Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy Josh Klugger
Radial record-setter Josh Klugger has been quiet lately, but he’s ready to make all sorts of noise as his new project nears completion. A mainstay on the small tire circuit, including NMCA Mickey Thompson Radial Wars competition, Klugger has set plenty of records and isn’t afraid of a challenge. Now, he’ll be shaking down a killer new build on center stage as the whole world watches.
From his home in Ocala, Florida, Klugger has been working with Skinny Kid Race Cars in Michigan for the past year. “Bill Gilsbach did an absolutely incredible job putting this thing together, and the whole Skinny Kid team has been top-notch throughout it all,” said Klugger of how his ’67 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 fastback took shape.
The finished product yielded a Pro Mod-style, double frame rail 25.2 chassis. “We went with a 548 ci Hemi engine from Pro Line Racing because we believe it makes more power,” Klugger added of the powerplant selection. Atop the engine, a one-off, all-billet intake manifold from Visner Engine Development sits proudly. Inside, a rotating assembly comprised of BME rods and pistons with a Sonny Bryant crankshaft can be found. Flanking each bank is an Alan Johnson outlaw head, stuffed with Jesel valvetrain components.
Klugger has been a part of Team Garrett for a while, so it made perfect sense for him to stick with the brand when it came to boost. “We’ll be running twin 106mm turbos, or whatever the class rules dictate where we wind up running,” he shared of his plans which include plenty of radial tire racing and maybe even some Outlaw 10.5 stuff to get back to his roots.
Having power is great, but it’s useless without an effective way to transfer it to the ground – and so Klugger has chosen a Proformance Racing Transmissions TH400 and ProTorque lock-up converter. Rounding out the drivetrain is a Skinny Kid custom 10” full-floater rear end with a billet Carmack Engineering third member and axles from Strange Engineering.
Of course, Klugger also chose a top of the line FuelTech FT600 engine management system to work harmoniously with the PLR bullet. “We’re running FuelTech’s ignition coils, boost controller, and data logger – there’s no MSD or Racepak on the car at all, it’s all FuelTech,” Klugger clarified, “And Jamie Miller and the Red Hat Mafia will be tuning on it.”
Once the chassis and mechanicals were all set, the potential was wrapped in a Dynacorn reproduction ’67 Mustang fastback steel body supplied by National Parts Depot and Klugger had Alan Pennywitt spray the Mopar PSC billet silver metallic.
Now, Klugger’s ‘67 is being sent to Menscer Motorsports where mastermind Mark Menscer will be setting up the suspension, which includes a set of four-way adjustable AFCO by Menscer shocks and struts. “Then it’ll go to RK Racecraft and Homier Fabrications for fuel/oil plumbing and wiring, then finally to FuelTech to get on the dyno,” Klugger continued.
With his previous blue Fox body coupe now firmly in the hands of new owners, Klugger’s eager to get back to driving himself and will be taking his gorgeous new ’67 fastback out for its first shakedown runs in late January of 2019 before making its official debut at Donald Long’s “Lights Out 10” race in February at South Georgia Motorsports Park with trusted crew guys Steve Cooks, Kevin “Flash” Fiscus, and Johnny “Drama” Maguda close at hand.