September 1, 2009

Iacobelli sprang for forged rods and pistons, as well as a set of Twisted Wedge-R Windsor-style heads (2.125-inch intake valves and 1.625-inch exhaust valves). Those high flow heads are fed with assistance from a Lunati hydraulic roller camshaft with 0.560-inch lift, 232/242 degrees duration, and a boost-compatible 114-degree lobe separation angle.

Straddling the heads is an Edelbrock Victor EFI 5.8L intake manifold that's fed a steady diet of pressurized air at up to 22 psi. That boost is generated by an 80mm turbocharger from Precision Turbo. It's plumbing-including to and from the air-to-air intercooler-was custom-fabricated by Warren, Michigan-based Diamond Fabrication. Inter-estingly, the turbo is neither mounted to the exhaust manifold or, like many race cars, to the chassis; it's mounted on a custom bracket that attaches to the right-side cylinder head. Diamond Fabrication also created the custom, 1.75-inch headers that flow from the turbo system and, ultimately, to a pair of Flowmaster mufflers.

Iacobelli also got creative with the ignition system, scrapping the conventional distributor for the crank-triggered EDIS-8 system used on early-'90s Fords equipped with the 4.6L engine. The distributorless system looks exotic and has proven extremely reliable, but Iacobelli is philosophical about its performance capability. It's been firing the engine for more than a decade. "It's not really any better or worse than a conventional distributor, but I did it to prove a point years ago," he says. "It works great and I've had no problems with it."

A crank trigger from a 5.0L Explorer is used and the engine control system is from F.A.S.T. There's also an MSD DIS-4 ignition box wired up. On the fueling side, a Weldon pump supplies a set of 83-lb/hr injectors. All told, the hair-dried Windsor engine puts down about 785 horsepower to the tire. It's not a pump-gas combination, either; it sips only Turbo Blue.

The engine's torque is channeled through a beefed up AOD-E featuring a 3,500 rpm stall converter and Baumannator control box, through an FRPP aluminum driveshaft, and finally to the factory 8.8-inch rearend. It's been upgraded with an Eaton Posi and Moser axles, along with street-friendly 3.55 gears. There's not much else to tell about the car's combination. It rides on big (for a {{{Fox}}}-body) 18-inch TSW wheels that were all 9-inches wide when delivered, but Iacobelli had the rears widened to 10 inches. The front rubber is BFG G-force P275/35ZR18, and rears are 305/35-series drag radials.

We've watched many other cars come and go from Iacobelli's possession, but his yellow LX is linked to him like Silver to the Lone Ranger; or maybe K.I.T.T. to Michael Knight (which predates Iacobelli's "partnership" by only a few years). He's done a remarkable job at keeping the car fresh, current, and most importantly, blazingly quick. Indeed, this forerunner of the 5.0 movement remains at the forefront of performance.

Here's the LX fresh from the dealership in 1988 and just prior to its inaugural trip to the drag-strip. Check out the Granada in the driveway, along with the neighbor's Chevette. Aren't you glad it's not the 1980s any longer?

The Details
Lidio Iacobelli's
'88 Mustang LX 5.0L Coupe

Engine

  • 392ci Windsor small-block
  • SVO four-bolt block with Cleveland-size main journals
  • 4.030-inch bore
  • 3.850-inch stroke
  • Scat cast crankshaft
  • Eagle forged I-beam rods
  • Diamond forged pistons
  • 8.6:1 compression ratio
  • Lunati hydraulic roller camshaft, 232/242 degrees duration; 0.560/0.560-inch lift, 114-degree centerline
  • Trick Flow-R aluminum cylinder heads
  • 1.7-ratio aluminum roller rocker arms
  • Edelbrock Victor EFI 5.8L intake manifold
  • 83-lb/hr fuel injectors
  • 80mm turbocharger from Precision Turbo
  • Custom plumbing by Diamond Fabrication
  • Approximately 22 pounds of boost
  • Air-to-air charge cooler
  • {{{Ford}}} EDIS-8 distributorless ignition with Explorer V-8 crank trigger
  • MSD DIS-4 ignition box
  • F.A.S.T engine management system
  • Seven-quart Canton oil pan
  • 785 rear-wheel horsepower