Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1987 Ford Mustang Notchback - The Buck Stops Here
Danny Edmonson found the perfect equation for fun.
At the age of 35, Danny Edmonson handles more money in a day than some of us will ever see in our lifetimes. A finance manager from Riceville, Tennessee, Danny is responsible for handling investments and other finance-related tasks that would boggle the mind. By the end of the day, though, the buck stops, he's ready to quit crunching numbers, and he's more than eager to start boiling the hides on his '87 Mustang notchback.
Danny has owned a number of Mustangs and Blue Oval specials, including a '99 GT with a blower and an '00 GT convertible that his wife tools around in. "I have a love for Mustangs," he says. "I especially like notchbacks."
When it came time to purchase another Stang, it had to be a notchback, so the quest to find the right candidate began. After a dedicated search on the Internet, Danny found what he thought to be the perfect specimen on Corral.net. In March 2004, he bought the car and brought it all the way home from Marietta, Georgia. "The motor was about shot, but overall the condition of the body and the interior was good," he says. He thought about leaving the car in stock trim, but that just wasn't good enough. "I can never leave one alone when I buy it," he says. "I like to be a little different with each one. I can't leave them stock. They were made to be modified."
Soon the transformation from stock to not began, and it started under the hood. Danny removed the original 5-liter and shipped the block to Race Engine Design in Ringgold, Georgia, where it was bored 0.030-inch over to punch out the displacement to 306 ci. The bare block was then sent to S&S Performance in Niota, Tennessee, where it was filled with the blueprinted stock crankshaft swinging stock connecting rods and TRW pistons. Clevite main bearings prevent deadly contact between the crank and the block, and the crank and rods, while stock main caps keep the crank in place. A Melling oil pump modified by S&S Performance sends lubricant to all of the internals, and the bottom end was buttoned up with a stock oil pan.
It was then time to outfit the rest of the mighty little Ford powerplant. Steve Swafford of S&S started off by installing an Ultradyne roller bumpstick milled on a 108 centerline with 0.525 lift and 220 degrees of duration on both the intake and exhaust sides. AFR 165 aluminum heads featuring 2.02 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves were bolted on next. The valvetrain was topped off with Harland Sharp 1.6 ratio roller rockers and covered with Trick Flow fabricated aluminum valve covers.
With the notchback being an '87, fuel injection was the induction method of choice. A Walbro 255-liter/hour fuel pump supplies the engine with 38 pounds of fuel pressure kept in check by a Crane fuel pressure regulator. An Accufab 75mm throttle body and C&L 76mm MAF feed air into the Holley SysteMAX intake manifold complete with a 1-inch spacer and EGR eliminator. Fresh air is supplied through a MAC cold-air kit, and a K&N filter makes sure neither dirt nor grime get into the cylinders. Autolite plugs are connected to the MSD distributor via MSD plug wires, which in turn gets the spark signal from a stock coil and an MSD Digital 6 box. The entire fuel and ignition curve is controlled by an A3M ECM. Spent gases are evacuated quickly thanks to MAC ceramic-coated 151/48-inch long-tube headers that dump into 211/42-inch collectors bolted to a 211/42-inch exhaust system complete with an x pipe system. Music from the headers is quieted by Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers.
An '89 T5 transmission allows Danny to make the gear changes at 5,400 rpm thanks to a UPR Blue Thunder shifter. The Spec Stage 2 clutch and an aluminum driveshaft transfers the power to the 8.8-inch Ford rearend stocked with 4.10 gears, stock axles, and a posi unit. Making sure the chassis can get all of this power to the ground is key, and Danny didn't overlook that fact. KYB struts and Saleen springs are featured up front; KYB shocks, Saleen springs, and UPR upper and lower control arms plant the rearend; and S&S custom subframe connectors help stiffen up the chassis. Rolling stock consists of chrome 17-inch Cobra R wheels when cruising around on the street. When Danny pulls into the track, however, the Cobra Rs come off and a set of Centerline 15x4 front and 15x8.5 rear Convo Pro wheels wrapped in 195R15 skinnies and 275/50/15 Mickey Thompson E.T. Streets are bolted on.
"It drives as tight as a new Mustang," he says. "When I put the front sway bar back on and the 17-inch Cobra Rs on all corners, it handles great. When I'm racing, I keep it on the mat and don't let up." Letting up wasn't in the equation at all for Danny, who drops the clutch at 3,800 rpm on the starting line and routinely blasts down the quarter-mile in the low-12-second range with a terminal velocity upwards of 112 mph.
With the mechanical portion of the car completed, Danny turned his attention to the appearance side. He hardly changed a thing in the interior, save for custom door panels, a custom rear seat, an Auto Meter tach, and Saleen oil pressure and water temperature gauges. The exterior of the car is a different story, however. He dropped off the Mustang at Automobile Collision Center in Sweetwater, Tennessee, where the crew there bolted on the Kaenen 3-inch cowl hood, sanded down the car, and sprayed on four coats of PPG basecoat/clearcoat Scarlet Red and clear paint. The finishing touch came in the form of the killer flame job.
"The car is fast, clean, and gets lots of attention," Danny says. "It still has A/C and all the other creature comforts." He's happy with how his Mustang turned out, though he's always looking to add to the fun. Future plans include a Vortech S-Trim supercharger that would push 10-12 pounds of boost into the fuel-injected Stang. Either way, Danny has found a perfect equation for fast, Ford fun.