June 1, 2003

In April 2002, I traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, with my fiance, Tina Wolanin. I was fortunate enough to have been invited by the American Heart Association to present my National Institute of Health-funded research efforts at the AHA's First Annual Asian Pacific Scientific Forum. While Tina was playing in the sun and surf, I was presenting my work titled "Decreased Blood Pressure and Vas-cular Smooth Muscle Tone in Mice Lacking Basolateral Na-K-2Cl Cotransporter." [Yeah, whatever he just said. - Ed.] The data was well received, and I quickly joined Tina in touring the amazing sights of Oahu.

Months before this trip began-as we planned the adventure-I wondered what kind of Mustangs one could encounter on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I contacted Bob Cosby, an acting moderator at www.corral.net, and he put out a post looking for Hawaiian Mustang enthusiasts who would like to have their cars considered for a magazine feature. As you've already figured out, we had some awesome Mustangs show up at our photo shoot. And, on a gorgeous Saturday morning on the amazing Lanikai Beach, I had a chance to shoot some of the best Mustangs in the islands.

One of the things you have to appreciate is that speed parts are considerably more expensive for the Hawaiian automotive enthusiast. It's not that vendors jack up prices on these folks-it's that shipping, which must be overnight air express, is outrageous. For example, a small $100 part can typically carry a $100 shipping cost to the islands. That adds up quickly when you're building a 10-second car!

Also, if you happen to visit Hono-lulu, you'll be interested to know the local police force authorizes its officers to use their own personal vehicles if they meet accepted guidelines. It's not unusual to see Mustang GTs and Cobras with light bars and radio equipment, if you know what to look for.

We also ran into Ernie Lum, president of the Hawaii Ford Performance Club (www.hfpc.net), and promised him we'd give his club a plug. In all, it was quite surprising how advanced some of the cars were that we found during our stay. We think you'll enjoy this sampling of the best the Pacific has to offer to the world of Ford performance.

Henry TabiosThe Fastest 5.0 Mustang in HawaiiIf you've been into Fords for a while, Henry Tabios' '90 LX may look familiar to you. It has appeared in magazine features, and it still wears the crown as the fastest 5.0 Mustang in Hawaii. Henry is a 44-year-old service advisor at Honolulu Ford. He has worked at the dealership since 1979, so it's obvious that Fords-fast Fords in particular-are a part of his life. His wife, Merle, his five sons, and his daughter (we still think he has more kids than reported here due to the crowd of juveniles that showed up with him) are all active participants in several forms of automotive competition-most notably, drag racing.

Henry's white hatchback has only 32,000 miles on the clock, but it has a ton of performance enhancements. The original short-block (yikes!) has been bolstered with the addition of Edelbrock Performer heads, a Lunati camshaft, a Cobra intake, a 75mm throttle body, an MSD ignition, 42-lb/hr injectors, Vortech fuel rails, a Vortech R-Trim supercharger, and an Aeromotive fuel pump. The drivetrain consists of a C4 automatic transmission with a tranny brake from Performance Automatic, a 4,500-stall converter, 3.73 gears, and an Auburn Pro differential with 31-spline Moser axles. The suspension modifications consist of 90/10 front struts and 50/50 shocks from Lakewood, a Griggs coilover conversion and K-member, and rear lower control arms from South Side.

The record for Hawaii stands at a 9.89-second e.t. at 135 mph with a 1.34-second short time. If you can beat that, let us know. That way, Henry can begin building something even nastier for us to share with our readers!

Thomas SmithSupercharged Pursuit VehicleThirty-four-year-old Thomas Smith of Wahiawa has been a Honolulu police officer for more than 10 years. He and his wife, Naomi (an ambulance driver and EMT), bought this '97 Cobra in 1999 as a slightly used example of the breed. Tom had wanted a Mustang since his brother had bought an '87 GT new off the showroom floor in their hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia.

