1990 Ford Mustang Saleen Clone - Honey Moon Sweet
It Took A Honeymoon Sweet Talkin' For Andrew Grundman To Get Back Into A Mustang
From the July, 2007 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by Michael Johnson
Andrew took what started out...
Andrew took what started out as a burgundy-Mustang Melvins would probably scream Medium Cabernet-Saleen clone to the next step by moving it up to Saleen SC status. We doubt a Saleen SC was available in this color, but that fact further drives home the clone persona. For the car to look the part, Andrew outfitted it with the proper Saleen SC decals, and he even has a set of Stern three-piece wheels tucked away for show duty. Andrew prowls the streets with the Saleen Speedline replicas, and track duty calls for Centerline Telstar joints.
Horse Sense: We should probably do Andrew a favor and relay the huge thanks to his wife, Genese, for standing by him during the car's construction process. "In nine months, I built my dream car the way I wanted," Andrew says.
So you meet the girl of your dreams, and everything is great. The courtship goes well, she doesn't mind hanging around with you and your juvenile friends, and she tolerates your parents. She appears unfazed by your magazine collection and your unorganized sock drawer, which she doesn't volunteer to organize. Such behavior causes you to want to lock it down for life and ask her to marry you. The planets align for one night, and she's actually crazy enough to say "yes." You exchange vows and go on a honeymoon to a beautiful island in the Caribbean where you bask in the rays and each other's glow.
After listening to Andrew Grundman's story, we left out one crucial part of the honeymoon process: talking to your new bride about getting a Mustang. What were we thinking?
"During the honeymoon, I started talking to my wife about getting another Mustang," Andrew says. "By the end of it, she gave in." Specifically, Andrew wanted to get back into a Fox-body. "I have never been interested in '94-and-up Mustangs," he says. "They don't do it for me." Since he previously owned an '86 and a '92 GT, it's also what he knew. "I wasn't looking for perfection because I didn't want to spend $10,000-$12,000 for a car." Andrew's thinking was to buy something cheap and fix it, if need be.
At the same time, Mike Romano was ready to go in a different automotive direction. He had come to a fork in the road with his '90 LX Saleen clone. The car reached the point where Mike was wary of driving it because it had become unreliable. It made enough power to break components, which didn't bode well for Mike's wallet with a new baby in the house. The Vortech S-Trim'd combo was good for 500 hp at the wheels, but with a stock block and an already rebuilt T5 in the tunnel, the car was a ticking time bomb. Mike was ready to take a step back.
The two came together on eBay, with Andrew offering $7,000 for Mike to end the auction. Mike agreed and the deal was done, but that's just the beginning of this story.
We have a soft spot for custom...
We have a soft spot for custom seats and so does Andrew-it's called his big behind. A pair of Corbeau A4 seats takes position up front to give Andrew the view of a collection of Auto Meter Phantom gauges to monitor mechanical events. When Andrew purchased the car, it featured a six-point rollbar, but he wanted more safety so he enlisted Hell Bent Race Cars to construct a new eight-point bar. Andrew was looking for the car to receive a 10-point rollcage, but that would've taken out the car's heater, and Andrew isn't ready to take that step. Since he lives in New York-where it can get really cold-he thought not having a heater would take away from the car's streetability.
Andrew made the three-hour trek from his home in Cortlandt Manor, New York, to Mike's New Jersey residence with a rented U-Haul trailer to pick up the car. Between the car's lowered suspension and Saleen ground effects, Andrew and his buddies couldn't get the LX up on the trailer no matter what they did. They even tried removing the Saleen front air dam, but that didn't work. "Coming back for the car was out of the question," Andrew says. "The car was leaving one way or another." With no other available options, Andrew threw the car's title on the dash and his buddy's license plate on the back, and hopped back on I-95 for home.
