In early January, the Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords staff attended the 19th annual Ford and Mustang Roundup at Silver Springs.
Hundreds of Blue Oval cars and trucks flooded the nature park for a weekend of showing off their rides and socializing with other enthusiasts. Dozens of late-model Mustangs were present, and we were on the hunt for any potential feature-worthy Fords.
Not 10 minutes into the show Saturday morning, we came across Rob Matuszko's '89 Fox-body coupe. As we walked up, we took notice of the factory dark-blue paint and the cleanliness of his ride. Detail after detail, we began to notice the amount of pride and care he put into it. We were hooked.
Rob's passion for automotive mechanics stems back to his teen years. "When I was 15, I was standing in front of a magazine rack and read my first-ever Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines,"Rob told us. "I found everything really interesting; from that point on, I just started working on anything I could get my hands on, taking it apart and putting it back together.”
Having been a Pontiac owner for 18 years, specifically a '72 GTO convertible, Rob stumbled upon the Ford scene. He previously owned a '93 notchback Mustang, but drove it in stock trim till he sold it a few years later. It wasn't until 2003 that he would find himself back in another Stang.
"I was at a local car show with a few friends, casually walking around, and came across an '89 coupe for sale,"Rob said. " I looked at it but just kept walking. I was kind of getting out of the car scene, but a little voice inside my head said to give it another look. Needless to say, the owner and I got to talking and we struck a deal.”
What really motivated Rob to purchase the car was its pristine condition. It was sporting 25,000 original miles and original paint. Everything about the coupe was mint; aesthetically speaking, not a flaw could be found. What we failed to mention is that it already had some hefty mods. A built 306ci engine rested between the fenderwells, along with a Procharger supercharger. A six-point rollbar ensured safety when making a high 10-second quarter-mile pass at the strip, and a Tremec TKO transmission was used for shifting.
"It was a mint car when I bought it, but it was somebody else's vision,"Rob explained to us. "I wanted to make it my own. My vision was to have a 9-second street car, take it to the track, but also be able to take it to a show and get people to say, wow.”
Rob has taken 10 years to create his vision and he's still not done. (Who really ever is?) Underneath the hood, he's kicked things up a bit. Replacing the Procharger is a Vortech Ysi-trim supercharger pushing 26 pounds of boost. A Scat crankshaft twirls the Manley connecting rods and Diamond pistons inside a 347 Dart block. A custom-ground camshaft is in charge of timing the valves inside the Trick Flow Specialties heads; a Vortech Mondo upper and TFS lower intake, and Alky Control's methanol injection system is used to keep air cool.
CRT Performance Transmissions built Rob a custom AOD transmission. The AOD features a Freddy Brown valvebody, Power Glide Super bellhousing, and 4R70W output shaft. A 5,000-stall is used to help launch the car, and a PTC 9-inch converter. A tubular frontend helped shed some weight, and Team Z Motorsports upper and lower control arms are attached to the beefed-up 8.8-inch rearend and chassis. Strange Engineering front and rear coilovers are used to help with dampening and dialing in weight transfer.
Details were what Rob used to help his coupe stand out. NBS Fabrication installed a 10-point rollcage and fabricated a full-custom exhaust. The interior has been customized, including shaving and filling the center A/C vents, removing the parking brake, and adding a one-off rear-seat delete with two hidden compartments for storage.
Underneath the hood, the inner fender panels and firewall have been cut and filled with sheetmetal for a smooth, clean look. A Florida 5.0 gauge cluster and C2 Autometer gauges are used to monitor the vitals to his Fox.
Previous to Rob's latest powerplant, he installed a Novi 2000 blower, a C4 automatic transmission, and supporting mods. This combo yielded a best run of 9.69 at 146 mph, cutting a 1.4 60-foot on 20 pounds of boost. With his new estate resting between the fenders, he's upped the boost to 26 psi but hasn't hit the strip yet to see what it can do.
Rob notes that without the constant support from his wife, Kat, and friends Mike Plummer and Brian Friedentag, none of this would have been possible.
"The idea behind this whole build was I didn't want to make it the typical Fox-body Mustang,"Rob told us. "I didn't want to cut up the car and hack away at it. I wanted to try and have a really pristine street/show car. Details were very important to me, and I think they've paid off."
The idea behind this whole build was I didn't want to make it the typical Fox-body Mustang.