Robin Lawrence
September 1, 2005
Photos By: Courtesy Of Robin Lawrence

Horse Sense:
The '05 Mustang uses a front crossmember to mount the front stabilizer bar. It also has tabs to support the radiator. Racecraft whipped up a new chrome-moly piece to replace the stock mount. We found that the blower pulley on our 5.0L had hit the stock stabilizer crossmember. Looking to save weight, we retained the stock V-6 radiator. For the Power Tour we will use an Evans Cooling radiator and waterless coolant.

If you joined us last month ("Real Crazy," p. 166), you know we began the task of turning a perfectly good '05 V-6 Mustang into a cutting-edge Real Street race car. After tearing her apart, we headed off to Racecraft to make her better, stronger, and faster. No more dismantling our '05 Mustang. From this point forward, everything got us closer to the NMRA season opener in Bradenton in early March. If you remember, we dropped the car off on New Year's day. That left us just about two months to complete it. As it turns out, we needed every day that we could get. The '05 Mustang differs from every Mustang that preceded it, so as it turns out, developing parts takes time.

Last Things First
Since not many people tear apart brand-new cars, Racecraft used the construction of our car to its advantage, as main man Mark Wilkinson decided to create a product line for the new car. We discussed the obstacles we would face. The three-link rear suspension was the first. There are years of data on torque arms and three-link suspensions, but we couldn't find anything relating to a three-link design with an upper link as short at the one utilized in the '05

Mustang. In theory, it would appear to produce a violent reaction in a high-horsepower car.

In discussions with Motive Gear's Greg Brown, we had decided to make the switch to the 9-inch-style rear axle. In the past, we had subscribed to the thought that because of the design, the 8.8-inch design consumed less power, so it was the way to go. However, there are several trade-offs with the 8.8. Minimizing flex is a difficult task. Gear choices are also limited. The only gears available for the 8.8 axle are the less-durable street-type gears. This time around, we decided any advantage that the 8.8 might have would be negated by its inherent flex. We started with a Strange Engineering fabricated housing.

Mark and Tom at Racecraft fabricated the upper and lower control arm brackets for our housing. This included stronger frame support and a Panhard rod. The rear shocks are Afco double-adjustable units provided by Dave at Raceware. I loved the Afcos on my '88 coupe so they were an easy choice. On the '05, the shocks are mounted at a slight angle with the lower attachment being close to the wheel. Since we run 15-inch wheels and the OEM wheels were 17- to 18-inches, we knew that it would be close. We started by measuring the width of the stock 7.5-inch rear axle. From rotor face to rotor face it measured a whopping 65 inches wide. Our plans were to build the Strange/Motive 9-inch rear axle as narrow as possible. This would prove difficult with the width and design of the rear frame area of the '05.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery