Special thanks to Kevin King (Year One) and Larry Woodcock (Red Line Performance)
Even though Joe considers his '85 to be a "budget" racer, our discerning eyes (and digital camera) could find no hint of cut corners. Sure, at first glance the body looks stock except for the raised cowl hood, but there are a few mods made in the name of individuality. For instance, openings for the wiper arms and radio antenna have been covered and forgotten.
The engine bay perfectly matches the exterior and is home to a 347-cid stroker V-8 from Year One in Braselton. Mighty Mouse's heart started life as a 302 block fitted with goodies such as a SCAT forged steel crankshaft, forged aluminum pistons, Lunati Voodoo camshaft, Motorsport 1.7:1 roller rocker arms, Canfield aluminum heads, ported and polished Edelbrock Torker II intake manifold, electric fuel pumps and pressure regulator by Holley, long-tube headers and a 2 and 3/4-inch exhaust system with H-pipe and Flowmaster mufflers. The most obvious addition to the powerplant is a chromed pair of Inglese dual 400cfm carburetors, which take up every bit of height granted by the six-inch Harwood cowl hood.
A few quarts of 20W50 synthetic oil rest inside the chromed Motorsport pan; a K&N oil filter keeps the lubricant free of debris. An MSD distributor, coil and ignition box and Ford Motorsport 8.8mm plug wires enhance spark and a 150-shot N.O.S. system helps pump more oxygen into the V-8's cylinders than Nature intended. Even without the spray, Joe's 347 sends a more-than-respectable 425 horsepower to the rear wheels.
Joe installed a Tremec five-speed manual transmission, RAM clutch, aluminum Ford Motorsport driveshaft, 4.10:1 gears, Motorsport axles and an 8.8-inch rear housing to handle Mighty Mouse's torque.
Restoration of the Mustang's performance image continued in 1985 with both a facelift and higher output. The 5-liter engine received a revised camshaft, hydraulic lifters, true dual exhaust and stainless tubular headers. These improvements bumped the V8's power level to 210 flywheel HP. This was the last year for carburetted engines. The "L" model was no longer available and the LX became the baseline Pony.
As part of their performance image, Ford wanted victories in the IMSA road racing series. A Roush-prepared Mustang had taken GTO class in the series season finale at Daytona in 1984. In February, 1985, the Roush Mustang won the GTO class at the 24 Hours of Daytona - a tradition they would continue for another two years.
Motorcraft-sponsored Mustangs took the International Hot Rod Association Pro Stock championship, with Rickie Smith hitting the semis or better in all events on the IHRA schedule.
Suspension work is light-years ahead of the '85's original components, including Steeda's adjustable 5-Link 2 system, Koni springs, '95 Cobra R shocks all-around, and adjustable upper rear control arms. Custom-built subframe connectors and a chromed strut-tower-to-firewall brace improve on the job Terry Anderson began with the installation of that solid roof.
In 1985, the Mustang GT did not benefit from the kind of tire technology we enjoy today, and Joe wanted to improve on that.
"This car came stock with 225/60-15 Goodyear Eagle GTs when it was new," he said. "And that was with four-lug rotors and drums out back.
"I wanted modern rubber and rims for Mighty Mouse, so I converted it to a five-lug setup with '95 Mustang spindles and brakes in front and the Motorsport axles in back. Then I went with some classic-looking American Racing TorqThrust II wheels - 17x8s on the front and 17x9.5s on the rear. The new tires have a much lower profile than the stock ones and are much wider - 245/45R17 on front and 275/40R17 in the rear."
Tires are Firestone Wide Ovals - not the old, skinny kind Ford offered on its early Mustang high-performance models, but a new-and-improved rubber wide enough to keep a Pony firmly planted.
The interior received an updated look, but without getting too far from the period in which it was built. The cloth seats are from a '94 Mustang, yet they look right at home in this Teal hatchback from the previous decade. Simpson five-point seatbelts attach to a custom-made six-point rollcage. Mighty Mouse makes his presence known through some clever and high-quality stitching, as well as an appearance in the form of a stuffed backseat passenger. A trio of gauges (volt, oil pressure, water temp) stands atop the new/old stock dashboard. An enormous AutoMeter Phantom tach hangs below, ready to spring into action when needed. The A-pillar is home to an air/fuel mixture readout, and a GTech analyzer is just off the Grant steering wheel's 10 o'clock position. Joe refurbished the GT's stock gauges with white faces to match the AutoMeter units. Other signs that this can be a very busy office: the short-throw Hurst shifter with Tremec knob and aluminum foot pedals.
An Alpine stereo features a CD player, 400-watt amplifier and 12-inch subwoofer. Joe used plywood and gray carpet to turn everything behind the front seats into a flat cargo area; even the spare tire compartment was treated to its own specially designed lid to keep everything tidy.
There's one more point we probably should make in favor of Joe's GT over those GTOs, Yenko Camaros and big-block Corvettes: during its last trip to the quarter-mile in Commerce it smoked any restored musclecar times, turning 11.50 seconds at 125 miles per hour.