Horse Sense: While the SSP package was primarily intended for police work, other government agencies also got in on the act. We've heard of SSP Mustangs that officially served in local fire departments, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Border Patrol, to name a few.
Among favored Mustangs of the Fox-chassis era, the Special Service Package units are some of the most unique. Such law enforcement specials were short on accoutrements and long on performance, befitting a car that was destined for frequent-and legal-high-speed running. With virtually stock drivetrains, most with 225 horses and a five-speed, the SSP cars got by just fine. The real meat came in the form of the more rigid and svelte two-door bodystyle, the weight savings of the common manual windows and door locks, and less obvious upgrades such as reinforced floorpans and an engine-oil cooler. The mystique of a police pursuit vehicle seems to have a special draw-each one has a unique history of chasing down bad guys.
Mystique is definitely one of the draws for Ed Allen, the current owner of this former Washington State Patrol Mustang. The allure goes well beyond that component, as it's important to understand that this former reserve police officer knew the trooper who was assigned this car when it served with the WSP. Ed periodically asked the trooper how the car was treating him, how he liked it, and what interesting escapades the two had recently experienced. Ed recalls a story about a chase that lasted well over 100 miles, finally ending at the Canadian border. He also remembers when the trooper told him the car was at the end of its service life and about to be auctioned to the public. The rest is history, as they say, for Ed obviously took the information to heart and made a winning bid for the '89 cop car.
Beyond the legendary chases, Ed enjoys his ride for the bare-bones Fox Mustang that it is-and, of course, for the end result of its most recent build. Who wouldn't appreciate what this near sleeper has to offer? It's an impressive performer if not an impressive looker.
From the start, Ed knew he wanted to keep the exterior virtually stock-well, at least in its pre-WSP form. To that end, there's nary a scoop, spoiler, or cowl-induction bulge to be seen, though the hunkered-down look and 10th Anniversary Cobra wheels should be clues to its true intent. The perfectionist in Ed has him complaining about the PPG paint he personally laid down a number of years back, but it looks good in both pictures and the flesh-particularly for a car that he plans to thrash on the track. Significant touch-ups occurred recently as part of an extreme makeover, and we think you'll agree that the cosmetics are magazine worthy.
As is so often the case, Ed's early modifications were all motor, and super trooper or not, the SSP bits and pieces weren't enough to contain the new-found enthusiasm. A visit to Brad's Custom Auto in Seattle was the cure, where Scott Hicks and Brian Holsten fitted the '89 with a chassis-and-brake setup to handle a then-potent 347. A full array of Maximum Motorsports suspension pieces makes for far more capability than the State Patrol could have imagined, and includes a tubular K-member, control arms, coilovers, a Panhard bar, a torque arm, and much more-in short, just about everything in the book. The brakes are Baer's ever-popular and effective front Track kit and rear Sport kit. In layman's terms, this means 13-inch rotors and twin-piston PBR calipers up front, with 12-inch rotors and PBR single-piston calipers in the rear. While not exotic these days, this particular production-based Baer setup is wholly capable, particularly considering the notch's nearly 3,000-pound curb weight.
An underneath view reveals...
An underneath view reveals some of the equipment normally hidden, including the aluminum Dart block, ATI balancer, and MSD cranktrigger setup.
Sure, you've witnessed more...
Sure, you've witnessed more power under the hood of other Fox Mustangs, but few have been this light on their feet-or as sanitary. A standard-deck 4.125-inch-bore Dart aluminum block and 3.40-inch Sonny Bryant billet crank results in a healthy 364 cubes-or 6.0 liters for you metric sorts. Just like the exterior, the engine itself is the antitheses of bling-we dig on the industrial-looking black and bare aluminum finishes.
While 347 ci is the goal for many a pushrod enthusiast, it didn't take long for the new chassis to convince Ed that if some is good, more is better. To that end, he sold the 347 to a friend and launched a thorough rehash of the underhood landscape. Not only did Ed desire something wicked in engine terms, he also wanted it to be a looker beyond the norm. To that end, Brandon Knowles at Brand X Customs stepped in to freshen the engine compartment, weld and smooth over countless mounting holes, and spray a fresh coat of Oxford White. Next, Brian routed the factory wiring and necessary harnesses for the new FAST XFI completely out of sight.
