Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
March 1, 2010

Sometimes things don't work out the way you plan. So it went Shawn Wallace's search for a notchback 5.0L Mustang. The coupe is a very desirable body style and it was what the Dothan, Alabama, native had in mind for his next purchase. Having found an advertisement for a Mustang locally, he called for more information.

"The lady said it was a GT-I wasn't interested until she said she had bought it brand-new," Shawn tells us. "We never even drove it before we bought it," recalls Shawn. "It was all stock and in great shape."

Shawn's best-laid plans obviously changed, and he brought the Mustang home to add his own personal touches to the Ford. He drove it for about two months; then pulled it apart to repaint it. Shawn and Terry Smith, also of Dothan, prepped the body panels, which included a new Kanaan 4-inch fiberglass hood and front Cobra grille insert, and then sprayed two coats of the 2D Medium Scarlet red and two more coats of clear.

After giving it a shiny new skin-in a dirt-floor barn, we might add-Shawn yanked the engine and transmission to raise the performance level.

"I was originally going to go with electronic fuel injection," notes Shawn, "but I had a highly-modified 355ci EFI engine that I had a lot of issues with, so I decided to go with a carburetor." The current bullet, built by Mark Johnson Racing (Ozark, Alabama), offers 308ci of displacement using DSS Racing Pro-Lite slugs and 5.4-inch connecting rods that swing on the stock crankshaft. Pilcher Automotive of Enterprise, Alabama, decked, bored, and honed the now 0.040-over factory block, which has been stuffed with a Comp Cams XE282HR hydraulic-roller camshaft, with a 282/290-degree duration and valve lifts of 0.565/0.574 inch. Box-stock Airflow Research 185 aluminum cylinder heads, featuring 2.02-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves, support Scorpion roller rocker arms, and are topped off with an Edelbrock RPM air-gap intake manifold and a Bigs Performance (Altoona, Wisconsin) 650-cfm carburetor.

The great thing about 5.0L Mustangs is that if you want to ditch the EFI, the exhaust system will still work. You just have to plug the O2 sensor holes. That being said, a pair of BBK Performance 1.75-inch full-length headers was bolted up with an accompanying H-pipe and MAC Products Pro Dumps muffler setup.

Making engine modifications without upgrading the rest of the drivetrain and suspension isn't the wisest thing to do, so Shawn had Little Art Race Cars in Dothan weld up the subframe connectors and the rearend. Said 8.8 rearend was fitted with 4.10 gears, Moser axles, and an LPW rearend support, and is hung by HPM Megabite control arms top and bottom. An Eibach Drag Launch spring and airbag package aid in weight transfer, while stock front struts and Competition Engineering rear shocks maintain control.

Backing up the potent little mill is a C4 automatic transmission built by Mike Collins at Transmatic Transmissions of Enterprise, Alabama. The Hurst Quarter Stick-shifted three-speed features a reverse manual valvebody and transbrake, and is spun by an ATI 4,200-rpm stall-speed converter.

Shawn never wanted a track-only car, so the interior remains a very comfortable place to reside while motoring down the road. The factory interior-one of the cleanest we've seen-has received few modifications.

"On the street, it drives and rides like a stock car, minus the loose converter and manual valvebody," notes Shawn. For this wireless system performance engineer, seeing red has never looked so good.

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