5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
1986 Ford Mustang T-Top LX Project T-Top Coupe Engine Swap - To The Top
Moving into the four-digit category was on our minds while installing a new bullet
Despite its age, our ’86 T-top LX coupe arguably is the headliner in our stout lineup of project Mustangs. How can this be, you ask, when 5.0&SF’s stable of bitchin’ Ponies is also comprised of Project Vapor Trail, an F-1C ProCharged New Edge, and contributor Sharad Raldiris’ Project Shocker, just to name a few?
We still hold the T-top car on a higher plane for a couple of reasons. First, the notchback’s Fox-rod renovation kicked off our magazine’s return to the project-car scene, since the completion of Big Steve’s Real Street ’89 LX back in the day.
Second, the rare ’Stang is also held in high regard because its 860-plus rear-wheel ponies make it the undisputed horsepower leader among our current in-house ’Stangs. Veteran readers know that Dr. Jamie Meyer’s Project Mondo Stocker--an ’88 coupe--sits atop the all-time list of our thoroughbreds (with 1,300 horses at the feet). However, changes we’re making with the T-top car, should earn it a place in the elite group of street Mustangs that make more than 1,000 rwhp.
Specs and such on the coupe’s new bullet, an A.R.E. Performance & Machine-built 353, are detailed in our Mar. ’11 issue (Grand Scheme, p. 75). In the spirit of keeping you informed, the accompanying photos and captions focus on installing the updated powerplant. We’re also detailing a few of the changes that were made (and that still must be made), if our dream of eclipsing the four-digit power plateau has any chance of coming true.
While there are still several finishing items that must be handled before we put fire in the hole, we’re confident our T-top coupe will throw down a number on Extreme Automotive’s chassis dyno, that will make all of the fabricating and fitting well worth it.
Horse Sense: We feel it’s only right that we give you a status update on a project Mustang that we started a while ago, but have not made much mention of for quite some time. We’re talking about Project Boss 340--a nitrous-shot, 342-powered (8.2 deck with Cleveland-style heads) ’90 LX Pony that we’ve been building exclusively for the dragstrip. As followers of the effort know, we haven’t said anything about the ’Stang since our report on its paint and graphics. Well, the truth is, there hasn’t been much to talk about since then, as a litany of logistical issues beyond our control have put this project on hold for longer than we anticipated. We appreciate your patience with this delay--we still plan to complete Boss 340 and let you know how she performs on the quarter-mile.
Have you ever known that something really isn’t going to work the way you want it to, but still hold on to a small hope that some way, somehow, a fix will arise at the 11th hour to make the impossible a doable deal?
That was the position we found ourselves in both before and after installing the new Paxton-blown/Mondo-intercooled engine in our project Pony. Sure, we knew that the ’cooler would raise the engine’s overall height considerably. But despite this knowledge, our intent is to try and maintain some semblance of the clean look that the T-top ’Stang had with its Cervini’s 2.5-inch cowl hood.
All roads currently point toward us turning Chris Kephart loose with the fiberglass cutter and letting him modify the Cervini’s piece in as clean a manner as possible for the necessary clearance (see Option A photo). However, at the risk of making our street Mustang appear more racy, we’re also flirting with the idea of bolting on Team Z Motorsports’ all-new 6-inch cowl hood for pre-’87 Fox bodies (see Option B).
Yes, we knew going in that this was going to be a problem. While we’ll certainly get it resolved at some point, we welcome you to dial up our website, www.50mustangandsuperfords.com, and use the message board to give us your thoughts on which way we should go to address this issue.