Congratulations to Mike & April Mahan (FEP Username: Mikestang
as the winners of the April Ride of the Month. Mike’s 1986 Mustang GT was in a very tight race this month that at several times was a 3 way tie for the #1 spot. Mike’s love for Fox Chassis started all the way back to a time when he borrowed his sister’s 1984 Mustang. From that point on Mike was hooked and so our story begins. It was around 2003 when Mike’s boss decided it was time to sell his Fox, and who would blame him at the bargain price of just $1500. Mike immediately jumped at the opportunity to purchase. A deal was made and Mike had his own Fox Body Mustang, and now for the fun to begin.
Mike began a 12 year journey of modifying, tweaking, building, and rebuilding to get to what you see today. The exterior sheet metal of the Mustang is stock with most of the custom parts being the additions of a Cervini’s hood, a Mach 1 chin spoiler that sits atop a custom made splitter, Saleen side skirts, air dam, and rear bumper, and Steeda aero spoiler to round out the body modifications. All of this is sprayed in a custom mixed BC/CC that started out as Ford Sonic Blue Metallic Pearl Coat. The 3 stage PPG color was sprayed by Mike’s Dad, but Dad mixed it up by using a purple base coat instead of blue, then he sprayed a high solids clear coat that helps pull the purple cast through the blue pearl. The final paint is not a color shifting or Mystic type paint job, but the color seen does change with lighting and angle of view. Hard to believe a paint job this nice is over 12 years old and still looks awesome.
The interior holds more modifications that include a full SCCA Spec roll cage, door panels stripped to allow for the door bars of the roll cage, two 5 point harnesses for both driver and passenger, and no rear seats. The dash still houses the stock gauges with only an addition of an Air Fuel Ratio gauge. The rear interior panels are from a 1993 model and all of them have been re-painted in Dark Charcoal Grey. The door bars are cover in the same material as the Kirkey Road Race seats to keep both the driver and passenger in comfort when apexing the corners out on the race track.
The suspension includes a custom fabricated K member that Mike, with the help of a road racing buddy, built. Stock Fox lower control arms setup with longer ball joints and solid bushings, along with 850lb front springs that sit in custom upper mounts, handle the bumps. The custom upper mounts in the K member were moved outboard from stock for better spring alignment. The body roll is tamed by a 36mm front sway bar and the steering is a stock 1986 rack and pinion mounted with solid bushings. The rear of the car received the same attention to detail the front did including most of the Maximum Motorsports catalog. The setup is a pair of Maximum Motorsports lower control arms, torque arm, adjustable stabilizer bar, panhard rod, and Maximum Motorsports rear springs. A full set of KYB AGX shocks help dampen the road racing suspension both on the street and at the track. The suspension wouldn’t be complete without the 5 lug conversion that include 1994 Cobra Mustang spindles and brakes up front as well as a full Cobra rear axle and brakes out back. Hawk Blue brake pads up front and Carbotech pads in the rear provide the stopping power in the high speed corners out on the track. The front brakes receive cooling air through the custom brake ducts to help dissipate all the heat buildup when running out on the track at full speed. A set of Maximum Motorsports full length subframe connectors and a custom built strut tower brace round out the chassis modifications.
The powertrain of the 1986 GT starts with a 347 cubic inch small block Ford filled with all SCAT internals. The rest of the engine parts include a custom ground roller camshaft, Trick Flow CNC ported heads, Trick Flow ported and honed intake manifold. All the horsepower breathes through a Mass Air Flow conversion that is controlled with a Moates Quarter Horse chip and Binary Editor Software, all of which was calibrated by Mike personally. The exhaust flows through a set of full length headers, Dr. Gas X-pipe, and out custom made Spintech mufflers that in turn flow out fabricated side pipes by Mike. The engine and drivetrain is where Mike has spent the majority of his funds and this is actually the third engine for the Mustang since being built by Mike.
So what do all these modifications and customizing add up for Mike in the end? The Mustang put down an impressive 395 Horsepower and 450 lb/ft of torque on the dyno. It turned lap times of 2:07.8 at High Plains Raceway outside of Denver, Colorado. Mike also received A Best of Show award at the Rocky Mountain Mustang Round Up in 2014 as well as few other awards as local shows. The icing on the cake is Mike’s wife April says he looks good driving it! That says it all now doesn’t it!
As with all cars and especially ones that are heavily modified, there have been significant challenges along the way. Mike is just happy that he was able to keep the car throughout all of them that included buying their first house, marriage, buying a second house, and ultimately twin girls. During many of those times Mike just stock-piled parts until he was able to work on the Mustang again.
The reasons for making or keeping the car as it is today as stated by Mike “The car is a collection of my hard work, my success and failures in building a car. This was my first cage build, first semi-custom front suspension build, first higher performance engine build and I tried to assist in the body work as much as possible.”. Mike would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have helped along the way. This includes his Dad for the first thing that everyone sees, the awesome paint and body work. Obviously the most important and understanding person being his wife April for putting up with Mike, the building of the Mustang, the good and bad constant rambling on about the Mustang and the next modification or part purchase. April’s tolerance and patience include this funny moment by Mike. “I had another cage and tan interior in the car all done . . . I HATED IT!!!! One night around 10pm or so I said I was going to look at something in the garage. Around 1am April is woken up by the sounds of a sawzall cutting the cage and all of the interior except the dash out of the car and throwing it into a pile on the garage floor.”
Congratulations once again to Mike and April for sharing their very cool, very custom, and very fast 1986 Mustang GT with FEP and all our members. We wish Mike and April many more years of enjoyment from their Mustang. I am sure the next time we see it Mike will have made more modifications or custom touches and gotten even more speed and power out of this awesome 1986 Mustang GT.