Project Evil 8.5 is a 1993 Fox body Ford Mustang powered by a 427 cubic inch small-block with a Vortech Xi billet supercharger built by Steve Morris Engines. Featuring a 25.3-spec chassis and suspension components from Chassisworks, Skinny Kid Race Cars, and AFCO by Menscer shocks, Evil 8.5 will contest the popular and ever-challenging Outlaw 8.5 category with the NMCA WEST and PSCA series on the west coast.
February 7, 2017: It’s All Hands On Deck
With the NMCA WEST season opener fast approaching, our team has been burning the midnight oil to get Project Evil 8.5 ready for on-track testing in preparation for competition.
With the Steve Morris-built powerplant and a long list of parts in-hand and more showing up by the day, our team has been working day in and day out to finalize the build, with the wiring and plumbing, the rear suspension and driveline, various fabrication jobs, and a host of other odds and ends left to complete before we fire the car for the first time. Testing is slated to commence later this month, and with that, we’ll have a number of articles coming down the pipeline featuring the various components and technology used in the build of this itty-bitty-tire machine.
December 6, 2016: Dyno Time: Evil 8.5’s Steve Morris Built Small Block Hits The Dyno
After months of work spec’ing and acquiring parts, our small-block powerplant has finally come together at Steve Morris Engines in Michigan, with only a few odds and ends left to cover to get it up and running. In this second installment of the engine build, we take a look at the Aeromotive Hex Drive fuel pump, the Billet Atomizer 3 injectors we’ve plumbed into the intake, along with the Holley Dominator ECU, and our Vortech V-24 Xi supercharger.
With the build wrapped, it was time to see what the new mill could do, as Morris and his team bolted it up to the dyno stand to dial-in the tune and put it through its paces. When all was said and done, the numbers were right in the ballpark where Morris predicted: 1,834 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 1,383 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, on 22.5 pounds of boost.
November 16, 2016: Steve Morris Engines Assembles The Heart Of Project Evil 8.5
Every racecar engine is built like a full symphony orchestra, but instead of being filled with groups of different musical instruments, it consists of metal engine parts. Just like an orchestra, though, the parts must all work in direct harmony, otherwise they will never create the amazing music, or the horsepower, they were intended to create. For our Evil 8.5 project engine, we chose Steve Morris Engines to be our symphony conductor to make all of our different parts belt out some wonderful horsepower music with our small-block Chevy powerplant.
The short-block of Evil 8.5 is filled with nothing but the best from Diamond, GRP, Bryant, and Isky.
The objective for Morris on the Evil 8.5 build is to produce a motor that’s a max-effort piece, and can be as efficient as possible using the class-limited blower. When the motor is complete, the goal is to make around 1,800 to 2,000 horsepower on the dyno, while using the Vortech V-24 Xi supercharger to its full potential. For Morris, there was minimal challenge in the design process of the motor. “The engine isn’t an extremely elaborate piece, so it wasn’t hard to spec out. Outside of always making sure we had the correct camshaft profile which I design all of that myself there isn’t anything off-the-hook that’s presented any big problems or issues.”
As you can see, the finished product for Evil 8.5 is just amazing. This small-block-Chevy based beast should put big numbers down on the dyno, and rocket the Mustang to low ETs at the track!
October 26, 2016: Head Work: Evil 8.5’s Heads Get Ported At Frankenstein Racing Heads
The symmetrical exhaust port and wet flow design of the BD 2300 heads are two of its key features that help it perform so well in different boosted applications.
The engine is a mixture of many things that equate to different organs in the body, all with different jobs, and cylinder heads would be considered part of an engine’s respiratory system since they help move the air into the machine. To accomplish this task with the small-block Chevy engine for our Project Evil 8.5 Ford Mustang, we picked out a set of Brodix BD 2300 cylinder heads that have been worked over by Chris Frank at Frankenstein Racing Heads, and outfitted with the best valvetrain parts from Manley and Jesel.
The Manley titanium valves are lightweight with beneficial mechanical properties, yield strength, tinsel strength, and fatigue strength that stand up well to the rigors of a boosted application like Evil 8.5.
Using Frankenstein Racing Heads to get the most out of our BD 2300 heads was a solid choice based on the shop’s reputation. For the past decade, Frank and his team have been working on heads for NHRA teams that run everything from Pro Stock to Top Fuel.
October 13, 2016: Project Evil 8.5’s Vortech Xi Blower And Chassisworks Gear Drive
To help produce the more than 1,400 horsepower necessary to be competitive in the Outlaw 8.5 class, we’ll be running Vortech’s potent V-24 billet Xi supercharger driven by a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks Component Gear Drive system.
Our Project evil 8.5 is targeted at the popular Outlaw 8.5-inch tire category and centered around a Fox body Ford Mustang, known officially here in the offices as Project Evil 8.5. The 25.3-spec car will receive its motivation from a 427 cubic inch small-block Chevrolet built by none other than Steve Morris, featuring a Brodix tall-deck block and cylinder heads, a Comp camshaft, and a laundry list of carefully-spec’ed components inside and out.
The YSi, Xi, 110, 105, and the 123 and 128 blowers all share the same V-20 supercharger gear case, allowing Vortech to compliment the same gear case with a number of different compressor stages.
Helping to deliver the kind of power we’ll need to get into the four-second zone on the smallest tire in use in heads-up drag racing, however, will be a billet Xi supercharger from our friends at Vortech, which will be driven off the Bryant crankshaft by a gear drive from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks. With the help of Vortech’s Lance Keck and Chassisworks’ Chris Alston Jr., we’re going to take a closer look at these two main ingredients to the boost in our small block mill, while we give you an up-close look at the parts and their installation into our Mustang.
