“Built, Not Bought” is the statement that has come to define the break between Mustang enthusiasts. On one side of the equation, you have those folks who are solidly in the DIFM (do it for me) category who have no issue taking their car to a reputable shop to have modifications done. On the other side of the equation, you have people in the DIY category like Georgia enthusiast Brian Prince.
This 1986 Mustang is a throwback to his very first car, another ’86 Mustang. He’s owned many Mustangs, and one thing has been consistent — he’s done just about all of the work on each of them himself. Back in 2010, he decided he was going to be a family man and retired from building cars. Then, an unexpected push changed his mind.
“In 2014, a lifelong friend, Josh McAdams, was diagnosed with cancer, and on a visit, he asked what kind of car I had. When I told him I didn’t have one, he said, ‘I’ve never known you to be without a hot rod.’ A few weeks later, he passed away, and his phrase stuck with me and sparked my desire for another car,” says Prince.
When he decided to jump back into the hobby (are any of us ever really out?), he had just one car in mind: another ’86.
Get It Today
“I found the car on a Craigslist ad, and there were no pictures. The guy told me I would have to look at it first, and then we’d talk money. I sent my wife to look at it and assumed it was going to be a pile of junk. She called and said everything was there, the quarter-panels weren’t crushed in, and there was no major rust or broken windows.”
But you need to come and get it today.
“So I called the guy and said, ‘You want $1,500. I have $500 cash to give you today.’ He asked me what my plans were, and I said I was going to try to get it back on the road. The car had sat since 2005. He called me back 30 minutes later and said, ‘The other people who came and looked at it just wanted to cut it up and part it out. Since you want to get it back on the road, I’ll sell it to you for $500. But you need to come and get it today,’” says Prince.
So when he went to go pick up the car, it was a 100-percent bone stock ’86 GT, complete with air silencer, all of the smog equipment, factory plug wires, and original mufflers, just like it came from the factory.
Now, before you go questioning how the car ended up with a Coyote swap, understand that this is Brian Prince’s 57th Mustang. Yes, you read that right. He’s owned nearly five dozen Mustangs in his life, and we’d be pretty confident saying that none of them have remained stock.
After getting the car back into running condition and driving it around for a bit, we’ll say he was, ahem, underwhelmed by the performance of the 200-horsepower wheezy pushrod 302. Then he put pulleys on it, put gears in it, added Flowmasters, and it still wasn’t enough, so he swapped the intake to an Explorer intake and added a turbo, then installed Trick Flow heads and turned it up to 18 pounds of boost, backed by a faceplated Tremec transmission. Then it blew up when the number-five piston decided it didn’t want to be at the party anymore.
At this stage of the game, he made the quick – and intelligent – decision to start the Coyote swap, and do away with the pushrod power. He sold off the parts from the pushrod engine and many other parts he had been stockpiling, then invested the money into a 29,000-mile Coyote from a 2013 F-150. He bought the engine, brought it home, pulled it apart, and found that the block was from a 2014 truck. After doing some research through a friend who had access to Ford’s OASIS database, he found out the truck had the engine replaced at 20,000 miles – so this engine had just 9,000 miles on it, and he only paid $1,800 for it.
A Desperate Mad Thrash
His wife’s grandfather had discovered he had terminal cancer right around this time and asked Brian if he could get the car done in time to get one more joyride in. That led him to a mad thrash to get the car put back together with the new engine, and unfortunately, he didn’t make it in time.
About two weeks after seeing the car, he sadly passed away.
“He got to see the car finished and everything, but he was too weak to go for a ride in it. About two weeks after seeing the car, he sadly passed away,” says Prince.
The car is in a constant state of building and rebuilding; like many enthusiasts, he has a vision in his head of what he wants the car to be and keeps refining it based on its performance to get it to that level.
As he had never owned a mini-tubbed car — and it was high on his list to be the one must-do modification for this car over the 2020–’21 winter— he ordered a mini-tub kit and started cutting.
“I modified a factory backseat to make it work. It’s 6 inches shorter and 7 inches narrower than a factory seat,” says Prince.
With the minitub kit installed, he realized it would be a good idea to paint the car and bring its appearance current. After calling around for prices and timelines, he decided that to be cost-effective, he would learn how to paint.
“I do residential and commercial painting for a living, so I thought, ‘if I can make a building look good, I think I can make a car look good.’ Everything on this car except narrowing the rearend housing has been done by me with my own two hands,” says Prince.
He painted the car himself in the garage, learning along the way, and the finished product is what you see here.
The engine — which is currently the F-150 piece mentioned earlier — is boosted by a Whipple Superchargers Gen2 2.9-liter supercharger running a 10% overdriven crank pulley. Although it’s never been on a chassis dyno, Prince estimates that it makes more than 650 wheel horsepower. A set of L&M Engines intake cams pair with the stock exhaust bumpsticks to control the air into and out of the engine; it exits through BBK ceramic-coated long-tube headers and a self-built 3-inch mandrel-bent exhaust system with Cherry Bomb oval mufflers.
The power runs through a Hanlon Motorsports-built Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission and McLeod RXT clutch. Scotty Seals at Pro Chassis & Fab shortened the 8.8-inch rearend housing and added his own control arm brackets to it, then Prince filled it with Moser axles and a spool along with 3.73:1 gears.
Pro Chassis set the housing to work with two sets of wheels — 18-inch BBS RKs and also the Forgestar F14 wheels that you see here. The rear Forgestar wheels are not stock; 6mm has been shaved from the back of the mounting face, and another inch in width added to make them a custom 15×11 fitment to work with the Nitto 325/50-15 NT555R rear tires. The front wheels are 17×4.5 and wear 26×6-inch Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R Radial hoops. Aerospace Components disc brakes slow the car down.
UPR Products is on board with a chromoly K-member and 1 5/8-inch shortened A-arms up front, and Pro Race upper and lower control arms in the rear. Pro Chassis & Fab’s antiroll bar controls the housing, and Viking Crusader dampers are at all four corners. Externally, Prince has tuned up the car’s appearance with an HO Fibertrends 4-inch cowl hood, a Steeda aero spoiler, and Mercury Capri sail panels.
This Coyote swap ’86 is a driver; he put thousands of miles on it last year cruising to several shows, even all the way down in Florida.
“I’m trying to run 9s on the BBS wheels and 18-inch drag radials with a stick shift car,” says Prince. “Last October, the car went 10.41 at 142 mph, and then the clutch gave out the very next pass. Everything from the flywheel back is all new for this year in hopes that I can go 9s. It has to do it twice for me, then I’ll put a real tire under the car and see just how fast it’ll go.”