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1990 Mustang LX - Utterly Bodacious
Scott Boda's '90 Mustang LX Is A Reflection Of Its Owner.
Scott Boda admits to being different. As director of manufacturing at Steeda, he goes in the opposite direction of everyone else he knows. It's common knowledge that when it comes to describing a person's car, that vehicle is an extension of the owner, as it's often a reflection of their personality. That theory could not be proven truer than by looking at Scott and his '90 LX.
"Growing up, I was always into muscle-cars," Scott says. "I went to preschool in either my mom's '71 Cuda or my dad's '63 split-window Corvette. Octane and cubic inches were in my blood, but it was a ride in my mom's '66 Mustang convertible that got me hooked."
Scott's road to stardom began humbly, as he started out owning a pair of V-6-powered Mustangs. "My first Stang was an '86 T-top V-6. I had it for 28 days before I realized how light the back end on these ponycars were when I totaled it in a ditch. I replaced it with another '86 T-top car and drove it until my senior year of high school, which is when I got my '89 GT."
Scott kept the white Fox-body throughout college, until Christmas of 1996. Then, while at home for break, he found a cherry '90 LX hatchback. "All of my previous Mustangs had been white, and I was never a fan of red, but there was something about this car," Scott says. "Needless to say, I bought the LX on the spot and drove it back up to college the next week."
Since then, the red Mustang has seen its fair share of modifications, but by far its latest is the most intriguing. You might think that since Scott works at Steeda and deals with cars all day long, the last thing he'd want to do is put together his Mustang, but that's not the case. "Working for Steeda is a dream come true," he says. "It feeds my addiction and my hobby, even though the running joke is that I haven't made a dollar working here because I keep getting parts for the Mustang."
The original motor had seen so many different combinations that when Scott decided to redo the car this last time, he figured the right thing to do would be to start from scratch in terms of the powerplant. Knowing there's no replacement for displacement,the foundation for the engine is a 351 blockcast in the year 1969. Thanks to DSA Racing(Boca Raton, Florida), each of the eight cyl-inders was bored to 4.040 inches and, when combined with the long-armed 4.00-inch stroke Eagle forged crank, the cubic-inch number checks in at 410 large ones. Swinging on the crank journals are a set of Eagle forged rods topped by a set of Diamond pistons. Adding strength to the block is a D.S.S. main girdle, while lubricating all of the moving internal parts is a Ford Racing Performance Parts high-volume oil pump that draws in the slick stuff from a Moroso pan.
Long before he began putting the engine together, Scott decided there'd be no forced induction in the car's future. Knowing the motor would have to make power "pretty much" all on its own (more on that later), he touched base with Bennett Racing, which kicked over a behemoth of a solid-roller camshaft. The cam card gives a duration figure of 267/278 intake and exhaust at 0.050 inch, with lift figures checking in at 0.696 on both sides. The 'stick was ground on a 106 center, and once it was shoved in the block, a pair of Bennett Racing-ported TFS High-Port heads were lowered down onto the short-block. The aluminum heads showcase titanium 2.08 intake and 1.65 exhaust valves, and when combined with the Diamond pistons, set the squeeze mark at 13:1. Before the valve covers were put on, a set of 1.6-ratio billet-aluminum rockers and a stud girdle were installed.
After Scott secured the new bullet in the chamber, it came time to handle the induction, exhaust, and the rest of the things that go along with making the engine run at full song. An Accufab 90mm throttle body funnels air into a Spyder upper manifold and an Edelbrock Super Victor lower. Fuel is injected via an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump set at 40 psi. A set of 42-pound injectors supplies the gas to the ports. The stock computer was swapped in favor of a Simple Digital Systems piece by Western Motorsports and tuned by Scott himself. The computer sends the spark signal to an MSD 7AL2 box, which in turns forwards the spark through an MSD coil and distributor, then down the line through FRPP wires, where it lights the mixture via NGK plugs. A pair of Kook's long-tube headers evacuate the burnt gasses and dump into a Dr. Gas x pipe system and 3-inch setup. Adding a sizeable kick in the pants is a Nitrous Express multiple-stage wet kit that adds 125 hp on launch and another 125 further down course.
