Pete Epple Technical Editor
July 1, 2009

The dragstrip is a magical place. Once you get a taste of racing, the sights and sounds have a funny way of sinking their hooks in, and the ultimate desire to go faster takes over. James Noto of Ontario, New York, spends much of the race season trying to find ways to go faster with his '93 Mustang GT. The combination in James' Stang has changed over the years as his constant need for more power has grown, and it all started at the dragstrip.

This nasty Fox launches hard on its way to a mid-9-second pass at the dragstrip.

James grew up around cars, and while serving as a tank mechanic in the military, he received an extensive education in turning wrenches. When he went to buy a new Mustang in March of 1993, he was met with an unpleasant surprise. "I was extremely disappointed when I got to the dealership and Emerald Green was not an option for '93," James tells us. "I was looking at the brochure, and there was a tiny picture of a four-cylinder coupe in Reef Blue on the bottom. I thought the color was horrible, but when I saw it on the lot, I fell in love with it." On that faithful day in March, James ordered his Reef Blue Mustang GT and waited to take delivery.

As soon as his new Pony was finally in the driveway, the modifications started. The '93 GT was met with the usual array of bolt-on performance parts, and James was happy with what his Stang had become-but soon a trip to the dragstrip changed all that.

The J-trim Mondo blower from Vortech supplies 20-pounds of boost on command, and with a little extra boost, this Fox should see low 9s at the track.

James decided to go to a MOMS (Mustang On Mustang) race with some friends who also had Mustangs. It didn't take long before going fast became his drug of choice. Over the next few months, a Holley Systemax top-end kit and a Vortech S-Trim supercharger found its way into the engine bay of James' Fox. This potent street combination had the perfect amount of power to make James want more. When the thrills wore off and it was time for more grunt, a new mill was in his GT's future. With a fresh "B" block in hand, James built a 347ci stroker and reused the heads, intake, and supercharger. The pulley on the S-Trim was changed to force feed 15 pounds of boost into the fresh bullet. When all was said and done, the Pony pounded out over 600 rwhp.

James spent a lot of time driving and racing his '93 GT, but when it came time to freshen the motor (again), he made a startling discovery. A split block instantly threw a wrench in his race season. The untimely demise of the Fox's heart and soul meant one thing-it was time to build a new bullet.

Inside the driver's compartment, everything James needs is not far out of reach.

Not wanting to travel down the road of catastrophic failure again, James turned to Chris Gavigan of Hamlin, New York, to handle the task of making power. Gavigan started the build with a Dart block and forged internals from Eagle, D.S.S., and K1. With the planned addition of even more boost, Gavigan stuffed the bores with D.S.S. pistons and K1 rods, using an Eagle forged crankshaft to set it all in motion. The Systemax heads and intake were once again called into action, and a custom camshaft from Kennedy's Dynotune was added to flawlessly manipulate the valves. The S-Trim snail gave way to a much larger J-Trim Mondo unit from Vortech, and the new powerplant gave the unit 20 pounds of boost to feed on.

In the previous combination, James manually changed gears to get his Stang down the track and around town. With reliability now in the forefront of the build, the decision was made to swap in an automatic. The task of building the gearbox was handed to Performance Automatics, and its Super Comp C4 was a perfect fit. As the C4 was bolted to the new engine, the rear was next to come apart. The stock 8.8-inch housing was stripped and filled with a Strange spool and axles, with a 3.90 gear to get the wheels spinning.

Under the hood sits 347ci of Ford power waiting to add a little excitement to James' life when he hits the loud pedal.

After the fresh running gear was bolted in place, tuning became the priority. Again, James turned to Kennedy's Dynotune to optimize performance. When all was said and done, this nasty Fox spun the rollers to an Earth-shattering 660 rwhp.

The mildly upgraded suspension was no match for the newfound power, and a complete suspension overhaul was next on the list. James started off strengthening the chassis with a rollcage from Wolfe Racecraft. Tokiko shocks and Steeda springs help this GT keep traction, and weight transfer comes from a set of Tokiko struts and Granatelli front springs.

The current combination has produced a best quarter-mile e.t. of 9.70 seconds at 140 mph. "I do a little each year to make it faster," James explains. "This year I hope to be well into the low 9s."