November 6, 2006

Project Name: Frightning
Car: '86 Mustang LX
Timeline: May 2002-Present
Goal: Demonstrate benefits of good power-to-weight ratio: i.e., if our Lightning project could go 11s with bolt-ons, how quick could a light Fox-chassis car go with a blown 5.4 Lightning mill?
Result: 10.8 at 121 out of the box, totally stock.
Grade: A
Best performance: 10.5 at 126 mph with completely stock long-block.
Biggest mistake: Wrong torque converter, inhibiting
performance. Thinking blower motor would fit under 4-inch cowl hood--hah!
Best move: Having a car where the blower sticks through the hood.

When Frightning was dropped off in the MM&FF parking lot in 2002, it was in the worst shape of any project car in this magazine's history. Over time, though, we've given it a new life with a modern, modular 5.4-liter powerplant, new paint, and a new interior. We still plan to sort out the torque converter issue in the future and run some nines with it. Will it knock Excalibur off the throne? Stay tuned.