Like most metropolitan centers around the globe, Aaron Lonson's hometown near Vancouver, British Columbia, is a melting pot of ethnicities, interests, and political persuasions. We've long known the area to have a strong performance-car scene, but if you figured the doorstep to Canada's vast and pristine wilderness would also be a mecca for ardent environmentalists, you've pretty well put two and two together. Has Aaron ever felt this contingent's icy stares of disapproval as he pumps a tank of premium petrol into his big-horsepower '91 LX? He says no, so hopefully there's recognition that occasional-use cars like this really aren't of much consequence to the health of the planet.
Simplicity is sometimes hard...
Simplicity is sometimes hard to beat, and that's what we have with Aaron Lonson's '91 LX in terms of visuals. Other than the wheel/tire package, the car appears just as Ford delivered it--which is as appealing as ever.
To be sure, Aaron's Deep Emerald '91 isn't the kind of green that wins any warm and fuzzies from the Sierra Club, but no matter. It feels the love often enough from an appreciative car culture. We'd even bet our lunch money that the Cal Hartline-tuned FAST XFI is dialed in to the point where the LX is pretty darned efficient. It's surely efficient in the power department, with Aaron having some dyno sheets that are so optimistic he doesn't even want to advertise them. That's fine--suffice it to say the turbo boosted 331 makes more than he'll ever need in a hot street machine.
Aaron isn't a newcomer to the world of Fox Mustangs, as at last count he figures to have owned eight of them. However, without a doubt, this is the best of them all, and that's what he set his sights on when he launched the build in 2009.
Starting with a pristine four-cylinder chassis, Aaron chuckles when recalling that the elderly woman he bought it from was concerned he was out to make a quick buck by swapping in a V-8: "It was her baby." If she could only see it now!
Aaron wasted little time in stripping the car to the bone, then sent it out to Sharp Touch Restorations' Travis Brown for the already well-discussed topcoat in R-M Diamont two-stage. What spawned the choice for the understated dark hue? It so happens the '91 rolled out of Dearborn this way, and the idea of sticking with the original color won out over performing a complete change. No complaints here--we love it!
While the LX was busy getting a facelift, Aaron preoccupied himself with gathering the parts and pieces that would make for an impressive pavement-pounder. An FRPP Boss 302-based engine was purchased from a local racer, then sent to be freshened by Ron's Engine Machine in nearby Surrey, British Columbia. The end result is a tough-as-nails short-deck stroker with all forged internals, and topped with AFR 205s and a Super Victor EFI intake.
Aaron had figured to pump up the volume with a centrifugal supercharger, but when friend Steve McMillan offered him a deal on the core components of a turbo setup, Aaron didn't think twice. The score bought him a brand-new Precision PT88 turbo, a Tial 50mm blowoff valve, a Tial 46mm wastegate, and a Spearco air-to-air intercooler. To that, Aaron added custom headers and a crossover from Pony Down, and had friend Jeff Lomenda fab the remainder of the hot-side, including the downpipe and 3-1/2-inch Y-pipe. Aaron put together the induction side himself, running 3-inch, polished-aluminum tubing from the turbo, to the intercooler, to the blowoff valve, and finally to the Accufab 90mm throttle body.
The supporting equipment is extensive, and clues you in to the fact that despite the intended street use, this is a serious effort. A complete fuel system starts with an Aeromotive sumped tank, an Aeromotive A1000 pump, -8/-6 braided lines, Edelbrock rails, and 72-lb/hr Siemens Deka injectors. Aaron still rows his own through a TKO600 five-speed and SPEC Stage 3 clutch, with the results going to a 3.73-geared 31-spline 8.8.
A primary goal for the build was to maintain a low-profile persona, so Aaron used the stock hood. Turns out the particular engine combo was a touch too tall, so the K-member was dropped 3/8-inch, and the base of the intake elbow was milled to gain clearance.
Never mind the polished 18-inch Roush wheels that announce the car as something beyond pedestrian. The result of the stock body panels is quite subtle--just what Aaron hoped for. He tells us that one of his reasons for the low-key approach, including no rollbar, is because he wants to make his automotive endeavors appealing for his two young daughters, Courtney and Kennedy. Aaron enjoys taking the family to shows and the racetrack, and he figures the current combination is a better fit than a wild and raucous dragstrip ride with a jungle-gym cage.
It's probably a good move, and yet Aaron does want to run the car down the 1,320 to see what it'll do. He's probably got one shot--maybe--before track officials boot him for a lack of safety equipment. When that happens, we wonder if some rethinking of the format will occur. Perhaps the necessary track-legal bits will be installed in the end. After all, the urge to safely run fast and hard in a car like this is at the core of an enthusiast's soul. Surely Aaron won't be able to resist! 5.0
Horse Sense: Wheel choice is one of the biggest make-or-break items on any car build, and we give Aaron a big thumbs-up here for his choice of Roush 18x9s. There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to killer rolling stock. The right look for a given car is often hard to define, yet easy to see--both good and bad. One thing we've noticed time and time again however--and it's evident here--is that there's much to be said for a five-spoke design.
Other than a shift light,...
Other than a shift light, Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, and the FAST XFI in the passenger footwell, the interior appears stock and neat as a pin. Since this one started as a four-cylinder, the marshmallow-like stock seats were replaced with some proper 5.0 threads. The lack of a rollbar locks in street car status, but Aaron wants it this way, simply relying on Maximum Motorsports' full-length subs for chassis rigidity.
Once the hardware was all...
Once the hardware was all dialed in, Aaron spent plenty of time under the hood making the 331 show-worthy. Rest assured though, this one runs hard despite the shine, with help from a Cal Hartline tune, Snow Performance methanol injection, a Bullet solid-roller cam, and up to 20 pounds of boost. As much as Aaron loves the full-throttle power, he's also big on driveability, and says Cal hit the nail on the head.
Engine and Drivetrain
Block FRPP Boss 302, 0.030-in overbore
Crankshaft 3.25-in Eagle forged
Rods Eagle H-beam
Pistons JE forged, low-compression
Camshaft Bullet Racing custom solid-roller
Cylinder Heads AFR 205 w/2.08/1.60 valves, K-Motion valve-springs, and Probe shaft-mount rockers
Intake Manifold Edelbrock Super Victor EFI
Power Adder Precisio PT88 turbo w/ Tial 50mm blowoff valve, Tial 46mm wastegate, Spearco intercooler, and Snow Performance Stage 2 methanol injection
Fuel System Aeromotive A1000 system w/ sumped tank, Edelbrock fuel rails, Siemens Deka 72-pound injectors, and a Holley regulator
Exhaust Pony Down 1-5/8-in headers w/ custom Y-pipe, DynoMax 3-in mufflers, and Flowmaster 3-in tailpipes
Transmission Tremec TKO600 w/ Hurst shifter, SPEC Stage 3 clutch, Centerforce flywheel, and aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8 w/ 3.73 gears, Traction-Lok dif, FRPP 31-spline axles, and TA girdle/cover
Engine Management FAST XFI 2.0
Ignition ACCEL 300+, MSD distributor and crank trigger
Gauges Auto Meter Ultra-Lite
Suspension and Chassis
K-member UPR Products chrome-moly
A-Arms UPR Products
Struts Koni Yellow adjustable
Springs UPR Products
Brakes Cobra 10th anniversary calipers w/ 13-in crossdrilled rotors
Wheels Roush 18x9-in
Shocks Koni Yellow adjustable
Control Arms Stock
Brakes Granatelli weight-jacker lowers w/ Edelbrock adjustable uppers
Wheels Roush 18x9-in