In the Ford world, it is the Mustang that commands all the attention, and drives the cottage performance industry of the late-model Fox-platform. And while that's good enough to entice most Ford fanatics to modify the millions of Mustangs in existence, it wasn't good enough for James Brand. James knows what has inexplicably escaped the legions of Mustang gang-bangers: the Thunderbird shares virtually all its underpinnings-including its powertrain-with the Mustang. In its heyday, the '83-'87 T-bird was the epitome of style, and in Turbo Coupe guise, was a conveyance of some envy. What the Turbo Coupe didn't have was the Mustang GT's fire-eating (for 1983) small-block V-8. Not to worry, as James has addressed that problem quite nicely, thank you. A late-model hydraulic roller 351 massaged by friend Mike Biggs (see previous page) makes the T-bird a solid 11-second player, thanks in part to a cheater nitrous system by NOS. And because it's a Thunderbird instead of a Mustang, the entire family (son, Tyler; daughter, Madison; and wife, Lori) can get in on the fun for the modest outlay of around $21K total. And James' favorite activity with the car? Taking the family out to the Throttle Stoppers cruise in Indianapolis every Friday night.

1983 Ford Thunderbird
James A. Brand
Occupation: Union pipe fitter and plumber
Hometown: Pendleton, IN
Best Prior e.t.: 11.70/118
True Street e.t. Average: 12.692

Engine: Small-block Ford 351 Windsor
Displacement: 358 ci
Compression: 10:1
Cylinder heads: TFS aluminum Track Heat, 2.02/1.60 valves
Camshaft: COMP hydraulic roller, custom by Biggs
Rocker arms: Harland Sharp, 1.6 ratio
Lifters: stock hydraulic roller lifters
Intake manifold: Edelbrock Air Gap
Carburetor: Barry Grant Speed Demon 750
Power-adder: NOS 150hp cheater plate
Rotating assembly: stock
Transmission: Ford C4, built by Mike Biggs
Converter: Hughes 10-inch 3,500-stall
Rearend: stock 8.8-inch Ford with 3.55 gears
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26x7.50-15, front, 325/50-15 Hoosier
Front suspension: stock
Rear suspension: stock, Competition Engineering shocks, boxed stock control arms
Total cost of car: $21,000