This is probably the most talked about drag test in the history of drag tests. The numbers seem weak now, but thirty years ago, this blew a lot of minds. With our permanently revoked New York Driver’s License, reputation for bringing Test Cars back not quite as functional as we received them, and the fact that we street raced these things in a time when street racing was a taboo subject, it was often difficult to get cars to test. In this case, we just went out and bought one ourselves. The rest is history.

Full story below.

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  • Stories like this one are what got me started in the whole mustang game around 13 years old. Mid 90s MM&FF, Cars Illustrated, 5.0 &SF, etc. Those were the best articles and some fantastic writing from guys who really had a passion for the cars. Really glad I kept every issue I ever got. 20+ years later, I’ve owned almost 30 stangs personally and sold probably 100 more being in the car business. Thanks Tony for your part in getting me hooked way back then. You were my inspiration for being the fastest pizza delivery driver in my hometown for the 4 days that I worked there in my 5.0 LX.
    Cheers for the years buddy….

  • Dude, I picked up this mag sometime between the date I ordered my black 5.0 LX in May, 1987 and the time it came in. I must have read the entire article daily for a couple of months. I had never really driven a manual trans car until the day I drove it home. I grabbed second gear heading onto the Florida Turnpike within a mile of the dealership. Got a racing ticket later that night.

    I got a little more careful with where I did it from then on. But I raced anything and everything with a giant chip on my shoulder. Because of you, I always thought I shouldn’t lose. And rarely did. I got that car before I turned 18 and have at least owned one Mustang ever since. I actually still own that very car but it sits in a field at a friends house since I split block, broke the crank in half and bent a few rods.

    I don’t know whether to thank you or blame you 😀

  • So many great memories. In 1987, I was a dirt-poor college student, living on ramen noodles. My wardrobe consisted of two pairs of blue jeans and half a dozen T-shirts, all from car meets and rock concerts. Any money I did happen to come by was spent on my daily driver, a ’69 Cougar with a 351 4 barrel and 4-speed. It wasn’t a supercar, but was stout enough to handily dust any late-model iron that cared to give it a try.
    Then one day, a new LX with 5.0 badges caught me at a light. I was familiar with the so-called H.O. version of the EFI 302 that had debuted the year before, and wasn’t impressed. Replacing the tried and true Holley 4 barrel hadn’t helped performance, the EFI looked like a hassle to deal with, and generally it all seemed a step in the wrong direction. Yes, Ford claimed the ’87 version was improved, but it still looked the same, and still had cats, a smog pump, and all the rest of that emissions junk to slow it down. Really, how much better could it be?
    So it was with extreme confidence that I waited for the light. On green, the Cougar was immediately ahead by half a car length. And then the Mustang started GAINING. By the time we caught up with traffic and had to back off, the Mustang was a fender length ahead. And if getting beat wasn’t bad enough, turns out he still had a new car temporary tag on back.
    That got my attention, and in a big way. I mean it was settled knowledge, like the Earth is round, that new cars were about style, image, and a polite, non-threatening level of “balanced” performance. It was simply a given that they would never match their ’60s and ’70s forefathers when it came to straight-line acceleration.
    It wasn’t much later that I was reading about Mean Mr. Mustang in Super Stock, and starting to accept that Ford might actually be on to something. Then your article came out, and that was that. I HAD to have one. Unfortunately, I was still two years away from graduation, and any possibility of affording a new car. In the meantime, I picked up every issue of Cars Illustrated to keep up with the latest 5.0 news and tech. Each month brought new revelations on how to tweak the EFI and set the cars up for best times. Which of course I couldn’t wait to try out on my own Mustang, just as soon as I actually had one.
    Anyhow, once I’d finally graduated, obtained gainful employment and had a couple of paystubs to prove it, I started hitting the dealers. Naturally, no one had a black, 5.0, 5-speed notchback with 3.08 gears in stock, but I would accept nothing else. It took a while to find a dealer willing to special order such a car, but eventually I did. In August of 1989 my first, and still only, new car found a place beside my beloved Cougar. I met a lot of fellow 5.0 LX owners in those days, and they’d ALL read that same article. Ford really should have given you a commission.
    All these years later I still have both cars, and my love for them is undiminished. (BTW, wanna feel old? Wait ’til a car you bought new qualifies for Antique plates. That’ll do it.)
    Sorry to ramble on for so long. But thanks for the site, a ton of great memories, and the opportunity to share a few of them here.