Frank H. Cicerale
May 1, 2008
Photos By: Peter S. Linney
Model: Annie Huntley

At the end of World War II, the United States and the former Soviet Union entered into what was arguably the most unsettling time in modern history, the Cold War. With nukes and other forms of weapons capable of blowing up the world time and time again, things ended when the Soviet Union capitulated.

While the Cold War may be over in terms of world politics, a war between Mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds has been going on since the late '60s and still rages on road courses throughout America. Today, instead of the Iron Curtain, there's an iron of a different kind, namely the National Auto Sports Association's American Iron Series.

Standing on the front lines of battle is Julio Mayan and his '93 Mustang GT. Julio, of JME Enterprises, decided that this car and the American Iron Series would be the perfect proving ground for his company's performance components. "Our goals were to run this car in the NASA American Iron Series to prove the effectiveness, performance, and durability of our new SLA front suspension," he says. To showcase the company's go-fast goodies, Julio decided to take a '93 Mustang GT and turn it into a racer worthy of battle on the road course.

Power, handling, and durability were the three fundamental components Julio and the crew at JME needed to address when building the Pony for competition. The transformation from street cruiser to corner carver began under the hood, where the stock 302 pushrod engine was removed and taken down to bare bones. The block was then poked and stroked, with the bore increasing to 4.040 inches and, thanks to a long-arm forged Eagle crank, the stroke now measures out to 3.250 inches. Eagle 5.4-inch forged H-beam rods swing on the crank, while gliding up and down the cylinder walls are JE pistons. Making sure that the 333ci powerplant would be lubricated with oil no matter what, a Johnson High Tech Performance external three-stage oil pump was installed, along with a Canton Accusump 3-quart accumulator and a wet sump pan that was modified by JME for the Johnson pump.

Julio's Mustang hustles around the track thanks to a 333ci poked and stroked small-block Ford topped with AFR heads and a host of other goodies. All of those speed parts combine to provide a 385-rwhp kick.

A Comp Cams dual-pattern camshaft was shoved in next. The bumpstick showcases lift figures of 0.565 inch on the intake and 0.574 for the exhaust. Duration at 0.050 inch lift checks in at 232 intake and 240 exhaust. With a naturally aspirated motor, getting air in and out is the key to making power, and to do so, an upgraded set of cylinder heads is a no-brainer. With that in mind, AFR 185 heads were bolted on. Featuring additional porting work, Ferrea 6-Series valves, and Comp Cams dual valvesprings and titanium retainers, these heads were the perfect choice for the road-race car.

Sitting between the intake ports is a Holley SysteMAX intake manifold. Fuel makes its way into the engine via 30-pound injectors, and the spark is provided with help from a Digital 6 box, distributor, and coil from MSD. The signal to light the plugs is sent from the stock computer that has been loaded with a Superchips custom tune. Spent gasses are shuttled out of the engine via BBK ceramic-coated 13/4-inch long-tube headers that dump into an unmuf-fled SpinTech 3-inch exhaust system that was installed by Terry Buch at JME. Keeping the bullet cool under fire out on the track is a Meziere Enterprises electric water pump and Fluidyne radiator. When all was said and done, the supersized small-block Ford spun out 385 hp at the rear wheels.

When it comes to road racing, a manual transmission is the most popular choice, and that's also the case for Julio. A Tremec TKO 600 five-speed stick with a 0.82 Overdrive was installed behind a Centerforce aluminum flywheel and DFX clutch, though according to Julio, the Tremec will soon make way for a Jerico. Each gear change is easily made thanks to a Pro-5.0 shifter, and mating the tranny to the rear is a custom 4-inch aluminum driveshaft courtesy of Driveline Service. Speaking of the rearend, the Fox-body's factory 8.8-inch housing was tossed aside in favor of an IRS setup from an '03 Cobra. The rear now sports a set of 3.73 cogs and a DPI Gold Trac limited-slip differential, as well as a Steeda IRS differential cover brace.

