Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
July 13, 2011
Photos By: Pete Epple

In 1989, a WWII P-51 pilot purchased this 5.0L LX hatchback new because it carried the Mustang moniker.

Over the next 17 years, he only put 35,000 miles on the odometer--a little over 2,000 miles a year. He took great pride in his Pony, maintaining it like new until 2006, when he decided to sell it. John Maderic of Milton, Kentucky, saw it on the market and scooped it up immediately.

"I've had a bunch of Mustangs--all Fox-bodies, with the exception of a Terminator," says John. "I went looking for a car like this to be a pump-gas, no-cage stick car with a back seat." With the original black paint in great condition, a clean stock interior, and a manual gearbox, the vet's pride and joy fit the bill perfectly.

Over the first winter, and with the blessing of his wife, Susan, John contracted Kurgan Motorsports to install an all-new suspension in the virgin Fox. Modifications included AJE A-arms, Strange struts, QA1 shocks, and Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors. Kurgan also installed a 33-spline diff with 3.73 gears and Moser axles.

John then had Knierriam Racing Engines assemble a 408ci engine using a 9.5-inch-deck 351 of '70s vintage. Knierriam bored, honed, and decked the block, and assembled the short-block with a Scat forged crankshaft and rods, and JE flat-top pistons. The 11:1-ratio engine is topped with a pair of Total Engine Airflow/Victor Jr. heads with 225cc intake runners and CNC porting.

Kurgan Motorsports installed the engine and Tremec TKO 600 transmission over the next winter, complete with a Ram clutch and flywheel. Bob Kurgan tuned the combination using the stock ECU. The combination made 500 rwhp, but the stock computer had trouble keeping up. To remedy the problem, Kurgan swapped out the stock fuel injection for a FAST XFI system and Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake manifold.

John added a set of six-piston Wilwood front brakes and four-piston Wilwood rears, which are now hidden behind 18-inch, polished CCW Classics, wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber in the front and 265/40-18 Mickey Thompson drag radials in the rear. John also added a 3-inch cowl hood to finish off the otherwise-stock exterior. The interior remains completely stock, save for the FAST dash display, which resides in a modified stock cluster.

After a final tune by Kurgan, the LX pumped out 538 rwhp and 494 lb-ft of torque. Though it lacks A/C, power steering, and power brakes, it is the perfect street car for John Maderic. "Less is better," says John. "It pulls hard in every gear, steers like a slot car, and stops better than anything I have ever driven," he adds.

What's best is that the now-38,000-mile car retains its original paint and interior--even though its innocence has been stolen by a Mustang maniac and his desire for the perfect street car.

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