Jim Smart
February 4, 2005
Photos By: Jeff Ford
(above & below left) It's nice when you can afford those high-end binders from Baer andWilwood. However, for the rest of us there's Stainless Steel Brakes andMustangs Plus. You can fit your steed with factory front disc brakesthat will stop you just fine. For hard braking, step up to carbonmetallic brake pads. Extra-wide rear drum brakes designed for theFairlane station wagon offer plenty of stopping power. You can get theseguys from Mustangs Plus.

A solid bottom end is a good investment in many ways because not onlywill it hold up when the going gets tough, it will stay together whenthe going is normal for a long time.

Mark's powerplant of choice is a Coast High Performance 347 StreetFighter, an affordable crate engine sporting an SVO Sportsman block(which you do not need to go 10.79), Eagle H-beam rods, Probe 8.5:1pistons, Total Seal piston rings, main girdle, Trick Flow aluminum headswith 2.02/1.60-inch valves, Anderson B-451 roller camshaft, Harland1.6:1 roller rockers, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, Mighty Demon650-cfm carburetor, 1000HP fuel system, MSD ignition, MAC 13/4-inchlong-tube headers, 3-inch Dr. Gas X-pipe, and NOS Big Shot plate system(200-400 hp).

The foundation for Mark's Coast High Performance 347ci stroker iscertainly sound, but unnecessary to go 10.79. A factory 5.0L rollerblock will get you there with the Coast 347ci Street Fighter packageinside. You can get into the basics of this stroker package for under$6,000, if you do a lot of it yourself and shop wisely for parts.

Interior

Mark's Mustang has custom upholstery over factory bucket seats. Thereare many options that can cost even less. TMI's new carbon fiberupholstery is one option. The Haneline instrument panel can besubstituted with a stock five-dial cluster and Scott Drake's soft-glowinstrument faces. The 8-point roll cage is excellent for safety, but youcan get away with a simpler roll cage that is less involved. Mark'sMustang also has a Ron Francis electrical system. you can get away witha stock wiring harness from Painless.

The interior is where you can save all kinds of money, yet use yourimagination at the same time. Companies such as Mustangs Plus and DallasMustang allow you to shop for terrific interior appointments withouthaving to spend a lot of money.

(above & below left) Mustangs Plus' Grab-A-Track suspension is a great bargain because it isso affordable. Opt for a set of 620 coils, polyurethane bushings, and a1-inch front sway bar, and you're ready to rock--without spending afortune. When your budget permits, step up to Global West or TotalControl suspension components.

A stock automatic shifter does not have to be replaced with somethingfrom B&M or Lokar. You can dress it up with a nice shifter handle and,perhaps, a different shifter base just to be different. for example, usea Cougar automatic shifter base instead of a Mustang's.

Always spend money on the side of safety. A three-point safety beltsystem doesn't cost much and can save your life. A four- or five-pointsafety harness designed for racing makes no sense on the street. Itbecomes user-unfriendly for even the most seasoned racer when it's timeto run to the market.

So How To Get There For $15,000

If you do the math on everything we have covered here (and a few thingswe haven't), you can get into good-looking, high-performance driving forunder $15,000 and crack the quarter-mile in under 11 seconds. To getthere, you have to watch every penny and engage in common sensethinking. First, ask yourself what you can do yourself--and do it. Ifyou don't know how to do it yourself, learn to do it yourself.

To build a 10.79-second ride, you have to focus on where to spend yourmoney wisely. This means spending less in areas that really don't have asignificant effect on the big picture: a budget suspension, stock discbrakes with rear drum brakes, chassis-stiffening components (that don'tcost much to buy and install), a factory 9-inch case with a four-piniondifferential, low-cost traction bars, a fit and trim interior, andaffordable rolling stock.

To build a 10.79-second rocket ship, invest your money into the enginewhere performance counts. Invest wisely in the driveline, which has toeffectively channel all of that power to the rear wheels. focus yourcreative energy on bodywork and paint, which is what people see first.if you watch your pennies and exercise common sense, you can go fast,look good, and have a little something left over for the upgrades tocome later.