Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
May 19, 2010
Photos By: Justin Cesler

Everyone knows a combination of exercise and a proper diet can help you live a long and healthy life. But you didn't purchase this copy of MM&FF to learn about the latest fad diet or to find a new exercise regiment. So in an effort to show what it takes to get the most out of your muscle Mustang (or fast Ford), we've taken our resident '93 SSP coupe to the next level with a few more simple changes.

Last month, you were able to follow along as the crew at Performance Automatic (PA) rummaged through what was left of our original AOD and rebuilt it with all new and stronger components. With the fresh street/strip transmission in hand, we installed it, along with a new B&M transmission cooler (PN 70264) from Summit Racing. Because overheating an automatic transmission is a common cause of catastrophic failure, PA recommends an efficient transmission cooler for all of its transmissions.

After the installation, we set the throttle valve (TV) pressure using the included gauge and instructions. TV pressure sets the shift points when in Drive or Overdrive, and setting it correctly is essential for proper operation.

On Track With our drag radials bolted on, we headed to Bradenton Motorsports Park to see how the new trans would perform. Our best e.t. before the stock transmission clocked out for lunch and didn't return was 12.80 at 103 mph. Unfortunately, our track days were over until we fixed the tranny. We hoped to drop some e.t.'s with quicker and firmer shifts, and true to form, we ran a best of 12.75 at 105 mph with the usual short belt and a foot brake launch at 2,500 rpm yielding a 1.79 60-foot.

With our baseline now set, we outlined what we wanted to accomplish in this installment. We decided to install an aluminum driveshaft and an A/C-delete bracket, remove the front sway bar and right front seat, and swap the front wheels for a pair of lightweight skinnies. Though every little weight reduction helps, we decided to pull out all the stops at once, and set the dial to "Kill." Total weight reduction: 105 pounds.

With the coupe sitting in the pits and two bags of ice on the intake, we pumped the front tires up to 50 psi and dropped the rears to 16 psi. After about an hour of cold-soaking the engine, I strapped on my RaceQuip helmet and rolled up to the line.

Not knowing quite what to expect, I tried to maintain my driving style from the baseline test. I crept up to the start line, held the brake, and built the revs up to 2,500. As the Tree dropped, I buried my right foot and side-stepped the brake pedal simultaneously. The result was a pleasing 12.51 at 106 mph with a 1.75 short time. That's almost a quarter-second off our previous best.

With the oils in the engine and differential warmer and potentially thinner after the first run, I circled back to the staging lanes and immediately made another pass. Using the same launch and shift points (5,500 rpm), the second pass yielded a 12.53 at 106 mph with a 1.72 60-foot.

Though I was stoked with the improvement, I knew there was more left on the table. After another hour cool-down and ice on the intake, I went back for another pass. This time, however, I adjusted my launch method. Instead of holding the revs constant at 2,500 rpm, I held the tach steady at 1,500 until the last amber light illuminated. I didn't lift my left foot off the brake pedal until my right foot was firmly planted on the firewall. The result was 12.499 at 106 mph with an all-time best 1.69 60-foot.

Putting the power to the pavement as efficiently as possible and making the vehicle as light as possible are key to lower e.t.'s. Short of going to a slick or making changes to lose driveability, we think we've nearly maximized performance with this combination. It's fun to drive as a commuter and can run mid-12s at the track. Not bad for blowing our diet and quitting the gym after losing only a few pounds.

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