Bluegrass Outlaw: A Show-Stopping Outlaw Build Years In The Making


Belfry, Kentucky native Robby Spencer and his wife, Kathy, started out innocently enough in the Mustang game. Like many of us they wanted be part of the musclecar scene, and knew they wanted a Blue Oval-powered model to do it. What they didn’t know, or had experienced at the time, was the project-creep of having a Mustang and wanting more horsepower.

This once bone stock 1995 Mustang GT, born in Dearborn with a 5.0-liter pushrod V8 under its hood, was slightly used when Robby decided to make it his own after locating the preferred color combination. The Spencer’s left a used car lot in Louisville, Kentucky in their newly-acquired SN95 Mustang. With tires blazing, the couple headed straight to the local drag strip to find out what their new pony was made of — in all 15 seconds of its’ Laser Red glory. One jaunt down the 1,320 with his new mare and Robby was hooked. This was the first and only Mustang Robby would own to date so it’s safe to say he has a special fondness for this car. Little did he or his wife know how hard they were about to fall for the horsepower game.

Robby started slow and easy with his new ride, but it wasn’t long before he got his feet wet in the horsepower game. Bolt-ons gave way to the need for something more, and that became a modest 306 cubic-inch engine build and a little shot of nitrous. It was fun for a little while but this setup only yielded him a 12.50 quarter-mile e.t., and like so many before him, he wanted more. Robby stepped it up with a 347-stroker engine build, and a Vortech S-trim supercharger turned up to about 10 psi of boost pressure. This was a pretty typical next step for many in Robby’s position. That set-up was much more stout than his previous combination. The car was now running solid mid-10 second e.t.’s, and he had a lot of fun with that car in street trim for a couple of years, until disaster struck and the engine threw a rod. It has always been in the back of Robby’s mind to build a turbo street car. After parking his Mustang for about a year, he decided to put the wheels in motion and give in to the darker side of horsepower by building his turbo dream machine.

If you ask anyone who owns an Outlaw-style race car, most all of them will tell you that they never intended for the project car to get as wild as it has. Most of us typically buy a Mustang with the intention of a few bolt-ons and maybe a little forced induction under the hood to keep things fun and interesting on those weekend warrior trips to the drag strip. But speed is an eternal addiction that enslaves you, like your wife’s seemingly endless shoe obsession — only much more expensive — but nevertheless it knows no bounds. Boredom sets in with what we have, and we always covet what’s in front of us. Building an Outlaw car is a slippery slope of which one can spend copious amounts of money and go all the way to be king of the drag strip.

Robby explored his builder options and got connected with Chad Epperson of London Chassis Dyno out of London, Kentucky to get his project underway. For Robby the project was slow-going due to the instability of the coal mining industry he had worked in for more than a decade as a mining equipment rebuilder. A few years ago, the industry as a whole fell on hard times in large part due to changing energy policies; throwing a ton of cash at a race car was the last thing on Robby’s mind. But slow and steady wins the race as they say, even when building an Outlaw car such as this. Even today this long-term project car is still undergoing a transformation. However, it may be that long-term approach that has kept the car both interesting, fun, and attractive.

This powerhouse should see well over 20PSI from the 88mm Precision Turbo in the 2016 race season.

This powerhouse should see well over 20PSI from the 88mm Precision Turbo in the 2016 race season.

With it’s show car good looks this pony might be a beauty on the outside, but it’s all beast-mode on the inside and under the hood with it’s 8.5:1 compression 363 cubic-inch stroked Dart Iron Eagle block, complete with Diamond pistons and Eagle forged rods, and machined by D&R Race Engines in Lenore, Kentucky. Robby is still perfecting the combination but he has a plethora of supporting engine modifications, and from the parts he’s listed the foundation has been laid for an incredible car. Robby opted for MSD ignition and coils with NGK plugs, Trick Flow heads, Melling oil pump, and a Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake met with a 90 mm Accufab throttle body. The Precision Turbo boosted mill requires the use of 160 lb/hr injectors with a Weldon D2025-A pump. Together the combination nourishes almost 1,000 horsepower to the rear wheels, on a beginner-friendly conservative tune.

