Take a drive down almost any road in Central Florida and you're bound to see a slew of Mustangs. Whether it's a custom S197, a perfectly restored fastback from the late '60s, or anything in between, you'll run into some type of Pony galloping down the road. But every now and again, you come across one that simply makes your jaw drop.
As 500hp Mustangs roll off the assembly line and 700hp Mustangs handle the task of daily commutes, the days of struggling to build an 11-second street Stang are long gone. For most enthusiasts and backyard mechanics, there's a drive to build something better, faster, or more powerful. The struggle to achieve reliable performance is still there, but the bar has been set much higher. "I have always thought race cars were cool, but I really enjoy the street-car stuff a lot more," explains Blair Brannock of New Port Richey, Florida.
Blair is the owner of Rockstar Performance in New Port Richey, and big power is the name of his game. Blair also owns this super-clean '92 LX, which handles the street-car duties, but it's not your average Fox. What separates this pristine coupe from the rest of the clean Fox-bodies running around Florida? The answer is 18 pounds of boost and about 900 hp. Three hundred and forty seven inches of turbo-fed Ford power sit under the hood and handle the muscle end of the business when Blair hits the loud pedal.
Over the course of the past few years, Blair has owned quite the collection of freakishly fast cars. Turbo Corvettes, Porsches, and Trans Ams have all taken up residence in his garage, and as a new project idea began to solidify, Blair set out to find his next turbo terror.
Blair heats up the Mickey...
Blair heats up the Mickey Thompson drag radials in preparation for a blast down the strip at Bradenton Motorsports Park during MM&FF True Street competition.
Having raced for many years, Blair was looking for something he could drive to the track, blow the doors off of almost anything that had the gumption to pull up next to him, then drive it home-all the while keeping a predominantly stock appearance. A winning bid on eBay netted Blair a spotless Bimini Blue '92 LX that was soon on its way to dominating the streets.
With the build beginning, Blair turned to long-time friend and Mustang-racing standout Job Spetter of Turbo People (Hastings-On-Hudson, New York) for a little guidance on the powerplant. After the two agreed on the path for the build, a combination was decided on, and the task of building the bullet was underway.
Action Machine Shop of Port Richey, Florida, was employed to handle the machine work and assembly of the new mill. They started with a fresh Dart block and filled it with lots of forged goodies to ensure it would handle the power Blair was looking for. A 4340 forged-steel crankshaft uses forged Eagle rods to set the JE pistons in motion. The combination of a 4.125-inch bore and 3.250-inch stroke brings the total displacement to 347 ci. The short-block was fitted with a custom solid-roller camshaft of Turbo People's design to set the Ferrera valves inside the Trick Flow Specialties Twisted Wedge aluminum cylinder heads in motion. Prior to installation, the heads were treated to some CNC porting by Ron Robart of Fox Lake (North Lawrence, Ohio).
A TFS-R intake manifold with a 70mm BBK throttle body handles the induction, with 160-pound injectors supplying fuel to the extra air from the 88mm turbo. Eighteen pounds of boost is force-fed into the combination, helping the mill make copious amounts of power without sacrificing driveability. The intake charge is cooled by a custom intercooler set-up fabricated by Blair, and the engine exhales though a set of Blair's custom turbo headers into Flowmaster mufflers, and out through the 4-inch exhaust. The NGK plugs fire with the help of an MSD 6AL ignition box, Blaster coil, and billet distributor.
The 88mm turbo hides under...
The 88mm turbo hides under the hood waiting to force-feed 18 pounds of boost to this hungry 347.
Billet Specialties wheels...
Billet Specialties wheels sit in all four corners and add a stylish look to this turbo coupe.
The clean interior is yet...
The clean interior is yet another reminder that this is not a racecar. Not only does Blair blast down the quarter-mile in 8 seconds, he does it comfortably.
A 347ci Dart mill sits under...
A 347ci Dart mill sits under the hood of this street terror. Blair worked closely with Job Spetter of Turbo People to nail down the perfect combination to make big power.
Auto Meter gauges help Blair...
Auto Meter gauges help Blair keep an eye on everything going on under the hood, and the Turbo-Action Cheetah shifter ensures he accurately changes gears.
The task of transferring this kind of power to the ground is something that needs to be taken very seriously. The engine spins the 4,000-stall Neal Chance converter that transfers power to the TH400 gearbox, and a reverse manual valvebody helps Blair manually change gears on the street and at the track. The trans is connected to the 8.8-inch rearend housing with an aluminum driveshaft, which turns the 3.55 gears hidden inside. Moser axles rotate the Billet Specialties wheels and Mickey Thompson rubber that are keeping the super-clean couple glued to the pavement.
Controlling large amounts of power isn't an easy task, and the right suspension setup is key. For this, Blair called on Wolfe Racecraft for a set of its rear upper and lower control arms. Stock rear springs with Strange shocks keep the rear end securely to the ground, while UPR springs with Strange struts handle weight transfer and cushion the ride up front.
The water/ice tank sits in...
The water/ice tank sits in the trunk to supply cold water to the custom intercooler fabricated by Blair at Rockstar Performance. The water pump hides neatly in the spare-tire compartment under the tank.
Once the build was finished, it was time to set the tune. Job Spetter quickly went to work tuning the Gen 7 Accel DFI. With the boost levels set and the air/fuel mixture just right, Blair's coupe laid down a monstrous 900 rwhp with 850 lb-ft of torque at 18 pounds of boost.
When it came time to line up at the dragstrip, Blair entered Muscle Mustangs and Fast Ford's own True Street class at the NMRA season-opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Although an 8.83-second e.t. is extremely impressive for a street car, it wasn't enough to take the win. With a best 60-foot time of 1.38, Blair knows there is still some performance left to be found. Once everything is sorted out, he hopes to have a streetable car capable of being driven to the track and running high 7-second passes consistently.
Although the challenges of making big power have changed since this LX was new, Blair has endured many of the same difficulties. The struggle to make power is the same as it's always been, but Blair has definitely helped raise the bar.