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1993 Ford Mustang LX - Rope-A-Dope
Terry and Julie Allen's turbocharged '93 Mustang LX knows when to unload a flurry of punches.
There was a lot going on in 1974. Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency. Flying hero Charles Lindbergh died from cancer. Hank Aaron blasted home run number 715 and broke the long-standing career home-run mark set by New York Yankee Babe Ruth. The Oakland As, stocked with such stars as Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson, took out the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to win the '74 Series. And a flashy, flamboyant, and at times abrasive, boxing promoter by the name of Don King booked two of the biggest heavyweight boxers to square off, toe-to-toe, in a televised fight held in the Zaire, Africa.
The fight pitted boxing-legend Muhammad Ali against the up and coming George Foreman. Ali, long known for his poetic speeches before a fight, unveiled a tactic in the ring that not only confused Foreman, but won Ali the bout and a reclamation of the heavyweight belt. Using his now famous "rope-a-dope" strategy, Ali spent eight rounds hanging on the ropes, letting the then unbeaten Foreman pound away with fists of fury. After more than seven rounds of patiently wearing down Foreman, Ali landed the knockout punch in the eighth, putting Foreman on the canvas and out of the fight.
Although Terry and Julie Allen were around in 1974, their '93 Mustang LX was nearly 20 years away from rolling off the assembly line. They must have had the "rope-a-dope" strategy in mind when they put together the last-edition Fox-body notchback, though. Having already gone through blower vehicles and a semiradical, naturally aspirated car, the Allens wanted a car that would dupe others into thinking it could be beaten easily, all the while having the ability to unload a knockout punch with precision and deadly accuracy. The result of their wants and desires was the forging of their turbocharged LX. "I already had a supercharged vehicle and a modded-out, naturally aspirated car," Terry says. "I just wanted to see what the difference was in having a turbo car and if I could put it together myself." The result? "I would never invest in a supercharger again after having a turbo," he says.
Knowing that the increased cylinder pressure and boost from the turbo would put a high amount of strain on the internals of the stock 302, Terry decided to build a short-block worthy of standing in the ring for 15 rounds. He took a machined D.S.S. Level 20 race block, and, matching the cylinders with the longer stroke from the 4340 forged stroker crank, requisitioned a displacement figure of 331 ci. Pumping up and down the eight cylinder walls are D.S.S. forged Pro-lite max quench reverse-dome pistons, while 4340 forged H-beam rods rotate around the crank's mains. The final squeeze number checks in at a turbo-friendly 9:1. Down below, a D.S.S. 8-quart pan complete with a windage tray seals up the bottom end, while a Ford oil pump squirts lubricant to the rotating masses.
The top half of the stroker small-block is where it gets interesting. A set of Trick Flow Track Heat aluminum heads, showcasing 2.02-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves, were taken out of the box and promptly lowered onto the block. The valves are opened thanks to Harland Sharp rockers, which work in conjunction with a Comp Cams Xtreme Energy bumpstick that was milled to HP Performance specs. The incoming air charge hits the speed bag when the 60mm turbo from an HP Performance T60 Stage 1 turbocharger kit spools up. Metering the 10 pounds of boosted oxygen is a C&L 76mm mass air meter, which funnels the atmosphere though a Professional Products 75mm throttle body and down the intake runners of the Hogan intake manifold. Adding fuel to the fire is an Aeromotive A1000 pump and a set of 42-pound injectors that direct the fuel into the cylinders. The bomb is kicked off each time the MSD Digital 6 box sends a high-voltage spark through the Blaster coil. Getting this 511-rwhp powerhouse to live and breathe was handled by Terry himself. The exhaust system consists of the 1 3/4-inch shorty headers and tubing supplied in the HP kit, which is then mated to a 3-inch exhaust system that exits the rear of the car.