To drag race, road race, autocross, and be streetable in one ride is a dream. Jeff Hinkle appears to have made the dream come true with his '68 fastback. A best e.t. of 10.38 at 138 mph is just one piece of evidence. On purchase, his Mustang was a "simple correct original." And now, to most of the world, the result is a custom Eleanor/Shelby type clone. But, the Marietta, Georgia, enthusiast did not go wild just to impress. Actually, to tell the truth, the looks were not the top priority on Jeff's list; though he did want a racey body style. He chose an Eleanor-type kit because of its relative easy accessibility in the aftermarket. "We tossed it on to get it done," Jeff tells us.
Now, Jeff could get on with the important part of the build, defined as pure performance, with his dad, Harry. The Eleanor frontend cut across the intercooler, so they chopped part of the fascia off. In every phase of the build, performance took precedence over style and then defined the style. "Same thing with the hood," Jeff said. They cut and raised the fiberglass hood for several reasons. One was to blow cool air over the high-rise intake manifold. Two was to exhaust hot air out of the engine bay at speed and rest. When the driver turns off the supercharged 427 after a hard run, the heat rises up and out of the engine bay through the openings in the hood. Jeff calls this the "chimney" effect. Trapping heat under a fiberglass hood does more than stifle cooling. Heat tends to warp fiberglass.
The Keith Craft custom-built 427 FE (bored and stroked to 482 cubic inches) can generate enough horsepower to warp lots of things-like space and time. Hinkle chose a new Shelby aluminum 427 block topped with Edelbrock heads and requested the strongest internals possible to "over build" the build. Jeff said, "All the internals are billet. We wanted to over build the engine so we wouldn't break it or have problems down the road." In Jeff's experience, too many racers build engines "to the edge of where they want to run it." If they make a mistake then the consequence is they break something major. His game plan was to spend the money up front and over build. Then, if he made a mistake, he would "break little parts instead of major ones."
So far, nothing has broken. The 427 is hardly even pumped up with the Pro Charger F1-R centrifugal blower, as tuned. Horsepower to the crank is 900; the rear wheels handle 720. That's on pump gas. Maximum boost can turn up the wick to 1,300 hp. For more cooling, Jeff cut out a section of the inner fenderwell and installed a grille. The ProCharger F1-R supercharger pulls air right out of this fender opening.
As old school as this build may appear, Jeff went with 21st century fuel injection. He said old school engines were hard enough to start on carburetors. With fuel injection, he could turn the engine over three to four revolutions and light the cylinders. He didn't want to worry about a choke and slow starts. Fuel injection also allows for more precise distribution of fuel, which is good for a supercharged hot rod big-block making this kind of power.
JBA headers hook up to Flowmaster mufflers and separate 3-inch exhausts, negating the use of an H- or X-crossover. "I think it sounds better versus the X-pipe," Jeff says. Each exhaust flows into a side pipe custom-built into the bodywork and exiting in front of the rear wheels.
Right now, the TKO-600 five-speed is coupled to a set of 3.23 gears in a Detroit-Locker differential. The rearend is a stock, old school Ford 9-inch. Jeff plans to install a second set of gears-3.70s in a Detroit TruTrac for use on different tracks. Jeff tells us, "That full locker is a little unforgiving sometimes."
This kind of horsepower dictated a major suspension upgrade. Number one, Jeff wanted more space under the hood, so the antiquated shock towers had to go. The Martz road racing suspension did the trick up front. Chopping off the shock towers and going to coilovers gave much needed room under the hood for the 427. On the rear, Jeff chose Total Control's four-link. He says, "And that's been nice because we run three different sets of tires. When we throw the tall drag radials on there, it's nice to be able to move the wheels back and forth in the wheelwell." The PS Engineering polished aluminum GT-40 wheels with spinners measuring 17x9 up front and 17x11 in the back. They mount 245/45s on the front and 315/35s on the rear.
