1988 Ford Mustang GT - Simply Fast
Just Your Average, Street-Driven, 10-Second Mustang
From the February, 2009 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by Michael Johnson
"If it wasn't for Jimmy Chahalis,...
"If it wasn't for Jimmy Chahalis, this car would be nowhere near what it is today," Mike says. He would like to thank Jimmy and his wife, Lorrie, for putting up with Mike's phone calls and routine visits to the house for new ideas and performance brainstorming. "Also, thanks to Bryan Cranston, Bill Tumas and Track Toys Racing, Kelly Pelrine (Digital Racecraft), Eric Berman, fellow SuperStallions members, and Mom and Dad."
Horse Sense: Many people have the windows of their Mustangs tinted, but Mike Mohring is not like most people. He says he's had countless people coming over to his car (probably right after getting their doors blown off), looking for nitrous nozzles or a bottle in the hatch. "That's one of the reasons I never tinted the windows," Mike says. "I have nothing to hide."
Yeah, Mike Mohring's '88 GT runs mid 10s all day long, but if you're looking to read about some exotic combination in this car, keep flippin' the pages. However, if you're hoping to find a simple combination for your 5.0 Mustang, look no further. You'll soon see it doesn't take some double-throw-down, off-the-top-rope, hot-out-of-the-R&D-department mixture of parts to go fast. What it will take is a phone call to a few 5.0&SF advertisers to come up with a powerful package-one the competition won't see coming.
What people see when they look at Mike's car is an extra-clean Fox GT. But it wasn't always that way. Mike bought the car in 1997 for $4,800 when he tired of dumping money into his '90 LX AOD. He figured it was time to move on, and the GT had what he wanted most-a five-speed. Oh, yeah-it also boasted a ball-drive Paxton supercharger. Mike, who hails from East Bruns-wick, New Jersey, raced the car just about every weekend-until he busted the stock T5.
Because he spent so much time racing, he wanted the car to be consistent. His buddy Bryan Cranston recommended he throw in a Performance Automatic C4 with a 10-inch converter. Much to the chagrin of stick proponents, Mike says the car picked up seven tenths the first time out by running a 12.18 compared to the usual 12.80s-12.90s. Mike professes he can't drive a stick car that well, but with the automatic he was able to get the car down to a best of an 11.95, still using the stock cam, the GT-40 iron heads, a stock intake, and the Paxton.
There's nothing fancy or earth-shattering...
There's nothing fancy or earth-shattering interiorwise either. The most exotic components here include the 10-second-legal eight-point cage and the necessary Auto Meter gauges. The seats are from a '91 LX, while an MSD shift light lets Mike know when to click-click into the next gear using the Winters shifter.
"It finally blew a head gasket and I ended up at LaRocca's Performance," Mike says. LaRocca's Jimmy Chahalis recommended adding a new engine, better heads, and a Vortech S-Trim. "I agreed to the new engine with the better heads, but not the blower," Mike says. With the Paxton still in place, the GT received a new 306 with GT-40X heads, an Edelbrock Performer 5.0 intake, and 30-lb/hr injectors.
With that combo, the car ran a best of 11.56 at 116 mph, but Jimmy continued to push Mike about adding the Vortech. "I caved in," Mike says, "but I said it has to run 10.80s with it." Jimmy responded, "Not without some other work it won't-but it will." He said to expect 11.20s by just bolting on the Vortech. "So on went the S-Trim," Mike says, "and it made 76 more rear-wheel horsepower just by bolting it on." Literally just a few hours off LaRocca's dyno, Mike was at the track, where the car responded with an 11.30 and then an 11.20. "I was happy, to say the least," he says. "Mph was up to 122. But the 60-foot times sucked, so we turned to the suspension."
Mike added Factory 5 upper and lower control arms, Eibach springs, and new slicks. "The car came around and started going 10.80s without a problem," he says. Another couple years and roughly 250 passes later, the engine began to show signs of a meltdown, so the car's existing top-end compo-nents were added to a D.S.S. Pro Bullet 306 short-block. Jimmy did the parts swapping, while Mike's friend Scott Gary performed some bowl work on the X heads.
The next run to the track rewarded Mike with 10.60s, and a best of a 10.49 at 128 mph at the end of 2002. "It sat all winter," Mike says, "and all I did to prepare it for spring was an oil change and fresh gas." The car ran a 10.52 at 128 mph the first time out in 2003. "Not bad for not touching it," he says. Perhaps a reward for his hard work, Jimmy ran the car and belted out a 10.54 at 129 mph, beating Mike's mph but not the car's best time (then we'd really have to rib Mike).
