You’ve probably heard the old adage “things don’t always go as planned” once or twice in your life. For Larry Barringer, that phrase couldn’t be anymore true. Larry is one of the good, old boys from Texas, and he’s a man of few words. He doesn’t run his mouth like the Brand-X guys. Quite the contrary, actually, as Larry lets his 8-second-capable Fox Mustang do all of the talking for him.
Before we dive into his current build, however, Larry shared with us how he got into Mustangs. Like many of us, he joined an online forum in search of a community who shared his passion with him. After a few months of membership, Larry came across a deal on a 1986 four-eye coupe.
I sold my twin-turbo, Coyote-swapped ’86 coupe. I had great seller’s remorse. — Larry Barringer
That car had eventually blossomed into a twin-turbocharged, Coyote-swapped project that Larry built as a cruiser. Unfortunately, he had made the decision to sell the car after receiving a pretty serious offer. While the money was good at first, he soon realized that was a grave mistake.
“I sold my twin-turbo, Coyote-swapped ’86 coupe. I had great seller’s remorse,” Larry said.
In March of 2016, he was able to find a replacement ’86 Fox coupe, located about 14 hours away from him in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he purchased it from another forum member.
“I had to have it,” Larry confessed. “After arriving back in my home state of Texas with it, I decided it needed a complete restoration.”
After dropping a Coyote engine into the coupe’s engine bay, Larry built his own, custom single-turbocharger system, paired with a spare Powerglide automatic transmission and a PTC converter. After dabbling with a Holley EFI system, Larry had the car up and running as a shell.
Being this was my third Coyote-swap project in less than a year, I had already been through a massive amount of trial and error. — Larry Barringer
Once Larry had acquired his replacement coupe, appropriately dubbed “Bette Davis,” he made the commitment to build what was in his eyes, the fastest cruiser around. This time around, Larry placed three stipulations on his build. First, it had to rock a turbocharged Coyote swap. Second, it had to have air conditioning, as living in the hot and humid climate of Texas isn’t easy on anyone. And, finally, Larry required the ability to drive the car anywhere in the country, yet still be able to make an 8-second pass on occasion.
Knowing he had a serious endeavor ahead of him, Larry wasted no time getting to work on his new Coyote-swapped coupe project.
“Being this was my third Coyote-swap project in less than a year, I had already been through a massive amount of trial and error,” Larry confessed. “My plan for the car has always been be able to drive it and enjoy it, while the occasional no-prep race or grudge race came second.”
Larry headed the project by stripping the car down to a bare shell and mini-tubbing it. Then he sent the coupe to Robert Faulks’ Paint and Body for him to work his magic.
“I got the shell back, fitted the new Coyote engine, and slapped a turbo kit together for it,” Larry said.
To be fair, Larry was being extremely modest when he told us this. Let it be known that he had a hand in building this car from the ground up in less than six months.
After getting the car up and running, Larry was able to bring it back to Robert. On September 20, 2016, the car was completed just nine days short of the NMRA World Finals event on September 29. While at the event last year, we had the pleasure of being introduced to Larry by our good friend, avid no-prep racer and owner of Black Mamba Speed, Bobby Underwood.
Back then, his combination consisted of an Aluminator Coyote short-block with the aforementioned, single-turbo system strapped to it. At the big NMRA race in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Larry admitted that tech was pretty strict, but that he was able to make a couple of eighth-mile passes in the low 5s. During the True Street event, he was able to coast to a 8.94 at 108 mph.
Larry’s coupe had one of the cleanest engine bays we had ever seen, and that massive 80mm single turbo made us giddy as could be.
The best part is, it still has air conditioning. — Larry Barringer
A True Test
“I was entered to run the True Street event, where I was going to make a full pass,” Larry said. “When it was my turn to make a pass, my transmission cooler began to leak. It was a three-minute fix, but it cost me the race.”
Not one to settle for “enough power,” Larry decided to bring the car back home to Texas, and build it for big numbers, while retaining that street-cruiser duty we mentioned earlier. On the last pass with the Aluminator short-block, Larry ran an 8.2 at 168 mph in the quarter-mile on 28 pounds of boost.
“With no sleeves, the block didn’t live long,” he said. “I took it out before anything could be destroyed.”
We think it goes without saying, Larry has one of the rarest Foxes around. This ’86 four-eye Fox is a coupe and has T-tops, and it’s one of the cleanest examples we’ve ever seen in person.
Fast forward to Larry’s current combo and it consists of some heavy-hitting equipment. The new engine build commenced with a sleeved short-block from TKM Performance out of Denton, North Carolina, and features an 11:1 compression ratio, Manley Performance billet I-beam connecting rods, Ross Racing forged pistons, a Boss 302 forged crankshaft, and of course, the aforementioned Holley HP EFI system. Larry chose that system specifically, as he wanted to learn how to tune the car himself.
The new engine combination is much more than meets the eye.
Though he admits, he did have the folks at Triangle Speed Shop assist him in tuning the car. A custom set of COMP Cams Stage 3 turbo camshafts and a set of Boss 302 valvesprings handle most of the headwork, paired with an intercooled intake manifold from MMR, while fuel needs are covered by a set of Injector Dynamics’ 2,000cc fuel injectors. Boost now arrives courtesy of an 88mm Garrett single turbocharger.
Furthermore, Larry now has a rebuilt rearend after grenading the first built one. He stepped up to a pair of Strange Engineering 35-spline axles, a Strange spool and kept the 3.27 rear gears. And, Larry built an all-new Powerglide transmission by himself in his garage for the new combination.
“The best part is it still has air conditioning.” Larry enthused. “Everyone thinks this car is extremely light, or gutted, but it weighs 3,330 pounds with me in it.”
We asked Larry what’s in the cards for Bette Davis, as he told us it was originally built to be a cruiser more than a race car.
“The tracks always get on me about having a cage, but I don’t race that much,” Larry laughed. “I plan on taking it to a local chassis shop to get it completed. Apart from that, I want to race the car at a few local no-prep and true street events. My goal is to make a 7.99 pass, yet still retain all of the street drivability. The fastest pass I’ve made to-date is a 8.17 at 168 mph in the quarter-mile, which was at Pine Valley Raceway out of Lufkin, Texas, and that was only on 23 pounds of boost.”