An underhood view of Robby's Bluegrass Outlaw's massive Precision Turbo and supporting engine components. The work that Epperson has done to the car, combined with Robby's particular interest in keeping it show car tidy, has paid off in a combination that looks as good as it runs.

This is all pretty standard fare until you delve into what makes this racer a powerhouse — 88 mm of Precision Turbo goodness, and a single turbo (PN PT8847 to be exact), intercooler by a Frozen Boost brand intercooler, complete with trunk-mounted ice tank. The boost is what sets this car in a category all its own. Currently, the boost level is low, as shop owner and tuner, Chad Epperson, wants to ease Robby into the big leagues. Epperson, has built numerous Outlaw cars in his career, and helped crew and coach nearly all of them. His advice and guidance have been pivotal in taking Robby’s car to this level, and helping him become comfortable behind the wheel at the track.

Robby’s top-notch installed ice tank and fuel cell

Epperson’s attention to detail and perfectionist mentality with the build have also helped this car maintain its show car level finish, just like every Mustang that rolls out of his London Chassis Dyno shop. In addition to building the car and playing crew chief, Epperson also handles tuning the Big Stuff 3 stand-alone EFI system, keeping this steed safely tuned. This setup is currently set to transition from 5 psi for two seconds, progressively increasing to 18 psi for three seconds. The result will give Robby a taste of what his car is truly capable of without overwhelming his senses, allowing him to continue transitioning the car to a faster performance at the track. There is truly a science behind fine-tuning a beast like this, especially when a driver is working his way up.

Robby knows this is full-on race car stuff but prides himself in the fact that it is a totally “steerable” Mustang if he wants it to be. He didn’t have any nicknames for his pony so for now, we will call it the “Bluegrass Outlaw.” All of this horsepower is put to the ground by the TH400 transmission and PTC converter built by Extreme Automatics in Amelia, Ohio. Inside the Ford 8.8-inch solid axle sits 4.10 gears and Strange axles. UPR provides the necessary traction with double adjustable upper and lower control arms and anti-roll bar with Viking front springs and Strange 10 way adjustable rear shocks underneath. All of this equates to big power and the ability to efficiently utilize it with the proper components. The package is complete with Weld V series 15-inch drag wheels with Mickey Thompson‘s 275/60R15 Pro ET Street radials.

Dyno sheet from 18PSI boost level at 7,000 rpm.

Dyno sheet from 18 psi boost level at 7,000 rpm.

To date on the  on the rollers at London Chassis Dyno the car put out an impressive 935 horsepower and 715 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels at 18 psi, and keep in mind Epperson has the tune up still light for Robby to get used to. Robby is itching to get some seat time to practice driving his trans brake setup at this power level, but he knows he wants more. Eppersone meanwhile cautioed him to take baby steps to keep from the inevitable boredom that comes with jumping head first into maximum horsepower. Robby and Epperson hit the track for the first test run on the new setup at 18 psi and saw an impressive 5.53 e.t. at 133 mph with a 1.4 60-foot. Clearly, there is a lot left in this set-up. We are excited to see Team London Chassis Dyno turn up the wick on this ruby beauty!

With the 2016 race season around the corner, Robby plans to stay local in Kentucky to get more practice behind the wheel, and possibly compete in Bowling Green at the NMRA World Finals in October along side his supportive wife. We can’t wait to see what the future holds this ruby red Mustang, and for Robby and his outlaw project.

London Chassis Dyno built SN95 Outlaw Mustang.

About the author

Elisa Coon

Cars have been a true life passion for Elisa since she was a child. Turning her passion into a career, she has been involved in the aftermarket performance industry for a decade. Elisa has had many roles, from running one of the web's leading Mustang forums, to marketing and design for industry leaders, to being a regular freelance contributor. A deep-rooted devotion to everything automotive drives her to create unique content from a fun, female perspective.
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