Jim Smart
November 1, 2000

Step By Step

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Time and time again, we find out firsthand what the car hobby is all about. It isn't about beautiful restorations, high-performance engines, or winning more Best of Show trophies than the next guy. It's about people. Meet Bob Searcy and his son, Rhett. These Ventura County, California, professional farmers understand the people issue, as they've been serving humanity all their lives. But most of all, they've spent a lifetime serving each other.

The senior Searcy has been passionate about automobiles for most of his 73 years, and Rhett inherited the passion. Just imagine the memories, especially living in Southern California, where drag racing was born more than half a century ago. Cruising Van Nuys Boulevard, swapping lies, and checking out each other's rides describe this place in the '50s and the '60s. In those days, Southern California legend George "Pops" Boskovich was cruising the Boulevard in hot Fords, looking for action. Locals remember Pops' '69 Boss 429 Mustang, Pops' Toy, stuffed full with a screaming 427 SOHC cammer fat-block. Pops, like Bob Searcy, was also a successful California farmer, who had a sizzling passion for the roar of V-8 power and fast cars. They enjoyed an extraordinary friendship for many years.

Pops passed away quite some time ago, leaving a legacy of fast Fords for Bob and other native Californians to remember. Bob has enjoyed his share of high-performance Fords, including this Canary Yellow '93 Mustang Feature Car. Mustang Feature Cars were a sales-promotion tool designed to draw buyers into Ford dealer lots during the early '90s. There were three variations of the Feature Car: Vibrant Red with pearl coat five-spoke wheels, Vibrant White with white five-spoke wheels, and Canary Yellow with chrome five-spoke wheels. All had white leather interior (black was also available on the '93 Canary Yellow Feature Cars) and were produced in limited numbers for each Ford regional sales district. Bob ordered this one new in 1993.

Rhett admits that he had to get used to the screaming-yellow zonker and his father's continuing passion for hot Fords. Memories of Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Raceway occupied Bob's mind, and Rhett was all too eager to help his dad relive those memories. So they warmed up a late-model 5.0 fuel-injected Mustang convertible.

The Searcys began with a new Ford GT-40 block, forged pistons and crankshaft, everything balanced and blueprinted, a Ford Racing Performance Parts camshaft and roller lifters, big-valve heads with sodium-filled valves, an 80mm throttle body, and a reworked Paxton SN-93 supercharger. How many ways can you spell "nasty"? Because these guys understood the limitations of a T5 five-speed in terms of strength, they installed a Richmond five-speed transmission. A set of 4.11 gears was installed inside the 8.8-inch rearend. The result was performance Bob wishes he could have demonstrated for Pops Boskovich between traffic lights on Van Nuys Boulevard for old-time sake. We're convinced Pops is somewhere close by saying, "Go ahead, bring it on!"

Bob suffered a stroke in 1996, so his involvement with the Mustang has diminished. He passed along this duty to Rhett, who shows the Mustang all over Southern California. As Bob's health permits, he and Rhett share in the fun and the memories together, and that's what it's all about--hot American steel and a father-son passion for fast Fords. Call it tradition.