Frank H. Cicerale
November 1, 2008

Life can be quirky at times. In a sense, life is like a road you travel on. Every now and then you hit a few bumps, but other times you come to a nice, long, smooth stretch of pavement where you can open things up. Then you come to a fork in the road. In front of you lies a decision, and you sit there, contemplating which way to go, because once that decision is made, there's no turning back.

What if there was an access road connecting those two roads, though? That would be great, wouldn't it? This way, in case the path you took is one you really don't like, you can just hop off and go to the other one. Sounds like something George Carlin would come up with, but it can happen. Just ask Brandon Gibson.

Brandon is a mechanical designer from Keswick, Virginia, and knows all too well that sometimes the path chosen isn't the one that gets you to your ideal destination. Take his '90 Mustang LX coupe, for example. What was intended to be a mild daily driver has evolved and changed its direction into one righteous, Windsor-packing Fox-body.

In Brandon's defense, the intention was there. It just metamorphasized into what the car has become as you see it here. "I have a red '93 LX with a 331 stroker and S-Trim blower, so when I bought this car, I knew I wanted it to be naturally aspirated," Brandon says. Truth be told, the car did end up as an N/A car, though with a much bigger bullet under the hood.

While Brandon has yet to take a trip down the quarter-mile in his '90 Mustang, all of the parts and pieces are there for it to gallop to some quick times.

When Brandon picked up the coupe, it was in pretty sorry shape. "It had a blown head gasket, so the original plan was to fix that, get a paint job, and drive the car." Sounds like a solid plan to us. Too bad it never materialized.

"The whole project kind of snowballed," Brandon says. "I originally had planned for the car to be a small-motor daily driver with nitrous. It was going to have a 306 with a set of AFR heads and a decent shot of nitrous, but when I started to take the car apart to fix the blown head gasket, I saw just how nasty it was. The motor needed an entire rebuild, so I figured since I had to replace the motor, I might as well go bigger."

What started out as a minor build for a daily driver morphed into a full-on restification of a tired little Pony. While a new paint job was in the plans all along, Brandon didn't hesitate to strip the car down to a bare shell and bring it and the remaining pieces to a friend who would perform the bodywork. Said friend shot the flanks of the Stang in Burnt Orange, which truly gleams in the Virginia morning sunlight. While the bodywork was being performed, Brandon hashed out the powerplant combination that would make its way into the engine bay of the nimble Fox-body. Knowing that a taller-deck Windsor powerplant would soon reside there, he ordered up a Cervini's 4-inch fiberglass cowl hood, which was promptly laid on and shot in the same hue as the car. With the exterior reassembled, Brandon took possession of his car, and set out to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Rather than rebuild the stock 5.0L that came with the coupe and throw some sauce at it, Brandon went with the "bigger is better" mantra, and bolted together a thumping 408 Windsor.

Already knowing that if he was going to build a motor, it might as well be a bigger one, Brandon touched base with Ed Curtis and Keith Craft Racing, eventually using the shop's combined knowledge and his thoughts to spec out a smoking-hot 408 Windsor. Based around a vintage '70 351 block, Keith Craft machined the block to accept the stroker bottom-end assembly, which consists of an Eagle 4340 forged crank, JE slugs, and Eagle H-beam connecting rods. Lubrication of the innards is a task handled by a stock Ford oil pump and a Canton pan.

With the short-block assembled, it was time for Brandon to finish things off. A custom roller bumpstick courtesy of Ed Curtis was stuffed in, followed by a set of AFR 225 aluminum heads that showcase 2.08 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves that help set the compression ratio at a pump-gas friendly 10.5:1. Scorpion 1.6:1 roller rockers tickle the valves open, while topping the 408-inch stroker is an Edelbrock Super Victor intake.