Say what you will about Street Outlaws on Discovery Channel, but it has posted ratings as high as nearly all other Monday night cable TV shows it has come up against. While the average audience is close to 2 million, the season 2 opening episode drew the largest number of viewers: 3.4 million. Our Jan. '14 issue, which featured several of the show's cars, was our best-selling issue in a year, as well. Whether you love or hate the show, its appeal to automotive enthusiasts is a proven fact, and we happen to like the show, if for no other reason than because the cars are so damn cool.
Predictably, the Street Outlaws has also generated a ton of trash talking and callouts from around the country, challenging the OKC guys to races guaranteed to end with such a devastating ass-whooping, they'd slink back to Oklahoma, never to be heard from again. The show's producers cashed in on this buzz and sent the show's stars around the country to race some of their most vocal critics. Here at CC, we also predicted this move and planned a trip to Texas, knowing it would be one of the show's destinations. Our visit didn't coincide with Discovery Channel's taping, but that wasn't our intention. We wanted to see some cars in the area with the potential to make 1,000-plus streetable horsepower.
We spent a week in the Lone Star state, traveling between Houston and Dallas, and were impressed by the quality of builds we saw. The guys we met were totally down-to-earth, and their cars were frugal yet effective builds that maximized dollars spent per horsepower made. Arguably, the cars we saw in Texas were closer to true street cars than those in Oklahoma, and we found it interesting how different regions of the country go about making power. Down in Texas, they like turbochargers! Big ones, too—just like the bugs, steer, 10-gallon hats, and belt buckles you find there.
Astute readers take note: Here's a rare example of guys giving detailed information about their engines and drivetrains that you can use as a recipe when building your own car. On a very basic level, excellent cylinder heads, a healthy cam, and a bottom end strong enough to support 20-plus pounds of boost will get you in the high 8s or low 9s, depending on how heavy your car is. That's what we found most enlightening about our time in the Texas.
Turbo Mustangs of Dallas
Chris Hamilton is known as Boosted GT on message boards and holds a YouTube account by that name full of videos of his yellow '95 Mustang. He's fully immersed in the community of street and outlaw drag-radial cars, making him the ideal guy to help us navigate the scene in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The first stop on his guided tour was Cody Jones and his '90 Mustang. Cody picked up this striking car from its former owner, who had been racing it in NMRA's Super Street Outlaw class. Currently, he's configured it with a 347 Windsor-based engine he purchased from a friend. Starting with a Ford Racing engine block, it's built with GRP rods, forged pistons, and a set of Trick Flow's killer 11R heads. On top of that good stuff, his buddy Brooks Lopez built the plumbing and fitted a tasty 88mm Precision turbocharger and an air-to-air intercooler. Knowing this small-block would be seeing some boost, Cody had Morgan and Son Racing go through the block to make sure it was up to the task. So far, so good. The engine burns C16 race gas through a FAST fuel-injection system. Andre Davis tunes the car remotely via Wi-Fi. The rest of the drivetrain comprises of a Powerglide transmission and a trusty Ford 9-inch rear.
Though he's been racing Fox-body Mustangs for a while, this is Cody's first turbo car and he was stoked. "I love the feel. It continues to pull all the way down the track," he said. The only other engine he'd consider putting in the car now is a turbocharged big-block Chevy, but said he'd probably have a difficult time finding people willing to race him on grudge-match night at Texas Raceway, his local track.
Clifton is the owner of this turbocharged '93 Mustang. During the day, he works as a quality-control inspector at an industrial machine shop, and he does repairs out of his home in the evenings to be able to pay for his race car, which is actually a combination of this body he purchased three years ago and whatever parts he could salvage off his previous race car, which was completely destroyed a couple years prior in a scary-sounding crash at the top end of the track.
He's building this car to compete in the local Tex275 radial classes. Morgan and Son Racing built its 351W with a Dart Iron Eagle block and AFR 220 cylinder heads. The compression ratio is 9.5:1, and the Bullet Racing cam specs out to 260/271 degrees duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift, 0.736-inch valve lift, and a 115-degree lobe-separation angle. A custom-built Garrett turbocharger with a 98mm inlet is mounted behind the driver-side foglamp opening and punches air through a front-mounted intercooler before reaching the 750-cfm blow-through carburetor built by Carburetor Solutions Unlimited. Why such a small carb? He says larger ones haven't made a difference, a phenomenon we've heard corroborated by other racers with turbos and blow-through carbs. The transmission is a Mike's Performance Powerglide, and the rear axle is a Ford 8.8 built by Auto Fab Race Cars. As configured, this combination should make about 1,500 hp at the wheels and be good for 4.80s at 147 mph in the eighth-mile. Clifton is basing those guesses on the performance of his previous car, which was pretty close in spec to this version, so we don't dismiss those claims as wishful thinking. Though he hopes never to crash at the track again, Clifton isn't taking any changes. He had Precision Race Craft weld in a 25.5-certified rollcage, and another cool piece of kit is the electronic boost controller and staging beam "bump box" from Leash Electronics. Clifton was in the middle of wiring the car when we stopped by.
The next morning's shoot brought us face-to-face with yet another turbocharged Mustang. Jason Grubaugh is a regional sales manager for McGraw Powersports, and this is his '93 Mustang. He bought it as a primered basket case about two years ago. "It had a good engine and an OK turbo kit, but the rollcage sucked and had to be cut out," he said. Precision Race Craft fixed that and added some additional chassis reinforcements.