Tom's Cobra had only 12,800 miles on the odometer when he got it, and the modifications on the virgin snake began almost immediately. The first thing he did was add a set of Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers for the sound and then slap on a ProCharger P600B with three-core intercooler to increase the go. Within a year, the weak factory bottom end was used up, and Tom was in search of a new rotating assembly. A call to Sean Hyland Motorsport got Tom going in the right direction, and he soon had a full-on replacement motor in the mail (imagine what that cost!).

The new bottom end features an SHM-prepped block, Stage 1 ported heads, forged rods, forged pistons (9.85:1 blower-friendly final compression), SHM blower-grind camshafts, a windage tray, and a completely balanced rotating assembly. Tom was ready to make some power without blowing the engine!

He also added a host of supportive equipment. Ignition is now handled by an MSD DIS-4 ignition with tach adapters, 8.5mm spark wires, and Screamin' Demon coil packs. Gauges are by Auto Meter. A Pro-M 80mm mass air meters the incoming air, while Granatelli 36-lb/hr injectors, an Aeromotive fuel-pressure regulator, and an FMU keep the fuel flowing. Exhaust on the new mill consists of BBK long-tube headers, a catalytic-equipped H-pipe, and those Flowmasters. The transmission is the stock T45 for now, with a SPEC Stage-III clutch and aluminum flywheel, and 3.73 gears turning the rubber. Chromed Cobra R rims and a dropped 2-inch stance make the thing look fast even on the beach. The front suspension has been enhanced with a D&D K-member, A-arms, and a coilover conversion. In the back, a full setup from Unlimited Performance includes uppers, lowers, and an antiroll bar to ensure the power hits the ground.

With a mild tune-up, Tom and Naomi's amazing Cobra makes more than 517 rwhp and 433 rear-wheel torque. With a new FAST system installed, the bigger ProCharger blower that's sitting in the box, and a pair of slicks, watch for this to be Hawaii's next 10-second street Cobra.

Jeffry ClutsA Twin-Turbo SleeperWith Pearl Harbor the main United States military base in the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are full of American servicemen and servicewomen. What happens to their cars when they leave the mainland for Hawaii? Well, your tax dollars pay for them to ship their cars to Oahu.

Originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Jeffrey Cluts, a naval aviation warfare systems operator/rescue swimmer, has been stationed in Hawaii for more than four years. With a long family tradition of Mustang ownership, Jeff currently owns three examples: an '88 Saleen (No. 376), an '84 GT, and the '87 GT you see here.

Jeff bought the car in 1998 and went to work customizing his newest acquisition. Snyder's Machine Shop (of Hawaii) bored the block 0.030 inches over to fit D.S.S. low-compression (8.5:1 compression) pistons with the other stock internals. A Cobra intake, 42-lb/hr injectors, a Kirban fuel-pressure regu-lator, a BBK 70mm throttle body, a 75mm Pro-M blow-through mass air meter, an MSD ignition, and a PMS with Windows Interacq Software were added to the package. But the main story here is the Incon Twin Turbo 800hp kit, which is set to spool to a conservative 12 psi.

Meanwhile, a BBK off-road H-pipe and DynoMax Ultraflo Race Magnum mufflers add the rumble. A Lentech AOD was added, along with a 3,000-stall converter, to handle the increased load. A Ford Racing Performance Parts aluminum driveshaft, an Auburn Pro centersection, and 31-spline race axles were also added. Eibach lowering springs; Koni rear shocks; Edelbrock lower control arms; welded/boxed upper control arms; and 16-inch, three-piece rims provide the perfect stance. Jeff also added a killer sound system featuring two Rockford power-series amps, two Diamond Audio 10-inch sub-woofers, and a Pioneer CD player.

With pump gas, the GT makes around 400 rwhp-with a tank of 110-octane, it goes more than 500 rwhp. On the track, the GT has already nailed down a 12.7 e.t. at more than 114 mph on street tires. With slicks, Jeff has gone 11.80s at well over 119 mph with 12 psi. But he was asked to leave until the rollcage is added. He will then turn boost up to 16 psi and bang out some 10-second quarter-mile times.

