Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
April 1, 2008

When Mustang owners became serious about going fast in Fox-body Mustangs, many adopted the old adage "there's no replacement for displacement." The small-block Ford engine was coming on strong, but fuel injection was still in its infancy. Soon, people were swapping in 351 Windsor blocks with carburetors, and a select few even shoehorned in the big-block 385-429-460 series of engines for stump-pulling torque and power.

These days, big-block power is even more popular now that the technology to fuel inject them has become commonplace. No matter how you supply air and fuel, big-blocks make big power, and when Lake City, Florida's Kenny Bingham wanted to buy a fast car, a big-block- powered Fox-body was just what he needed to settle some local grudge races.

The '85 Mustang pictured before you looked very different when Kenny loaded it onto his trailer to take it home. Purchased from HP Performance's Tony and Sherry Gonyon (Orange Park, Florida), the Pony wore its original four-eyed headlight configuration along with the rest of its '85 vintage attire. Most notable, though, was its bright pink paint with black trim-an odd, yet exuberant, choice of color that has covered all three of Gonyon's muscle Mustangs. Known as "Pinky III," the coupe sported a 514ci powerplant and a combination fogger/plate nitrous system that propelled it to a best quarter-mile performance of 8.79 at 158 mph.

Pinky's track cred was earned at numerous Florida strips in various heads-up racing events, including the No Bull Nationals, the No Lip Nationals (both of which are similar to MM&FF's True Street competition), as well as an NHRA Street shootout. Tony placed Second in the No Bull Nats one year, and he received a Wally for winning the NHRA shootout. The brightly colored Fox-body also did well at MM&FF's own Spring Break Shootout events over the years.

The grudge racing at Florida's racetracks was getting thick, and after being challenged by a couple of guys with a hot Camaro, Kenny needed a fast Ford to shut them up.

We've had some Fox-body Mustangs and a '98 SN-95 that snowballed out of control," Kenny says. "I thought about building a big-block car, talked to Tony about it, and he offered to sell me his car." After thinking it over for a while, Kenny called Tony again and the offer still stood.

"I like to mess with Tony," Kenny says, "so I showed up the next day with a manila envelope that had 'Little Kenny's College Fund' written on it." That envelope was chock full of cash (though, thankfully, not little Kenny's college fund), and Kenny's only stipulation was that Tony drive and maintain the Mustang, which was a win-win situation for all parties involved. Shortly thereafter, the grudge race was set, but it didn't go in favor of team Mustang.