Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
February 3, 2012
Photos By: Pete Epple

It's not over the top. It doesn't have a crazy body kit. There's no carbon fiber, airbrushing, or chrome. There's not even a power adder. So what makes Troy Lee's '90 LX coupe so special?

Troy, a 47-year-old, self-employed painter, has been a gearhead his entire life. From motorcycles to race cars, he's owned about 30 cars/bikes. His previous Mustang was an '89 GT, which ran 10.0s with a naturally aspirated 408ci Winsor, a C4, and pump gas. He sold it at Norwalk in 2007 to fund his next project: an 8-second all-motor True Street winner worthy of a magazine feature.

Starting with a body that already had a rollcage legal to 8.50, Troy thought he was ahead of the game. "But Wayne Yutzy at Way Fab (Columbus, Ohio) convinced me to go ahead and put a Funny Car 'cage in it," says Troy.

"We cut everything out of it" and installed the SFI-spec 25.5 rollcage. Troy also replaced the roof with one from a non-sunroof car. "I should've started with a body-in-white," remarks Troy of the extra work he had to put in.

He then spent countless hours in his garage welding up the engine bay. "I made round plugs for round holes and square plugs for square holes," he says. "I'd have to say I have about 80 hours in it," says Troy, but from the looks of it, he probably has at least twice that invested. He then painted the car its Grabber Blue hue himself in his garage.

Since Troy wanted the combination to be all natural, he turned to Ed Wasserbeck Speed Shop in Prospect, Ohio, to build a 565ci big block with out-of-the-box TFS heads, a Roush-machined FRPP block, forged Eagle crankshaft and rods, and custom Diamond pistons. The static compression ratio is a hefty 14.63:1, requiring VP C16 race fuel. The Crane Cams bumpstick sports 0.730/0.730-inch lift and 276/286 degrees of duration at 0.050, mild for 565 ci.

Backing the powerplant is a powerglide built by Grady's Performance in Grove City, Ohio. Because Troy is still working on finding the perfect converter for the combination, he needs to pull the trans from time to time. But since the 25.5 rollcage is in the way, he made pulling the engine/trans together a breeze by making the upper radiator support removable. He just unbolts the front fascia and a couple of bolts on the support, and Troy can have the engine and transmission out in 45 minutes--by himself.

Last September, Troy's Grabber Blue big-block fulfilled its duty of taking the True Street crown at NMRA Columbus by averaging 9.99. And as you can imagine, he doesn't want to stop there. It has gone as quick as 9.08 at 152 mph, and with that amount of trap speed, Troy is certain the LX will run 8s. "I hope to be able to consistently run 8.80s while still being able to drive it on the street," he says.

But he's not going to resort to a power adder to do it, and he's not going to sacrifice streetability, either. We're as anxious as Troy himself to see where he ends up. In the True Street world, an N/A 8-second car is an oddity. Will Troy Lee reach the sub-9-second ranks?

In the True Street world, an N/A 8-second car is an oddity.

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