Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 17, 2011
Photos By: Steve Baur

For well over a year now, you have watched Project Repeat Offender grow from a tacky retro resto into a purpose-built True Street machine. We started with a $600 Craigslist special in need of some updating, to say the least. It had an ugly scoop on a heavily metalflaked and flamed hood, a hideous tan interior, 10-hole wheels, and an anemic carbureted stock 5.0L engine.

After stripping it of most of its character attributes, we began installing pieces that would help our coupe become a 9-second street/strip abuser. The heart and centerpiece of the project is a 427ci Boss short-block from Ford Racing Performance Parts. Combined with a pair of CNC-ported FRPP heads, Edelbrock's Super Victor intake manifold, and a Quick Fuel 850-cfm carb, the combination made 609 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque on the engine dyno.

We decided to go with TCI's new 6X six-speed automatic transmission, which we introduced in an earlier issue. The trans, based on the GM 4L80E, is large and in charge, and to fit it in the tunnel of our Fox, we needed a few special modifications. First was the Ford-to-GM bellhousing, which came with our transmission package from TCI. The next was some gentle persuasion to the floor-the only things that didn't were the fittings for the transmission cooler lines, so we hammered dimples into the trans tunnel.

The last and probably most daunting hurdle was the transmission crossmember. Since the 6X is considerably longer than a T-5 or AOD, our stock crossmember and its mounting points were way off. To remedy this and other problems we ran into, we turned to ProFab Performance in Thonotosassa, Florida. There, owner and lead handyman Matt Larue turned our big problem into a simple fix.

Starting with the installation of our S&W Race Cars subframe connectors, Larue raised the 6X into place, supported it, and measured for the new one-off crossmember. He then welded mounts to the subframe connectors and assembled the crossmember with bushings supplied by BMR Fabrication, which happens to be right across the street. Larue powdercoated the new piece and bolted it in place.

Transmission fitment and installation complete, we focused on the exhaust system. Our one-off K- member (donated by associate editor Pete Epple) caused a few problems for our Kook's Custom Headers. The main problem was that it set the engine too high for our headers to clear the framerails. Even if we spaced the K-member, the header tubes still hit it, so we enlisted Larue to remedy this problem as well. With some spare stainless steel tubing from Vibrant Performance in hand, Larue spent countless hours cutting and splicing our headers until they fit.

We were then able to install the custom-made Axle Exchange driveshaft, transmission cooler and lines, and Flex-a-lite radiator/fan assembly. With all of the main components installed, we filled the fluids and finally turned the key, bringing Project Repeat Offender to life. After creating a generic tune for our 6X trans, we made the maiden voyage through the business park where our office is located.

With everything on the up-and-up, we backed the notch onto our in-house DynoJet chassis dyno. The initial pull yielded 455 rwhp and 339 lb-ft of torque. Check back next month, where we'll have a first drive on the street and the quarter-mile-for real this time.

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