It used to be that to run 13's you needed to make quite a few modifications
to the factory delivered engine. Cams, head work, and definitely lots of tuning.
Very few of the muscle cars of the '60's were ever capable of running 13's
without touching the long block. Surely the factory Ford 302's of that era never
came close.
But the times have changed. In the last ten years the the pony car
wars have yielded quite a few cars capable of running well into the 13's without
so much as ever pulling a valve cover. Needless to say, every weekend the local
tracks are filled with recreational drag racers all looking to take their daily drivers
in to the 13's. And it goes without saying that the largest single group of at the track
on any given night is the late model Mustang crowd. The 5.0's and even 4.6's have
become affordable powerplants that run great off the lot, with plenty of room to go
faster. While many people dive right into power adders, and other engine mods,
many folks simply don't want to touch a good thing, or they first want to extract
the lowest possible ET out of the stock motor.

I fall in to the latter crowd. While we've certainly got plans to modify the engine in
the '88 LX,the car has somewhat become a budget beater. We picked it up for $2800,
with 114,000 original miles on the motor and AOD transmission. It sees nearly 500
commute miles per week,so keeping it streetable, economic, and comfortable are top
priorities. Since there are plenty of 5.0's in the drag racing scene, we really have no
intention of creating a strip car. The underlying agenda for the car is to make it an
all around well performing car, with a focus on autocrossing. Over the past year we've
used the car in the magazine as a guinea pig for installing products and writing up tech
articles. So last week we decided to take the car to the track to see what sort of ET's
the '88 would turn with some of the typical bolt on mod's we had performed up to date.


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