Paul's next goal was 14.0s, but his Internet Mustang club buddies told him that was impossible with stock E7TE heads because of the weight of his car. Paul was out to prove them wrong. He added all the bolt-ons that would work well with aftermarket heads to make for an easy power transition once the heads were added. Scouring the classified sections found on many Mustang-based Web sites, Paul came across an Edelbrock Performer intake, already painted yellow. Since it was close to Christmas, Paul kept dropping hints to his parents and then girlfriend/now wife, Molly. "My parents finally gave in and told me to e-mail the guy and tell him I would take it," Paul says. "Within a few hours a reply came back, simply saying, 'Sorry, sold it.' I was so upset that I missed out on the intake that seemed perfect for my car."
On Christmas Eve, Molly was at Paul's. As she unloaded presents from her car, there was one big package she wouldn't let Paul touch. As it turns out, Molly was the buyer of the intake. "That was one of the best presents I have ever received," Paul says. "I proceeded to add the intake, a 65mm throttle body, and unequal-length headers to the car." A trip to Englishtown with his 3,800-pound car (with Paul in it) resulted in 14.5s at 97 mph.
It wasn't the 13s he had hoped for, but the mph showed the power was there. Practicing his launches, Paul was able to get the car down to 14.3s on street tires. He added Nitto 555R drag radials out back, along with a homemade ram-air system. In that trim, he proved the naysayers wrong by running a 13.83 at 98.5 mph.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Paul set out for the low 13s. "I wanted a strong, naturally aspirated combo that would be streetable enough to be daily driven," he says. He purchased a pair of Airflow Research 165 heads and began researching camshaft selections. "I started asking around about a cam to match my AFR/Edelbrock combo, and the name Ed Curtis from Flowtech Induction kept coming up." Paul called Ed for a camshaft recommendation and was told his goals would easily be attain-able with one of Ed's cams. To go along with the AFR heads and the Flowtech camshaft, Paul added FRPP 1.6 roller rockers, 24-lb/hr injectors, a 190-lph fuel pump, 4.10 gears, and a Pro-M 75mm Bullet mass air meter. Paul's first trip to the track resulted in a 13.6 at 103 mph. "I didn't know how to feel about those times," he says. "So, the next week I went back and this time I added some fuel pressure and upped the shift point." Paul once again reached his goals of low 13s with a 13.2 at 105 mph.
With these modifications, however, came the dreaded '94-'95 idle surge-and-die syndrome. "As soon as the car would heat up, the idle would surge and ultimately die," Paul says. To get the car under control and be master of his own tuning domain, he purchased an EEC Tuner. After learning how to use it to tune the car, Paul surpassed his own goals with a 12.96 at 106 mph. "I couldn't believe it," he says. "My 'vert did it." Ed, along with Paul's www.stangnet.com buddies, gave the car the nickname "Bar Setter" because it ran faster each trip to the track.
With tuning and the engine maxed out, Paul turned his attention to traction and component reliability. He added Mickey Thompson ET Streets, Strange 31-spline axles, an Eaton differential, and a TTC-Tremec TKO transmission. In the fall of 2003, Paul attended the SuperStallions of the Net (www.superstallions.com) Fall Nats at Cecil County Raceway in Maryland. "I ripped out the passenger seat, bolted on my ET Streets, and installed a short belt," he says. True to form, the car liked the new equipment and ran a new best of 12.31 at 111 mph. "I was in total disbelief that the car was capable of those times."