June 28, 2016: Tech: Strange Engineering’s Tubular Chrome-Moly Driveshafts
All of Strange Engineering’s tubular driveshafts are made from chrome-moly steel, with diameters of 3-inch and 3.5-inch, with the primary difference coming in the weld ends and u-joint styles for varying applications.
When building a racecar the caliber of Evil 8.5, performance is obviously key, but durability isn’t lost on this project, and that means we need to cover any and all potential weak links. With this kind of horsepower propelling some sizable mass down the 1/8-mile, those weak links can quickly display themselves in the drivetrain, and now that we have a nearly bulletproof Turbo 400 transmission and converter for the build, the next item to check off the list — and one area you don’t want to cheap out on any racecar — is the driveshaft.
For that, we turned to Strange Engineering, who produce a lineup of tubular chrome-moly driveshafts for a range of applications, from high horsepower street cars on up 5-second Pro Modified machines. The shaft we installed in the car, a 3-inch by .083 wall piece, sports forged chrome-moly weld ends and a heavy duty u-joint, and is considered their best all-around driveshaft for vehicles in the 1,600-1,800 horsepower range. In this article, we’ve highlighted the entire tubular driveshaft lineup from Strange while discussing some of the primary advantages of chrome-moly as a driveshaft material, with expert input from Strange’s J.C. Cascio.
April 26, 2016 – Menscer, AFCO Up The Game On Custom Drag Racing Shocks
AFCO Racing and Menscer Motorsports represent two of the leading names in the racing shock absorber industry, and the fact that the two operations work in harmony with one another has led to unparalleled advances in drag racing performance. To help Evil 8.5 put all of those hundreds of horsepower to the ground through such an itty bitty tire, we opted to utilize a set of Menscers’ double-adjustable racing shocks, which are built upon a custom-designed, private label shock body that are massaged and prepared by “The Shock Wizard”, Mark Menscer.
In this in-depth tech article, we take a closer look at the shocks going on Evil 8,5, but take things a step further by diving into some of the concepts of rear shocks in drag racing applications, regarding radial versus slick setup, proper adjustment, and how these adjustable shocks really work under the cover.
November 16, 2015 – Preview: Steve Morris-built Vortech-Boosted SBC For Project Evil 8.5
Beyond the chassis itself, of course, the main ingredient to any race car is the engine, and after months of planning and acquisition of the many parts and pieces needed for the build, we’re finally ready to get cracking on the build for our 8.5-inch tire beast. For this, we’ve teamed up with Steve Morris, one of the most well-known race engine builders in the country (and the world) to apply his experience to our 427 cubic inch small-block. While Morris can do it all, his speciality over the years has been centrifugally supercharged powerplants, and so that makes him just the guy for this job.
(Left) The 9.500-inch Brodix solid-cast aluminum block, featuring 400 SBC mains, wide pan rails, and a raised camshaft location with 55 mm roller cam bearings, is strength personified. (Right) Chris Frank of Frankenstein Racing heads in Texas is collaborating with Steve Morris to spec out and design our cylinder head's chambers and ports. The heads will mate up with one of Morris' billet intake manifolds.
Our build is centered around a Brodix 9.500-inch deck-height, solid-cast block designed with strength in mind, with 400 SBC mains, wide pan rails, and a raised camshaft location with 55 mm roller cam bearings. From there, we turn to Bryant for a 4.000-inch stroke crankshaft, GRP for some 6.200-inch billet connecting rods, Moroso for the oiling system, and a whole build sheet’s worth of other components designed for all-out power in a well-restricted eliminator. We’ve got the complete lowdown on what’s to come with the engine build and the rest of the car, from the cylinder heads to the suspension setup, aftermarket bodywork, and a lot more.
Oh, and we also give you, the reader, and opportunity to share your thoughts on the final look of Evil 8.5. Check it out, and give us your feedback!
Here are a few of the different looks we’re considering for the completed car. Which one do you like best? Sound off in the comments! (Rendering provided by Justin Spencer of TYRANT Productions)
April 5, 2015 – Powerglide Or Turbo 400…Two-Speed Or Three?
Our project is in the early stages of its build-up, but we’re already well underway in acquiring the parts and pieces we’ll need to get our Mustang ready to take on the best that the Outlaw 8.5 world has to offer. One of the first components in our arsenal, and one of the most important, is the transmission. We teamed up with ATI Performance Products to help us spec and build a two-speed Turbo 400 for our supercharged, small-block engine combination.
In this tech piece, we take an in-depth look at what differentiates a two- and three-speed Turbo 400, and how a two-speed Turbo 400 compares to the venerable Powerglide from GM.
February 2, 2015 – Introducing Dragzine’s Newest Project Car: An Outlaw 8.5 Fox Body ‘Stang
On this day, we’ve launched a brand new project in the Power Automedia garage, known as Evil 8.5 This ride, a Mustang Fox body LX, is destined for the up-and-coming realm of 8.5-inch tire, heads-up racing, and we have grand plans for the newest race car in our stable. Evil 8.5 will be getting its power from a 427 cubic inch small block built by none other than noted boosted engine builder Steve Morris, and will be paired with a Vortech supercharger to deliver the power needed to run in the high four-second range.
We’ve compiled a range of suspension components from Skinny Kid Race Cars and Strange Engineering for the project, and we’ll be taking delivery of a new two-speed Turbo 400 from our friends at ATI Performance Products to back up the more than 1,000 rear wheel horsepower we’re planning to make. The project introduction (linked above) has the complete details on the build-up, and we’ll be adding more to the spec sheet as we work toward the completion and on-track launch.