For stopping, Jeff chose Wilwood's SRP directional vane rotors, measuring 12 inches up front and 10.75 inches in the rear. An adjustable proportioning valve limits pressure to the rear and supplies full pressure to the front. The rotors also come with a black e-coating. Once the rotors embed into the pads, the black e-coating goes away, but stays in the vanes to help prevent the rotor from rusting. The vanes on the inside of the rotors evacuate hot air.
Inside, Jeff completely cut out the vintage interior and started over. A quick peek reveals a '70s Pontiac Trans Am-look with an engine-turned aluminum dash. "We installed a hand-fabricated chrome-moly 10-point rollcage with the halo loop and removable door bars. And we hand-fabricated a fiberglass dash, center console, and a rear dress-up piece that covers up the rear. So we were able to remove a lot of weight by doing that. That is all handmade, one-off stuff. The headliner is made from ultra suede material. The seats are one-piece Sparco Fighters covered with leather and ultra suede to keep from sweating so much. The front driver seat is adjustable forward and back. People do love it," Jeff said of the finished product.
This love is evidenced by the numbers of people who follow him home and ask to take pictures. Girls like the car, too, which, Jeff says, "is great for us older guys." There is the "occasional idiot" on the street who wants to race. Jeff didn't say whether he obliges them or not. Besides the fair weather street use, since the car has been completed it has been seen by countless thousands of people at the SEMA and PRI trade shows, competed in last year's Optima Battery's Ultimate Street Car contest, and more. Jeff is even willing to build another if so inclined and has started Wraith Motorsports for those who want to drop the coin on their own killer street Mustang. Check out www.wraithmotorsports.com for more on that deal.
Jeff and Harry Hinkle's '68 Mustang fastback
482ci Keith Craft 427 FE
Scat knife-edge billet crankshaft
Oliver billet rods
JE blower pistons
File fit rings
8.5:1 compression ratio
Stage 3 Keith Craft Edelbrock cylinder heads, Comp Cams springs, titanium retainers
Ferrea 2.25-inch intake/1.75-inch exhaust valves
Comp Cams hydraulic cam, 0.630 lift, 252/262-degrees duration at 0.050, 114-degree lobe separation
T&D rocker arms
Hogan sheetmetal intake manifold
FAST 92mm throttle body
Custom dual stage Aeromotive twin A1000 fuel pumps
Braided fuel lines
ProCharger F1-R supercharger at 12 psi of boost
Output (max. boost) 1,300 hp at 22 psi
Tuned by Rob Camp of C&S performance in Plano, Texas; Cal Hartline, Hartline performance of Florida; and Moe's Speed Shop of Dallas, Georgia
Tremec TKO-600 five-speed
SPEC Kevlar single plate
Custom steel driveshaft
39-spline Detroit locker or 31-spline Detroit TruTrac
3.23 or 3.70 gears
Currie forged axles
Flowmaster Super40 mufflers
Side exhaust with custom-made tips
Front: Martz road racing suspension, coilover shocks
Rear: Total Control Products four-link, coilover shocks, subframe connectors
Front: Wilwood disc, 12-inch drilled and slotted rotor, four-piston caliper
Rear: Wilwood disc, 10.75-inch drilled and slotted rotor, four-piston caliper
Front: PS Engineering polished GT-40, 17x9
Rear: PS Engineering polished GT-40, 17x11
Front: Toyo Proxes, P245/45R17
Rear: Toyo Proxes TQ Drag Radial, P315/35R17
Custom leather- and suede-covered Sparco Fighter seats, Grant steering wheel with quick release, Auto Meter gauges, custom suede headliner, full custom fiberglass interior with Halon fire suppression, hand brake in center console, gauge cluster setup to resemble '65 for ease of use, and machine turned aluminum background
Silver with black stripes by C&S Performance, Plano, Texas; custom fiberglass hood and trunk lid; custom aluminum air dam; modified Eleanor body kit; completely redesigned front fascia with Dzus fasteners for easy removal