In the wee hours of a cool March morning, Randy Seward slipped behind the wheel of his 1,000-plus horsepower '91 coupe, and drove it from Orlando, Florida, 496 miles to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. In Commerce, he easily handled the MM&FF True Street 30-mile road tour and then ripped to a sick 8.891-second average.
Ok, I gave away the climax, and yes, I realize that's taboo, but there's much more to this tale so I implore you to read on.
Randy's hot-rod story begins in 1973, in his hometown of Miami. At 18, he bought his first muscle car-a '70 Cougar with a 351C. "It wasn't very fast; I remember my first run down the strip at the now-defunct Miami-Hollywood Speedway, where it ran a 16.33 at a whopping 88 mph." He eventually got the puma into the 14.40s. Unfortunately, the Cougar got totaled, so he bought a '70 Mach 1 with a 351. It wasn't long before he had the 351 yanked and a 428CJ in its place. It then ran a best of 13.29 at 108 mph.
When Randy left for college in 1976, his parents negotiated getting something more economical. Randy sold the Mach 1 and ended up with a Pinto. Two months later, it was 302-powered and running 13s. He drove it for about 10 years during college and while in the U.S. Air Force. While stationed in North Carolina, Randy experimented with nitrous oxide, but the Pinto "spun like crazy." Nevertheless, it did manage to run a 12.78 at 108, according to Randy.
By 1992, Randy was married and had collected all the parts to build his next project-another '70 Cougar. Plans included a 427ci side-oiler and a turbo. By this time, though, Fox-body Mustangs were all the rage. Randy bought his wife a new car and took her four-cylinder '85 coupe in order to build a street/strip twin-turbo 5-liter. "I basically hand-fabricated everything on the turbo system, including the stainless steel exhaust system and the inlet tubing," Randy recalls.
The coupe featured Trick Flow Specialties high-port heads, a GT-40 intake, a custom camshaft, twin Garrett T-4s, a C-4, and a Moser 9-inch with 3.25:1 gears. After tuning the engine using exhaust gas temperature (EGT) readings and e.t.'s alone, the four-eyed notch ran 10.72 at 132 mph and was completely streetable. That was 1994, mind you!
Randy even made an appearance at DeSoto Speedway (now Bradenton Motorsports Park) in the spring of 1994 at the Fun Ford Weekend event to compete in True Street. Later that year, though, Randy's coupe was stolen. "I went outside one Monday morning, and the car was gone. I was in shock and disbelief," Randy tells us. After months of investigation, Randy found bits and pieces of the now-stripped coupe. He recovered his intercooler, rearend housing, transmission, driveshaft, and rear wheels. For the next 13 years, what was left of the car sat idle in Randy's garage.
But in 2007, something snapped. "I don't really remember what triggered it, but I decided I was going to build another Mustang. I started hunting for a coupe, and eventually ended up buying a four-cylinder Calypso Green coupe with a body in decent shape for $1,800 from someone on eBay Motors.
"Since I planned to make serious power and wanted something that could take the abuse, I decided to build the motor from scratch using aftermarket components," Randy says. He built a 363ci Windsor using a Dart block, CP pistons, and Prime 1 rods and crankshaft. Randy modified the stock oil pan to accept a Melling high-volume oil pump and extended sump. He contacted Comp Cams for a custom camshaft that features 294/290 degrees of duration and 0.615/0.610-inch lift. He topped the short-block with Trick Flow Specialties high-port aluminum heads, built by Champion Racing Heads in Palm Coast, Florida.