Outlaw 8.5 racing — which as the name implies, is done on a 8.5-inch wide slick — is one of heads-up drag racing’s most popular up-and-coming classes, with badass machines making gobs of horsepower with nitrous, blower, and turbo combinations trying to put it all to the ground on a tire smaller than they have any business being on. The class has taken off on both coasts, with racers pressing their way into the low fives and even the high four-second range in the eighth-mile.
And as intriguing a class as it is, the Dragzine team can’t help but be drawn to the challenge, and so we’ve set out with a new project vehicle in the Power Automedia garage — a Fox body Mustang LX — that we’ll be pressing into Outlaw 8.5 battle with the NMCA WEST, WCHRA, and Pacific Street Car Association in 2015. And you never know, you might even see us out mixing it up with the hitters out on the east coast, as well.
As everyone knows, the Fox body Mustang is one of the best vehicle platforms from which to build a small-tire heads-up car — that’s why there as so many of them out there — and taking that into account, we set out to find ourselves a fresh canvas upon which we could craft our very own Outlaw 8.5 ride. After some searching and a few phone calls, we discovered a car that already had some considerable work done to it, and for all intents and purposes, arrived at our shop as a complete roller that could have an engine and transmission installed, the interior finished, and sent on its merry way down the eighth-mile. But we’ve got a few plans of our own — both in the drivetrain department and in the suspension, electronics, the interior, and of course the exterior, to build one sick 8.5 ride.
The basis for what we’ve entitled Project Evil 8.5 is the 25.3-spec chassis of which it already sits upon, while on the exterior the car features a Schoneck Composites front end: a carbon fiber hood, fenders, doors, deck lid, and rear wing. It has new lexan windows all the way around from Pro Glass, and eventually we’ll have the car painted. At this time plans are still being drawn up for the final exterior look, and we may well present some color options to you, our readers, to help us decide how we should finish the car off to give it a truly unique look.
Steve Morris, one of the most renowned builders in the industry and who has a particular knack with centrifugally-supercharged motors, will be assembling a 427 cubic inch small block Chevrolet powerplant, centering on a Brodix tall-deck, raised cam block. The short block will be composed of a Bryant 4.00-stroke crankshaft, GRP rods, Diamond 10.5:1 hard anodized pistons, Clevite rod and main bearings, and Total Seal rings.
The induction system will be made up of a Steve Morris billet intake manifold and Wilson throttle body, being fed by Steve Morris fuel rails and Billet Atomizer 225 lb. injectors into a set of Brodix 14-degree inline cylinder heads, filled with Manley titanium valves and springs, shaft rockers, Isky .937 keyway lifters, and Trend pushrods, all controlled by a custom Bullet/Morris camshaft.
The oil system, for its part, will feature a complete dry sump setup from Moroso, including a six-stage dry sump oil pump, billet pan and valve covers, while the ignition will be handled by an MSD Powergrid, and EFI will be coming from a Holley Dominator system. Other components include a Powermaster starter and an Aeromotive Billet Hex Drive fuel pump.
The boost needed to make the kind of power it will take to hang with the big dogs in Outlaw 8.5 will come from a Vortech Xi Billet or XB105 supercharger, that we’ll be pairing with a Garrett/Chiseled Performance intercooler, all driven off of a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks Component Gear Drive system.
We’ll be backing the blown bullet up with a two-speed Turbo 400 transmission from ATI Performance Products, featuring ATI’s own SuperCase with a 1.57 gear ratio and a host of bulletproof internal components, along with a balancer and flex plate from ATI. The convertor will be an ATI Outlaw 10”.
The car is already set up with a Skinny Kid Race Cars K-member and A-arms, along with Strange Engineering double adjustable struts, a manual rack, tie rods ends, and steering arms. Out back is a Chassisworks Fab 9 rear end housing with a Strange third member housed in an aluminum case with 3.89 Pro gears. We will also have the option to stick a 275 drag radial on it and hop into another class should the opportunity arise; and the combination we have should suit that style of racing, as well.
Our plan, once the running gear is complete, is to give the car a complete makeover from an external appearance standpoint, with blacked-out wheels, along with a darker-tinted paint scheme, all of which is still on the drawing board.
We’ll be bringing you a number of looks at the technical side of the engine and car build-up on the Power Automedia family of enthusiast magazines throughout 2015 as we work toward our on-track debut in the Outlaw 8.5 ranks later this year.