Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsFeatured Vehicles
1988 Ford Thunderbird - No More Four
Thanks to its blown 5-liter engine, this Thunderbird really flies.
At first glance, you might ask what an '88 T-bird is doing in the pages of your favorite Mustang mag. Well, part of our name is & Fast Fords. Plus, this generation Thunderbird flies the Fox-platform flag, with the biggest difference being the 4-inch longer wheelbase and loads of factory options Mustang owners could only dream about back in the day.
Steve Taliadouros realized the similarities when he decided to transplant a Mustang-born, bullet-proof five-oh into this T-bird Turbo Coupe. Once the turbo four-banger was removed, a full tubular front suspension was on order. A K-member from QA1, a set of D&D Motorsports A-arms, and coilovers at all four corners would manage the new weight issues that emerged from doubling the cylinder count. Since Sunday cruising is the main course for fun with drag racing as dessert, Steve chose Lakewood 70/30 struts for the front and 50/50 shocks for the rear road damping.
Unlike the Mustangs of the same vintage, the Fox T-bird was available with four-wheel disc brakes. This made a Wilwood Dynalite four-piston caliper with cross-drilled slotted rotors an easy upgrade. Ford's GT-40 crate engine with the GT-40X aluminum heads was Steve's choice for power, with an E303 camshaft option for great horsepower increases above 2,500 rpm. The 0.498-inch lift, 220-degree duration bump-stick would be a shoe-in for the forthcoming supercharger that was next on the agenda.
The factory crate engine needed an intake and ignition system to top off the package. Steve's chosen components would include a Holley SysteMAX intake manifold and a 70mm throttle body. With a projected 14-15 psi of boost in the cards, a 77mm Pro-M mass air meter calibrated to a set of MSD Ignition 50-lb/hr injectors set the stage for up to 700 hp.
Since this 'Bird would see many leisurely flights around New Hampshire, a three-core intercooler and loads of engine-cooling goodies would rank high on the priorities list. The intercooled ProCharger P-1SC blower is polished and equipped with the 12-rib upgraded pulley kit. An aluminum Griffin radiator not only aids in keeping engine temperatures down, but helps displace some of the extra weight added via the supercharger. A Meziere electric water pump and dual Flex-a-lite low-profile puller fans help keep things from boiling over. The fans are controlled by a variable speed controller that senses the coolant temperature and sets the fan speed 60-100 percent, reducing current load spikes, depending on the thermostat setting of 155-220 degrees. It can also direct the fan to run 30 seconds after the vehicle is turned off.
The fuel system is one of Aeromotive's combinations. An A1000 inline fuel pump protected by pre and aft filters, regulator, fuel rails, and a maze of AN-08 braided stainless steel lines carry out the delivery to the combustion chambers. In addition, the stock fuel tank was traded for a 22-gallon sump-type fuel cell from Summit.
The powerful 'Bird produces a full 475 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Steve enjoys every one of them by stirring a Tremec 3550 five-speed transmission (coupled with a set of 4.10 gears). His best 11.70 e.t. came in late 2005 at an impressive 124 mph.