"Beast of Burden"

Matthew Botchler's '93 LX

“I bought the car as an all original 4cyl notch, for $1,200. I did the entire build in my 11x20 garage, no lifts or anything fancy”
— Matthew Botchler


   Building a car of any ilk is no simple task. The farther you go with it, the harder it becomes. I am sure, if you are reading this, you have had those moments when you think the car is "done" or "fixed" and something else pops up. I remember one past build when I finally had my Vortech supercharged car back together after the third blown head gasket, and on the first fire, coolant poured from between the block and head. So much for the heads not being warped. As rough as car builds can be, for those of us that do them, there is a therapeutic part to turning wrenches on your beast. That moment at the end of the day when you can finally escape to the garage, crank up the radio, and crack open the tool box. All of life's crap seems to melt away then, and as the ratchet turns, you can almost picture yourself at the track making the first hit, or collecting that trophy at the first car show. 

    Nearly seventeen years ago, Matt Botchler was car hunting, more specifically, fox body Mustang hunting. His search led him to a Vermillion Red '93 LX that was down in Florida, a long way from his home in New York State. The car was a one owner, and left Dearborn as a lowly 4cyl. Being rust free, unmolested, and having not been tossed around by several owners; Matt knew this little notch would be a solid platform. After plunking down $1,200 clams, Matt had the perfect car for the evil plans he was hatching. 

    As you look over the final results, bear in mind that Matt did all of the work himself, aside from the roll bar, and some of the chassis work. Not only that, but he did it in an 11x20 shop, with no air tools, or a lift. "Jack stands and hand tools are how I built this car, the old school way"; recalls Matt.  

    As you can see, Matt didn't slap on a few parts and call it a day. Before he could even begin building up the car, he first had to convert it to V8 spec. Once the conversion was complete, the build really got going. Starting with a Mexican block, a 331 stroker was born with all forged internals, in anticipation of boost. Next up were a set of race prepped AFR 205 heads, Anderson Ford B-41 cam, Hogan's sheetmetal intake, and Vortech V7 YS-i supercharger. To exit the spent gasses properly, a set of custom built Kooks headers with 2" primaries get it done nicely. The supporting cast for all of this hardware include Bosch 72lb injectors, Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump, MSD ignition system, and Accel Gen 7 DFI, tuned by Mike Hartnell.

    Knowing what the blown small block was capable of, Matthew did his due to make certain the car would survive sub nine-second passes. For trans duties, a fully built Lentech AOD with a trans brake, and a Pro Torque 9" 4500 stall converter were slid in. The 8.8 rear received welded axle tubes, 3.73 gears, Eaton diff with carbon clutch packs, and Moser 31 spline axles. 

    The suspension setup for Matt's notch was also well thought out. In the front a UPR k member, QA1 struts, UPR A arms, and Racecraft drop spindles were bolted in. For the rear, Racecraft adjustable upper/lower control arms, UPR anti-roll bar, QA1 shocks, and UPR coilovers put the power down effectively. The eight point chromoly roll bar was built by Hellbent Racecars, and tie into the custom built subframe connectors, for a rock solid foundation. The braking department is aided with Aerospace binders at all four corners, and peek out from behind Weld Alumistars in the front, and Bogart Drag-On-Stars in the rear. 

    Over the years Matt has dealt with several obstacles in life. Having survived colon cancer, and most recently stage five kidney failure. Back in 2014 Matt underwent a kidney transplant, and after a long road to recovery, he's back turning wrenches on his blown notch. "The car has always been fun to work on, and a distraction for me through the tough times" says Matt. While many times we may look at our cars as a beast of burden, Matt is just grateful to get back to doing what he loves. 

Special Thanks: Marc Poldino, Vortech Superchargers, Hellbent Racecars, Steve Hadfield, Ricky Best, My father for all the help through the years and getting me into cars, My mother for putting up with me and all of the noisy cars, my best bud Phil Dini, and wife Megan Botchler

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