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1988 Ford Mustang GT - Back In Black
After putting in many years of hard labor into a customer's car, Bob Frontino winds up taking over the Mustang of his dreams.
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How many times has a mechanic or builder worked on a customer's car, only to fall in love with it? It's a story that's probably all too familiar. One day, a patron comes in wanting nothing more than a set of pulleys for his or her all-original and showroom-fresh '88 Mustang GT. The car's factory paint still looks miles deep, and the pin-straight body looks better than the original ads. A week later, more mods are scheduled, and soon enough, superchargers and suspension work wind up making their way under the Ford's sheetmetal. Months turn into years as the customer's Pony works its way into the builder's heart.
So, imagine the surprise when Bob Frontino at Performance Associates in San Dimas, California, got a call from his longtime customer Terry Schroeder, who was buying a then-new '04 Cobra. To finance the Terminator, Terry had to part with his beloved '88 GT, so he offered it to Bob. The deal was so good, it was completed before it even started.
Without hesitation, Bob went to the bank, turned over the cash to Terry, and within a few hours was sitting in the Mustang GT of his dreams. "The car had always been garage kept, and the original paint still looked new," Bob says. "It felt great to buy the car that I had spent so many hours on. After many years of building cars for others, I finally had the opportunity to keep this one for myself. Since then, my son Vince and I have built a new engine and made other changes. Our goal was to also make the engine compartment as clean and neat as possible."
To get the project moving briskly, the Frontinos ditched the stock block and started fresh with a four-bolt Dart casting. With its eight bores set at a standard 4-inch dimension, the stout foundation was filled with a 3-inch Ford Racing Performance Parts steel crank. The arm was gently laid by the elder Frontino into Clevite 77 bearings and bolted into the main saddles with ARP fasteners. The Crower I-beam rods and JE pistons were all balanced for silky-smooth, high-rpm usage, and slid into their new homes by the junior Frontino. An aggressive Anderson Ford Racing B4 hydraulic roller cam was dialed in to nudge the Comp Cams Pro Magnum 1.6 rockers to slam 'n' jam the 2.02/1.60 stainless valves open within the Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads. Induction duties are left to a ported GT-40 lower and a Bennett box upper manifold. A good-ol' cog-driven Vortech T-Trim cranks out 17 pounds of boost and slings the big cfm down the Accufab's 75mm throat. With 50-pound injectors, the PMS-equipped EEC-IV has no problem keeping the fuel supplied. JBA 131/44 long-tube headers dump the vaporized Brontosauruses into a 3-inch x pipe system with SpinTech race mufflers. An LM-1 wide-band meter helps with tuning as this puppy get dialed in on the street and at the track.
Horsepower at the flywheel is estimated at around 700, and based on the car's current e.t. of 6.36 at 108 in the eighth, it's safe to say this 9-second-capable GT is definitely pushing over 600 hp at the wheels.