Around the 5.0&SF offices, we are well versed in yellow Mustangs. Editor Turner owns a Chrome Yellow '98 Cobra and his Real Street magazine project car has a lot of yellow both on the outside and inside. Yours truly owns an '89 LX coupe wearing some sort of bright yellow paint. And, our 3g GT project car is Zinc Yellow. We know yellow, or so we thought.
When we first laid eyes on Matt Wells' '87 LX notch at the '03 Columbus NMRA race and awarded it the Editor's Choice, we thought it was beige. The color looks beige, so that's what we wrote on the cheat sheet we give to the judges at the aforementioned race. But, while writing down the information, Matt (who was standing nearby) noticed the written words and quickly corrected us with a, "that's Medium Yellow." Surely we're not the first, nor will we be the last people Matt has to correct on the proper name for the color. "It certainly is unique," Matt says. Indeed.
Knowing the car is unique, it should be no surprise to know that Matt says he'll never part with it. "I love it. The reason I purchased this car is because I saw the very same colored coupe being tested in Hot Rod back in 1987," he adds. Matt saw this particular coupe in the parking lot of a local mall (he lives in Ripley, West Virginia) during an automotive tent sale. "I questioned the Ford salesman if the car was for sale and he said the dealership's owner was driving the car, but he would ask." Fortunately for Matt, the car was for sale, and the rest is Medium Yellow history, in more ways than one.
Matt used the LX as a second car while he pursued his bachelor's degree in history. His idea was to turn it into a wild street car with some road-race flavor (or flava). But, the added flava would have to wait because in 1988, Matt was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, which he says became dire. "During the next 10 years, I tried to juggle work and college, but I was not able to do much because I was so ill." The disease became so bad that he was stuck at home and unable to do the things we all take for granted, including working on our Mustangs.
Eventually, Matt had surgery and his health greatly improved. After saving up money as a construction field office manager, he began transforming his LX into what you see here. "All of the work done to this car," Matt says, "except for the balancing of the engine and the paint, was done by myself and my father, Hank Wells." Matt thanks his father for teaching him not only about cars, but also what's important in life. "My father is the most intelligent and generally cool person I have ever known," Matt adds. Obviously, if he likes to build fast Mustangs, Matt's dad is definitely cool in our book.
Nowadays, Matt is a high school teacher working on his second master's degree (how many do you need?). "I haven't raced the car because I don't want to tear it up," he says. "On my current teacher's salary, it takes a while to save up money for parts." Matt does think he's reached his automotive goal for the car. "I am extremely proud of the work I have done to this car. The modification is still ongoing."
After that first sighting of Matt's car at Columbus, we missed a couple opportunities to photograph it until the '04 NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. "My Bowling Green experience was crazy," he says. "I won top 5 and top 20 Mustang, and was photographed for 5.0, but on Saturday while loading my car on the trailer, it kicked the ramps out, landed on the subframe connectors, and destroyed the mufflers." If that wasn't enough, on the way home to West Virginia, the trailer suffered a blowout. "It's all cool, though," Matt says, "because I am in 5.0." Hey, Matt, glad to help, but that's 5.0&SF to you.
5.0 Tech SpecsEngine and DrivetrainBlockStockBore4.00Stroke3.00Displacement302 ciRotating AssemblyBalanced stock crankshaft w/chamfered oil holes, Crower connecting rods, Ross pistons, Speed Pro low-tension piston ringsCamshaftComp HeadsEdelbrock Victor Jr., Harland Sharp 1.6 roller rockers, Bennett Racing valve springs, Erson liftersIntakeEdelbrock Victor 5.0 Throttle BodyAccufab 85mmMass AirC&L Performance 80mm, WellSpeed air intake tube, S&B Power Stack filterPower AdderNitrous Express EFI 50-300 adjustable plate nitrous system, purge, bottle heater, and pressure gauge Fuel SystemMallory fuel pump, braided lines, Vortech fuel rails, FRPP 36-lb/hr injectors, Magnafuel adjustable fuel pressure regulatorExhaustMAC 131/44-in long-tube headers, Bassani X-pipe, DynoMax Race Magnum mufflersTransmissionT5Z, Spec Stage 4 clutch and lightweight pressure plate, Pro-5.0 shifter, Hurst shifter handleRearend8.8, Auburn Pro differential, 4.30 gears, Moser axles
ElectronicsEngine ManagementStock A9L computer, JMS/Autologic chipIgnitionMallory HyFire, ACCEL 300+ coil, FRPP spark plug wires, NGK Iridium spark plugsGaugesAuto Meter Phantom, Florida 5.0 cluster
Suspension And ChassisFront SuspensionK-memberModified Stock (relocated engine)Control armsCentral Coast Mustang tubular, Steeda chrome-moly G-Load braceSprings CCM road-race coiloverStrutsMonroe Formula GP w/CCM caster/camber platesBrakes73mm calipers, 11-in cross-drilled rotors, Hawk brake padsWheelsCenterline Billet 17x8TiresYokohama A502 245/45Rear SuspensionSpringsFRPP M-5300-CShocksMonroe Formula GPTraction DevicesHP Motorsport Megabite Jr. lower control arms, boxed upper control arms, urethane bushings, BBK Panhard rodBrakesStainless Steel Brake rear disc conversion, slotted rotors, Porterfield brake padsWheelsCenterline Billet 17x8TiresYokohama A502 255/45Chassis StiffeningSteeda subframe connectors