Bryan Sharer used to work for Dr. Phil. Yes, the current tool of pop psychology and the guy who let the air out of Oprah's bouncing ball of weight fluctuations. But Bryan doesn't care; he'd already been fired for racing at Oklahoma's Thunder Valley dragstrip instead of attending a last-minute business trip for that gig. Would you have picked racing? Us too. After three months of unemployment, his racing buddy John Dodson invited him to work as a tech for a Volkswagen dealership in Lewisville, Texas. He's been there ever since. And if you ask him, he's never been happier.
Morphing to a fresh VW wrench while still a longtime Mustang racer caused Bryan to change a few things. "I had a fast nitrous Mustang but I couldn't keep from just driving it around and spraying it. I kept having to fill the bottle and then at the track keep the pressure up and everything. And Mustangs were everywhere. You couldn't do anything that someone else hadn't done." His mind was popped when he saw a Fairmont wagon cracking the whip at the street races. He knew the truth immediately. When you drive a Fairmont, no one cares. When you drive a fast Fairmont, everyone thinks you're cool.
He paid $250 for a '78 that was sitting in a field with two smoked trannies in the trunk and nothing under the hood. The first race for the car was at the same track in Oklahoma that got him fired the first time. He ran a twin-turbo setup using a pair of small spools from smashed '86 Thunderbird Turbo Coupes to feed a 600-cfm Holley on a 302. After one would grenade, he would go to the yard and pluck another. In the meantime, his wife stuffed her Mustang on the freeway. The 85mm Garrett intended for her became the Fairmont's new single turbo. About that time he met Dave Harjtes from Majestic Turbo who turned him on to tuning with compressor-housing sizes. Bryan ended up with the current version: a mild 302 with an 88mm Garrett with a smaller exhaust turbine in proportion to the compressor to eliminate the big-turbo lag.
We couldn't feel any lag when Bryan winged it to whiplash speed for us. Makes you giggle. John Dodson sat shotgun with one eye on the EGT gauge and the other on the guy in the next lane. The delivery of boost is smooth, but there is nothing subtle about this combination. It roars and the Heim-joint rear suspension thocks and cracks as the car struggles to hook it all up. The converter stalls above 4,500, which we will argue is beyond the street, but lifting then flashing it back up gives the impression of a major jolt of speed and power on the freeway. It keeps on building with the nose up and the car absolutely bellowing through the 4-inch Bullets. His latest combination netted a 9.80 at 138 on the race tune-up, yet we found him driving it on the street. Turbos rule.
Car: '78 Ford Fairmont Futura
Owner: Bryan Sharer
Hometown: Trophy Club, Texas, which was named for the Trophy Club Country Club, which itself was named for hosting the trophy collection of golfer Ben Hogan.
Speed: Quickest in the quarter is 10.05 after driving it to the track and 9.80 with a track-only tune-up.
Engine: Standard-bore 302 from a '90 Mustang 5.0. He took it apart for some rings and bearings and added an SVO main girdle. Otherwise it uses all factory parts.
Heads: Iron World Products Windsor heads with "a lot" of intake, short-side, and bowl work.
Induction: The single-plane Weiand X-CELerator port matched to a Fel Pro 1250 gasket. Carburetor Solutions Unlimited built the blow-through 750 and Bryan added pump-shot and is experimenting with a boost-referenced power valve. The carb hat is from Extreme Velocity (superiorairflow.com).
Fuel System: Bryan didn't want to open the trunk to fill the tank, so he bent up the walls for an aluminum 12-gallon tank and had it welded up. It attaches to a steel plate welded into the former spare-tire well and the neck exits in the stock location. A rear-mounted pickup connects to the MagnaFlow ProStar 500 pump with -12 lines then -10 to the Aeromotive regulator.
Special Tricks: Bryan uses tire pressure to adjust the fuel-pressure regulator and the wastegate using a tool created by Dave Harjtes at Majestic turbo. Simply plug it into the Schrader valve on the tire and dial in the "boost" then attach it to the pressure regulator or wastegate and adjust. Nifty.
Ignition: It's a MSD Digital 7. Bryan uses it to retard the timing per pound of boost and datalog everything to download later.
Exhaust: The Bassani 131/44 shorty headers are mounted backward and connect to the turbo with 211/44-inch tubes. The wastegate runs from there to a 171/48 downpipe, and the turbine discharges to a 4-inch collector and finally a 4-inch Dynomax Bullet muffler.
Camshaft: He used a Ford Motorsport E303 single-pattern hydraulic roller with 220 degrees at 0.050 and 0.498 lift left over from his Mustang.
Transmission: It started out as a TransKing C4 with a manual valvebody and a transbrake, but he says its been rebuilt with good clutches, Kevlar bands, and a better servo. He uses the B&M Pro Ratchet because the knob self-centers when you shift, clearing the bench seat.
Rearend: He bought an 8.8 from a guy on the Internet. It bolted right in after a change of brake lines. He uses a 3.08:1 gear and a spool.
Converter: He is balanced between blowing through a loose converter and failing to spool with a tight one. Currently, he uses a 4,700-4,800-rpm Hobart Racing 9.5-inch converter with billet anti-balloon plates.
Front suspension: Bryan uses a D&D Motorsport tubular K member. It has a bushing suspension, 90-10 Lakewood shocks, and the factory manual rack.
Rear suspension: The rear is a bit rougher-double-adjustable upper control arms with heim-joint ends and single-adjustable lowers.
Brakes: He is using stock 11-inch Mustang fronts and stock rear drums. He says they're barely adequate for the street.
Wheels and tires: Front wheels are 15x3.5 Weld Draglites, and the rears are 15x8 with 5.5 inches of backspace. A panic stop will smoke the cheap Pep Boys 165R15 front tires. For the track he uses Hoosier Quick Time Pro 28x11.50-15LT DOT Racing tires.
Body modifications: To keep it somewhat a sleeper, the oil, water temperature, and voltage gauges are in the glovebox just to glance at before a run. The EGT is there to monitor the exhaust for a rough idea if the 302 is rich or lean. Anything in the 1,570-1,580-degree range is safe. When he got into the 10s, he added the 10-point 'cage and painted everything interior color.