Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
July 16, 2012
Photos By: Team MM&FF

Two years ago, we introduced a new project car, Repeat Offender. This awkward-looking Sand Beige '85 coupe had received a few updates over the years, most of which were mismatched '90s-era mods. We didn't care because the price was right, and we planned to give the lightweight, four-eyed coupe a complete overhaul. Destined for the NMRA's Tremec True Street since its inception, Repeat Offender would be purpose-built, street-legal, and most importantly, fun to drive.

We chose Ford Racing Performance Parts' 427 Windsor crate engine as the foundation, backed by a new TCI 6X six-speed automatic transmission and a Drive Train Specialists-built 8.8-inch rearend. On the engine dyno, the Quick Fuel-carbed 427 made 609 hp and 561 lb-ft torque on 110-octane fuel.

Once in the car, we used a UPR Products drop-in pickup so we could hide the potent Aeromotive A1000 pump in front of the non-sumped, factory fuel tank. Yes, Repeat Offender wears a very racy set of Weld RT-S S71 wheels that hide a trick quartet of anodized Aerospace Components brakes, but the sumped-tank look is mundane and often adds to the impression that the car is overly fast. Why not go for a slightly more sleepy look?

Cooling duties were assigned to a Flex-a-lite radiator/fan assembly. The trick setup is designed just for Fox-body Mustangs, fits perfectly, and works fantastic in conjunction with our Meziere electric water pump. We also ditched the suspect stock wiring harness for a Painless Performance Muscle Car harness to provide exactly what the car needed electrically and reliably.

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Inside, we left the stock beige dash, but tricked out with Auto Meter instrumentation. Real Speed Racing (Clearwater, Florida) welded in an S&W Race Cars 10-point rollcage, and we followed that with Corbeau GTS seats, Simpson belts, and a really trick rear-seat delete from Scott Rod Fabrication. The TCI Outlaw shifter put a polished finish to the interior, and allows us to make quick wire-controlled up- and down-shifts as needed.

It was a long and tedious road to get the project up and running, and our first outing to the dragstrip netted a 10.99 at 118 mph. The transmission had an upshift problem, so we knew we weren't getting the most out of it. Our guy at TCI informed us that the company made some revisions to the 6X, so we sent ours back for the upgrades. Once we got it back, we couldn't wait to put it back together for testing. Problem was, the NMRA season opener in Bradenton was rapidly approaching, and we didn't want to miss the race.

After tying up some loose ends, mechanically, everything was now in shape. The only department we really hadn't touched was safety. Yeah, we installed a 'cage and harnesses, but we were still missing a bunch of stuff. Our friends at Summit Racing Equipment have everything we needed, and one phone call yielded us a proper battery box, driveshaft loop, rollbar padding, and some new threads.

Finally, everything was in order. We insured the car, registered it with the DMV, filled up the tank, and headed to Bradenton. To save time and hassle, we trailered it there--still untested on the street or track. But we weren't worried. We made a few jaunts around the parking lot to make sure the trans was shifting to our liking, and it was shifting nice and firm all the way to Fifth gear (which is direct drive [1:1] on this trans).

At the race, we pitted with the other True Street competitors. Passersby recognized it, and some even stopped to take photos. By now we were really excited. The entire purpose of this build was to run True Street, and all of our hard work was either going to pay off with a solid three-run average, or result in a mild case of shame and embarrassment if we couldn't assemble and campaign a simple carbureted Mustang for one race weekend--that was not going to happen on our watch.

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