On a cool October morning in the quiet town of Mulberry, Florida, 15-year-old Caleb Heard was about to live his dream.
Caleb and his father, Anthony, were heading north to Georgia to spend the day at South Georgia Motorsport Park, but upon leaving the house, Anthony flipped Caleb the keys to the 5.0 LX they had just restified.
Upon twisting the ignition and hearing the burble of the 302, Caleb could barely contain himself. He was about to experience driving the Mustang he and his father had worked so hard on for months. Anthony says his son could drive it all the way to Georgia, seemingly a dream for most 15-year-olds with a learner's permit.
It's now about a year later and Caleb, barely 16, is ready to roll full-time in his sweet '88 Mustang-the second in the Heard stable. Before it came along, Caleb helped his father work on his '90 notchback, but Anthony knew his son needed a Ford of his own to work on.
"I got sick of him sitting at the track just watching me race," says Anthony. "I wanted him to have his own car." So in the winter of 2010, they purchased a maroon coupe, which they found on Craigslist. Anthony and Caleb decided early on that they would complete the build and handle most of the bodywork on their own. "We did it the way we wanted it," Anthony explains.
When it came time to choose a color for the Fox, Caleb wanted to paint it the same color as his father's Mustang.
"I thought it would be cool to make them twins-one a street car, and one a drag car," Caleb says. The pair stripped the car, corrected the body, and smoothed the engine bay. They added a 2.5-inch cowl hood from Kaenen, and then sent their Fox to Matt's Painting in Mulberry for its new deep shade of blue.
Next, they worked on the power it would need to provide some fun on the street and at the track. Keeping in mind that this would be a daily-driven Stang, the father-son team decided a 302 would be the base of their build. A 302 short-block was rebuilt, and is now equipped with a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller camshaft and a Canton pan. An Edelbrock Victor 5.0 intake manifold is perched atop the engine, accompanied by an Accufab 90mm throttle body and Pro-M MAF, while fully ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge cylinder heads (with 2.02/1.60-inch valves) were chosen to feed the air and fuel to the cylinders. The 5.0L engine also benefits from 24-lb/hr injectors and a 255-lph pump. An MSD 6AL enhances spark and a K&N filter lets the engine breathe clean air. Hooker headers take care of exhaust gases, expelling them into Flowmaster mufflers by way of an H-style mid-pipe.
With UPR control arms all around and Strange shocks and struts, this Fox drives like a dream and launches like an animal. Caleb and Anthony also went with an 8.8 rear and 4.10 gears. A Ram clutch and T5 transmission makes cruising a blast for Caleb, who, as luck would have it, received his driver's license about a week before this issue landed in your hands!
On track, this Pony didn't disappoint. Anthony has run a best of 10.9 at 121 mph, while Caleb's best has been 11.30 at 119 mph. We're guessing once Caleb gets a little more seat time, he'll have no trouble lowering his e.t.'s. "I always wanted to race. I used to ride with my dad in his Mustang, and I always wanted to drive one," Caleb explains.
Now that he has his very own 5.0, Caleb is excited to drive it every day, and both father and son are proud of the car they have created. As for future plans, few are set in stone. As far as modifications, nothing under the hood will change for a few years until Caleb can buy himself a daily-driver and turn his Fox into his "other car."