We first had the pleasure of meeting the father and son team of Jerry and Erik Lawson and their '91 Mustang GT during last year's '03 Car Craft Real Street Eliminator. From the moment we met them, we realized that the Lawsons are way past your typical 5.0L bolt-on enthusiasts. In fact, Erik's dad Jerry has been building and racing serious street machines for quite some time with a myriad of cars ranging from '56-'57 Chevys to late-'60s Chevelles. We also learned that unlike those select few who tend to be focused on only one form of motorsport, Jerry has never limited his experiences to just the quarter-mile. He has built a number of open-track cars as well-and Erik is just like his dad. According to Jerry, Erik was tinkering with tools by the time he was 2.
Combine the two generations of gearheads and you end up with a brutal fuel-injected 347ci stroker small-block topped off with a Vortech supercharger that can thump down the quarter-mile and yet easily rip through any corner. However, what makes this particular GT even more impressive is that this creation happened after it was involved in a major front-end collision. Rather than junking the Mustang and saying their final farewells, the Lawsons massaged the body back into form, fogged it, and built it into the machine you see here. It just goes to show you what can be built when gearhead families share the same interests. We're already getting antsy to see what the Lawsons will create next.
Car Craft Q&A
Car Craft: What do you like best about the car?
Erik Lawson: We like that we can actually drive it anywhere, any time, and as much as we like. Plus it makes all the right sounds with the whine of the supercharger and the healthy exhaust note.
CC: Are you planning any additional modifications?
EL: We're keeping our thoughts open since the car is so versatile in its current state, however we are eyeing high-speed open road events like the Silver State.
CC: With so many affordable aluminum heads available in the market, is there any particular reason you're using a set of cast-iron heads?
EL: We were constantly blowing head gaskets and mainly swapped over for durability issues. Personally we like the fact that the cast-iron heads better match the expansion rate of the block, and by using a combination of ARP studs and Cometic head gaskets, we haven't had a problem since.
CC: Given the opportunity, would you have done anything differently during last year's Real Street Eliminator?
EL: Definitely spend more time getting the launch at the dragstrip figured out. While we practiced prior to the event, we just didn't get it sorted out and our e.t.'s suffered as a result.
Car: '91 Ford Mustang
Owners: Jerry and Erik Lawson, Winona, MN
Engine: 347ci small-block (stroked 302), Eagle rods, JE pistons, Eagle 4340 forged crankshaft
Heads: Roush 200cc cast-iron, ported by High Velocity Heads in Knoxville, TN, 2.02/1.60-inch intake/exhaust valves, Comp Cams 1.6:1 roller rockers
Induction: Trick Flow Specialties Track Heat manifold, Accufab throttle-body, MSD 50-lb/hr injectors
Camshaft: Anderson Ford B-4 hydraulic roller, 224/232 degrees duration at 0.050-inch, 0.542/0.563-inch lift
Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed
Rearend: Ford 9-inch, 4.11:1 gears, Moser axles
Front suspension: Steeda sway bar, Eibach Drag Pack springs, adjustable Strange Engineering struts
Rear suspension: Adjustable Steeda upper control arms, factory lower control arms, Eibach Drag Pack springs, adjustable Strange Engineering shocks
Brakes: Ford Cobra 13-inch disc, front; Wilwood 12-inch disc, rear
Wheels and tires: Ford Bullitt 17x8-inch with P245/45R17 Yokohama AVS Sports, front; Ford Bullitt 17x8-inch with P245/45ZR17 Yokohama AVS Sports, rear
Power-adder: Vortech supercharger
Paint: Ford Red
Cost to build: $22,500 (includes cost of vehicle)