Photos Courtesy of Michael Bunton
There’s no such thing as a “finished” project car, and Michael Bunton’s former street car has once again taken a step forward in its evolution towards a bigger, badder, faster version of itself.
At first, the goal was to simply run 6.50-second eighth-mile elapsed times with his ’93 Mustang, which Bunton acquired in 2011 as a nitrous-assisted and LS-powered pony. He soon switched the Fox body to a turbocharged setup, and dipped into the 5.30s zone. In 2015, Bunton, who resides near Savannah, Georgia, with his wife, Blaine, teamed up with FuelTech and it’s been full steam ahead for the group ever since.
While running at Donald “Duck” Long’s “No Mercy 8” race at South Georgia Motorsports Park in October, 2017, Bunton clicked off a new personal best of 4.45 at 165 mph. Despite the huge improvements over his original numbers, he wanted more.
“Right after Thanksgiving, Matt Ryan of MattFab and I gutted everything and built the 25.3 cage. It’s like a little Pro Mod now,” laughed Bunton of the stock suspension-style chassis. The guys had the work completed by early December, managing it in just two weeks, and the result dropped approximately one-hundred pounds from the Mustang’s weight.
It wasn’t just the chassis upgrade that was on Bunton’s task list, though, as he also added upper and lower torque boxes from Marcus Warrick Racing. “We also finally converted the car from a four-lug to a five-lug setup, with Holeshot five-lug wheels,” he added excitedly. Additionally, Bunton narrowed the rear, which uses a Ford 8.8 rear end, lowered the car itself approximately two inches, and lowered the drivetrain itself as well. “I wanted to get away from the street car that it was. We mostly concentrated on building a bad ass chassis for my little motor. Before, it had too much power for the 8.50 cage and would wheelie.”
The addition of carbon fiber doors and a carbon fiber deck lid, all from CFM Motorsports, were also added during the winter. Bunton knew that as he improved his power to weight ratio, he would need better stopping ability as well, so he beefed up the brakes with a set from Strange on the back and Wilwoods on the front.
Under the hood, not much has changed in Bunton’s hot rod. “I’m using the same 388 ci LSX engine built by Pro Line Racing with Brian Tooley heads, cam, and valvetrain, that I ran before,” he confirmed. Sitting atop a Maven Performance Products mount, a single 98mm Garrett turbocharger from Forced Induction provides the boost to the PLR bullet while a variety of Race Part Solutions components bring it all together. Power is hustled to the ground via a Neal Racing transmission and PTC torque converter combination while a host of UPR Products suspension components and Menscer Motorsports shocks help all the power to be used as best as possible.
Unsurprisingly, Bunton is sticking with his tried-and-true FuelTech FT600 system for the 2018 season as well. “That system is the only electronics on the car, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought. I’d be nowhere without FuelTech, and they help so much at the track. Every fast car runs their stuff and there’s a reason for that!” he stated, adding that he is also proud to have joined the FuelTech family as a distributor and installer as well.
With the first big race of the season fast approaching, Long’s “Lights Out 9” in February, 2018, Bunton can’t wait to see his hard work come to fruition. He’ll debut the enhanced Fox body at the event in the Pro 275 category, then continue on doing local No Time and grudge race events in Georgia and the Carolinas along with a few other “King of the Hill” type races, while also assisting his customers at races of their own.