"Product of the 80's"
John Millburn's '86 GT
Back when I was nearing driving age in '92, the old four eye foxes did not get much love. When the new aero nose '87 models came out, the new styling, and added performance from the improved E7 heads were all the rage. Not only that, but the aftermarket was catching up with the EFI game. While the '86 models were EFI, their E6 heads were a huge bottleneck to performance. The earlier carbed cars were out to pasture a bit as the uncharted waters of fuel injection lured in enthusiasts. The improved drivability, improved fuel mileage, and improved heads made the newer cars highly desirable. This was much the case all through the '90s, and even on into the 2k years. However, lately I have been noticing a trend toward the four eye cars again. Nostalgia has begun to take over, and the once forgotten foxes are becoming quite desirable. This is much the story of John Milburn's '86 GT.
Several years ago, John had a 49k mile '90 LX. The car was all original, and he couldn't bear the thought of cutting the car up. Instead he bought a roller '88 GT with a full roll cage, to satisfy his need for speed. As he began the build, he started to have second thoughts about the hatch, and decided to look for another notch. So a deal was made, the GT was sold, and John picked up a notch roller.
As anyone knows, buying other people's unfinished projects can be a complete pain in the backside, and John was feeling this pain. He had an ad on craigslist for parts to complete the notch, when he got a call from someone looking to sell a set of wheels. Interested, John went to check them out, and there sat a 54k original mile '86 GT. John did buy the wheels, and the car. For a few years John kept his unmolested '90 model, and the '86. As time went on he grew even fonder of his four eye, and decided to sell the '90 model. John lost his father around this same time, and he decided he wanted to build the '86. "I think it was an emotional build for me, to keep my mind on something else" recalls John.
The build began with a fresh heart, based on a Dart block. After a bore & stroke, the block was filled with a 4340 forged rotating assembly, with final specs checking in at 349 cubic inch. The lungs of the beast are AFR 205 heads, which work well with the custom grind Comp cam. The intake is a Mass Flo 4150, which often fools people into thinking the car is carbed. Engine management comes by way of a Megasquirt, the ignition is an MSD 6AL, and the fuel system is all Aeromotive fare. With only seat of the pants tuning, there aren't any dyno numbers to be had, but the little 349 is plenty stout.
Moving down the drivetrain, John sent off his T5 for upgraded internals. With the T5 beefed up, he added a Quicktime bellhousing, Ram clutch, and billet flywheel. The original 8.8 was removed, and the axle tubes welded for strength. It was then reassembled with 31 spline Moser axles, Ford Racing differential, and 4.10 gears.
The suspension and brakes also received their share of upgrades. Up front, new Ford Racing control arms, Steeda bump steer kit, Steeda sway bar, Eibach struts, and Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates round out the mods. In the rear she received BMR adjustable uppers, Steeda lower control arms, Eibach shocks, Steeda sway bar, and poly bushings in the rear end housing. The rear brakes were converted to disks, and Hawk pads were added front and rear.
John went through several fox body Mustangs to land on this mint '86. His intention was to maintain the mid '80s look that he loved, while making it a true performer. The interior remains stock other than the roll bar, and aside from the hood and wheels; the exterior does as well. For John, his fox body Mustang is exactly what he wanted all along. CR