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1988 Ford Mustang LX - Mr. Biggs' Stuff
Mike Biggs Hits His '88 LX With A Shot Of Nitrous And Sidesteps The Clutch In Search Of Fun.
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The engine screams on the two-step, your left leg shakes as it struggles to hold down the clutch pedal, and your palms, although sweaty, grip the shifter and the steering wheel tightly. Finally, the green light flashes. Without hesitation, your left foot sidesteps the clutch, and you're away from the line. In the next instant, the nitrous kicks on, and a boost of acceleration makes it feel like a giant hammer slammed your rump. The steering wheel feels loose because the front wheels are dangling, but that doesn't change the fact that you have to snatch Second gear quickly.
Mike Biggs feels this sensation every time he takes his '88 Mustang LX to the dragstrip. It's a rush that can't be duplicated in any other form of motorsport. "Once I take off, my right foot does not leave the floor," he says. "I grew up around stick-car racing. My dad showed me everything with a stick car and was a big part of getting me where I am today."
Mike decided to build this Stang after drag racing a Fox-body Thunderbird for many years. The lure of being able to drive on the street and still pound out quick elapsed times was too much to resist. It was also a great calling card for his business, Biggs Automotive, a high-performance shop that specializes in all aspects of drag racing and street rods.
Mike's approach was simple-the vehicle had to have a manual transmission and run in the 10s, while knocking down 20 mpg. To meet his goal, he drew on his many years of experience in the high-performance business. He applied the tricks and knowledge to the engine combination and chassis.
One thing Mike knew was that extra cubic inches don't hurt, so he opted for a 351 Windsor instead of a fresh 302 High Output engine. A stock Windsor block was bored 0.030, and final displacement stands at 358 ci. The stock crankshaft was retained, and hanging off it are eight Eagle rods and SRP pistons. The pistons are of the forged variety, and compression percolates at 10.3:1. That's mild enough to run on pump gas but still high enough to help bump up the naturally aspirated horsepower. A custom lower support brace helps keep the main caps from moving around when Mike smacks the engine with a 100-horse shot of nitrous oxide.
The upper half of the engine features Pro Action cylinder heads (now known as RHS), a custom Comp Cams roller cam, a TFS 351 Windsor EFI manifold, and a Professional Products 75mm throttle body. A Nitrous Works wet system provides the go-fast juice safely and easily. Unwanted gases are expelled through MAC long-tube headers, a Biggs Automotive-built 3-inch x pipe system, and Flowmaster mufflers.
The electronics are straightforward in this street and strip warrior. MSD was tapped for a distributor, coil, and wires, while NGK spark plugs deliver the spark. The stock computer system was retained, but it has been modified with an Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS tuning system. The handheld tuner allows Mike to tailor the fuel and spark controls, and rev limit, and it keeps his Windsor running smoothly. A C&L MAF sensor tells the computer system how much air is entering the engine. Ford Racing 30-pound injectors provide the fuel to the cylinders. An Aeromotive fuel system ensures there is no shortage of dead dinosaurs, and fuel pressure is set at 40 psi.
Because Mike has been involved in drag racing since he was a child, and having built many street rods, the chassis would receive as much attention as the engine combination. The 8.8-inch rear was built up using drag racing-oriented components. Inside the popular rearend housing are 3.55 gears, a Strange spool, and Strange 33-spline axles. A T/A Performance rearend girdle ensures the gears don't blow out the backside of the housing when launching at high rpm. A set of Granatelli Motor Sport upper and lower control arms were also added. Mike fired up the welder and built his own antisway bar. Competition Engineering subframe connectors and a Biggs Automotive 10-point rollcage prevent this Stang from twisting up.
The manual transmission is from Tremec, and it's hooked to a Centerforce clutch setup that ensures Mike can launch hard with nitrous time and time again without wearing out the clutch disc. He slams each gear using a Hurst short-throw shifter that has a Reichard Racing shifter handle. Thanks to Fifth gear, the engine sings gracefully on the highway, and the car is sedate enough to achieve the 20-mpg goal that Mike set out to accomplish. "It is totally driveable," he says. "I was aiming for 20 or so miles per gallon, and based on the recent True Street cruise, it got that."
Horsepower numbers were not available, as Mike prefers to use the dragstrip as his dyno. Best time to date has been an 11.17 at 128 mph. With that kind of mph, this LX is more than capable of going deep into the 10-second zone. Mike has some work to do on dialing in the launch efficiency, as the best 60-foot time was a traction-limited 1.70. New rear shocks, springs, and tires have been ordered up and should be the answer to the traction issues.
With a little tweaking and adjusting, this Mustang will hook hard and charge into the 10s, where it belongs.