Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1988 Mustang 5.0 LX - A King And His Castle
Live In A House, Or Live In Your Car?
Having been unhappy with the Ford Racing E303 camshaft, John installed a Wolverine Blue Racer 1087 hydraulic roller camshaft. The 1087 cam was popular early on in the 5.0L rage, and it has always carried a great reputation for power and drivability. Duration checks in at 222/232 degrees at 0.050, and valve lift registers 0.510/0.534-inch. Residing atop the lifter valley is an Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake manifold, with a 75mm Accufab throttle body and a Pro-M 80 mm mass air meter reading the intake charge. The Vortech SQ remains, offering 14psi of boost, and John enlisted Mike Freeman to rework the EEC-IV computer programming. For now, 36-lb/hr fuel injectors run off a stock fuel system with twin external fuel pumps.
For such a capable engine combination, the exhaust system is rather tame, with a pair of Ford Racing Performance parts 15/8-inch shorty headers dumping into a Bassani 21/2-inch x-shaped mid-pipe and Dynomax Super turbo mufflers with stainless steel tips.
With the body being so rusty on this New England-based rocket, one could easily assume that John wasn't going to leave the rusty suspension parts alone. That being said, Ford Racing "B" coil springs reside at the corners and work with Koni SPA-1 front struts, Steeda caster/camber plates and bumpsteer kit, along with Factory Five control arms out back. A D&D Motorsports tubular K-member removed some excess weight from the front end.
The Fox-body Mustang's 8.8 rear axle assembly is one of the toughest housings to come under a ponycar, and when properly equipped, can handle 1,000 hp or more. John fortified his 8.8 with an Eaton differential, Superior 31-spline axleshafts, and a 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion set.
In need of larger injectors, and probably a larger fuel system at this point, John's little 306ci engine pumped out a claimed 575 rwhp and 509 lb-ft of torque. He hasn't had much track time with it, but so far the Colt has run 11.3 at 129 mph with a soft 1.99 short time. He's gone as fast as 1.61 in the first 60 feet, but was unable to catch Third gear when it came time. The car has 10-second power, but we have to wonder for how long given the stock block's propensity for splitting at this horsepower level.
For everything that John has done underhood, he's opted to go the minimalist route on the exterior. Though bathed in bright red paint, the Mustang sports a stock-height fiberglass hood from H.O. Fibertrends, and a set of chrome pony wheels. John had the rear wheels widened to 9.5 inches to accommodate 26x10.5-inch Mickey Thompson ET Street tires, while the front 16x7s are wrapped in 255/60/16 Michelin Pilots.
The interior is likewise mundane, or at least as mundane as red upholstery gets. The very clean red tweed seats are positioned amid a rollbar, and a few Auto Meter instruments adorn the cabin along with a pair of five-point racing harnesses.
As clean as this coupe is, John tells us he drives it everywhere. Whether it's to the local cruise-in or to the dragstrip some 100 miles from home. "I started reading Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords in 1988 and my dream ever since has been to have my car featured," says John. "You will never find a bigger fan of these cars anywhere. Your magazine has been my inspiration." With a 20-year dream now coming true, one might wonder if the sacrifices along the way were worth it. Well, the king has his castle, his car, and a car feature. Get yourself a good engine block John and you'll be set.