnie Wilson at Mustang Specialities. There's also a K&N air-filter assembly, MSD 6AL ignition control box with a tachometer adapter, Blaster coil, Steeda plug wires, plus a thunderous exhaust system that includes Hooker long-tube headers and a Dynomax after-cat. "I really have to extend a big thank you to Paul Riccio at Razor's Edge Motorsports for putting the engine together. Paul did an excellent job and is truly a great guy. I tell ya, this guy is a wiz, particularly when it comes to carburetors."
The GT now runs a Tremec 3550 five-speed gearbox with a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter, but interestingly still has a 7.5-inch rearend and 2.73 gears, though an Auburn posi has been added. Some may wonder at the decision to stick with the 7.5 and tall final-drive cogs, but for road racing, it works out just fine, helping Mike to save a bit of fuel on the street, a worthy goal, particularly at present.
The Mustang still wears its original Oxford White paint, center black hood stripe treatment, and factory-applied decals. "I've really tried to keep the interior and body as original as I can," Mike says. "I wanted to upgrade the instruments, so I carefully removed the stock cluster, found a replacement on eBay, and modified it to incorporate a set of Autometer gauges."
It's this kind of careful attention that really sets the car apart. "There are plenty of flashier, more powerful Mustangs out there, but I find it quite interesting when I take the car to work and park it in front of the shop," Mike says. "The '83 seems to get more stares than anything-even the younger guys are into it. I think it's the fact that the car looks tough and that you just don't see many around anymore. Plus, the guys who were into those cars when they were young now finally have the money to buy them and are starting to look for the survivors."
When asked about selling his '83, Mike replies, "Well, you're probably out of luck as it looks like it'll be staying in the family. My daughter, Grace, loves to sit in the driver seat and listen to the radio. She loves the car and the best part is that she's only 4 years old!" Yup, this is one car that doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.