This 1968 Mustang coupe has come a long way since it was dropped off as a surprise birthday present. Lori Fedirko’s prized pony car has been transformed into a beast worthy of its namesake: Drogon. The Mother of Dragons fan is always ready to unleash it when the need arises.
A Passion For Racing
While many people develop their love for automobiles through family or friendly influences, this wasn’t necessarily the case for Lori Fedirko from Germansville, Pennsylvania. Her father, an electrician by trade, didn’t have a particular interest in racing or showcasing cars as a hobby. Instead, he enjoyed bringing projects to life. What they did share was an innate curiosity about understanding how things work. It’s no surprise that Fedirko naturally gravitated towards men who were mechanically inclined. Before long, she found herself immersed in the world of auto mechanics — digging in, cleaning parts, packing bearings, and more.
During the day, Fedirko worked in the finance world, but took a slight detour into mechanical engineering before eventually returning to finance. In her spare time, her focus was entirely on cars, and Fedirko began by piloting a 1977 Camaro Z28.
I was there at least once a month, if not multiple times,” Fedirko says of her trips to Old Bridge Township’s Raceway Park, more commonly known as Englishtown in New Jersey. “I’ve been down the track in my Z28 on street night and loved it. The first time I raced, I went all the way to second place. That night, I learned about deep staging — I accidentally went deep and then red-lit. The guy who won came over to me and asked if I wanted to know what I did wrong because I would have beaten him had I not red-lit. I’ve always appreciated leaning or reaching back to help the person behind you.”
The Car Collecting Begins
Fedirko expanded her collection to include a wide variety of vehicles, but muscle cars always held a special place in her life. In addition to a Plymouth Duster, her garage welcomed several other Camaros over the years. Fate intervened on New Jersey’s infamous Garden State Parkway, where Fedirko met her future husband, Keith, through their mutual admiration for each other’s cars. It was Keith who played a pivotal role in turning Fedirko’s dream of owning a Mustang into reality. Despite being a lifelong Mustang enthusiast, Keith, knowing his wife well, wisely avoided choosing a “secretary’s car,” as the Ford ads often portrayed the Mustang to be.
“He was recovering from a leg injury for over 12 weeks and came across a Mustang that he thought we could buy for my birthday,” Fedirko explains. “Knowing my lifelong love for Mustangs, he decided to surprise me. In the past, I had a neighbor with a fastback parked under a tarp in his backyard. I would often ask him to sell it to me, but it never worked out. I’ve always been drawn to the 1967-68 models. Being a chassis builder, my husband recognized the potential of the Mustang he found and had plans to transform it into a fastback.”
Enter The Mustang
The coupe was purchased from a car dealer in Iowa in August 2019, and Keith arranged to have it shipped east and delivered to their home. Lori didn’t believe it was actually coming, but it arrived on her father’s birthday.
As Lori explains, “the Mustang was a little rough, but it had the bones of a badass street car beneath the sheet metal, and the 6-71 supercharger sitting atop its 302 cubic inch engine rose above it. We began making safety and tech upgrades, including power steering, disc brakes at all four corners, new wiring throughout to address electrical issues, and, most importantly, air conditioning — a necessity for me!”
With those upgrades completed, Lori and Keith started attending local car shows. As they drove the Mustang, bugs and gremlins began to appear, kicking off another series of changes to the pony car. They swapped in a four-core radiator with a pair of electric fans, and added a transmission cooler to address some mechanical concerns. Following these mechanical adjustments, the duo turned their attention to cosmetic upgrades, tailoring the Mustang to their liking.
From Retiree To Race Worthy
The concept of Pro Street involves retired race cars being repurposed for street use. However, by Lori’s standards, the Mustang didn’t appear very racy. To enhance its performance, wheelie bars and a parachute were added, along with a custom rear wing. Additionally, Weld Racing‘s Alumastar wheels with double beadlocks were installed, coinciding with the addition of a new pair of Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R radial tires.
