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1990 Ford Mustang GT - Strike Fighter
When An F-18 Aerospace Engineer Builds A Mustang, You Can Bet There's Going To Be A Turbine Involved.
Roger swapped out the original stick-shift transmission for an Art Carr-built, transbrake-equipped, AOD automatic, and coupled it to the engine with an Art Carr 9.5-inch torque converter with a 3,500-stall speed and SFI flexplate. He later pulled the trans back out for a rebuild and took the opportunity to drop off the Mustang at HP Performance for some rear-suspension upgrades.
While the front end employs a Griggs Racing tubular K-member, control arms, and a Koni coilover setup, the rear suspension uses UPR Products' adjustable upper and lower control arms with spherical rod ends for absolutely no slop. Eibach rear springs and Koni Yellow shocks keep the car stable at high speeds.
On the chassis dyno at HP Performance, the Tangerine filly spun the rollers to 417 rwhp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Roger wasn't overly impressed, as the five-speed turned out 426 hp, but Gonyon told him the power was there. It was just that the torque converter and automatic transmission weren't showing it. With the new AOD gearbox and a rear suspension that could rein in the tremendous torque, the stout little Mustang trekked back to Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, and promptly laid down an 11.01 at 122 mph with Gonyon behind the wheel. Indeed, the power was there and then some.
The car ran a string of low-11-second elapsed times through 2007, and over the course of the year, Roger renovated the interior to his liking. This overhaul included a complete color change from gray to black, using Latemodel Restoration's door panels, headliner, and carpet. Corbeau CR1 bucket seats comfort the occupants, while a K Dezines rear-seat delete did away with the unusable rear seat. Roger modified the seat delete to accommodate the battery relocation, and he also installed sound deadening on the roof and interior panels to combat excessive noise and vibration. G-Force harnesses were attached to the Autopower six-point rollbar, and Roger installed a Painless Wiring ashtray switch panel for the transbrake and overdrive functions.
Roger and Dave also upgraded the Pony to five-lug axle specs using Lincoln rotors up front, and Moser 31-spline shafts with a Traction-Lok differential and girdle on the 8.8 axle. Weld Pro Star wheels were chosen for the five-lug upgrade and feature 15x3.5 rims up front and 15x10-inch hoops out back. Mickey Thompson front and rear rubber was selected as well. Roger has plans for a future upgrade to SN-95 rotors and rear disc brakes, and plans to use a set of black FR500 replica wheels with drag radials for street duty.
In April 2008, Roger entered the orange horse in the Pinks event at Gainesville Raceway, and while he wasn't chosen for the television show, the car did run a best-ever 10.73 at 124 mph while recording a 1.46 short time on its relatively road race-spec suspension.
Roger points to his family for getting him into the car hobby. "My dad had a '68 Camaro with a 327 when I was little, and while growing up, my Grandpa and Uncle Pat always had some type of project when I was around their house, be it a '68 Vette, a '62 pickup, or a '68 Mustang." While his family may have been into Chevys, Roger's passion for 5.0s developed while he was in college. "I came home for the summer, and a good friend of mine had bought an '88 Bimini Blue LX hatch. I've been hooked on the 5.0 since then."
Roger is quick to stand by those who stood by him throughout his automotive endeavors. "I'd like to thank God for blessing me with a hobby I love; my wife, Lisa; and sons Joshua, Aaron, and Christopher, who put up with my hopeless gearhead addiction," Roger says, "as well as my Mom and Dad, and my Grandfather Novaria and Uncle Pat for instilling in me a love for high-performance cars while growing up." Roger also thanks those who had a physical hand in the build, including Dave Pfister, Chris Whitehouse, Sean Knighton, Tony Gonyon, Jason Combs, and Paul Holman.
In a few short years, Roger has built himself a strike fighter capable of attacking on many fronts. The ordinance, a turbocharger, was no accidental choice as Roger is an aerospace engineer who works on the compressor section of the F-18 Hornet's jet turbine. Full speed ahead.