Project Shocker, 5.0 Magazine
Back to Life
After a long hibernation, this project comes roaring back
Text and Photos by Sharad Raldiris
Project Shocker, our ’89 Mustang LX, has been in the 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords stable for several years. Purchased from its original owner in February 2008 it was almost completely stock, with only 42,000 miles showing on the odometer. Before the first wrench was turned, we formulated a plan to build an 8-second street car, using mostly bolt-on parts, which could make 1,000 hp yet still be driven on the street; and it had to be pretty. It was a bold plan.
From the Start
The project started out smoothly enough. We put the LX in the 12s using minor bolt-on parts. Later, we ran low 11s on the stock motor with boost provided by an ATI-ProCharger F-1R. Sure, the ProCharger was comically oversized for the little 302, but it fit into the long range 8-second plan. While building a monstrous 428ci Windsor, we installed the requisite suspension, rearend, and braking system upgrades. However, two decisions we agonized over which transmission and roll cage to use. Although a 10-point rollcage would meet the NHRA-mandated safety requirements for our projected high-8-second e.t.’s, we played it safe and chose an SFI 25.2 cage from Rogue Race Cars.
Viewed objectively, the decision to install a full Funny-Car cage added a significant amount of build time, cost more, and sacrificed some streetability. Still, the elaborate chrome-moly chassis provides a greater measure of safety on the dragstrip, which is priceless.
Choosing a trans for Shocker also proved difficult. The car originally sported a manual transmission and your author loves banging gears, but an automatic is more conducive to big-power racing on radial tires. With that in mind, we decided to install a Mighty Mite X6 from Dynamic Racing Transmissions. Choosing the three-speed M2-X6, which is based on Ford’s C4, meant that we were sacrificing the use of an overdrive gear. However, the M2-X6 is ideal for running 8-second e.t.’s with our particular combo, so the lack of an overdrive gear was a necessary concession in our pursuit of speed.
In the interest of full disclosure, we’ll confess that Project Shocker was fully assembled over a year ago. Unfortunately,we encountered several new-car bugs which conspired to delay the Shocker’s completion. First, there was a tire clearance issue which resulted in the decision to mini-tub the car. Next, our Windsor-swap exhaust did not match up with our combo, which necessitated the use of a custom-fabricated exhaust system. Worse yet, an electrical problem during our first start up attempts actually damaged the brand-new engine and forced us to rebuild it. To be sure, Project Shocker has been full of surprises, some of them quite costly, but surprises like these are common with a project of this magnitude. So as painful as it was, we spent the time and money required to properly resolve these issues and the LX is running again, meaner than ever.
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