Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 21, 2009
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

Clint Garrity and his girlfriend Lea were high school sweethearts. Clint drove a mildly modified black '87 Mustang GT, and Lea wanted one for herself. In 1988, when the two had been dating about a year, Lea turned 17 and began shopping for a car. She soon found this 40,000-mile Jalapeno Red '86 GT for $7,200, and told Clint she wanted to buy it. Of course, Clint wanted her to have it, too. So, to make it completely irresistible, he advised her not to buy it because it was too fast and she couldn't handle that kind of power. Needless to say, Lea bought the car and the two began street racing each other regularly.

They drew closer as time passed, and eventually married and started a family. With the increasing responsibility associated with adulthood, the couple had to part with one of the Stangs. Keeping in mind it was the last year of the four-eyed Fox and the first year for SFI, they decided to keep the red '86.

By the late '90s, Clint had begun to carry out his plans to bring his wife's '86 back to its street racing roots. For a couple of years, he saved his money and stockpiled parts for the build: Edelbrock Performer aluminum cylinder heads, an FRPP E303 camshaft, and TRW 0.030-over forged pistons.

By 2001, when the GT had racked up over 183,000 miles hauling Clint to and from work, he parked it and began the teardown. Assuming the rings and bearings were in serious need of replacement, Clint started by pulling and disassembling the engine.

To his surprise, the crosshatch marks were still visible on the cylinder walls. But with 0.030-over pistons in hand, he had the block bored. He reassembled it using the stock crankshaft and connecting rods. He then added the Edelbrock Performer heads (1.90-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves), FRPP E303 stick, Cobra intake manifold, and 1.6 roller rockers.

With the engine out of the way, Clint began upgrading the chassis and suspension. He opted for FRPP subframe connectors and front lower control arms, Mac rear upper and lower control arms, and a Jegs traction bar kit. Clint swapped the original ring and pinion for an FRPP 3.55 set, and put aside the original gearbox for a Tremec TKO 500 and a Spec Stage 3 clutch.

After performing the majority of the bodywork and prep, Clint and Lea turned to Granados Auto Restoration (Galt, California) for a few coats of Laser Red, chosen by Lea. The pair decided to keep the look clean and subtle, adding only the SVO sail panel trim, Saleen rear wing, and GTS clear headlight covers.

Inside, the GT maintains most of its original trim. Like most nearly 200,000-mile Mustangs, the carpet had to be replaced. Clint swapped out the rug, but the seats retain their original upholstery. With a full set of Auto Meter gauges in store, Clint turned to MC Machine (Phoenix, Arizona) for a custom aluminum gauge-mounting plate. He had the plate painted with a black hammered finish and installed it with hex-key bolts to match the original look.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Once the project was complete in 2002, Clint and Lea began driving their 300hp Stang to shows and cruises. After about three months, Clint wanted more power and started installing bolt-on upgrades such as a throttle body and a cold-air intake. Not satisfied with small power gains, he bolted on a Powerdyne centrifugal supercharger, which put out 9 psi. "I liked the horsepower gain, but didn't like having to rev the engine to a point where it sounded like a rice rocket," Clint tells us.

After about a year of tuning the Powerdyne, Clint decided to try the Kenne Bell 2.2L Flowzilla kit. Pumping out a whopping 10 psi, this polished unit fits under the stock hood and brings power output to an estimated 420 hp. To complement the boost, Clint selected FRPP 42-lb/hr injectors, an 85mm C&L mass air meter, and a BBK adjustable fuel-pressure regulator.

With the newfound low-end torque and horsepower, Clint needed to make a few changes to the braking system. He started with a five-lug upgrade using SN-95 front spindles and calipers, Ranger axle shafts, and a North Cobra rear disc brake kit, and finished it off with cross-drilled and slotted rotors and high-performance pads.

A clean four-eyed Fox that has survived over 20 years of use is hard enough to find. Clint and Lea Garrity's GT managed to not only survive, but received some really tasteful mods and about 200 extra ponies.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery