Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 16, 2011

Here at Modified Mustangs & Fords magazine, we like to bring you a number of different projects to show you just what goes into each type of build, and what you can expect from a labor, cost, and performance standpoint. While many of you have been following project Generation Gap, our '68 Mustang Restomod buildup for some time now, we've also started work on our High School Hauler project--a more street/strip entry-level project.

Our latest Pony in the stable is going to be more of a long-distance Thoroughbred, built to take the rigors of racing, while allowing us to cruise in comfort whenever we want to go street-side. As such, our Colt of Personality will take on the Pro Touring ranks with modern, 5.0L Coyote power, big binders from Wilwood, a top-notch and thoroughly modern suspension, and a plethora of modern upgrades that will provide us with increased performance, as well as reliability.

The Foundation

What we started out with is your garden-variety '66 C-code Mustang fastback with a 289ci engine and four-speed transmission. It has an 8-inch rear out back and the front end has been upgraded to Granada disc brakes. The fastback was a pair of gold stripes away from completing it's previous owner's plan of becoming a Shelby G.T. 350H clone, and while we're planning to keep the majority of the Shelby body components and trim on the car, the final look, as you may have noticed from Eric Brockmeyer's illustrations, will be quite the departure from the rent-a-racer program.

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You might also recognize the car from the December issue's installation of Goodmark's mini wheeltubs. We had Graverobbers Sheet Metal in Cumming, Georgia, install the tubs, along with new framerails, trunk floors, and a new taillight panel. The wheeltubs have set us up to tuck some big-time rubber beneath the car, which is a necessity given the 412hp Coyote 5.0L that we'll be slinging under the hood. We'll be working with Ford Racing Performance Parts to show you what's involved with the swap, and we're even considering a power adder to make sure we stick it to the Bow Tie folk on the track.

At the Track

To set a baseline for the project, we took the Colt of Personality to Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, and ran it on both the dragstrip and road course, and also performed a 60-0 braking test. Prior to our initial testing, Tuner's Inc's Tony Gonyon looked over the car and checked the ignition timing. We found total timing to be set at 49-50 degrees. Gonyon backed it down to 34 degrees total, and quickened the advance as well. We asked Guida to write down his thoughts on the car's performance and here's what he had to say.

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DragStrip

"The clutch pedal was linear and easy to modulate. Traction in First gear was hard to find. Leaving in First gear just off idle would cause wheelspin, and backing off of the throttle would allow the tire to catch once rolling. Once the tire caught, I experienced wheelhop and chatter, most likely from the leaf spring wrapping up and unloading.

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"The engine revved quickly. I shifted at 5,000 rpm for the first pass, and 5,500 for the subsequent passes. The Mustang chattered a good bit on the 1-2 shift, but it pulled strong and smooth. The tires chirped on the 2-3 and 3-4 shifts, but otherwise maintained traction. Transmission shifts were smooth and didn't require any thought to find the gear.

"The car went straight down the track with no drama at all. I could feel air rushing in, through what I'm guessing were the vents, once I hit 80 or so. The speedometer read high, showing 100 mph at the traps. Stopping after the traps was another story; braking and downshifting were required to avoid really abusing the brakes."

Braking Test

"The fluid had been flushed prior to testing with ATE Gold brake fluid. The front pads were new, though the rotors were a bit glazed. We never inspected the drums. The car got up to speed well and the pedal was easy to modulate once under braking, though it was prone to instant lockups at times. It pulled slightly, but was very manageable. In our two tests from 60-0 mph, the Mustang required more than an acre of land to come to a stop--that's no joke folks. Our first stop was made in 248.84 feet, and the second in 227.25 feet. Surely we'll find some improvement here, as we'll be equipping the Colt with wider, more modern tires and a big braking system."

Road Course

"The car did better than we expected. The differential, more precisely the lack of a limited-slip version, caused the car to easily break traction in any turn. Steering was a little loose, but feel was decent. The rather wide steering wheel made heel-toe impossible, as you can't move your leg under the wheel.

"At turn in, the Mustang displayed severe body roll and set down at what seemed to be full compression. The tires were rolling onto the sidewalls, and there was slight tire rubbing on the front fenders in tight turns. There was a moderate amount of understeer, but overall, the car was easy to control from apex to track out, and was predictable at turn in. The brakes, large steering wheel, and body roll were the big limitations. Eventually, the engine started to overheat due to what we later found out was a clogged radiator and faulty radiator cap."

"Lap times on the Gainesville Raceway test circuit clocked in at 1:18.21, 1:18.07, and 1:18.23--a new '11 Mustang will knock down times in the 1:07s.

"Lap 3 had me laughing! I'm thinking, 'God, please don't let that door open!'"

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Skidpad

"It was all Guida could do to stay upright in the car given the massive amount of body roll that the Mustang displayed. Over three runs, the Mustang averaged 0.76 lateral g clockwise, and 0.77 lateral g counter-clockwise. Not bad given the completely shot and dry-rotted tires that we expected to let go at any time."

The Next Step

As we have outlined the basic idea for our new project, next month, we'll jump into updating the interior. It's far too hard to concentrate on the track when you're holding yourself in the seat, and the steering wheel was interfering with aggressive turning and downshifting, so we'll upgrade that as well.

"At turn in, the Mustang displayed severe body roll and set down at what seemed to be full compression. The tires were rolling onto the sidewalls, and there was slight tire rubbing on the front fenders in tight turns."

"Lap times on the Gainesville Raceway test circuit clocked in at 1:18.21, 1:18.07, and 1:18.23"