’65 Mustang Project 427ci Makes 1030HP and 873TQ, Plus TCI Front End

The highpoint in pretty much any vehicle build is the engine.  In a lot of circumstances, the rest of the car is designed around how much power the engine is going to produce.  Needless to say, we were amped when we rolled into QMP Racing for the dyno session on our carbureted blow-thru 427ci small block Ford.  QMP had done a great job building our Windsor and even added a few of their own touches, like a slightly reconfigured oiling system and lifter bushings.  To get an overview of the engine, check out our sneak preview update and also the upcoming full tech article on this build.

The engine dyno session started by warming up the naturally aspirated engine with a few short pulls.  In the end, QMP made 535HP and 446 lb/ft with a conservative air/fuel ratio on our low compression Ross pistons.  From there, we put the belt back on the Paxton NOVI-2500 supercharger and the Paxton PowerHat on top of the AED blow thru carburetor.  We used 110 octane race gas on the boosted runs to simulate the octane levels we would see with our Snow Performance water/meth kit, once the engine was installed in the car.

Paxton supplied us with a host of pulley combinations and we started off with the smallest crank pulley and largest supercharger pulley we had.  This netted a first run pull that produced  730hp and 639 lb/ft on a low 6 psi of boost – a remarkable increase of nearly 200HP and 200 lb/ft over naturally aspirated.  This put the horsepower gains at 33 horsepower per pound of boost, which was surprisingly efficient for turning this big blower at such a low boost level.

We don’t want to give all the details away that are going into our feature article, but we did try out three other pulley combinations that finally ended at 16psi of boost.  This is where the 427 rocketed to 1030HP and 873 lb/ft.  This huge power was made by only spinning the motor up to 6200 RPM (and it was still making power) through the Crower hydraulic roller setup.  We had nearly DOUBLED the horsepower of our small block on this moderate boost level, gaining 31 horsepower and 27 lb/ft per psi of boost. We were still surprised how efficient Paxton’s new NOVI-2500 is on both low and high boost applications.

TCI Engineering Mustang Custom IFS Front Suspension Conversion

Anyone that has ever tried to stuff a tall deck engine into a first generation Mustang knows it can be painful. Even trying to fit a nice set of long tube headers on a 289 or 302 can make accessing spark plugs a pain, thanks to those pesky shock towers. While a 351 Windsor motor will fit with a little massaging, changing spark plugs can turn into an all-day process. Want a Cleveland? Have fun with that.

Despite the pains of fitting anything taller than a 8.200 deck height block in a first generation Mustang, the suspension design is less than desirable. Don’t get us wrong, the Mustang has proven itself in both drag racing and road racing with the conventional suspension design, though technology advancements over the 45+ years has made that design all but obsolete. Thanks to help from Total Cost Involved Engineering, Wilwood, IDIDIT, and Grant – we are going to add some 21st century spark to our freshman class Mustang.

The TCI Engineering Mustang Custom IFS suspension system took us about two days to install and comes with all the hardware you need to install the kit.  This includes reinforcement plates that box the front frame rails to make way for the new cross member.  The kit also converts the Mustang into a rack and pinion setup, in which we went with the manual version for simplicity.  The IDIDIT black powder coated Mustang column helps simplify the rack and pinion conversion while the Grant classic steering wheel added a nice nostalgic touch.

On the suspension side, TCI Engineering includes tubular upper and lower control arms as well as their custom drop spindles.  TCI Engineering offers a myriad of options for this kit, but the only one we took advantage of was the double adjustable coilover package that will help us dial the suspension in between the street and track.  We covered up the spindles with Wilwood’s 12-inch brake kit that is designed for the TCI Engineering system.  They feature a four piston Dynalite caliper and matching brake pads, plus all the necessary hardware to mount the brakes.  The front braking system was completed with the addition of Wilwood’s tandem manual brake master cylinder and new adjustable distribution block.

On the Near Horizon – The Rear Suspension

Our next project car update for the Mustang will be the rear suspension build, and yesterday we were greeted with the first component to that segment – the Strange Engineering 9-inch.  The rear end has been shortened one inch to help support a better wheel and tire package.  To aid with that fitment, we will be doing a budget mini tub install as well.

No spool here, as our 9-inch features a 35 spline Detroit Locker differential and Strange’s 35-spline S/T series axles. We selected a 3.73 rear gear ratio that will work perfectly with the TCI Auto 4L80E transmission we plan to put into it.  A few upgrades include a chrome moly yoke and aluminum pinion support.  Mounting on the big Ford ends will be a set of Wilwood 12-inch rotors with Dynalite four-piston calipers – similar to our front system but with an internal E-brake kit.

Our front brake system is nearly identical to the rear, minus the Wilwood hubs required for the front suspension.

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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