Any parent can tell you how difficult it is to get a rambunc-tious child to behave. Whether it's popping wheelies with the shopping cart at the grocery store (been there, done that), or just being a happy-go-lucky kid whose only desire is to make as much noise as possible in the name of fun, parents always keep their eyes on their children to keep them out of trouble. The same thing can be said of Brian Zaid, though his governance is over those who happen to pull up next to his '89 Mustang notchback.
Like most projects, Brian's notch progressed to its current state in stages. In a sense, the transformation from stocker to stormer is like raising a child. Brian put money, effort, heart, soul, and lots of time into the Mustang, taking it from the crib, through college, and into the pinnacle of its life. "I owned a Mustang of every body style and decided that I wanted a coupe as well," he says. He finally found the car he was looking for. This '89 coupe had 169,000 miles on the clock when he picked it up. "I bought it used in 1996 from a guy who had bought it for his 16-year-old son," Brian says. "When he got his first insurance quote in, he put the car up for sale. It was absolutely bone-stock when I bought it. The car was in decent shape but had a horrible baby-blue stripe on it. I peeled off the stripe within the first few minutes of owning the car."
The baby blues (pardon the pun) disappeared quickly as Brian embarked on cultivating his newfound child. After equipping the car with a pair of large-displacement pushrod engines-a 357 and a 402, respectively-he stepped up to a 408ci powerplant based off of a '93 Lightning short-block. After a while, though, the desire to step up his kid's education from high-school level to that of an Ivy League college was too hard to ignore. That desire led to a poked and stroked 427ci monster.
Brian enlisted Greg Scott to assemble the powerplant. Knowing that the basic foundation was key to helping the engine live with the planned forced-induction, Greg ordered a Dart block that, once it was in his possession, had its cylinders bored out to 4.125 inches. He then laid a Scat 4-inch stroker crank down in the main web. The long arms of 6.2-inch rods push Probe pistons up and down in the cylinders. Sealing the piston skirts to the cylinder walls is a Childs & Albert ring package, while a Canton oil pan and windage tray contain the lifeblood of the engine.
With a pushrod engine, the power is in the heads, camshaft, and induction. To that end, the final assembly of this small-block Ford started with the TFS-R aluminum cylinder heads that were plunked down. Showcasing 2.08-inch Victory intake valves, 1.60-inch Ferrea exhaust valves, and some CNC work by Total Engine Airflow (Tallmadge, Ohio), the heads flow enough air to support the power adder Brian had in mind. Shaft-mounted Harland Sharp 1.6-ratio rockers open and close their respective valves each time the lobe of the Jay Allen custom-ground roller camshaft tells them to.
Since the heads have the ability to flow large volumes of air, the induction and fuel systems needed to meet the expectations. Supplying the juice is a Weldon 2345 fuel pump. Pushing 45 psi of fuel pressure through a regulator of the same manufacturer, 160-pound injectors make sure enough fuel is introduced into the combustion chamber. It takes air and fuel to make power, so Brian topped the TFS-R heads with an EFI Spyder intake manifold accented with an Accufab 90mm throttle body and DFI speed-density meter.
Oh yeah, there's also that whole blower thing. Shoving 25 psi of boosted air through all of that paraphernalia is a ProCharger F2 centrifugal supercharger driven by a cog belt for a miniscule amount of belt slippage. Chilling the air charge is a ProCharger 1,300hp air-to-air intercooler. As is common knowledge, running a blower means having an ECM and an accompanying tune that's spot on. Brian was of the opinion that if someone was going to handle that part of the job, it might as well be him. He ditched the factory ECM for an Accel Gen VII system that is wired to an MSD Digital 7 box, HVC II coil, Taylor plug wires, and NGK 5238 plugs. The exhaust system needed to be in compliance (there's that word again) with the inlet side of things. Hooker 2-inch primary tube headers dump the exhaust through 3-inch collectors, Walker mufflers, and 3-inch-diameter tubing.
Knowing the engine would make an inordinate amount of power and torque, Brian revamped the suspension and drivetrain to complement it. A Scott Wolford-prepped Lentech AOD houses a Precision Industries 4,000-stall converter in the bellhousing. A Hayden trans cooler keeps the fluid's temperature down, while a Ford Racing Performance Parts aluminum driveshaft mates the output shaft of the trans to the pinion of the Ford 8.8-inch rear that was beefed up with a TA Performance rear cover, Strange spool, 33-spline axles, and highway-friendly 3.27 gears. Strange 90/10 shocks and 130-pound springs fling the weight to the rear of the Mustang upon launch, and UPR tubular upper and lower control arms lighten the heft on the 17x9 FR500 wheels and 255/45-17 tires. Keeping the car tracking straight are Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates, while a UPR tubular K-member not only allows the front end of the Fox-body to shed some more pounds, but lets the motor sit low enough in the car to allow Brian to keep the stock hood.
With the front suspension worked over, the back was refurbished and improved upon as well. Brian kept in stock-spec rear shocks but swapped out the stock springs for a pair of BBK coils. Custom subframe connectors tie the frame together, while a Competition Engineering antiroll bar keeps the body level. UPR upper control arms replace the stock items, and pounding the pavement are 17x10.5 FR500 rims wrapped in 275/40-17 Mickey Thompson drag radials. Stopping power comes from 13-inch front and 11.65-inch rear Cobra brakes.
The looks of both the sheetmetal and the interior of Brian's notch are all business. A no-nonsense black paint job replaced the blue, while Clark Racing Chassis and Maximum Motorsports helped out with getting the rollcage up to 8.50-second specifications. Auto Meter gauges keep Brian abreast of the beast under the hood, while a Wolfe Race Craft 'chute mount aids him in slowing the nimble Pony down after each 9.50-second, 150-mph quarter-mile blast.
The fact that I can drive this car to the track, run in the nines, and then drive it home with the radio on is what makes this car so much fun," Brian says. "My goal has always been to keep the car clean looking while putting down good numbers. Strangely enough, though, the part that seems to impress everyone the most is that I was able to keep the stock hood."
That and the fact that every time Brian goes for a spin in the car, everyone listens to what the car is saying: "Don't mess with me."
While you can't see the goods that go along with Brian's Mustang being certified and legal
Compliance is the game, and Brian Zaid is his name. Don't let him sic his Mustang on you.
Menacing with its no-BS appearance, Brian's '89 notchback has the perfect stance to go alo