Here's where Scott decided to be different from everyone else. Minus the fact that everyone told him to keep the powerplant carbureted (he went with the fuel injection), he actually has a transmission for both nitrous and non-nitrous use. When he runs a 26-inch tall tire and no juice, squashed between the engine and the driveshaft (an aftermarket aluminum one by the way) is a G-Force T5 five-speed and complementary clutch built by Pro Motion. When running on the sauce and the 28-inch tires, in goes a C4 three-speed automatic and a 4,800-stall converter courtesy of Performance Automatic. "Originally, I loved the five-speed," Scott says. "I love banging gears, but with the nitrous, I have to run a 28-inch tire, and it raised durability issues with the T5. That's why I switch between the two. When on that tire and running the nitrous, the automatic is much more consistent and reliable, plus it makes the car much more streetable. The converter sucks up a lot of the cam, making it easier to drive on the street."
When it came to prepping the rearend and suspension to handle the juiced stroker's power, Scott went down yet another dissimilar path. "I love being different, and I have always been a drag racer," he says. "The road course stuff is cool, but it's far easier to go to a dragstrip with whatever you're driving and go racing. Plus, setting the car up more for the strip served to be a perk for me at work, as the car does most of the company's testing on its more hard-core or drag-race designed parts."
It comes as no surprise then that the underpinnings of this Fox-body showcase an abundance of parts from the Steeda catalog. A QA1 K-member and tubular A-arms mate with Tokico five-way drag shocks, Hyperco springs, Steeda caster/camber plates, and a bumpsteer kit to swing the weight rearward upon launch. Lightening up the front end even further is a Flaming River manual rack. Out back, the 8.8-inch rear is suspended by Steeda double-adjustable upper control arms and a set of Weight-Jackers lower control arms that are also off the Steeda shelf. Lakewood 50/50 shocks, stock springs, Steeda full-length subframe connectors, and an antisway bar get the rearend to hunker and plant the big sticky meats. The rear showcases 3.90 gears, Moser 33-spline axles, an Auburn Pro differential, and an adjustable-mount differential cover, while the rolling stock consists of classic Weld Draglite wheels. A pair of 15x3.5s are found up front, with 15x10s out back. All four corners are graced with DOT rubbers, with the Nitto Front Runner 1320 tires up front and a set of 325/50/15 drag radials in the rear. The stock brakes were left untouched, though a pair of Hawk pads and Powerslot rotors hide behind the front rims.
With the car being in such great shape externally, the stock red hue was left alone, though a 2 1/2-inch cowl hood (modified to fit the tall block), a '93 Cobra wing, and a '93 Cobra R antenna delete were sprayed red and installed by Econo Auto Body (Boca Raton, Florida). As for the interior portion of the car, a 10-point rollcage with a window net was installed. The factory buckets, as well as safety features, were enhanced with a pair of five-point harnesses. An Auto Meter Monster tach with shift light was mounted on the top of the dash, and a switch panel was installed underneath the radio. When the speeder is in the car, a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter makes the gear changes fluid and easy.
With the nitrous on full-tilt, Scott ripped off a best elapsed time of 9.27 seconds, with a terminal velocity of almost 146 mph. "I was lucky enough to win the 9-second class and finish Third overall in the NMRA Bradenton True Street event," he says. "True Street is a great class that epitomizes the run-what-ya-brung [attitude]. It's a racer-oriented class, and I love it."
In addition to running the car in True Street, Scott takes the Fox-body on cruises every weekend. "I built the car as a weekend warrior, something that would turn heads on the street with both performance and style," he says. "I drive it every weekend around town. It's my grocery-getter, and I've even taken the car on a few dates. The ladies like it, and I like it because I have to help them over the rollcage and into the car."
Scott is happy with how the car is running. The only change he plans to make is the swapping around of the transmission. "The car is set up for drag racing and cruising on the weekends, so it doesn't mix well with the twisties, but it will go straight as an arrow on the strip," he says. "The demeanor of the car on the street is more tame than most might think, though."
On that, Scott, we beg to differ.