5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
1989 Ford Mustang Project Shocker - Back To Life
After a long hibernation, this project comes roaring back.
Given your author’s OCD tendencies, it was absolutely necessary to rework all of Project Shocker’s wiring. So we spent at least 50 hours removing every unnecessary circuit from each harness in order to make the wiring much easier to work on in the future. Weight loss from the wires we removed was negligible, but the end result was much cleaner. Most importantly, everything works! It is unusual to see a Fox Mustang with an SFI 25.2 chassis and functional power windows, power locks, power mirrors, and other accessories.
While we were performing routine fuel system maintenance, we called Aeromotive to inquire about filters and gaskets for our Aeromotive Stealth Eliminator fuel tank. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Aeromotive updated the Stealth tank’s design to utilize a billet aluminum fuel pump hat which drops in from the top of the tank, rather than the previous tank’s rear sump mount which was visible from behind the car. This new Stealth tank features elaborate internal baffling similar to the ’03-’04 Cobra fuel tanks, so it supports 1,400 horsepower without fear of cavitation or vapor lock, while appearing totally stock externally. The new design fits right in with Project Shocker’s build philosophy of looking tame while packing a big punch, so we happily upgraded to the new Aeromotive tank.
Ever the stubborn mule, our pony car was plagued with numerous new car bugs. Despite our best efforts, we never did achieve the ceremonial first startup, so we admitted defeat and left it with The Horse Whisperer, Tim “Ike” Eichhorn at Mustang Performance Racing in Boynton Beach, Florida. As it turned out, a minor electrical problem prevented the big Windsor from firing up while cranking the starter. Unfortunately, your overzealous author kept right on cranking which ultimately caused it to fuel-wash the cylinders and destroy the piston ring seal. It was one simple, but expensive lesson learned. Ike tore apart the brand-new engine, performed the necessary repairs, and dropped it back into the Shocker. Next, he went over the car from front to back, in order to ensure that no other rookie mistakes on our part would prevent the car from running perfectly. When Ike called us to swing by MPR for the ceremonial first start up we were skeptical, but sure enough the car fired right up, and boy did it sound angry! In
Once the first startup monkey was off of our backs, we went to work putting the rest of the car together. Although the Shocker is sporting only 48,000 original miles, many small parts disappeared during the build process. One such item was the original cowl vent grille. Thankfully, Latemodel Restoration hooked us up with a new cowl panel, along with several other items. With funds running low and deadlines looming near, an executive decision was made to cut Project Shocker’s stock hood to make room for the big-inch Windsor. Of course, we would prefer to run a cowl-induction hood, but Dremel cut off wheels are much cheaper. While this was considered a temporary solution, many people who have seen it in person have voiced their approval of our pseudo-shaker hood.
Moving onto the interior, we reinstalled most of the factory interior components. Another part which disappeared during the build process was the Shocker’s original steering column cover. Thankfully, Bart Tobener at MPS Auto Salvage came through with a replacement. Surprisingly cozy Kirkey seats and Simpson harnesses from Summit Racing Equipment replaced the factory pieces, while Chassis Engineering supplied the window net and parachute release cable kit. Notice the two buttons on our TCI Outlaw shifter. The top button activates both the TCI RollStop and the burnout rev limiter, while the bottom button activates our Dynamic C4’s transbrake and the two-step rev limiter. Once we install new black carpet and reinstall the sound system, this will be a great looking cockpit for such a serious machine.
Project Shocker looks fairly serious with the hatchback opened to reveal its Rogue Race Cars rollcage and Tig-Vision mini-tubs, but new carpet and a custom rear-seat delete will return the Shocker to its show-car standards.
We installed this Simpson Skyjacker parachute from Summit Racing Equipment and the battery cutoff switch in order to satisfy NHRA safety inspectors. However, both the parachute mount and the cutoff switch handle are easily removable for low-key street driving.
The 428ci Windsor sits taller and closer to the firewall than the 302 it replaced, so we had to fabricate new piping for the ProCharger system. Race Part Solutions supplied the silicone couplers, aluminum tubing, and dual-seal flex connector for the throttle body, as well as the bungs, fittings, and hoses for the PCV system. Admittedly, the throttle body inlet tube will look much better powdercoated black to match the Trick Flow intake and valve covers, but we’re waiting to powdercoat it until after we install the dual-nozzle methanol injection kit from Snow Performance. One important component which is not visible in this photo is the boost brace, also from RPS. It positively attaches the ProCharger to the discharge tube to ensure that the tube doesn’t separate from the blower at higher boost levels.
Although Project Shocker is in fact a street car and we still have an inlet air filter for our ProCharger F-1R, we are determined to squeeze every last bit of horsepower out of this 428 stroker, so we ordered an inlet bell from ProCharger. It is said to increase max boost by as much as 2 psi with no other changes, and we’ll take any advantage we can get! Any guesses on how much power Project Shocker will make on the dyno?
Speaking of the dyno, stay tuned to upcoming issues of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords magazine to check out our installation of Holley’s high-tech Dominator EFI system along with a new MSD ignition system.