Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the project series!
Welcome to the third installment of the Project Pretty Ugly chronicles. We've rabidly followed Rick Anderson's quest to transform a homely 1979 Ford Mustang coupe into a reliable and insanely fast street 'Stang. In the event you're new to the magazine, or the project, we'll bring you up to speed.
Rick, Holley's technical sales representative and a longtime Mustang guy, decided it would be cool to put a long-retired notchback Fox back into service as the ultimate sleeper. When looking at the project on a grand scale, building high-powered street beasts isn't a ground-breaking concept. Actually, it's pretty far from new at this point, as we've featured hundreds—possibly thousands—of Ponies that fit the bill, right here in these pages. However, when you take into account how challenging it is to harness the big steam these Mustangs throw down, developments in fuel injection and engine management definitely garner a lot of our attention.
To control the 427ci bullet in Ugly's engine compartment, Rick turned to Holley's new Dominator EFI, an engine-management setup that we detailed in our Sept. '13 issue ("Dominant Genes," p. 66). While the new Holley system is plenty capable of supporting an all-out race car, it also can be used to corral that power for the street, which is the main quality he sought.
"I really want the car to be driveable," Rick said. "Sure, I definitely want it to be fast on the dragstrip, but I also want it to be fun to drive on the street, making lots of noise and horsepower, with cold A/C (during the summer), good heat, and no concerns about overheating or chugging at low speed. The overheating and low-speed issues seem to be common for big-powered, older (pushrod) street Mustangs, especially those that are equipped with power adders. We've proven Dominator EFI's ability to make Ugly fun with nitrous, but now we're raising the bar a little higher by switching to boost and taking the car out on Hot Rod's Drag Week."
Yes, testing the coupe's mettle has taken a serious turn since our last report on Project Pretty Ugly, and we're anxious to see whether this change ultimately was for better ... or worse. A non-intercooled version of Vortech's race-inspired V-11 XB110 wind machine now sits alongside the coupe's updated D.S.S. stroker (low-compression pistons and a new camshaft), and huffs more than 25 pounds of boost into its cylinders. It's definitely a big change, for sure. Read on for highlights of the coupe's supercharged makeover, and more importantly, the battery of boost and timing scenarios that were thrown at the new combination during tests performed on the Dynojet chassis dyno at Red Line Motorsports in Bloomington, Illinois.
Rick selected a cog-drive setup featuring 32- and 30-tooth pulleys for the supercharger, and a 73-tooth wheel for the crank.