Simultaneously, Britco Racing Engines was assembling a killer street/track short-deck Windsor-with a clear bias toward the track component. Ed also wanted to maximize the weight balance of the '89 for optimal handling. To that end, he's eschewed power adders and stayed all throttle. Beginning with a Dart aluminum block sporting a cavernous 4.125-inch bore, Britco assembled a tough-as-nails bottom end consisting of a Sonny Bryant billet crank, Oliver rods, and custom JE forged pistons yielding an 11.8:1 compression ratio. CNC-ported AFR 205s continue the alloy theme up top, with 2.08/1.60 valves popped by a big Erson solid-roller and Jesel valvetrain. Decidedly different and cool is the Hogan sheetmetal intake, configured for maximum flow and a low-profile hood clearance. Once installed and ready to rumble, the 364-inch mill belted out a peak of 468 rwhp at 7,100 rpm with a pushrod-screaming 7,600-rpm redline.
Backing the whole affair is a Viper-spec T56 from D&D Performance and a Scribner hybrid 8.8 filled with all the good stuff. Needless to say, everything was built to take a major pounding, and that's exactly what Ed has planned when the skies finally clear in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, we're talking about open-track events at Seattle- and Portland-area venues, but if we know Ed, he'll test the mettle of his '89 on the 1,320 as well. A much bigger question is whether he can ignore the inevitable street challenge, for sleeper or not, you know such a confrontation is bound to happen. Ed, we recommend you walk away from such a skirmish, because we can tell you this: "Hey, officer, did you realize this used to be a WSP car?" isn't likely to be your ace in the hole.
SSP interiors for the Washington...
SSP interiors for the Washington State Patrol were commonly Regatta Blue, a nice contrast to the specified white paint. The problem is, finding such factory hued interior components is a challange today, as Ed discovered when replacing a few items the WEP had drilled into to create unsightly mounting holes. The marshmallow-like LX buckets have been cast aside in favor of sweet Recaro Expert Ms, and Ed welded up the sturdy rollcage himself.
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
BlockDart aluminum block, 4.125-in bore
CrankshaftSonny Bryant 3.40-in billet
PistonsCustom JE forged, friction-coated, 11.8:1
CamshaftErson solid-roller, 260/266 @0.050, 656-in lift, Isky Red Zone lifters
Cylinder HeadsAFR 205s, CNC-ported, 2.08/1.60 valves
1.6 Jesel shaft
Intake ManifoldCustom Hogan sheetmetal
Throttle BodyAccufab 90mm
Fuel SystemAeromotive pump, stainless lines, Hogan fuel rails, Accufab regulator, FRPP 42-lb/hr injectors
ExhaustBBK 13/4-in long-tube headers, Dr. Gas X-pipe, Spintech mufflers, Dynomax 21/2-in tailpipes
TransmissionD&D Viper-spec T56, Pro-5.0 shifter, SPEC Stage 3 clutch
RearendScribner Welding hybrid 8.8, 4.10 gears, Dura Grip diff, Moser 31-spline axles
Engine ManagementFAST XFI
IgnitionMSD dizzy, MSD crank trigger, MSD 6
Suspension And Chassis
Control ArmsMaximum Motorsports
StrutsBilstein/Maximum Motorsports coilovers
Sway barAdjustable Kenny Brown
BrakesBaer 13-in Track kit w/PBR pads
Wheels10th Anniversary Cobra, 17x9-in
Tires Toyo RA1, 275/40ZR17
Rear Suspension SpringsHypercoil
Shocks Bilstein/Maximum Motorsports coilover
Control Arms Maximum Motorsports
Panhard Bar Maximum Motorsports
Torque ArmMaximum Motorsports
Sway barMaximum Motorsports adjustable
BrakesBaer 12-in Sport kit w/PBR pads
Wheels 10th Anniversary Cobra, 17x9-in
TiresToyo RA1, 275/40ZR17
Chassis Stiffening Eight-point rollcage and Maximum Motorsports full-length subs