Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
December 8, 2006
Getting the Real Street project to Bowling Green was a bit of a struggle. After we swapped to a new Pro-M 80mm mass air, Rick Anderson lent a hand with his dexterity on the dyno at Holley's tech center and also on the Werx Motorsports mobile dyno at Beech Bend Raceway. He helped tune the PMS and kept a sharp ear out for detonation during the process. We were all set for a Hail Mary exhibition pass on Sunday, but with weather delays and track cleanups, the NMRA race director kept bumping us down the ladder until we didn't have any time to make the run. But Project Real Street will grace the staging lanes at Bradenton in 2004 for sure.

For us 5.0&SF staffers, project cars typically wreak havoc with our professional and personal lives. While readers and show attendees see only the fruits of our many hours of labor, it is just that labor that makes for long nights and heated conversations between loved ones. While you see a custom paint job, what you don't see is the 18-hour day it took to put the car back together after the paint job the day before the race. You see a freshly detailed engine with lots of trick parts that makes 400-plus horsepower, but you don't see the hours putting it together, tuning it, fixing little problems, and then finally getting it to run. It's all this background work that makes a project car come alive within these pages and at the events we bring it to.

What's even more problematic with the Real Street project is that, until earlier last year, it wasn't running. That meant we had to stay after hours or set aside weekends to come up to the shop and work on it. Between my family's schedule and Editor Turner's football season, it was difficult. With no room in Turner's garage (I, at least, have my '66 Mustang project in my home garage for late-night tinkering), it meant trucking up to the office on weekends to get some work done. Some days were productive, others weren't. With a V-8 conversion, massive wiring changes, and so on, we were constantly frustrated by missing clips, brackets, relays, and other doo-dads that were required during the transformation from church transportation for the elderly to a screaming 10-second race car.

So where are we now? We've actually come quite a ways. The car is running, and everything works but the fuel gauge and the A/C. All it really needs to go down the track are some last-minute fixes, updates, and additions, along with an alignment and tuning.

As I said in Horse Sense, project cars are never really done, and as soon as the race season-and football season-is over, I'm sure Editor Turner will be cracking the whip for A/C, a decent stereo, and whatever parts he feels we need to comply with the rule changes. Thanks for your support of the project, and we hope to see you at the races.

Horse Sense: Our Real Street project is far from over. Actually, most magazine project cars never really get done, they just keep getting updated or go in an entirely new direction years down the road. Now that the Real Street car is "fully operational," we'll enjoy future updating to go with the newer NMRA rules, and we'll add some tunes and working A/C to make Editor Turner more comfy when he's posing.

Because the Real Street project sat for most of the season without being started, the clutch disc rusted to the pressure plate. Several people told us this is pos-sible when moisture gets into the bellhousing and the car has a car cover on it outside. We ended up replacing the complete clutch setup with an Anderson Ford Motorsport Hi-Rev kit. The billet aluminum flywheel comes with both 28-ounce and 50-ounce weights to accommodate either standard balance. This baby weighs about 14 pounds less than the stock flywheel and will help 60-foot times.

Due to the added thickness of the aluminum flywheel, our ARP mounting bolts were not long enough. In a pinch, we used Ford OE hardware to put the car back together. Notice the length difference between the Ford bolt on the left and the ARP on the right.

The new flywheel is mounted to the crank and then torqued to specs. To prevent rubbing, make sure there's adequate clearance between the flywheel weight and the block plate.

The new Hi-Rev clutch features a spring hub for nice street manners and a grippy friction surface. These clutches have seen 7,600 rpm in testing without any engagement or release problems.