For many Mustang enthusiasts, the dream of one day building your very own custom Pony begins as a small child.
John Bibbins of Sacramento, California, is no different. "I remember saving up every dollar so I could one day own my dream car," says John.
Finally, in 1998, just as John's high school years came to an end, his father came across a '91 Mustang 5.0L LX online that was to be auctioned out of Napa, California. The two made the three-hour trek to see it, and John fell in love with the pristine black Fox.
"It was owned by a little old lady and the car was perfect," John remembers. It was so perfect that he made the deal and brought it home. For the first two years, the car remained stock, while John cruised the Sacramento streets with a friend, who had an '89 Mustang convertible. But when his buddy switched to the dark side and bought a Camaro, John decided it was time to begin upgrading.
"We had a race one day and that man left me in the wind like yesterday's paper," John explains. "At that point, I knew it was time to make serious modifications to my stock Stang."
A Flowmaster exhaust, underdrive pulleys, a K&N air filter, and chrome ponies were the first parts to find their way onto John's LX. After losing another race to the rival Camaro, he had to kick it into high gear and get down to business.
As luck would have it, John blew a head gasket. Learning how expensive outsourcing work could be, he decided to buy a Chilton's book to teach himself everything he could about his car. "After about three weeks of hard work and asking questions, I was successful," John says.
His first project was to install Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads and a Cobra upper and lower intake on his own. A year and a half later -- and sick of having automatic transmissions rebuilt -- John swapped the Pony's transmission to a manual five-speed, backed by 3.73 gears and an aluminum driveshaft, along with a full suspension kit from Steeda.
In 2004 John's first daughter, Janiya, was born, and the Mustang was put on hold. But this would allow him to scheme up a plan for serious power. A 331 stroker was bought and sat around while more funds accumulated. During that time, he purchased a Cobra rear bumper, spoiler, and sideskirts from ABC Exclusive.
John's wife, Toni, discovered a company called Sanja Performance in Greensburg, Kentucky, from whom he ordered his hood. J&K's Mustang of Sacramento painted the car with blue pearl, and John later converted the car to five-lug and FR500 wheels were put on order. After the motor was installed, the car ran a best of 13.9 seconds in the quarter-mile.
Still less than satisfied, John turned up the heat. Calvin Earle of Pearl Performance in Sacramento is responsible for building the current engine, a 347ci powerhouse complete with ported Edelbrock Performer heads, a Trick Flow Specialties Track Heat intake manifold, and an Anderson Ford Motorsport N-61 cam.
The addition of a Hellion 76mm ball- bearing turbo kit producing 10 pounds of boost gives the competition a run for its money. Bob Kurgan of Kurgan Motorsports helped select the 60-lb/hr injectors and Pro-M 80mm mass air meter, while a 1,000hp Sleeper Tank Fuel System was ordered from Glenn's Performance.
With the new-found force in the works, John turned his attention towards acquiring the right look for his Stang. Lawrence Simms of Cycle FX Customs in Sacramento was the man for the job. "Lawrence really wanted to play with the paint color," John explains, so they slathered on Shimmering Cortez Blue by House of Kolor with ghost patterns.
With the help of Steve German of Sacramento Mustang, John replaced the FR500s with iForged Swift wheels, and made the interior of his beast a little more comfortable with the installation of Corbeau seats.
When all was said and done, Bob Kurgan tuned the engine that now produces 530 rwhp and 510 lb-ft of torque. "I am very happy with the setup and I have a lot of plans for the future thanks to my wife and my daughters, Janiya and Jestine," John told us. "Right now my older daughter likes to ride with me. I take her to school in the car."
After years of careful planning and building, John says he has yet to return to the track, but we think it's about time for another rematch with that Camaro.