While the drag racing season is in full swing, Landspeed racers like Keith and Craig Black of Stanton, California are in the middle of a thrash to make the first S.C.T.A. event of the season in May on El Mirage’s dry lake.
We’ve been following the the Black Racing Team since last year and after a disappointing engine failure at the last meet, they are currently gearing up both of their Landspeed entries to break records in 2014. Their Streamliner is in the process of getting a 496 ci big-block Ford by Rapp Racing in Huntington Beach, California, but what we’re really interested in is lurking right behind it.
For the past five years, a 1990 Mustang LX coupe has been the Black Brothers’ weapon of choice in the quest for speed on the dirt and salt flats of California. The Blacks run in the Modified category (Un-blown Gas Altered) with a B series engine (B/GALT). The different classes are separated by engine cubic inch, for example a 427 is a B engine, whereas 440 ci and larger get into the A and AA categories. The record to beat in their class is currently 204.978 mph set by the LaBine & Rowe team back in 2002. So far, the home-built Mustang has run a best of 184.98 mph, but with a new, higher compression small-block Ford engine, the record is dead-set in their sights.
The dry lake entry is an interesting culmination of parts that include an ex-Robbie Gordon Baja chase van engine, a gifted Mustang LX, and what we thought was really amazing; a stock-internal T-5 Tremec transmission the team ran for the past five seasons, which held up just fine with a Hurst bellhousing Centerforce clutch and Tilton Engineering hydraulic clutch cylinder.We are accustomed to seeing Fox body Mustangs set up for drag racing, however, this one is set up a little differently. It features chassis modifications you can only see on this type of ultimate-speed hot rod, such as a raised floor (6-inches), lack of front brakes, and super-long, outward-pointed struts that are designed to keep the wheels pointed straight at all times. The brothers were able to design the cage, front suspension geometry and steering with the help of fellow Landspeed racer Dave Cox and Dale and Dave’s Frame and Alignment in Huntington Beach, California.
The stroked Windsor under the cowl of the Mustang used to power Keith’s daily-driven hot rod Ford Van, that is, until he decided to go racing. Components include a stock block, Edelbrock Victor Jr. cylinder heads, RPM crank and rods, and a cam with about 0.600 lift and 240 degrees of duration at .050. The basic combination was guestimated to make around 500 hp. We are speaking in the past tense about this engine because at the last race of the season, the cast crank they were using finally gave up, so a high-compression engine is currently in the works at Black Racing. Upgrades include 14:1 compression pistons, port-work to the intake and heads, and a larger camshaft that should push power levels to the 650 range. Behind the engine is a Tremec T-5 trans equipped with a SFi bellhousing, Tilton hydraulic throwout bearing, and Centerforce Dual Friction clutch. The rear end is a 9-inch with 3.23 gears and an Eaton TruTrac posi.
The most impressive part of this car is the chassis work, which was all done at Keith’s home. To get the car as low as possible, the stock floor was raised 6-inches and customized suspension pieces were used to align the steering rack. Unlike drag racing where you want your car as light as possible, this car has added weight to keep it planted to salt at top speeds. Other details include a mild steel cage, fire system, and dual batteries.
The exterior of the Mustang includes a 4-inch fiberglass cowl from Harwood, custom made aluminum rear spoiler with sill plates, and Lexan windows. The Lexan windows are actually mandated in the S.C.T.A. rule book; they are for safety, not weight reduction. The military green accents you see on this car was part of a war plane scheme the brothers wanted to go with, but since their Streamliner was already black, they chose to paint the Mustang to match.
Brakes & Suspension
The Mustang stops via rear brakes and a parachute, no front brakes. The K-member, steering spindle, and control arms were all modified to fit the Black’s specifications. A mechanical limiter attached to the control arm holds the front end down during acceleration. Eibach coilovers are bolted up at each corner.
Inside the Dirt Fox is a mild steel cage that wraps around the driver. A fabricated transmission tunnel houses a Tremec T-5, while a pivoting steering wheel and AutoMeter gauges sit in plain view. A Kirkey Racing seat and Deist harnesses keeps the driver secured during high mph blasts down the lake bed.
This season, the Black brothers lowered their engine’s cubic inch to 418 ci, which means they will be competing to the class B record in GALT at El Mirage. Although this record has yet to be claimed, the brothers will need to get the Mustang to run 205 mph to stake their claim. Will their all-new small-block have the balls to push this dirt Fox past the 200 mark? We will find out in May.