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1989 Ford Mustang - He Joined 'Em

Raphael Ordaz Was Tired Of Getting Beaten By Mustangs, So He Bought One.

By , Photography by

A fight nearly broke out the first time we met Raphael Ordaz, owner of this '89 Mustang. While we were talking about his car at a local cruise night, some guy from the crowd got in his face and challenged him to a street race later that night. He got really angry, too, when Ralph (as he likes to be called) politely declined his generous invitation. As the guy stormed away, cursing loudly, Ralph shrugged and told us he's been getting that kind of treatment a lot lately. "I used to street race a lot the first few years I owned the car, but now I only race it at the track." He's got a family and a good job now and doesn't want to jeopardize any of that.

Ironically, he's an insurance agent.

Anyway, we spotted his car from about a mile away. We had just hatched our sleeper and street racer theme in an editorial meeting a few days prior and figured this was a good candidate. Ralph's car ticked all the right boxes: low hood, subtle paint, completely homebuilt, and packing a big surprise under the hood in the form of a 76mm turbocharger. We approached him with all the directness but none of the belligerence of angry racer guy and thankfully, he didn't turn down our challenge of a photo shoot.

Ralph's car draws a crowd wherever it goes. It sounds different enough from your standard-built Mustang that everyone pauses to scope it out. While we were taking the pictures, a couple of tow truck drivers from a nearby police impound lot parked their truck by us to watch the action. Ralph is an unassuming guy who seems not quite used to the attention, but it is deserved. His car is an excellent example of what the average guy can build on a budget and still afford to pay his bills and raise a family. It's fast, too. With a smaller turbo, he posted a 10.80 e.t. at 133 mph. He hasn't been to the track yet with the current configuration but hopes to see low 10s at about 140 mph. It's undeniable: If you want to go fast for less cash, you have to build a Fox.

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