As was the case with so many of the cars seen at Sick Week, this Ford Mustang was one that stopped us in our tracks to take a longer look. And, I’m glad we did, because this 1982 Ford Mustang had a bit of a surprise under the hood. Rather than the Ford we were expecting to see, this Mustang rocks a turbocharged Gen III Hemi engine.
We spoke with owner Bob Hess during day four of Sick Week, when competitors were getting ready for a day of racing at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Bob worked alongside Big 3 Racing in Cleveland, OH to complete his car and engine setup. He was racing in the A Group (8.50 and faster) and competing within the Modified class. As for putting a Hemi in a Ford, Bob said he’s always wanted to do it.
“I always wanted to put a Gen III Hemi in the Ford because everybody puts an LS in them and I’m a Chrysler guy,” Hess says. “When we first found the car, we got it as a nice roller. We had it painted and did a bunch of other updates to it. We started with a 2018 2500 Ram 6.4L and used Molnar rods, custom Wiseco pistons, Brian Tooley Racing spec’d the cam, we did some mild port work on the heads, installed bigger valves, a set of PAC springs, Manton rockers and Manton pushrods, and reused the stock crank, block and heads.”
Looking at what is a pretty clean engine bay, you can’t help but notice the sizable turbo Bob paired with his 6.4L Hemi. He’s utilizing an earlier X275-style 88mm turbo, and also has a Shearer Fabrications intercooler and a Holley race intake manifold modified to put a Ford throttle body on it. The engine is controlled by Holley Dominator EFI.
“The car was built by Big 3 Racing out of Cleveland, Ohio and it was tuned there as well,” Hess told us. “We’re able to get 1,230 horsepower to the tires on 23-lbs. running on C16.”
That equates to being able to run mid to high 7-second 1/4 miles. In fact, Bob said his goal for the Sick Week was to have a 7-second average. He started the week strong with a 7.85 at 172 mph in Bradenton. However, he wasn’t able to get ahold of the track in Gainesville and turned in a 9.13 at 177 mph, which ultimately hurt his 7-second average chances. At SGMP, where we spoke with Bob, he ran a 7.69 at 180 mph, and then backed it up at Bradenton with another 7.69 at 178 mph. Overall, he had an 8.09 average, just missing 7-seconds, but that didn’t mean no fun was had.
“Sick Week has been great,” he says. “We’ve had little to no issues. It feels a lot less brutal than Drag Week because the drives are just a little shorter, so it’s a lot more enjoyable because you’re not rushing as hard.”
Whether you’re a fan of a Hemi engine powering a Ford or not, it’s pretty hard to deny that this is one cool car!
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]