Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1989 Mustang LX Coupe American Thunder
The Sound Of A Fuel-Injected Generation.
Twist the key to this '89 Mustang LX, and the two-chamber Flowmasters rumble to life. The hot hydraulic-roller camshaft crackles from the stainless steel tailpipes, and as the engine settles into its deep idle, the whistle of the Vortech S-trim supercharger becomes apparent.
It's this combination of high-pressure air and a droning resonance that most of us equate to a modified Fox-Body Mustang, and Brian Baur of Spring Hill, Florida, gets to enjoy this acoustic masterpiece on a regular basis.
A former Chevy enthusiast, Brian opted to trade in his old-school muscle cars for late-model EFI performance. "I had a '72 Nova for a few years with many different engines and transmissions," says Brian. "The car was great, but it wasn't very streetable. My friends have had Stangs; they were very streetable and parts were cheap." With 4.88 gears; a four-speed; and a 12.5:1-compression, 355ci small-block, the Nova definitely wasn't very street-friendly, but at the time, it was what he wanted. A chance encounter with a black notchback would change that.
The black coupe in question is an '89, and it had recently been painted with a metallic-black base/clearcoat. It was a bit different than most, as the owner had installed GT ground effects, a cowl-induction fiberglass hood, a Saleen rear wing, and Weld Draglite wheels. Brian saw it for sale on the side of the road and after checking it out, he spent several agonizing days considering a trade. Eventually he decided to go for it, and as the Nova traveled off into the sunset, the notchback was backed into Brian's garage and a very long journey in Mustang ownership began.
"I decided I liked the look of the lowered, big-rim style better, as that was just coming onto the scene," recalls Brian. The Weld wheels were sold, and a set of Konig Villain 17-inch wheels and tires was bolted to the Pony. A set of Jamex sport coilsprings followed and Brian had the stance he wanted.
Even though the Mustang had a more up to date appearance, the stock 5.0L engine was lacking, especially considering that most of Brian's friends all had modified Stangs that were far faster. Cracking open his first credit card, Brian called Brothers Performance and ordered an Edelbrock top-end package.
Poised to improve the power output of the stock 302 short-block, the Brothers package featured Edelbrock Performer aluminum cylinder heads, with 1.90 intake and 1.60 exhaust valves and an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. The package also included Crane's 2040 hydraulic-roller camshaft (Crane used to manufacture all of the Ford Racing letter cams and sold the E303 under the 2040 designation), Crane 1.72:1 Cobra roller rockers, a BBK 70mm throttle body and spacer, a Pro-M 75mm mass-air meter, and BBK 15/8-inch equal-length shorty headers.
While most Mustang enthusiasts have strayed from the once-prolific echoes of the Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust system, Brian has kept the signature 5.0L exhaust note for his notchback. Further hollowing out the note is an off-road BBK midpipe, and a 3.55:1-geared rearend allows the more potent 5.0L to rev more freely.
It's no secret that the Fox chassis likes to flex, even in coupe form, so this Mustang was stiffened with a pair of custom subframe connectors from Sac's Racing Products. Brian also upgraded the factory rear control arms with Energy Suspension urethane bushings. During a road trip from Florida to Ohio, it became apparent that the front struts had seized when the front tires started chirping on a bumpy road. After replacing the stock struts and shocks with KYB units, Brian later upgraded to adjustable KYB struts and shocks for more versatility.