Bob Motta’s 1986 Mustang GT
Yikes! How many times have we heard this story? Bob Motta's lament about his first Mustang is a familiar one. His first ever car was a 1964-1/2 Mustang. He'd bought it around 1970 for the princely sum of $580 - quite the bargain considering that it came with the Pony interior and a 289 Hi-Po V8 under the hood. Following that car was a 1965Mustang and, later, a 1966 version but then he got married and had a family, so ending the Motta Mustang legacy until 1999. Lest anyone think that we're knocking the family life, that's not the case. It's far more fun to think about the carthat got away, than the girl that did the same.
In fact, the girl that didn't get away was the one that brought Bob back into the Mustang scene a scant seven years ago. Believe it or not, the silver four-eyed hatchback gracing these pages was as bone stock as could be when the Mottas first picked it up. The saintly Mrs. Motta was interested in cleaning it up and taking it to car shows. Before moving to their current home near Charlotte, NC, the Motta family were regular participants at Mustang Car Club of NewEngland events. But, Bob told us that there was an ulterior motive to his zeal.
"For about a year, I booked us in to every car show I could find. My wife wanted to show the car, but I prefer driving it." Eventually, the Mrs. grew less enchanted with the 'up at sunrise, drive an hour or two, sit in a parking lot for eight hours' routine that is part and parcel of the show circuit. And so came Bob's emancipation, because he had plans for this car. First on the list of modifications was to look after the engine. The stock 1986 5-liter mill was actually down on horsepower, compared to the previous year. This was mostly due to a change in cylinder heads for the introduction of sequential electronic fuel injection. The more restrictive heads cut back some horsepower, but did compensate with mounds of additional torque.
To get started on the motor, Bob enlisted the help of LaFerriere Racing in Johnston, RI. The shop's owner, Eric LaFerriere, worked with Bob to define goals and ambitions and, only then, to specify the kinds of components and work the engine would need. That list included a forged Scat crankshaft, TFS flat top forged pistons, a TFS Stage II camshaft, Comp Cams' roller lifters and 1.6 ratio rocker arms. TFS' aluminum Track Heat cylinder heads were O-ringed and added to the mix, after porting and polishing by LaFerriere. A BBK cold air kit, Pro-M 75mm MAF,Accufab 70mm throttle body, TFS Track Heat intake manifold and Ford Racing 24 lb/hr fuel injectors look after the whole air-fuel thing, fed by Ford Racing's 190 lph fuel pump and a pair of fuel pressure regulators.
ARP hardware is liberally sprinkled throughout the engine to help make sure that everything stays exactly where it should. A Melling high volume oil pump helps make that task easier, particularly after sending the Mobil 1 10W30 juice through a Griffin aluminum radiator with integral oil cooler. Once the pistons push spent gases out, they are conducted through a set of Ford Motorsports shorty stainless steel headers to a Bassani stainless, catted X-pipe and exit via a Flowmaster catback system using their landmark 2-chamber mufflers.
Bob's ambition for the car was to handle with aplomb and to participate in high performance driving events. Getting the engine work done at LaFerriere Racing was really only the first step. As the car continued to develop, he relied more and more on Eric LaFerriere, about whom Bob says he "couldn't have done it without him." After the engine work, Bob knew that the brakes were mandatory to look after next. Baer brake kits were called up for duty. Their Track Kit, with its 4-piston aluminum calipers and 13-inch brake rotors, found a home at the front of the Mustang, while a Touring (2-piston, 12-inch) kit was found more than sufficient for the back. Russell stainless steel braided brake linesand a Wilwood brake proportioning valve were also added.