"Up From the Ashes"

     Jason Holbert's '85 LX

“I truly believe that helping people, and making every day count is what life is all about”
— Jean Aiton

    Tough times in life are just par for the course. I remember a quote I heard years ago: "Nobody ever promised you it would be easy". Each and every one of us face struggles in our life, some harder than others. When Jean Aiton sent me a message about a special build he was doing for a friend, I was truly amazed by the story behind it. Many people will simply see the car as a sweet fox body Mustang that makes over 700RWHP, but that just doesn't tell the whole story.

    This '85 is owned by Jason Holbert, and started life as a lowly 4cyl car, which he later converted to a 351 Windsor. While the car was mid swap, thieves broke into his shop and stole several parts off of the car, including the distributer. Unable to find the distributor hold down, Jason knew the motor would have to come back out to make sure it hadn't fallen into the pan. Ready to give up on the project, Jason's best friend Jean called him up, and told him to bring the car down to Alabama and let him help out. Sadly, around this same time, fire broke out in Jason's grandmother's shop.  Jason was storing his parts collection, and two other foxes he owns there, and the fire claimed his 57k original mile '89 GT, and his '88 notch wearing fresh paint and full Racecraft suspension. The fire also destroyed a fresh A4 block 331, and many of the other parts he had collected since high school. Jason was devastated.   

    Doing what friends do, Jean decided Jason could use a little surprise to lift his spirits. The plan was to do an "overhaulin" style build on the '85. Jason was none the wiser, as far as he knew Jean was just going to get the car running for him. Meanwhile Jean was busy gathering help from several companies to donate parts for the build. Kenny Ford from PTC converters supplied the torque converter, Heath Terry of Dirty South Motorsports handled the paint & body work, Chris Terry of Terry Racing in Moulton AL completed the drivetrain as well as tuned the car. Windsor Coatings of Hanceville AL did all of the powder coating, National Parts Depot and Fox Mustang Restoration supplied resto parts, Scott Rod donated their engine panels, and the build was on. Working as much as he could on the car, Jean had a plan to surprise Jason with the car at the NMRA World Finals in KY. Since Jason lives in NC, and Jean lives in Alabama, the two meet every year in Kentucky for the race.  

    As for the build, the engine is based around a 351W that has been stroked out to 410, with the compression dialed in to a boost friendly 8.5:1. A pair of Trick Flow heads were bolted down, a Bennett Racing custom cam slid in, and a Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake topped it all off. Sitting atop the intake is a Wilson Manifolds elbow, with a Accufab 90mm throttle body which gets force fed massive amounts of air from the BW S400SX turbo. The front mount intercooler keeps the AITs down, and a Tial blow off valve vents the un needed boost to atmosphere. 

    For trans duties, a built C4 with a transbrake from Performance Automatic was hired to handle the abuse. The converter is a PTC unit, and an auxiliary trans cooler with fan was mounted where the driver side muffler formerly took up residence. 

    The suspension is aided by a UPR tubular k member, UPR A arms, Strange coilovers, Racecraft caster/camber plates, UPR adjustable control arms, full length subframe connectors, and adjustable control arm brackets. Putting down seven hundred horses is no small feat; consider the suspension handled. 

    With the help of Steve Walcott and Mike Galimi of the NMRA, Jean was able to park the car in the manufacturers midway area at the World Finals. Jason had no idea that the car was running, let alone totally restored. The car sat under a cover while Jason and Jean made their way toward the car, all the while Jean did his best to play it cool. Once they got near the car, friends and family pulled the cover back, and Jason was in total disbelief. "He really didn't have a clue what to say, or how to respond" said Jean. After a minute or two Jason actually wrapped his head around the fact that this was his car, and it was actually finished. Despite all the hard times, setbacks, and moments when he wanted to give up; Jason's coupe is finally up from the ashes.  CR  

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