"I just went slow to make sure everything felt like it would stay together," Cox said. Feeling relatively good about the Mustang, Cox picked up the pace, letting the leaf springs from EPS and Koni adjustable shocks, and front stock-type coil springs in the front handle the more aggressive loads in the corners. As he applied the brakes at the end of the first straight, he realized the 12-inch brakes up front grabbed a lot less than the 10-3/4-inch Lincoln Continental brakes out back.
"That's when I realized the brake bias was way out of balance, but I managed to keep it on the track," said Cox. "When I got the car back to the pits, I noticed the rear wheels were covered with gear oil. That is when I learned that I needed inner axle seals with the full floater rearend."
Being the uber mechanic that he is, Cox got things sorted out. But during qualifying, about six turns into the first lap, he pushed the clutch pedal down and it didn't come back.
"I had decided to use a hydraulic clutch to save some space under the hood and wouldn't you know, I put in a defective master cylinder," Cox said. "At that point, I felt like that was enough, so I became a spectator for the weekend. The car came home in one piece, so I considered it a moral victory."
Throughout the next few months, Cox solved a few other problems that still lingered, like a loose steering box, as well as the ones he "discovered" on his day out at the track. To solve the clutch issues, he fabricated a different slave cylinder arrangement that not only works a little better, but it's easier to maintain. As far as those brakes locking up, he took care of that by adjusting the bias and changing the brake pad compounds--one can imagine his neighbors liked that little test and tune session. Cox mentioned that one of the few last glitches he needs to sort out is getting his engine to rev up quick enough to get downshifts smooth. "Once I get that worked out, I won't have any excuse left for why I'm not faster," he said.
Michael Cox's Pony clone may not have the proper Boss 302 motor--he promises to get one soon--but what it lacks in pure muscle, it makes up for with heart and character; the kind that can only come from a build finished with the hard work of numerous friends and some serious trackside troubleshooting.
Michael Cox's '70 Mustang SportsRoof
- '67 Ford V-8 289 ci
- 4.00-inch bore
- 2.87-inch stroke
- Billet steel crankshaft
- Custom pistons
- 12:1 compression ratio
- '69 Ford 351 Windsor cast-iron cylinder heads
- Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold
- Holley 4150 750-cfm carburetor
- Ron Davis radiator, aluminum water pump
- MSD 6AL ignition
- 400 hp at 7,000 rpm
- '70 Ford Top Loader four-speed
- Hurst Competition Plus shifter
- 10.5-inch diaphragm clutch
- Ford 9-inch rearend
- 3.89-4:86 ratio depending on usage
- Detroit Locker differential
- 31-spline Speedway Engineering axles
- Coleman Racing Products full floater
- Ford Powertrain Applications step headers with 1-5/8 - 1-3/4-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors
- Custom 2-1/2-inch exhaust with X-pipe and Spintech mufflers
- Front: Stock-type coil springs and spindles, Koni single-adjustable shocks
- Rear: Evergreen Performance Systems leaf springs and Override axle damper system, Koni shocks, Fays2 Watt's link
- Front: Ford disc, Kelsey Hayes four-piston calipers, 12-inch rotors
- Rear: Ford disc, Kelsey Hayes four-piston calipers, 10-3/4-inch rotors from a Lincoln Continental
- Ford 1-1/8-inch master cylinder
- Front: Performance Superlite or Minilite, 15x8
- Rear: Performance Superlite or Minilite, 15x8
- Front: Hoosier Street T.D. S, 25.5x8.5-15
- Rear: Hoosier Street T.D. S, 26.5x9.5-15
- Custom-made aluminum dash, Auto Meter instruments, Sabelt race seat, aluminum door panels, Simpson five-point harness, eight-point mild steel rollbar fabricated by Mike Cox and Jim Valdez
- PPG single-stage Grabber Blue and Black paint, headlights removed, Raydyot replica mirrors, Maier fiberglass front and rear bumpers, fabricated front splitter