A number of body modifications were made to the Fox-body to get it ready for competition, including the G-Stream/Tiger Racing rear wing, lightened fiberglass hatch, and fenders that have been rolled and flared for tire clearance.

Handling and braking are more important in road racing than gobs of horsepower, so the entire suspension and braking systems were revamped to handle the abuse of high-speed stopping and cornering. A steering rack from an '00 Cobra R that was upgraded with JME billet-aluminum steering arms can be found up front, along with JME's prototype SLA suspension components, spindles, aluminum Koni coilover shocks, and a sway bar. Subframe connectors tie the frame together, while out back, Maximum Motorsports' bushings and a rear bumpsteer kit conspire with the IRS and its corresponding sway bar and Bilstein shocks to keep the hind end in check. The rearend fluid has its temperature kept down thanks to a JME custom rear differential cooler complete with a SPAL fan and a Tilton pump.

As for the braking system, the stock stuff was thrown in the trash to make way for a set of JMC Motorsports Extreme six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. Both front and rear are fitted with 13x11/2-inch rotors and Performance Friction brake pads, and feeding brake fluid throughout the entire circuit is a JMC dual master cylinder and a Maximum Motorsports manual-brake-pedal conversion kit. A Stewart proportioning valve allows for changes to be made to the brake bias, and helping to keep the brake fluid temps in check is a DPI recirculator. The quick lap times from the Pony come thanks in part to the rolling stock, which consists of 17x9 Konig Villain wheels wrapped in Toyo RA1s sized 275/40/17. Soon to come are a set of 18x11s showcasing 315/30/18 size shoes.

Julio's '93 Mustang does battle upholding the Blue Oval way of life in the American Iron Series. Many a Camaro and Firebird have felt the kick from this Pony's gallop.

To conform to the American Iron Series safety specifications, and to make Julio feel at home both on the straightaways and in the corners, the interior was gutted in true race-car fashion. Auto Power installed the rollcage, which was followed by a Suzuka Cobra seat and G-Force five-point harness. The stock dash remained, though its gauges were replaced with Auto Meter Phantom units and a much-needed shift light that comes with the JME plug-and-play gauge cluster. The stock steering wheel was ditched in favor of a Momo piece complete with a JMC Motorsports quick-release hub. As for the console, it was custom fabricated with only functionality in mind. It features a switch panel to control the Accusump, differential cooler fan and pump, and water pump and radiator fan override, as well as the rear brake-ducts fan and power mirrors.

Hop under the rear of the car and you will find a Fuel Safe 22-gallon fuel cell stocked with an internal pump, surge collector, and foam baffling. If you think there's a radio in this Pony, think again. According to what Julio put on our tech sheet, the radio is "engine" and the speakers are vintage "exhaust tips."

There are no frills in this compartment. Everything that was not needed gave way to a spartan, business-like interior filled with only the bare necessities: a custom-made console with a switch panel, a Suzuka Cobra seat, five-point harness, and a dash stocked full of Auto Meter Phantom gauges.

There's no belying this Stang's purpose, as one look at the flanks give off its true calling. A 21/2-inch fiberglass cowl hood with extractor vents was bolted on in place of the factory lid, and the front bumper now features a center cutout that allows more airflow into the radiator. The rear bumper is classic '93 Cobra, as well as the taillights. The front headlights were painted translucent yellow, and the fender lips were rolled and slightly flared to allow sufficient clearance for the oversize meats. The doors were gutted and lightened, and the stock hatch was replaced with a JME fiberglass piece with a Lexan window. A G-Stream/Tiger Racing rear wing was bolted to the rear of the hatch, giving the Mustang much needed downforce. Once all of the body modifications were made, the sheetmetal (and fiberglass) of the Mustang was shot in PPG Performance Red and clear.

"This is our test mule that has been evolving quantifiably during the past year," Julio says. "We only ran this car last year to test, but we plan to introduce a purpose-built AIX car that we will campaign in 2008."