Pete Epple Technical Editor
September 27, 2010
Photos By: Steve Baur, Marc Christ

"I got into Mustangs when my father bought a new '83 GT when I was 8 years old," explains Chad Fisher of Carroll, Ohio. "He would take me to the track to watch the drag races, and I was hooked." Once Chad was old enough to put his love of cars to good use, he spent his evenings and weekends working at Bob Boyd Ford washing cars. This is where his affection for the Pony car truly developed into a lifelong love.

Chad's first Ford was a '64 Fairlane, which he got when he was only 15. Over the years, the Fairlane would serve as his bracket racer. The simple combination of a 326ci small-block Ford with a C4 transmission and a 9-inch rearend netted Chad consistent 11.50 e.t.'s, but he always wanted a Mustang.

"When I was 19, I purchased my first Mustang," Chad explains. "It was a '93 GT with a five-speed. I loved that car, and kept it until I turned 21. At that point, I really needed a truck to tow the Fairlane around." After the Mustang was sold in favor of a more suitable tow vehicle, Chad focused his attention on racing his Fairlane, but soon the bug for a more streetable Stang bit again.

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"I had been bracket racing for 17 years," Chad adds. "I was getting pretty bored with having a car that was only a track car, so I started looking for another Mustang." A coworker turned Chad on to a Fox-body coupe, which was for sale locally. When he went to look at it, he found a beat-up '92 coupe. Although it was cheap, the price reflected the condition. The white paint was faded and the black interior needed serious TLC. The 5.0L that sat under the hood didn't run, and the rest of the drivetrain was in a similar state.

Once a price was agreed upon, Chad loaded his new coupe on the trailer and hauled it home. With the LX in the garage, he assessed the damage and began ordering parts to put the Pony back on the road.

After a few years of street duty, Chad decided it was time for his Stallion to take a different direction, and the car was stripped to its shell. The first stop on its road to a total transformation found the car at Team Z Motorsports. A 10-point chromoly cage, through-floor subframe connectors, mini-tub kit, and an antiroll bar fortified the chassis in preparation for the power to come.

"Once I got the car home, I looked at the empty engine bay and all of the little holes in the strut towers and the firewall," Chad explains. "It had to be cleaned up. I asked my friend Brian Mack to help, and we took the car to his shop. Once we were there, another friend told me about a rotisserie that we could use."

With the car bolted to the rotisserie, the engine bay and undercarriage were sandblasted. Once all of the problem areas were exposed, Chad replaced the rusted sections of the strut towers and smoothed the engine bay. Next, the engine bay, undercarriage, and rollcage were treated to some fresh color. "I got the car home basically as a shell with wheels," Chad adds. "I wanted to test-fit everything prior to final paint."

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Once that the body was finished and ready for paint, Chad shifted his attention to the powerplant. Jeff Hickernell of Hickernell Engine Services in New Albany, Ohio, was assigned the task of making power. The build started with a '69 351 block, and once the machining was complete, a forged Scat stroker crankshaft was laid into place. Hickernell used 6.200-inch, forged Scat connecting rods to raise and lower the SRP pistons in the 4.030-inch bores. The bore and stroke combination raised the total displacement to a healthy 393 ci. The short-block was topped off with Canfield aluminum cylinder heads. A custom 0.603/0.579-inch lift, hydraulic-roller camshaft, with 232/248 degrees of duration at 0.050, was designed by Jay Allen to actuate the 2.05/1.60-inch valves.

With the engine starting to come together, Chad took his power needs to the next level. A Paxton Novi 2000 centrifugal supercharger force-feeds compressed air into the Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake manifold.

"Things started getting good once the basic long-block was sitting in the engine bay," Chad states. "I'm not your typical gearhead. I am a machinist by trade, and I love making my own parts when I have the chance."

Armed with paper, a pen, and calipers, Chad began designing and machining a set of custom shaft-mount rocker arms. He also fabricated the brackets to relocate the alternator, all of the FEAD pullies, as well as the supercharger drive systems. Chad also machined most of the brackets and hold-downs under the hood for an extremely unique looking engine bay.

When it came to transferring power through the rest of the drivetrain, Chad turned to Performance Automatic for one of its Super Comp C4 three-speed automatics. A 10-inch PTC torque converter transfers power through the C4 to the 8.8-inch rearend via a Strange Engineering driveshaft. The 3.31 gears inside the rearend spin 33-spline Strange axles, which turn Centerline Convo Pros wrapped in Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial rubber.

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Strange coil-overs with 95-pound rear springs support the rear, while PA Racing double-adjustable upper and single-adjustable lower control arms keep the rearend in line under hard acceleration. Up front, a PA Racing chromoly K-member supports the 351-based bullet, and lowers the mill enough to fit under the 1.5-inch cowl hood from ABC Exclusives. Koni coil-over struts with 150-pound springs hold up the nose, and a Flaming River manual rack handles steering.

Once the powertrain was complete, Jason Miller of Lancaster, Ohio, went to work, laying down four coats of the base blue hue before covering it with three coats of clear, both from PPG.

The driver's compartment was kept mostly stock. An aftermarket shift light and a trio of Ford Racing gauges help Chad keep tabs on what's going on under the hood. A Hurst Quarter Stick hides under the stock five-speed leather shift boot, and handles gear selection. A rear seat delete helps drop a few pounds and takes up the space where the rear seats once were.

"The car was finally ready to be tested in 2008," Chad explains. "I just wanted to go [on the] eighth-mile for my first pass, so I let off at about half track. The car went 10.50 at 100 mph-I was thoroughly impressed! On the second pass, it went 9.75 at 139."

As Chad has continued to race and refine the combination, he has taken wins in multiple NMRA True Street events, including the 11-second class and 10-second class at the '08 and '09 Columbus events.

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The greatest part about Chad's coupe is its ability to perform as well on the street as it does on the track. "The car has great street manners," Chad says. "It regularly sees highway use-I drive it a lot!"

"My biggest goal now is to run in the 8.90-zone," Chad says. "There is an 8.90-index class I want to run locally and the car should be perfect!"

To date, Chad's LX has gone as fast as 9.22 at over 146 mph. With this kind of track performance, coupled with amazing driveability in an amazingly clean package, Chad's coupe has it all!