Ronnie Furr’s 2000 Mustang V6
It all started one Thursday. Ronnie Furr had bought a Y2K Roush Mustang for his wife, equipped with a 3.8-liter engine and five-speed transmission. That contribution to their married bliss lasted all of about 1,100 miles when the missus let Ronnie know that she didn't care so much for the car. Rather than taking a bath trying to sell or trade the six-banger in, Ronnie decided that he would turn it in to a project car. Actually, this one would be just another in a long line of Ronnie's projects - projects that all share one thing in common. Big power.
If you looked through Ronnie's automotive family tree, you would see what I mean. In 1975, there was a 1969 BOSS 302 Mustang ... that was followed a couple of years later by a 1923 T-bucket hot rod that carried a Chevy 350 with a couple of quads on top. In between Ronnie owned a 1955 and - 1957 Chevy ... then came a spate of Trans Am's. That phase of his resumé started with a 1973 Trans Am 455 Super Duty model and followed up with four others later on. As the '80s progressed, along came a 1979 Corvette Anniversary Edition.
To begin the conversion process, Ronnie got his hands on a Vortech V-2 SQ-Trim supercharger. Now, at nine pounds of boost, these units are factory rated to add 85 flywheel HP, bringing the total to about 260. What Ronnie soon found out was that wasn't enough to back up some of the 'conversations' he'd had at his local eighth-mile competition park. With the V-2 doing it's best, the car would only turn in 8.90 runs and that surely wasn't enough to walk the walk.
Having spent some time in the racing scene, Ronnie had more than once seen the work of a shop called Custom Performance and decided to check them out. Located in the shadow of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, Ronnie got into a conversation with Dale Sciranko, the owner. Because Dale likes doing some different things, particularly when there's a challenge involved, he agreed to work with Ronnie to get this red rocket into a respectable performance zone. The initial target was being able to run 7.5's in the eighth-mile. At some point in the two-and-a-half year process, they blew by that target and left it smoking at the side of the road. Nobody quite remembers when that was, though.
On this aspect of the job, Ronnie explained, "I never intended for the car to turn out so radical. It just kind of happened that way. One thing led to another and I ended up with this beast for a V6." And what a beast it is! One of the first things that Custom Performance did was to remove the engine and source a shortblock from Coy Miller Racing in Harrisonburg, VA. Miller is well known within the V6 community for his expertise in supplying 'built' engines at all levels. In the case of Ronnie's shortblock, it all started with the long-favored Thunderbird Super Coupe crankshaft. This forged steel piece can take just about anything that six pistons can throw at it and still keep things intact. Still, a thorough preparation of the crank is mandated by Miller.
This includes vat cleaning and then magnafluxing the piece to ensure that it isn't too far out of line. Loaded into a crankshaft grinder, they are indexed and re-ground to better than factory specifications. Special attention is paid to maintaining correct tolerances for bearing clearance and clearing oil passages. With critical surfaces then micropolished, the crank is ready for duty.