Religion is one of the most powerful--and controversial--topics in the world and has been the cause of controversy, arguments, and many wars.
We aren't going to get into a theological debate--most of us believe what we believe and no one is going to convince us otherwise. We do, however, admit there might have been a higher power steering Anthony Lombardi's brand loyalty.
Just 10 years ago, the New Jersey resident was an F-body owner cruising the Garden State asphalt with a '95 Camaro Z28. A Paxton supercharger pumped up the LT1 small-block. It was fast, made decent power, and he was happy with the Z. He'd make regular jaunts up and down the shore towns along the Atlantic Ocean, where the Chevy held its own.
"All my friends were Chevy guys and they had Chevelles, Camaros, and all that. So I just sort of went with a Chevy," comments Anthony about his choice of hot rod. But a major change was coming and it wasn't by Anthony's choice. The Z28 fell victim--of all things--to a mouse chewing through the wiring, which led to an electrical fire. The Z28 burnt to the ground and was history. As Anthony sifted through what was left, he found a set of rosary beads that survived the fire in the glovebox. Miraculously, the beads showed no signs of having been in the inferno.
He put them in his pocket and walked away from the car forever. The search for another ride began, and it was longtime friend and Mustang builder Jimmy Chahalis that lead the intervention, forcing Anthony into a Mustang. "Jimmy worked hard to convince me to get a Mustang, and I broke down finally and got one. That was nearly nine years ago and I still love the car," admits Anthony regarding his replacement toy.
He picked up a '95 GT that was completely stock, but he dropped it off at the now-defunct LaRocca's Performance, where Chahalis used to work. The car emerged with a ProCharger D1, Edelbrock Victor Jr. cylinder heads, an FRPP GT-40 intake, and a custom blower cam. It made 543 rwhp and served Anthony well for nearly five years, but the lure of more power brought major upgrades.
The original 302 was discarded, and after a few consultations with Jimmy Chahalis, who is now operating his own shop, the duo decided on a 347ci engine that is based in a Dart Sportsman block. The bores were punched to 4.125, and it was filled with an Eagle rotating assembly that includes JE forged pistons. The steel crank specs are 3.250-inch stroke, and the steel connecting rods come in at 5.40-inches long and have ARP 2000 bolts. Compression is a supercharger-friendly 8.5:1, and a set of Hellfire rings keep the pistons sealed with the cylinder walls. "AD Performance built the 347 short-block and I have to say their customer service was awesome," notes Anthony.
Once Jimmy got the short-block from AD Performance, he began working on the rest of the go-fast puzzle. A custom camshaft from Flow Tech Inductions was slid into the cam bores. The only specifications given are that it's a hydraulic roller, the intake has 0.593-inch lift, and the exhaust lift is listed as 0.582-inch.
The Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads were originally ported by Fox Lake; Anthony brought them down to local machinist and NHRA Super Stock racer Scott Gray to clean up the ports and freshen everything. Scott also ported an Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake manifold to go along with the heads.
Custom long-tube headers expel the gases, and Stan Bachonski built a custom 3-inch exhaust system. A Glenn's Performance fuel system is home to a sumped tank, larger feed and return fuel lines, twin Walbro pumps, and Behind Bars Race Cars fuel rails.
The engine was designed to be force-fed air, and a Vortech YSi centrifugal supercharger was selected to provide 23 psi of intake manifold pressure. Jimmy converted the front engine accessory drive (FEAD) to an '87-'93 style in order to run the Vortech kit, which had been designed for the Fox-body models. The YSi compressor is spun using a 10-rib belt with the crankshaft featuring an 8-inch- diameter pulley, while the blower pulley checks in at 3.12 inches.
Jimmy moved the radiator forward and converted the fan to a push-through design in order to accommodate the 10-rib system. Anthony reports that the car runs flawlessly, as the water temperature never goes above 180 degrees, and it features a clean, smooth idle at 1,000 rpm.
Jimmy uses an Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS tuner to get the factory EEC-IV dialed in properly, and it was tuned on the chassis dyno at Radical Racing. The supercharged combination lays down 759 rwhp and 625 lb-ft of torque, while sucking down pump gas that is enhanced with AIS methanol via three nozzles screwed into the inlet tube.
The green SN-95 packs a serious punch, so a Tremec 3550 TKO II was slipped into the trans tunnel, while a Spec 3+ clutch and flywheel was added to harness the power. The 8.8-inch rearend has been modified with a limited-slip differential, 3.73 gears, and 31-spline axles.
Tokico struts and shocks were installed fore and aft while H&R springs give the car its lowered stance as well as enhanced handling. Bullitt wheels with Nitto 555 tires sit at the corners. The rear tires are 555R drag radials to help in the traction department. J&M weight-jacker control arms with spherical bushings were also added.
"I haven't had the car on track yet, I am going to add a cage and probably make a switch to an AOD transmission," concludes Anthony. Our guess is with that much power and the right amount of hook, it should run in the high 9s with ease.
Not surprisingly, the rosary beads that survived the fire hang from the rear-view mirror so he never forgets the conversion from the Bow Tie to the Blue Oval. Was it divine intervention? Well, that's something for you to decide.