"Future cars added to my collection will be an '03 Cobra and a Ford Lightning," he says. "Future goals for my GT will be a chrome-moly rollcage, a Dart block with four-bolt mains, a cowl hood, an Aeromotive fuel system, and some ghost flames done in Viper black." By then, Jeff will be back in the States and running in the nine-second zone!

Allen NakamuraThe Fastest Modular Mustang in Hawaii!When we caught up with Allen Nakamura and his black '97 Cobra, we were impressed. Likely the fastest modular Mustang in the state of Hawaii, the car had all the good parts to make it a contender. At the time of our photo shoot, it sported an SHM 4.6 DOHC engine, a T-Trim Vortech supercharger, an HCI manifold, an Electromotive Tech-II fuel-injection control, a C4 transmission with a 5,000 stall, 4.10 gears in the 8.8-inch rear, and was dyno'd at 595 rwhp. With the stock short-block, the car ran a best of 10.46 seconds at more than 130 mph. With the SHM upgraded engine, it went a best of 10.03 seconds at 139 mph.

Since our photo shoot, Allen, who runs one of the most successful speed shops in Hawaii, has really become serious. The main addition to the car is the conversion to a Precision T-91 turbo-charger. The motor now sports billet rods, JE pistons, and ported heads with custom cams. A Hogan intake manifold has been added, with a 90mm throttle body and an Axis Industries' turbo-charger incorporating an air-to-water intercooler. Allen has also switched to a FAST fuel-injection system with an MSD DIS-4. A Powerglide transmission has been added with 3.89 gearing, 40-spline axles, and a Wolfe Race Craft rear suspension. In addition, a complete Anthony Jones front suspension keeps things headed in a straight line while losing some weight. Of course, the rollcage has been updated and a parachute has been added.

"Our goal is to run high eights with the stock suspension and true 10.5-inch slicks," Allen says. "Of course, one day we want to run this car in the States-against all the cars we see in 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords magazine!"

Robert MohedanoA Simple Recipe for a Good 5.0 TimeRobert Mohedano's wife is stationed in Hawaii, therefore his GT had to come along with the family when they moved there six years ago. "I hate front-wheel drive," Robert says. "I have owned three Mustangs. They're easy to work on, and my wife loves them-a big plus. I've owned an '86 GT, an '87 GT, and my current '89 GT."

When Robert purchased this GT, it had more than 146,000 miles on the clock. But it ran well, and he was soon looking for ways to hop it up while doing some sensible restoration. A few months after Robert got the car, a friend totaled a similar GT. For $3,000, Robert bought the parts car, and the swapping began-the best of which was a D.S.S.-built engine with only 1,500 miles on the clock. He also got an aluminum driveshaft, a beefed 8.8 with 3.73 gearing, an Edelbrock induction, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, an FRPP E303 camshaft, and 1.7 rockers. In addition to all these goodies, Robert added a Hurst shifter, BBK headers, an off-road H-pipe, and a Hooker after-cat exhaust. It's a fairly basic recipe for a low-13-second GT on street tires.

Robert is working on assembling a complete blower package for his GT, but he says it's a good thing he doesn't have one. "I really don't want to do too much more to the car," he says, "because I have no self-control over my need for speed. I constantly get speeding tickets. My last one was 108 mph in a 55-mph zone. The fine was $270 and a trip to driving school!"

Henry Tabios Jr.AOD + NOS = 11-Second Street ThrillerHenry Tabios Jr. had the most basic of cars to show up at our photo shoot, but these are the types of Mustangs that make this hobby so much fun. The black '92 LX is equipped with only the basic items that are needed to speed. An open intake tract combined with an aftermarket exhaust system gets a serious kick in the pants with an NOS dry-nitrous system. It sounds like the normal hot-rod 5.0, except this one has the anemic factory AOD still in the transmission tunnel. Henry has added a shift-improvement kit and a Precision Industries converter to make the slush box resemble a performance transmission. Still, he kept boasting how this is one of the baddest street 5.0 Mustangs in Honolulu.

We were a little skeptical of the car-we even questioned its performance. That's when Junior opened the glovebox and pulled out a fist-full of high-11-second passes. We stand corrected!