I owned a 1976 2800 in 1980 and loved it. That is how I got the idea for this project.
I bought the car from the scrap yard. It was in bad shape. The first modification was a complete rebuild of the frame. We replaced the front clip with a Mustang II clip and fabricated mounts for the V8. We then replaced the rockers wheel to wheel with custom bent .125 inch steel, using the original cross section as a template. We added 2 x 4 steel tubing to tie the front clip to the rockers, and added a roll cage tied to the rockers. Believe it or not, Cobra II floor pans fit like a charm. OK, frame complete.
We built a 302 (balanced) with a little extra stroke and some cam, Holly 750 carb, and Holley electric fuel pump, High Performance C4 automatic transmission connected to an 8 inch ford rear end with a 4:11 gear. The back end has a 1 inch sway bar, a Panhard bar, and traction bars. The front clip has high performance upper and lower control arms with coil overs, 1-inch sway bar and a standard Mustang II rack.
The front and rear spoilers are hand fabricated, as are the wheel flairs. The dog house is all new steel, with the strut towers removed. The head light boxes are custom-fabricated, but we used the original head light frames and covers. The interior is a work in progress, with racing seats and harnesses in a rough shell. The project took 3.5 years, as I kept running out of money.
I blew the old motor up, so we replaced it with a 351. The new motor did't produce faster ETs. We looked at everything...the only thing that was the same was the cam...we looked up the cam spec and learned the torque band didn't come in until 2800 rpm...perfect for a manual trans, but sucks for an automatic.
Late in the fall, after we missed the show, we pulled the cam and replaced it with a .512 lift cam where the torque band comes in at 1800 rpm. This should let me get out of the hole with a 2500 stall converter. The track was closed for the year, so I don't have a time for this config.
I will still redline at 6500 in the quarter. My next project is to replace the C4 with an AOD trans. I have one being built over the winter. Basically the same as a C4 in the first three gears, but with a 4th. It bolts right up to the 351, but we will have to shorten the drive shaft and move the trans mount back 4 inches.Charles Green
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