Rod Short
June 1, 2002

When most people think of resto-mod Mustangs, usually it's in terms of modifying a classic with some newer ideas like plus-sized tires or fuel injection. For Paul's High Performance (PHP) of Jackson, Michigan, however, that term means just the reverse. Instead of borrowing something new, they applied an old idea to this new car, which is known as the 2001 Drag-Pak Mustang.

"Today, most of the performance-oriented tuner cars seem to be more road-race oriented," said Paul Svinicki of PHP about bringing back the Drag Pak name. "So, I thought we'd bring the Drag Pak name back with options for the car that are slanted more towards drag racing. I wanted it to be a basic package that wouldn't be too expensive, but would still give you options to go as far as you want to go."

Readers might recall that Mustang owners could order their cars with the factory Drag Pack option from 1970-'71. This option was available only with the 428/429 engines and included taller gear ratios with either a Traction-Lok or Detroit Locker differential, an oil cooler, and some special engine mods.

Yet, while Dearborn may have long since abandoned any serious interest in drag racing, others still fondly remember those cars from a generation ago. Paul helps keep that memory alive not only by making these cars, but also by racing them within the Modular Motor class in the National Mustang Racer's Association (NMRA).

As it stands today, the PHP Drag Pak package consists of two different levels of modifications: Entry-level Stage 1 cars are geared towards naturally aspirated cars, while the more powerful Stage 2 cars utilize forced induction. With the Stage 1 package, PHP tweaked the suspension with revised rate struts/shocks, a quick-disconnect front sway bar, new upper/lower control arms, a new set of rear springs with air bag, 31-spline axles with welded axle tubes, 4.10 gears, and a braced rear differential with an SVO rear cover. Subframe connectors and a driveshaft safety loop are also included. Drag Lite or Drag Star rims mounted with skinnies on the front and Nitto Drag Radials on the rear complete the undercar package. Buyers have a choice between a standard or Lentech automatic, and stock five-speed or Tremec T56 six-speed transmissions.

Underhood upgrades include a modified airbox with a 77mm throttle body/mass air meter, underdrive pulleys and a set of headers with a synchronizing crossover and after-cat system. Vintage buffs tend to especially like the shaker scoop that PHP added just for a touch of nostalgia. Controlling the fuel system is a custom chip that's available only from PHP. With these changes and some fine-tuning, PHP has been able to pull 260 hp with 300 lb-ft of torque from the Stage 1 Mustang without losing its road manners.

Besides the power, Stage 1 owners will also appreciate the attention to detail as seen with a line loc (already installed) shift light, air gauge, logbook, and helmet. Serialized plaques under the hood and on the dash add to the collectibility of these cars in future years.

The Stage 2 kit, on the other hand, was used on the Mustang shown here. The biggest difference between this and the less expensive kit involves the addition of a Vortech S-trim, larger capacity fuel system and a 2,800 stall converter. This helps pump up the power considerably with 375 horses with 355 lb-ft of torque.

Although there's no doubt that owners can purchase and add similar parts on their own, it's worthwhile to note that PHP's deal has a race-proven package of carefully matched parts with labor included. What may be even more important, however, is that all this comes on a brand new 2001 car, which has bells and whistles many people haven't even begun to figure out yet.

With either package, PHP's Drag Pak package will optimize the 2001 Mustang to become a great street/strip machine for loads of driving fun and excitement.

Sounds like a plan to us!