The first thing that attracted...
The first thing that attracted us to Joe's coupe was the color. We thought it was Deep Jewel, or Emerald Green, but Joe tells us he isn't really sure of the car's exact color. He's had it right next to Deep Jewel Green Fox Mustangs and the colors aren't the same. No matter, we still love it. We also love the Billet Specialties big 'n' littles. The hood is a Cervini's Auto Designs 3-inch cowl, while a Victory Fabrication aluminum drag wing brings up the rear.
When most of us think of the bottom side of our Mustangs, we think of oil splatter, dirt, rocks, undercoating, and in some cases, rust. And you know what? That's perfectly fine with us; that's how it should be. We think of the bottom side of our Mustang like the bottoms of our feet. We don't give it a second thought until something goes wrong. However, there is a small contingent of Mustang owners with a sickness that keeps them from having the same attitude. These people think the underside of a Mustang should be just as nice as the topside. We know Mike Murillo has said waxing the underside of a Mustang is good for a few tenths, but that argument doesn't hold street value.
Loveland, Ohio's Joe Palmer is one of those appreciative of a clean undercarriage, but that's because the majority of Mustangs he sees are overridden with rust.
When Joe and his wife, Maggy, came across this former Florida Highway Patrol '92 LX coupe the underside's condition is what sold them on the car. That condition was a surprise to Joe since the car had been sitting for roughly six years leading up to the time of purchase. However, Joe and Maggy had the coupe up and running well in no time flat.
With the existing push-rod combination, a drag suspension, slicks, and 150hp worth of nitrous, the coupe ran a best of 11.75/114 mph. The car stayed in that form a couple years before its engine found its way into Maggy's LX hatch. The plan was to take the coupe to another level, but at that time Joe didn't really know what direction to go. "I knew I had the budget to build something nice," Joe says, "but I wanted to go fast also."
Joe looked into building a 408 Windsor, but knew he would have to bolster the rest of the drivetrain, which was outside of the aforementioned budget. Joe wanted to be able to drop in an engine and go. Craig Newport of Cincy Speed suggested an '03 Cobra swap, an idea with which Joe fell in love. "I jumped in with both feet," Joe says in reference to prepping the coupe for '03 Cobra power.
The coupe's interior came out to make room for '03 Cobra pedals and a hydra-boost system. Joe ordered an Anthony Jones Engineering K-member designed to swap a modular engine into a Fox Mustang. Joe and Maggy were able to get all the brake lines to share fluid with each other as the couple progressed toward the Cobra swap.
The only components missing were the actual engine and transmission, but a dose of reality set in as '03 Cobra engine and transmission packages were still in the $8,000 range at that time. "Still out of my budget," Joe says. Here to save the day was his friend Nick Middleton, who happened across an '01 Roush Stage III engine with all required wiring and a 3650 transmission behind it. Joe and Maggy disassembled the engine, detailing everything in the process. The 3650 was sold to help pay for a Tremec TKO transmission, while Joe reused the Roush aluminum flywheel with a SPEC Stage 3+ clutch.
Before sliding the Roush Stage III Two-Valve into place, Joe added a Metco Motorsports 2.57-inch supercharger pulley and 90mm idler pulleys. A Gary Rohe-built 8.8 with 9-inch ends can handle more power than the car will ever have. Joe's long-tube headers required modification by Rigid Race Cars in order to work with the Flaming River low-profile steering shaft kit.
A Glenn's Performance Sleeper fuel tank found its way in the car, with Aeroquip fuel lines and an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump. "Cincy Speed's Adam Maurer loaded a base tune into my SCT X-Cal 3 and she started right up," Joe says.
The coupe's interior is largely...
The coupe's interior is largely stock, save for safety and mechanical equipment needed to keep the car looking good and running well. Auto Meter gauges and a FAST air/fuel meter work in concert with the stock cluster, while a Wild Rides rollcage adds rigidity and safety to the mix.
Greg at 131 Collisions color-matched the hood just three days prior to us taking these photos, which was pretty hard considering no one really knows the car's paint origins. It was painted just before becoming off-duty, so Joe doesn't know the exact color or code.
And Joe was worried about the car's underside...
5.0 Tech Specs
1992 Mustang LX
Engine and Drivetrain
In essence, the engine is...
In essence, the engine is an '01 Roush Stage III 4.6 with an Eaton supercharger. Joe added a Metco Motorsports 2.57-inch pulley, an '03 Cobra heat exchanger and expansion tank, and a JLT Performance cold air to maximize the combination, which made 420 hp and 423 lb-ft of torque on Cincy Speed's Dynojet, and not in the best conditions. At Edgewater Raceway at the end of the 2009 season, Joe ran an 11.50 at 121 mph. "I need an antiroll bar bad," Joe says. Evidently the car likes to pick up the driver-side wheel while the passenger-side wheel is still on the ground. Joe hopes for 10.90s once everything is ironed out. We think the engine compartment reflects the details he brings to the table thanks to his career as an aircraft mechanic.
Lightning 90mm, JLT Performance cold air
Roush M90 supercharger, Metco Motorsports 2.57-inch pulley, 10 pounds of boost, '03 Cobra heat exchanger and Rigid Race Cars battery tray-mounted expansion tank
Glenn's Performance Sleeper fuel tank, Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump and regulator, Aeroquip fuel lines, UPR Products fuel rails, Roush fuel injectors
Rigid Race Cars-modified MAC long-tube headers and Pro-Chamber intermediate pipe, Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers
Tremec TKO 500, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch, Roush aluminum flywheel, Pro-5.0 shifter, Ford Racing Performance Parts aluminum driveshaft
8.8 with 9-inch ends, Eaton Posi, 3.73 gears, Strange Engineering 31-spline axles, MAC stud girdle
Engine Management '01 Bullitt computer, SCT X-Cal III tune, FAST air/fuel meter
Ignition Stock, NGK spark plugs
Gauges Auto Meter Ultra-Lite tachometer, oil, water, volts, and boost
Chassis and Suspension
Anthony Jones Engineering "Mod-swap" tubular
Strange Engineering single-adjustable struts
Strange Engineering coilovers with Hypercoil springs
Billet Specialties Street Lite 15x4
Strange Engineering single adjustables
Stock, 1 coil cut
UPR Products Pro-Series with spherical housing bushings
Billet Specialties Street Lite 15x8
Mickey Thompson E/T Street Radial 275-50