Remember Andrew and his buddies removing the front air dam? Well, they reattached it-or so they thought-for the trip home. Andrew says it seemed secure before they left. "Within a minute of getting on I-95, we heard a serious clunking and scraping," Andrew says. "I thought the tranny blew." Nope, the air dam came off in the wind, broke into pieces, and lodged itself under the car. [Been there, done that, got the plaque. -Assoc. Ed. Johnson] "I was actually relieved," Andrew says. He could just see himself explaining why he was broken down on the side of I-95 with no insurance or registration in a high-performance Mustang, but he ripped off the rest of the air dam and got back on the road. Fortunately, the rest of the trip home was uneventful.
While most of us usually have a plan in mind when buying a Mustang, Andrew didn't. "I honestly had no intentions of touching the car when I bought it," he says. "It had made 501 hp on the dyno. After not driving a fast car for years, it felt fast." That is, at least for the first week. He had to add a new Saleen air dam to replace the shredded unit, so he took the car to have the new one painted, but matching slightly weather-beaten paint to new paint is difficult. The body guy suggested just leaving off the air dam, but that would make the car look silly, and Andrew couldn't have it. That's when he uttered the words that took the car past the planning stage and into project territory: "How much will it cost to paint the car?"
So it began. Every panel came off, and every inch of it was stripped to provide a solid starting point for the new paint scheme. Instead of rebuilding back to "regular" Saleen-clone status, Andrew upgraded its clone persona to Saleen SC specs. "I loved the look of the '90 Saleen SC, so I built an SC clone," he says. He ordered all the requisite decals, including "Supercharged 302" stickers for the hood, but with the new 2 1/2-inch cowl hood, the stickers were too small, so he came up with the idea to give the car the name Supernatural. "I figured it looks like it says 'supercharged' at first glance, and the car really is supernatural-a supercharged, abnormal, freakish monster."
With the body finished, Andrew went through three different style wheels to arrive at the desired look. The eventual winners were 17-inch Saleen Speedline replica wheels, but those are mostly for street action. He has a set of Centerline Telstar big 'n' littles for dragstrip action, and he recently bought a set of genuine Stern three-piece wheels he intends to use for show duty. Stern 17-inch wheels were original equipment on '90-'93 Saleen SC models, so when Andrew had the chance to purchase a set, he jumped at it.
He also ventured underhood by adding an Anderson Ford Motorsport B-31 camshaft and an Edelbrock Performer rpm intake to boost horsepower to 516. Unfortunately, when he was finally able to convince his wife to go for a thrill ride, the car blew a head gasket. Even worse, when Andrew and his friend PJ replaced them and put the engine back together, a rod knock signaled the engine was done. Oh well, Mike purchased that short-block from a junkyard anyway-for it to last as long as it did is a testament to 5.0 reliability.
"When I have obstacles like this," Andrew says, "I look at them as opportunities to improve." Within a week, he ordered a D.S.S. Racing Engines Level 10 short-block utilizing a Dart Sportsman block. He also researched what it would take to safely make much more than 600 hp to the tires. "I work in a family business as a mechanical contractor," Andrew says. "My job is to take designs and find better engineering practices to fit the bill." He put that background into the mechanical goings-on of his Mustang by adding Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads to the combination, but not before Total Engine Airflow treated the heads to a CNC-porting and three-angle valve job. When it came to the intake manifold, Andrew wanted to carry over the Saleen theme, so he located a rare Saleen/Vortech upper intake, mating it to a Holley SysteMAX II lower.
Going for the 600hp mark, Andrew swapped the Vortech S-Trim for a T-Trim, and had Turbo People add an ACCEL Gen 7 DFI along with a more capable fuel system. "Job Spetter tuned the car and instantly told me I needed an intercooler," Andrew says. It pays to have the Spetters as close friends because the next day Chase gave Andrew the idea of swapping the T-Trim for a YSi-Trim supercharger. Chase told Andrew he could get away without the intercooler with the lower inlet temps of the YSi-Trim. "I was sold immediately," Andrew says. "It was a great suggestion to make me happy." With the YSi-Trim and a new Turbo People tune, "it was a totally different car." With that trim and tune, the faux Saleen made 689 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque to the wheels.
