Frank H. Cicerale
November 1, 2008
Photos By: Michael Galimi

When you first look at Jason Duggar's car, you get a nagging feeling that something's not quite right. From the rear it looks like a clean, red Mustang coupe with a staggeringly cool set of hoops. Take a stroll along either side of the car, and it looks like Jason either slapped on a later-edition Fox-body rear onto a four-eyed car, or threw on a front bumper from an '86-or-older Mustang on the later coupe body. By the time you get to the front end, though, you feel like you did the first day you sat down in high-school algebra class. There are front-end parts on this car that look vaguely familiar, yet at the same time, you can't figure it out. In a sense, Jason made up his own math equation: 1+1=3.

To tell the story of Jason's Coupri (which is the easiest way to describe this car) is to tell the story of the man himself. The 31-year-old owner of Performance Automotive in Dallas, Georgia, wanted something different. To say he took that notion way beyond the realm of what most would consider sane and possible is the understatement of the year.

Having owned numerous high-powered Ford products, including a couple of Cobras, Saleens, and Lightnings, Jason wanted something completely different this time around. His idea of "different," however, would come with the merge of a Fox-body Mustang and a Mercury Capri. Crazy? Maybe, but it sure as heck ended up being one fine piece of machinery with turbocharged power.

With nearly 650 rwhp on tap, it comes as no surprise that Jason's Coupri rips off trap speeds well into the 130-mph zone. He expects to break into the nine-second zone very soon-all while still driving the car on the street.

"In all honesty, I got the idea from two other cars I saw," Jason says. "A buddy of mine had a '90 convertible Mustang that he modified with Capri body components, and I saw an '82 GT built in the same fashion. What I didn't see was a coupe with Capri bodywork, and I thought it would look pretty cool. I wanted to do something strange and different, and I figured this would be the ticket."

While the powerplant, drivetrain, and the rest of the moving parts are a laundry list of high-performance pieces made to work in concert with one another, by far the most intriguing part of the car is, obviously, the bodywork. "I probably put between 300 and 400 hours into the bodywork and everything I had to do to the quarter-panels, the fenders, and doing the primer and block-sanding of the car," Jason says. "The fitment was one of the harder obstacles to getting the car to look like it was made to appear as it does now. Overall, the front bumper and all of its little crevices were the most difficult things to work on."

To point the car in the proper direction, Jason wraps his hands around the Grant steering wheel.

It's amazing that Jason says the bumper was the most difficult part of the body changes, and not that the '88 Mustang was changed around with parts from not only another year Mustang, but another make of car. "I had the concept of what the car was to look like long before I bought it," he says. "For four years, I took the time to search for the right parts, save up the needed amount of money to work on the car, and build it. I have to tell you, it took some wheeling and dealing, that's for sure."

After buying the car from a student whom his wife, Peyton, was teaching at a technical college, Jason set about accomplishing his task. Once the Stang was in his garage, he excised the fenders, quarter-panels, hood, and front bumper. He then spliced in fenders and quarter-panels from an '84 Mercury Capri-hence the Coupri moniker. Wanting a different look to the front end, Jason laid down a fiberglass '79 Pace Car-style bonnet and completed the body changeover with the addition of a '79 Mustang front bumper. Once satisfied with the fitment of the new and unique look and parts, he primered the flanks of the Coupri, blocked it, sanded it, and finished it off with Performance Red slathered in clearcoat.

Jason then opened the doors to the Coupri and made his way into the cabin of the car, where he made some modifications as well. The black Mustang interior remained when he was done, but a set of Kirkey race seats replaced the factory buckets. Keeping Jason and Peyton in check during any full-throttle jaunts is a pair of G-Force five-point harnesses, while a 10-point rollcage and a window net allow the car to pass tech. A Grant steering wheel was added for ease of steering input, and a host of Auto Meter gauges clue him in to the engine's vitals.

Knowing that quick elapsed times were in the works, Jason beefed up the interior with a 10-point rollcage and a pair of Kirkey racing seats with G-Force five-point harnesses to legally go that quick. Other than that, the interior is standard, black Mustang fare.

