Ok, admit it. At one time or another you've sat around dreaming about
the ultimate Mustang you'd like to build. Heads, cam, blower, and nitrous
included, of course. What seperates Mustang owners; however, is that some
make their dream
come true. Some owners have connections, some get sponsers, and most just spend
lots of money to make it happen. Then once in a while, someone comes along
that not only makes their dream happen, but helps to make ours happen as
well. Lidio Iacobelli, of Mt. Clemens Michigan, is such a person. He had
already owned a Mustang for many years and during the late eighties worked
at a Ford Dealership. His dream was not only to build a hot Mustang, but
to build a business where he could work with his favorite interest and
help others build their dream cars too. So, in 1990, Lidio started his
own business part time, Alternative Performance, while still
working at the Ford dealership. Through hard work and making lots of noise
with his '88 Lx, the business started to flow, and Lidio was able to leave
his job to make his business a full time project. The day I arrived at
Alternative Performance, I got a chance to see one of the dream machines
that Lidio had completed for customer Jeff Richards. A beautiful late model
Ford Lightening truck sporting a Kuntz & Company 414 stroker engine.
Bolted on top of this 351 stroker was a set of stage I ported Dart Sr. 2.02 /
1.60 heads and a ported GT-40 lower with a Downs box upper. As if this
wasn't already enough, this huge motor is being force fed with an S-Trim
Vortech supercharger set-up for 9 pounds of boost and fed with 36 lb injectors.
This 600 plus horsepower mill should move even this 4500 lb truck into
the flat 12's. This engine would certainly be a 9 second motor in most
In the past, you may have seen Lidio Iacobelli's yellow '88 Lx Mustang
featured in the hard print magazines. After all, the non-stripped, 3400
Lb car with driver has blistered off 10.60's at 128 Mph through mufflers
and Hi-flow cats! However, you may not know about Lidio's other Screamer.
His 1979 351 Windsor powered Mustang! This car has put a lot history behind
it since Lidio was given the car in 1984, at the age of 17, by his father
who purchased it from the original owner. The car was equipped with a V8,
TRX package, and for the first several years the car was driven as a daily
driver, racking up 70,000 miles. In '87, Lidio swapped out the cam with
a performance flat tappet and ported a set of 289 heads for the mill. The
car responded by running mid 12's! Unfortunetly, Lidio was in for some
disappointment. In 1989, he was in Detroit with the car and went out on
French Rd. to street race. He doesn't know exactly what happened for sure,
but the ass end of the car came out from under him while racing another
vehicle. This caused him to loose control of the car. He ended up smashing
into a parked car which took out his rear quarter panel. Luckily no one
was injured in this exploit, but as a result the car received it's first
new paint job ever. After this, it was time to whip the car back into shape.
So in 1988, the car was updated a lot with new gauges, carpet, a dash board,
and tinted windows. After this, nothing was done to the car again until 1992 when
his Stang received a stock, hydrualic roller 302 short block. A Wolverine
camshaft replaced the stock one and the ported 289 heads were kept. To
top off the motor, a Victor Junior intake was used and Ford Motorsport
1 5/8" headers channeled out the exhaust. At this point, Lidio was
ready to run again and was expecting a nice gain. However, with 4.56 gearing
this latest combination still ran mid 12's! Lidio was feeling a little
disappointment, yet again, to say the least.
Dissappointed yes, discouraged no! In 1993, Lidio pulled the 302
mill out and in its place went a freshly built 351 Windsor. The crank is
a bone stock 351W piece, which has been turned .10 - .10 and is still externally
balanced. The short block was squared, decked, and
fully balanced with an SFI approved dampener and stock flex plate by the
local, Impastato Racing Engines. They cleaned up and beam polished a set
of stock 400M rods to connect with the custom forged, Venolia pistons.
Finally, a big, solid roller, 274 duration @ .050, .600" plus lift
camshaft was installed to make it complete. After which, the top of the
motor was treated to a pair of iron TFS heads with 2.05 / 1.62 valves that
were fully ported by Ron Sharp's Cylinder Heads, of Mt. Clemens, Michigan,
and made to flow a monsterous 320 cfm on the intake and 220 cfm on the
exhaust. The chambers on these monsters were also angle milled down to
47cc's to bring the overall compression up to 13.2:1! All this is fed with
air and fuel through an analog Holly Pro-jection system connected to a
Victory Junior intake with only minor plenum deburring and a little port
matching. The Pro-jection unit has been modified by raising the pod .5"
and porting the inside of the unit. Lidio believes that this has increased
the flow from the rated 900 cfm to 950 cfm which he
attributes to the cars excellent throttle response. The ignition is handled by a MSD
6AL box and distributor. All the gasses are sent through a complete 3"
exhaust system both on the street and the track. The torque this motor
generates is sent through a manual valve body, C-4 tranny that Lidio built
himself. The killer power this mill makes isn't the only reason why this
Mustang pulls the wheels several feet off the ground though! It's set-up
with Eibach drag springs that have airbags, drag shocks, and racing struts.
These components, along with some weight reduction makes for excellent
weight transfer to firmly plant the cars 10" slicks apon launch. This
combination yielded times around the 10.60 mark. This was great until the
summer of 1995 when one of the solid lifters broke in the engine and dropped
down to break a rod! This caused Lidio to miss every major event with the
car that year. Yet again, another dissapointment.
Once again Lidio took the disappointment in stride. He touched up
the heads and put the motor back together the same way. He played with
the stall and got this beast down to 10.42 at 128 Mph! Soon he will be
switching the analog Pro-jection system on the car to the new digital (DI)
Pro-jection system. This system should be much more versatile than the
tricky to tune, analog system. He feels that this change, along with doing
more extensive work on the Victory Junior intake, (that's actually a hundred
thousandths off or more from the ports) will enable the car to pick up
two more tenths. This year, he seriously plans to make most of the major
events with his 351 Screamer, and, once again, make lots of noise.
Unless, heaven forbid, he should break something we think he'll succeed!
You might keep an eye out for him at one of the big events. In fact, he
will be tearing up the track with this car down at the Spring Break Shootout,
March 8th - 10th, at Bradenton Florida. Also, even though the pump gas
in this motor is mixed with racing fuel because of the compression level,
don't think that you won't see it on the streets. This car is driven around
Mt. Clemens from time to time, and if you keep a sharp eye out, you just
might catch a glimps. Although, it could be a real short one!