Car Feature: Jacob Lamb’s ’86 Coyote Stock Mustang
If you’re not yet familiar with NMRA’s Coyote Stock class, you need to get your head out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under, but we’ll give you the basics anyway. Utilizing a special part number, sealed by Ford Racing 5.0L Coyote engine, competitors are not allowed to make any internal modifications to the engine, and tamper proof seals on key fasteners will ensure that. Cars compete heads up, and can run either a manual or automatic transmission, as long as it is a Ford type, “Street” transmission. We’ve heard rumors of numerous cars under construction around the country, though not everyone was able to make it out to a race this season.
Right off the bat the uninitiated would assume this is going to be a slow or boring class, however top qualifiers are already deep into the mid ten second territory. This is a strong statement of the factory power that is at the heart of new Mustangs right off the assembly line. Engines have bolt on modifications only, limited to what you can do on the outside such as cold air intakes and exhaust.
Back when the NMRA first started in 1999 we can remember Hot Street, Renegade and even some Super Street Outlaw cars that were running these types of times. Keep in mind too that those cars were often running expensive engine programs and the SSO and Renegade cars were always using a power adder. Technology and innovation have driven heads up racing to where it is today, and the fact that you can run this type of numbers with a stone stock assembly line engine is a testament to the times we live in.
Coyote Stock also offers a jump from either heads up or modular classes for racers that may already have a proven chassis but are looking to compete in something different. Jacob Lamb is one such racer. His ’86 Mustang coupe was until this year running a heavily modified four valve modular engine, in the open comp format Modular Muscle class. Lamb saw what was happening with the Coyote stock class as an opportunity for a bit less of a radical engine setup, as well as the chance to go heads up against his fellow racers.
The Best Value in Heads Up Racing
For the money you spend, to be able to run 10’s with another setup, this is reliable, consistent, and you don’t have to do anything to it between rounds – Jacob Lamb
“There is no better value out there than this engine,” Lamb told us. “For the money you spend, to be able to run 10’s with another setup, this is reliable, consistent, and you don’t have to do anything to it between rounds.” Lamb’s car with it’s previous combination had tipped the scales at 2700 lbs with driver, and run ET’s in the low 10.80’s. For Coyote Stock, the car would have to gain five hundred pounds over it’s previous incarnation. Surprisingly, the car has gone faster with the stocker engine, recording a best ET of 10.79 in NMRA competition.
The car itself is a four eyed Mustang, an ’86 Coupe, survivor car that came out of Tennessee. When Lamb received it, it was in fairly solid condition, although it did have some hail damage on the horizontal panels. Look closely enough and you’ll also notice that there is no gas door on this car. That was shaved per Lamb’s request, since the car runs a fuel cell in the trunk. A friend of Lamb’s handled the body work, taking out the hail damage, and gas door. Another resprayed the car in it’s original hue of Jalapeño Red.
The engine itself is of course the NMRA spec’d Ford Racing Coyote Stock, sealed crate engine. There’s a cold air intake to handle incoming air, and the only other “modification” would be the Kook’s custom headers which fit rather nicely. Until you see this engine swapped into a Fox body in person, you have yet to realize how good of a fit it actually is.
We were surprised by just how much room there is under the hood of Lamb’s car. The Coyote engine looks as though it should have been there all along. Although this is a race car that is missing all the normal street, and daily driver under hood accessories we’re still impressed. Chuck’s automotive in Shepherdsville, KY built the rest of the exhaust and installed the 3-inch Flowmaster race mufflers.
Having been a stick shift Mustang man since his teenage years, Lamb’s old setup was a Jerico 4-speed, for weight, durability and the ability to swap out gear ratios should he have been so inclined. With the rules being much tighter in Coyote Stock he sold the Jerico and currently bangs gears with a Tremec TKO 500 transmission. However he’s curious as to whether or not the transmission is actually outfitted the way he specified.
“I have to launch the car at 7200 rpm or it just bogs,” he tells us. Lamb suspects that while he had requested a TKO with the low 3.27 first and 1.98 second gears, what he may have received is the higher geared 2.87 first gear, 1.89 second gear box. This would explain why his launch RPM’s are so dramatically higher than anyone else who ran in the class during the 2012 season. With the season over, and a leak found from the transmission after getting back from the NMRA World Finals, Lamb plans to remove the transmission this winter and verify which has been installed in his car all season.
Getting the Hook
Lamb spent a lot of time and effort developing the car’s suspension. In spite of his sky high RPM launches, (that we’re sure make Ford engineers cringe when they read this), the car barely lifts the tires. “It looks like a Pro-Stock car when it leaves, just raises the wheels a little bit and goes,” Lamb says. The rear suspension is all from Anthony Jones Engineering. Lamb worked with another company to develop the car’s anti-roll bar and eventually had to tweak and modify it properly to get it work with his setup. Rear shocks are adjustable units from Strange Enigneering.
The rear wheel tubs were also reinstalled, Fox body coupes are notorious for having small rear tubs, and the earlier models have always been said to be even worse. Lamb had installed mini tubs when the car was running it’s 4.6L combo, however with the strict rules of Coyote Stock, he had to reinstall the OE factory ones. Lamb told us, “It’s difficult to fit any kind of slick under this car, everything has to be set just right, or it rubs, you go around a corner it rubs, you’re off just a little bit on your roll bar pre-load, it rubs.”
It’s a really fun class, and a good group of guys to race with. – Jacob Lamb
Wheels and tires come from Mickey Thompson and follow class rules for size and type. Brakes are from Strange Engineering, with four wheel disc at all four corners. You’ll notice that the car has been converted to five lug all the way around as well. Lamb, a machine shop manager by day has also made the effort to lighten, polish and stress relieve as many rotating parts throughout the car’s drive train as possible. We can tell you that the axles are gun drilled and star flanged, but we were sworn to secrecy on what else has been done to components to help take as much rotating mass out of them as safely as possible.
The car’s front suspension is a combination of UPR and Anthony Jones Engineering parts. “I was running all AJE stuff, but they didn’t have a K-member ready yet that will allow you to put a Coyote engine with Kooks headers in the Fox body chassis,” so Lamb made the switch to the UPR model. Still utilizing many of the AJE parts throughout the front, including their struts. Experience racing Mustangs, proper parts selection and a knowledge of how to set everything up, make this car stick on every pass at the track.
Inside the car is all business, there’s no frills left over from it’s previous life as a street car. The interior is home to a roll cage, two Kirkey aluminum racing seats and an array of Auto Meter gauges that serve to keep an eye on critical functions. The original ’86 model 3 spoke steering wheel and column remain in place. A pistol grip shifter with a base model cover are all that adorn the center console. The rear seat is long gone and the trunk has been fire walled due to the small fuel cell inside.
Lamb is currently sorting out his plans for next season, as he may not be able to make it to all events, but hopes to be a contender in the points. He’s debating a complete transmission change as well. With the field stacked so closely together at the end of the season, like every other Coyote stock racer, Lamb is looking for every advantage he can find. We’ve enjoyed watching the Coyote Stock class evolve this season and look forward to what 2013 will bring. The class is offering heads up racing at an affordable price.
We bench raced with Lamb a bit and came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to run 10’s and race in a class for any less money. Assuming you could do most of the wrenching yourself, we figured $20-25k total investment in a competitive car, including buying a decent rolling body. Considering that some “entry level” heads up classes have that much money for just their single season engine program, Coyote stock may become the heads up class for the common man. Lamb told us “It’s a really fun class, and a good group of guys to race with.”