We think this is just another beginning for Andrew's Saleen SC clone. Job has a new camshaft grind in mind, the intake is getting some work, an intercooler is ready for installation, and a turbo may be in the car's future as well. Andrew was taken aback when Job wanted to make sure the car's fuel system was ready for 800 rwhp. With that much power on tap, Andrew will be on a performance honeymoon for quite some time.
At the center of the power combination is a D.S.S. Racing Engines' Level 10 331ci short block with a forged crankshaft, forged H-Beam connecting rods, forged Pro-X Max pistons, and an Anderson Ford Motorsport B-31 camshaft. Compression comes in at a boost-friendly 8.7:1. Before arriving on Andrew's doorstep, Total Engine Airflow treated a pair of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads to a competition valve job and Comp Cams valve springs. A relatively rare Saleen/Vortech upper intake resides atop a Holley SysteMAX II lower, and as you can see, it's been brilliantly finished in chrome. The boost-friendly compression ratio is thanks to a Vortech YSi-Trim supercharger and custom air-to-air intercooler. The Anderson cam was in the car when we shot it, but a custom Turbo People grind is presently going in. Prior to the intercooler and the custom cam, the combination was good for 689 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque. It's a good thing Andrew is good friends with Turbo People's Job and Chase Spetter, as they work to get the most from the combination using an ACCEL DFI system.
|5.0 Tech Specs|
|ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN||ELECTRONICS|
|Dart Sportsman four-bolt||ACCEL DFI, Turbo People-tuned|
|331ci||MSD 6AL, Autolite 3924 |
|Rotating Assembly||spark plugs|
|D.S.S. Racing Engines' Forged||Gauges|
|3.25-in stroker crankshaft,||Auto Meter Phantom|
|forged H-beam connecting rods,|| |
|Forged Pro-X Max pistons, Mahle||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|piston rings||Front Suspension|
|Trick Flow Twisted Wedge, Total||UPR Products tubular|
|Engine Airflow competition valve||A-arms|
|job, 2.02/1.60 valves, Ford||UPR Products tubular|
|Racing Performance Parts 1.6||Springs|
|ratio roller rockers, Comp Cams||UPR Products coilover|
|Camshaft||Strange Engineering 10-way|
|Anderson Ford Motorsport ||adjustable |
|B-31, FRPP lifters||Wheels|
|Intake Manifold||Saleen Speedline replica |
|Saleen/Vortech upper, Holley||17x9-in|
|SysteMAX II lower||Tires|
|Power Adder||SN-95 Cobra|
|Vortech YSi-Trim supercharger,||Rear Suspension|
|15 pounds of boost||Springs|
|BBK headers, custom 3-in ||Shocks|
|H-pipe, Flowmaster two-chamber||Strange Engineering 10-way|
|mufflers, custom 3-in tailpipes||adjustable|
|Fuel System||Control Arms|
|ACCEL inline pump with tank||Wolfe Racecraft adjustable|
|pick-up, -10 fuel lines, Steeda||upper and lower control arms,|
|Autosports fuel rails, Siemens||spherical bushings|
|83-lb/hr injectors, Aeromotive||Traction Devices|
|fuel-pressure regulator||Wolfe Racecraft antiroll bar|
|Tremec TKO-600, McLeod||Saleen Speedline replica 17x9|
|Industries clutch, Fidanza alu-||Tires|
|minum flywheel, Pro-5.0||BFGoodrich drag radial 275/40/17|
|shifter, FRPP aluminum driveshaft||Brakes|
|Rearend||SN-95 Cobra disc conversion|
|8.8, FRPP 3.73 gears, Moser||Chassis Stiffening |
|Engineering spool, 31-spline||Hell Bent Race Cars eight-point|
|axles, differential cover||rollcage, Wild Rides torque|
| ||box kit|