We're quite confident the little 302 will show an increase in power when we add the Weiand
The '85 302 H.O. engine was factory rated at 210 hp, but our model was slightly modified w
We chose a Barry Grant 575 Speed Demon, based on BG's recommendation for our combo. This f
Weiand's Stealth sports a high-rise, dual-plane design that makes good power in the idle-t
Tipping into the throttle blade of my memory bank, I can recall my first ride in a 5-liter Mustang. It was a red '85 five-speed GT that my friend Brian Riccio bought new. We immediately jacked the timing, perfected our power-shifting technique, and proceeded to seek out and destroy Camaros and Firebirds--"like butta."
I was most intrigued by this new breed of Pony, then, when the injected '86s and '87s hit, I was hooked. From then, a Ford guy I was.
Amazingly, it's been over 20 years since that ride--and 21 years since you could walk into a Ford dealer and purchase a Mustang (or Fox-chassis Capri) with a carburetor. Sure, the technology of EFI is truly amazing, but let's not discount the plethora of hot Fords on the street and track relying on carburetion to mix the air and fuel.
Carburetion may not be as technically sexy as EFI, but a science it is. And due to the lack of electronics needed, carburetion is attractive, seemingly simplistic, and way affordable. On that note, we decided to get down with an older carbureted 5.0 to see if we could enhance power with simple aftermarket parts.
Historians know the last Mustang to wear a carburetor was the '85 Mustang GT and/or LX 5.0, along with its Mercury cousins, the '85 Capri RS and the Capri GS. Stick models got the Motorcraft/Holley carburetors, while the automatics got the finicky CFI (central fuel injection), cough, choke, puke. What Mustang newbies may not realize, though, is that the '85 5.0 engine was the first to get the new-for-the-time hydraulic roller cam and tubular headers. It also sported E5TE heads that were virtually identical to the popular E7TE heads used on all '87-'93 5.0 LX and GT models.
Up top was a 600-cfm carburetor on a low-riser aluminum manifold. The 5.0 H.O. made 210 hp at 4,400 rpm. Abysmal by today's standards, but it was an increase of 35 ponies from 1984, and the Fox cars weighed very little, so they scooted nicely. With 210 hp, they had 20 more than the L-69 305, GM's carbureted offering found under the hood of rival Z/28 Camaros and Firebird F-bodies. Also consider that the 302, now called the 5.0 H.O., had just an 8.4:1 compres-sion ratio, yet it pumped out 270 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm.
Best of all, these cars still roam the streets and can be had for a song. There are plenty of carbureted Mustangs, though not many Capris. The Mercury version was different in that it had a low-down, road-race-inspired front fascia, flared fenders, and most noticeably, the crazy bubble-back rear hatch glass. Otherwise, it was a virtual clone to Ford's Fox. People love those Capris or they hate 'em--there's no middle ground. We're mentioning this because we've put our little brains to work and decided to get back to basics with a relatively simple carb and manifold swap, and the vehicle we found is one of those funky Capris.
Long-time MM&FF readers may remember the popular Project Pit Bull that we hooked up between December 1994 and February 2000. Pit Bull was a well-worn '83 that we modified with a series of bolt-on parts. It started as a beat-up GT that ran 15s and handled poorly, and ended as a beat-up GT that clocked 13.0s at 105 mph in the quarter and actually handled quite well. It featured "simple" 5.0 mods that worked, so we decided to revisit the basics and see if we can turn some similar tricks with this Capri.