"The car is a simple and reliable combo," Mike says. "The only thing touched is the heads-that's it-but in out-of-the-box form, the car ran 10.70s at 126 mph. Not bad for something you can buy out of a magazine and put together without any port and polish work to anything."
Mike says most people come over to the car; take a look, and then walk away seemingly unimpressed. That is, until they see the wheels come a foot off the ground at launch. Then they're back, looking for trick pieces or even nitrous nozzles and bottles. Needless to say, Mike loves to see their reactions when the car runs a mid-10-second pass with anyone-can-buy parts.
People are always looking for that over-the-top component that makes Mike's car this fast, but it's simply not there. They think the Vortech must have a small pulley on it. But Mike says, "Read it for yourself." The pulley is stamped with a 3.33-inch designation. "They think the car is your typical 13-second street car with a big hood and shiny wheels," he says, "The rollbar doesn't even bother them." What does bother them is the simple spanking they receive.
If you want your 5.0 Mustang to run 10s, listen to what's under the hood of Mike's GT, because it can be replicated by anyone reading this article. The combo is based on a D.S.S. Pro Bullet 306 short-block, which was outfitted with lightly ported (by Scott Gray) Ford Racing Performance Parts GT-40X heads with 1.6 roller rockers, an Edelbrock Performer 5.0 intake, a Comp Cams grind (measuring 0.533/0.544 lift, a duration of 224/229 at 0.050, and a lobe separation of 114 degrees), a Vortech S-Trim, and a Performance Automatic C4 transmission with a 3,500-stall converter and a Winters shifter. Throw in a stock 8.8 rearend with a Moser spool and 33-spline axles, and 3.73 gears, and you have the recipe for 10-second dragstrip performance. Surround those components with a solid traction foundation and-don't call us in the morning-get to the track and eat up the competition.
Yup, just your average, black Fox GT. Looks like a 13-second street/show car, huh? But at the track, this mug runs mid 10s all day long. With the 10-mile-deep Sikkens black paint mixed with a Cervini's Auto Designs cowl hood, a Cobra grille insert, and a Cobra rear bumper cover, Mike's GT doesn't need to scream for attention like Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter. The Weld Draglites may raise a few eyebrows, but we've seen plenty of 14-second Mustangs wear them, so no one's going to give them a second look. Only when Mike launches and the front wheels are in the air on the way to another 10.50 at 128 mph do people sit up and take notice-or walk away in disgust.
|5.0 Tech Specs|
|ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN||ELECTRONICS|
|4.03||MSD 6AL, stock coil, ACCEL|
|Stroke||8.8mm plug wires, Autolite plugs|
|Cubic Inches||Auto Meter|
|Rotating Assembly||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|D.S.S.-prepped stock crank, D.S.S.||Front Suspension|
|forged rods, D.S.S. Pro Lite forged||Struts|
|Ford Racing Performance Parts||Eibach|
|GT-40X aluminum, 1.94/1.55 valves,||Caster/Camber|
|FRPP 1.6 rockers, Comp Cams||Stock|
|Edelbrock Performer 5.0||Brakes|
|Throttle Body||Aerospace, Hawk pads|
|Mass Air Meter||Weld Draglites|
|Pro-M 80mm||Rear Suspension|
|Vortech SQ S-Trim, 3.33-in pulley,||Monroe stock replacement|
|Anderson Ford Motorsport||Springs|
|Power Pipe||Eibach Drag Launch w/ airbag in|
|Fuel System||right rear|
|FRPP 255-lph in-tank pump,||Traction Devices|
|Vortech T-Rex in-line pump,||Factory 5 upper and lower control|
|42-lb/hr injectors, Vortech||arms|
|BBK equal-length short-tube||Wheels|
|headers and high-flow H-pipe w/||Weld Draglites|
|cats, Flowmaster two-chamber||Tires|
|after-cat||Mickey Thompson 26x10 E/T Drag|
|Transmission||slicks (track), BFGoodrich Drag|
|Performance Automatic C4,||Radial (street)|
|3,500-stall converter, Winters||Chassis Stiffening|
|shifter||Never Lift Motorsports|
|Rearend||(Spotswood, NJ) subframe|
|8.8, Moser spool and 3-spline|| connectors, Coast Chassis|
|axles, 3.73 gears, FRPP aluminum||eight-point cage tied to subframes|