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.
On The Dyno
The dyno cell at Red Line Motorsports (ziebartsuperstore.com/cms/redline-motorsports/) is
Holley Technical Sales Represent-ative Rick Anderson is the kind of guy who (if it wasn't for being married and having a family) would probably have no problem actually living in a dyno cell, spending every waking minute trying to make big steam with a Mustang. We make this assessment based on years of knowing and working with Rick, and marveling at his dedication to testing performance parts, combinations, and the like in almost every situation imaginable.
The data presented in the chart and graphs are prime examples of Rick's diligence on the dyno. With a Vortech V-11 XB110 centrifugal supercharger now installed on Project Pretty Ugly, the Pony was thrashed on the Dynojet's rollers with Rick making blower-pulley and timing-advance changes ad nauseum in an effort to make 1,000 hp with the coupe's D.S.S.-built 427 and VP Racing Fuel's MotorSport 109 unleaded.
As you see in the chart, columns are labeled A through F, and each letter corresponds to one of the engine/supercharger configurations that the 'Stang was tested in.
Looking back at the Mustang's first dyno test, which is detailed in our September '13 report on Ugly with its nitrous combination, we see that the drop in compression has a slight impact on the engine's naturally aspirated performance (power dropped from 471.18/peak to 440.22). However, the pistons, cam and power-adder change instantly made a profound difference. Horsepower climbed from 678.20 (with a 250hp shot of nitrous oxide), to well over 800 (just shy of the 1,000 ponies Rick is shooting for) with forced air.
Horse Sense: Drag Week. Hot Rod magazine's annual test of stamina, of both the participants, and the cars and trucks they're driving and racing over the course of a hard five days. We know firsthand how tough it is to survive Drag Week, and we're anxious to see whether Rick Anderson and Project Pretty Ugly have the right stuff. With few street miles or track laps under Pretty Ugly's belt, Rick set his sights on completing the 2013 edition.