When Shannon Butler of Valparaiso, Indiana, bought this '93 GT from her husband Geoff's Aunt Sue, there were a couple of stipulations.
Since it was completely stock with only 58,000 miles, the couple had to keep it stock. The other stipulation was no drag racing. Well, as you can see from the image above, both promises were broken-badly.
"The first thing we did was put a full exhaust system on it," Shannon says. "Then I decided I wanted to take it to the track. I went 15.80 at 89 mph. After that first pass, I was hooked! I wanted to go even faster." So the couple made it their goal to go one second quicker every year.
Geoff began by changing the gears, porting the stock heads, and swapping the stock intake for an Edelbrock Performer, among other bolt-ons. By then, Shannon's GT was running 12.40s in the quarter-mile on motor, and went as quick as 11.17 at 123 mph on a shot of juice-all on the stock short-block.
Feeling like they were at the end of their rope on the stock engine, the Butlers found themselves with a dilemma that many car enthusiasts and racers face-build an engine or buy a crate engine. "My husband decided he wanted the satisfaction of building it himself," Shannon tells us. In 2005, the couple started buying parts-so many that the local speed shop felt like a second home.
After two long years of scrimping and saving, Shannon and Geoff had everything they needed to begin the long journey of transforming Shannon's Fox. The couple chose to build a 427ci Windsor with a Dart block, Eagle crank, Scat rods, and SRP pistons. Geoff topped off the short-block with a pair of Total Engine Airflow (TEA) 225 high-port aluminum heads with Manley valves (2.10 in./1.66 exhaust) and a ported Edelbrock Super Victor intake.
"We were thinking of painting the car, so my husband thought it was the perfect opportunity to smooth out the engine bay. That was a little scary for me since he had never done any welding or sheetmetal work before," Shannon says. "It took him a solid two weeks of his vacation to do the sheetmetal work, hide the wiring, and prep the car." Once prepped, then-acquaintance Jeff Crook laid the Emerald Green hue. Throughout the process, Crook and the Butlers became very good friends.
By December of 2007, the engine was built, and Shannon couldn't wait for spring so she could see what the new combination would produce. "When that day finally came, off the trailer I went 10.20 with no tuning and short shifting," says Shannon. "After that first pass, we knew we had built a strong engine that was capable of laying down a decent number."
Geoff, with the help of his good friend Kenny Cathcart, tuned the new 427ci powerplant. "After some adjustments, I ran a 9.83 at 138 mph," Shannon says. "We were ecstatic with the way it ran on our first time out. We continued to run in the 9.80 range, even dipping into the 9.70s throughout the '08 season."
Over the winter, Geoff and Kenny made an improvised wind tunnel in the Butler's garage to experiment with getting colder air to the carburetor. The result was the teardrop-shaped hole you see in the hood now. The winter also allowed friend Paul Cathcart to install the rollcage.
Once back out, Shannon ran a best of 9.56 at 141 mph. Though set up for a 150-shot of nitrous, she hasn't tested on the spray yet. Her goal is to get into the 8s. We wonder what Aunt Sue has to say about that.