Jim Smart
April 1, 2006
Photos By: Mark Houlahan, Donald Farr, Manufacturers

In back, Classic Creations chose a Currie 9-inch rearend with 3.55 Traction-Lok gears flanked by 10.5-inch disc brakes from Stainless Steel Brakes. These are the A111-2 SN-95 units with slotted rotors and single-piston calipers. The nice thing about these late-model Mustang disc brakes is the parking brakes actually work. The standard underdash Ford handbrake doesn't work very well with any brake, including the original drums. It is wise to consider a '69-'73 foot parking brake or a late-model handbrake that fits between the front seats, both of which offer a better mechanical advantage over the T-handle parking brakes Ford used.

Stainless Steel disc brakes in all four corners are plenty of braking effectiveness as long as they are backed up with a dual-hydraulic braking system that includes a distribution block and a proportioning valve to isolate and adjust rear brake pressure. Classic Creations thought of this, as well as correct size tires and wheels, during the planning stages. We stress correct size wheels and tires because sizing is critical for ride, handling, and safety. You will get a smoother ride with the kind of sidewall present with 15- and 16-inch tires. Ride quality begins to suffer at 17 inches because there is less sidewall to take up road shock. However, a wider hoof print and less sidewall translates to better handling. The choice is yours.

Eaton Detroit Spring provided us with five-leaf, mid-eye springs for the rear suspension to improve handling and lower ride height, both of which are critical to better handling. When we lower the body, the center of gravity improves, keeping even a big-block car on course in tough cornering.

These safety features, coupled with good common-sense driving skills, should keep you out of trouble.

A Driveline Designed For Big-Block Power
We have to admit it's hilarious to consider fuel economy when planning for a huge 514 ci underhood. Our first thought was a brute C6 or a big-shaft, close-ratio Ford Top Loader transmission. Would you believe Classic Creations opted for a Ford Automatic Overdrive (AOD) from Performance Automatic Transmissions?

Overdrive serves two basic purposes, even in a fat-block, big-inch car. Because overdrive lowers cruise rpm, it improves fuel economy to some degree, even with 514 ci. Overdrive also lowers rpm, which reduces engine wear and tear and increases longevity. Another benefit is reduced cabin noise with lower rpm ranges.

Performance Automatic Racing Transmissions is located in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland. These folks build extraordinary high-performance automatic transmissions, including Ford C4, C6, AOD, AODE, and the 4R70W. You can order any of these transmissions three ways; Super Streeter, Competition, and Super Comp.

The Super Streeter has been a proven reliable performer for 16 years and will take up to 450 hp.

Performance Automatic's Competition transmissions kick the tough/reliable claim up a cog or two with the latest racing technology for drag racers; the Competition can handle the torture of nitrous and turbocharged/supercharged engines, and it can take big cubes.

The Super Comp is Performance Automatic's hallmark slushbox, track tested and built for a lot of tough competition. Performance Automatic hand picks Super Comp cores and goes to extremes when it comes to inspection and tolerances. The Super Comp comes with a deep cast-aluminum pan to ensure plenty of lubrication and cooling capacity.

Classic Creations ordered the Competition AOD because it can take the hammering the 514-inch big-block will deliver. Not so long ago, you would never consider putting the AOD or AODE behind any big-block V-8. Today, companies like Lentech and Performance Automatic have redesigned the AOD and AODE for exceptional performance, including the raw power of a big-block.

Big-block power also needs a strong link with the Currie 9-inch rearend. This is where suppliers like Inland Empire Driveline and Mustangs Plus have the goods for safe, reliable power transfer. Inland Empire Driveline driveshafts, universal joints, and yokes are available from Mustangs Plus. Steel, aluminum, and composite driveshafts are available. The least expensive is the steel shaft, followed by aluminum and composite. The selection depends on your budget and how you intend to drive the car.

Mufp_0604_08z Ford_mustang_engine_build Brake_disk
Rear disc brakes are easy to install once the old drum binders have been removed. Here, we're fitting the sedan delivery with 10.5-inch slotted rotors and single-piston calipers from Stainless Steel Brakes.
Mufp_0604_10z Ford_mustang_engine_build Brake_disk
Slotted rotors from Stainless Steel Brakes don't just look striking; these slots help vent gassing from hot brake pads, which further prevents brake fade under demanding conditions.
Mufp_0604_09z Ford_mustang_engine_build Installing_torque_converter
It is very important to remember proper torque converter seating in the front pump of an AOD or AODE. This is easy to screw up and will cause complete transmission failure if you don't comply. The converter shell hub must be completely seated in the pump rotor, along with proper shaft engagement. This is the 10-inch Pro Launch converter, which will mandate higher cooling capacity.
Mufp_0604_11z Ford_mustang_engine_build Engine_install
Performance Automatic makes a special bellhousing that allows us to mate the AOD or AODE to a 385-series big-block.