5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
1986 T-Top Coupe LX - Plan Beast
Our '86 T-Top Coupe Is Back In Action With Bigger Steam And Lower 9-Second Potential
Horse Sense: "Sometimes, Kaje, it's all about saving face," said Tech Editor KJ Jones' wife, Crystal Jones, when asked whether our street/strip '86 T-top coupe LX should be called into service as our backup race car for the Street Car Super Nationals V, when it became clear that Boss 340 would not be finished in time for the event. Seriously, guys, there really is a lot to be said about a woman's intuition.
For more than a year now, the bulk of our project-car reports have centered on Project Vapor Trail, Editor Steve Turner's radical '08 Shelby GT500; Project Fox 500, Big Steve's even-more-radical '88 T-top LX hatchback; and Project Boss 340, Tech Editor KJ Jones' mega-radical Cleveland-headed, nitrous-injected 343ci, four-speed drag-racer '90 LX hatchback Mustang.
As timelines go, any new project-car updates we publish should technically focus on one of the three aforementioned Mustangs, as they're all ongoing works in progress-PVT is probably the most "finished" Pony in the group. Things are a bit different with this report, as it highlights details on our recent escapades with Project T-top Coupe, our rare '86 notchback Mustang with T-tops. At this point, it's a blast from the not-so-distant past. The coupe hasn't been featured in a 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords tech report since our Aug. '08 issue.
Right now, we actually should be reporting on what we had hoped would be the Boss 340's triumphant debut at the PSCA's Street Car Super Nationals V. SCSN is a high-profile, large-payout event that's held in November at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Pro Street class pays $20,000 to the winner.
Our goal was to complete Boss 340 in time for the race and enter it in the Ford Racing Performance Parts Mustang Maddness class. However, one of the guaranteed truisms about projects is that some things simply don't go according to plan despite all good intentions. Unfortunately, such was the case with Boss 340.
As we explained in "Graphic Detail" (Apr. '10, p. 88), delays in the body shop made it clear that Boss 340 would not be ready for SCSN V. Despite the setback and after lots of deliberating over what move to make (with the prophetic wisdom of Mrs. Jones), we decided to keep our commitment to run in SCSN V, calling our street-driven, T-top car into service as a more-than-suitable replacement for the incomplete Boss.
It's important to note that prior to making the decision, the coupe maintained a peaceful existence as a quasi-regularly driven street car. It had not been on a chassis dyno or a dragstrip since 2007, when we cut it loose on Extreme Automotive's Dynapack Evolution 4000 chassis dyno and then took it to the track. At that time, the coupe's Paxton Novi 2000-blown, A.R.E. Performance & Machine 350ci Ford made 830 horses worth of steam and 727 lb-ft of torque, which easily carried the 3,500-pound Pony down the quarter-mile in 9.79 seconds at 141.98 mph.
Naturally, we didn't believe there was any reason why the project car's past performance would not be duplicated (or improved on) in Las Vegas. Before taking the coupe to the strip, we first had to correct a few issues that had come up since the last time it was dragstrip tested, such as fuel delivery, brake adjustment, recertifying the safety harness and window net, chassis certification and tuning. The sincerely appreciated thrashing and efforts of A.R.E. Performance & Machine, Extreme Automotive, Orme Brothers, and Josh Deeds of Deeds Performance had our 'Stang ready for action with two days to spare before the Street Car Super Nationals.
In this story, we document the preparatory activity that went on during the thrash, including the phenomenal results from the all-important dyno session and dragstrip run. These results make it clear that the coupe's supercharged small-block is a lot more potent than we imagined.
Now we're back on track with Project Boss 340, and the T-top coupe will be going into surgery for another engine rebuild. The new plan is to take our registered, insured rare Mustang beyond the 1,000-rwhp boundary with more cubes and more boost, and possibly run 8s-all with a Mustang that we still can take to the streets whenever we want, and drive 'til the wheels fall off with the stereo cranked way up.