During the late eighties and all the way into the 21st century, racing enthusiasts have been quite fond of Ford’s Fox body Mustang. They were small, cheap, lightweight, and best of all, rear wheel drive. They were easy to modify, and above all else, had a massive aftermarket that seemed to developed new parts every day.
Though the times might change, some things don’t. Fox-body ‘Stangs are cheaper than ever, and people are stuffing just about everything under the hoods of these pocket rockets.
While many owners are quite comfortable with the throwback EFI small-block 302 mill, many, many more are looking towards mod motors, and while considered to be sacrilege to the Blue Oval contingent – even LS power. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
Dan Hale is among those who prefer the light weight of the Fox platform, but would rather turn to 21st century Ford power to get his ’89 LX hatch down the track quickly. It’s a formula that has worked for ages, and with today’s aftermarket providing everything that the racer needs in terms of performance.
Hailing from Simi Valley, California, Dan bought the Mustang a little over a year ago as a roller, and it has come a long way since judging by how it looked and ran when we first saw it. In it’s prior life, the ‘Stang was a M/T Wild Street car, but Dan had other plans for it.
His plans included getting the car competitive in the Outlaw 8.5 class at the West Coast PSCA, WCHRA, and NMCA races series. It would take a lot of time, planning, and the perfect selection of parts to get the car where Dan wanted it. That meant he would have to get in touch with some of the best people in the business to pull it off.
The whole engine was put together by the good folks over at Modular Mustang Racing, and we’ve seen quite a few potent ponies come out of their Californian speed shop – might as well add one more to that list.
Utilizing a 5.0-liter Ford Racing block and stuffed with plenty of forged goodies inside, the engine can handle just about anything Dan can throw at it. Components like a Kellogg stroker crank, MMR M2500R coated pistons, and Oliver rods help keep the motor together, while a pair of ported ’04 Cobra heads help the the engine breathe more efficiently.
You don’t think we would be particularly amused with Hale’s Mustang if it were just a simply motor swap do you? Good, because in conjunction with the stroked cammer is a couple of turbos. To be more specific, they are twin 72mm Turbonetics units that help bring an “unspecified” amount of boost and horsepower to the table while an intercooler from the same company is called upon to cool the boosted mill.
We pressed Dan about the actual numbers, but he said, “Let’s just call it close to 1,100 hp.” He credits Greg Monroe over at Racers Edge Tuning for getting the mod motor’s tune just right. But he did tell us that he relies on an AMS 1000 boost controller to help him dial in the amount of PSI that he requires.
Sitting behind that boosted mod motor is a Rossler-built Powerglide transmission equipped with an Ultimate Converters 4500 rpm stall converter helping Dan launch the Fox off of the starting line. The tried and true 8.8-inch rearend us stuffed with 3.55 gears sits out back, and has proven to be as reliable as any Ford live axle can be.
Putting that “close to 1,100 hp” to the pavement are a set of 15×10-inch Mickey Thompson wheels wrapped in 8.5-inch wide slicks that keeps him competitive in his class.
Inside, you’ll find much of the original interior. Except the seats have been removed to make way for a race seat with a 5-point harness, the passenger seat has been replaced with an intercooler for the two turbos, and the rear seat has been ditched all together and replaced with nothing in an attempt to shed as much weight as possible.
We caught up with Dan at the 2012 PSCA Nationals in Las Vegas, where his car was consistently running deep in the 5-second range in the 1/8-mile. Hale’s best pass top date is a 5.50 at 132 mph, and with everything that he has learned with racing this combo.
It’s all about ramping up the boost in at a rate that the tires can handle – Dan Hale
This includes learning that “…it’s all about ramping up the boost in at a rate that the tires can handle,” as Dan mentioned to us. Most cars like to give their drivers a lot of grief in terms of tuning or track manners, but not Dan’s ‘Stang. Other than getting used to the car in general, he didn’t really have any problems.
He looks to improve upon that time greatly in the 2013 season. If you’re ever on the West Coast, then keep your eye out for this red Fox at a PSCA, WCHRA, or NMCA event because chances are, it might just take you by surprise.
Dan’s Mustang is a true testament of something evolving with the times, and it remains relevant among the Mustang racers of today with it’s modern drivetrain and aftermarket modifications. In closing, he wants to thank his family, friends, and everyone who helped build and tune the car, along with his sponsor, Mechanix Wear, for sticking by him throughout the season. We look forward to seeing Dan’s car in 2013.