Rick Bartolome's '88 LX
For most boys when they are young, fast cars are awe inspiring. I remember the first time I went to the drag strip, I could have stayed there for a week. The wide tires, big hood scoops, open headers, and the smokey burnouts totally captivated my attention. I thought every car there could do a wheelie, and shoot flames from the tailpipes; I was hooked for life. Im sure I annoyed everyone in the car on the way home, all I could do was talk about all the fast cars, and how I would have a fast car when I grew up. From then on when I played with my toy cars, they were always drag racing. I always made the loud noises, and would even do a slow motion finish to add some drama. As my friends and I grew up, they left the cars behind, got into sports, and other interests; I stayed hooked on hot rods.
Growing up in California, Rick Bartolome was exposed to the hot rod scene early in life. His uncles all had fox body Mustangs back in the early nineties, and Rick loved nothing more than hanging out with them while they worked on the cars. As they bench raced, while wrenching away to make the cars faster, Rick quietly promised himself he would have his own fox body Mustang one day.
Nine years ago, Rick finally got his fox body Mustang. One black, '88 LX hatch was now his, and Rick wasted no time getting the mods going. At first the mods were small ones, like the typical bolt-on parts that most guys do. Headers, pulleys, and gears all found their way onto the '88. Fast forward to last year, Rick decided it was time to get serious.
Wanting to really make his 5.0 game tight, Rick yanked out the stock 302, and got busy giving his LX a makeover. Once the engine was out, smooth panels from Scott Rod were ordered, and the work began to smooth the engine bay. After all of the welding, grinding, sanding, and painting were done; it was time for a fresh power plant. Rick put in a call to the guys at Ford Strokers, and ordered up one of their forged 347 strokers. To help the stroker breath, a set of Trick Flow 11R 190cc heads were bolted down, and complimented by a Holley Systemax intake. The valve train consists of a custom cam from Scat, and DSS Racing roller rockers actuate the valves.
Being a fan of hitting mountain roads outside his hometown of San Francisco, Rick wanted the car to handle well. He started with Bilstein shocks and struts, H&R springs, Hotchkis upper/lower control arms, subframe connectors, and a four point roll bar. The rolling stock consists of 16" Pony wheels what were hydrodipped in carbon fiber, and wrapped in Toyo R888 road race tires. To help haul the car down, Rick also added power stop brake pads, and drilled/slotted rotors.
On the inside, Rick added a set of '99 Cobra front seats, ditching the lackluster factory seats. He then added a rear seat delete to save some weight, while a suede headliner and suede wrapped steering wheel from Grant add a touch of class. The Auto Meter gauges help monitor the vitals of the stroker, and the Hurst shifter makes sure he never misses a gear.
One thing you can't hide is passion, and Rick is extremely passionate about his fox body Mustang. Having been around them since he was young, the 5.0 runs in his blood, and probably always will. Rick has lots of upgrades planned for the car, and is always working on one project or another to make it better. If you find yourself out cruising the streets of San Francisco, keep an eye out for 5.0 Rick. CR