While Jason was transforming his Mustang into a Coupri, he enlisted a horsepower guru in the Outlaw 10.5 ranks to create a wild powerplant that is truly fitting for the Coupri's demeanor. Steve Petty of Proline Race Engines built the pushrod powerplant, and he certainly didn't disappoint. A Ford Racing Performance Parts Sportsman cylinder case was procured and promptly bored for the soon-to-come 347-stroker bottom-end package. Once the machine work on the block was complete, Petty laid a forged-steel crank in the main web before stuffing a forged piston/rod combo down each cylinder. A Melling oil pump squirts the lubricant throughout the engine, while a Moroso oil pan seals the bottom end.

A custom turbo grind cam was slipped into the short-block, and a pair of Edelbrock Victor Jr. aluminum heads were carefully laid down, while the Victor Jr.'s combustion chamber sealed up the cylinders to the tune of an 8.5:1 compression ratio. The valves are tickled open with a set of Pro Magnum 1.6 ratio roller rockers courtesy of Comp Cams. With such a low compression ratio and the obvious mention of a turbo grind cam, it comes as no surprise that a hairdryer would make its way into the engine compartment.

Jason equipped the Coupri with some massive meats. A pair of 18x8.5 BBK RK rims enveloped in 255/40/18 Nittos reside up front, while 18x10 of the same model wheels surrounded by larger 305/35/18 Nittos are found aft.

A Turbonetics T-76 turbo has its impeller spun thanks to the exhaust that is pumped into the hot side of the turbo via custom headers. The turbo creates 30 psi of boost that is promptly stuffed into the stroker mill through an Accufab 90mm throttle body and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold. The exhaust gasses are shuffled out quietly thanks to a pair of Borla XR-1 mufflers that exit through a single downpipe that splits off into a dual-outlet, 3-inch aluminum exhaust system. For fuel, an Aeromotive fuel pump sends the go-juice through an Aeromotive regulator that keeps fuel pressure to 38 psi and into the combustion chamber via a set of 72-pound injectors. With so much cylinder pressure present, an upgraded ignition system is a must. The stock ECM was deep-sixed for a BigStuff3 fuel injection system that sends the spark signal through an MSD Digital 7 ignition box, MSD HVC coil, factory distributor, Taylor plug wires, and Accel plugs. Chilling the incoming air charge is a Precision Turbo intercooler. All told, the powerplant is good for 649 rwhp and 700 lb-ft of torque on pump gas.

Backing the turbocharged engine is a Tremec TKO 600 stick shift. Sandwiched in the bellhousing are a Spec flywheel, pressure plate, and Stage 3+ clutch. Jason makes each gear change with a Tremec shifter, and the power is transferred down the line to the 8.8-inch rear via an aluminum driveshaft. Speaking of the rear, said housing is ready to go with the addition of a set of 3.31 gears, a spool, and 33-spline Moser axles.

The final portions of the car Jason gave his attention to were the suspension and brakes. After all, he wanted his newfound pride and joy to hook hard at the track and run the best it could. First, let's check out the suspension, where up front, Jason threw in QA1 struts and springs, as well as performing a manual steering rack conversion. In the middle of the car is a pair of subframe connectors, while the hind end showcases Steeda upper and lower control arms and QA1 shocks and springs. For stopping power, Jason relies on Aerospace binders on all four corners. The Coupri rolls on BBS RK rims-the 18x8.5 fronts are wrapped in 255/40/18 Nitto shoes, while the 18x10 rears are shod in 305/35/18s. The back of the car benefits from mini-tubs that swallow up the large wheel/tire combo. If you think this car is a trailer queen, think again. Even though the rear tires screamed in agony, Jason shifted the Coupri to a best lap of 11.31 seconds at 136 mph.

"I just picked up a set of 315/30/18 Mickey Thompson drag radials that should easily get it into the 10.50s," Jason says. "The thing is, I built this car to run in the 9s. If I put in race gas and turn up the boost, the car should make 900 hp, which is more than enough to get it there. I think it's going to take me switching out the Tremec for an AOD automatic to do it, though. This way it eliminates my driving and makes accomplishing that task easier."

When all is said and done, only one phrase comes to mind when describing Jason's creation: It's one cool Coupri.