“As we were working through the gremlins, I just said, ‘Let’s leave it where it is,’ since we were spending money to make things right. It was on the lift a lot,” Fedirko tells us. “Keith is a chassis builder and constantly sees things he wants to fix. I want my butt in the seat,” she said of her husband’s continual efforts to improve the Mustang.
Before the Mustang hit the road again, the Fedirkos decided to give both the exterior and the engine bay a makeover. “Chrome requires a lot of work and maintenance, but I don’t want to deal with that. I prefer the blacked-out look,” Fedirko explains, referring to the powdercoating and painting that gave everything a sinister appearance.
Once back on the road with the Mustang, Fedirko was enjoying the fruits of their labor and pushing the Mustang’s limits when 12 pounds of boost proved to be a little too much for the 302.
“I was supposed to attend this all-women’s motorfest in Columbus during the summer and was playing around when it gave up,” Fedirko recalls. “We planned to rebuild it for the Turkey Rod run in November, but due to the challenges after Covid, obtaining parts became difficult. While searching for a motor or parts, a friend referred us to TKM Performance, and they had a Dart block in stock. Kevin Mullins is an awesome guy and offers excellent customer service. We collaborated with them to spec out the motor.”
A New Beast Is Built
The new powerplant packs a 363 cubic-inch Ford small-block with Air Flow Research 220cc aluminum heads on top. The old supercharger was replaced with a stage 2 6-71 supercharger from Blower Drive Service. It inhales the atmosphere and pumps gas fuel through a pair of Quick Fuel Technology 650cfm carburetors.
On the exhaust side of the cylinder heads, you’ll find 1.75-inch long-tube headers dumping into 3.5-inch tubing and Flowmaster Race Outlaw mufflers. Horsepower can be anywhere between 800 and 1,300, depending on boost pressure and tuning.
The engine wasn’t the only thing replaced at this time, as the Fedirkos took the opportunity to make additional upgrades.
“I wanted to do everything right,” Lori says. With that in mind, a Performance Automatic Super Comp C4 transmission with a reverse-manual valve body and a 4,000 rpm stall converter were installed, along with a Mark Williams 9-inch rearend featuring 3.50 gears and a Mark Williams chro-moly driveshaft.
The instrumentation inside was upgraded, an 8-point chromoly roll bar, sound deadening, and a nitrous oxide system were all added. One additional trick piece is the Killduff three-speed automatic shifter, similar to the Hurst Lightning Rod shifter, offering a racy Lenco transmission look inside the cockpit.
“If I had a rotisserie, it would have been on that,” Fedirko exclaims. “Keith rebuilt the suspension with new shocks, took out the Panhard bar, and put in an X-link and anti-roll bar.”
Putting A Name To The Face
“As I was going through and making changes, I decided the car was male and thought I would like to name it,” Fedirko tells us. “I didn’t want to rush things; I’ve been into horses and racing, and there was this match-race horse named Ruffian that I identified with. My son gave me a sticker with the crest of the main character in Game of Thrones, one of our favorite shows, and the color matched the car. The theme was born, including naming the car Drogon, after the male red and black dragon that Daenerys rode in the show.”
Channeling the Mother of Dragons, Fedirko had a windshield banner made up that reads ‘Dracaris,’ which is the High Valyrian command for dragons to breathe fire. Additionally, Fedirko added the Targaryen family’s three-headed dragon crest on the back window with additional Valyrian text that reads ‘Valar Morghulis,’ which translates as ‘All men must die.’ Lastly, ‘Drogon’ has been pressed into the rear wing.
A Car For All Generations
The Fedirkos have since put about 1,000 miles on Drogon since the rebuild, often taking the beast for an hour or two to car shows. “I like covering multiple generations with the car,” Lori tells us. “The little kids like the eyes. The older kids appreciate the LED headlights, and the adults love the car.” Fedirko expressed her hope that the Mustang encourages girls and women to participate in the hobby. She also enjoys meeting new people with the same interest at car shows and events.