Sometimes, change is necessary in order to move forward. When Missouri-based racer Tony Hobson realized his old car just wasn’t cutting it anymore, he decided to get rolling with something new – Manny Buginga’s famed Fox body.
Hobson, who has campaigned his AEM-backed ’14 Ford Mustang out of the JPC Racing camp in NMRA Edelbrock Renegade and NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw for years, knew his time with the ProCharged S197 was coming to an end.
“I needed that car to be a lot lighter than it was to put more ballast in to switch between the small blower and big blower, and I couldn’t get it down to weight with the smaller one,” noted Hobson, who also knew the car needed some more bars and fabrication work.
He wasn’t even looking for a new car just yet, but heard Buginga had put his red, white, and blue Mustang up on the market for sale.
“I scrounged up the money and bought it before I even sold mine,” laughed Hobson, whose new pony car was significantly lighter than his prior one and came with a 25.2 chassis. “It’s just a better car overall. I can take my car to this level, but it would take a lot of money and I didn’t want the downtime.”
Hobson took ownership of Bunginga’s ride in January of 2020, then sold his ’14 model to an undisclosed buyer in March after racing it at the 2020 U.S. Street Nationals and NMRA Spring Break Shootout – although he has confirmed the car is staying in the NMRA family.
Looking to be more competitive in NMRA VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw and X275 in general, Hobson will use the same DiSomma Racing Engines-built pushrod bullet and Proformance Turbo 400 transmission from his ’14 in the new Fox body. The chassis itself will stay the same, save for housing the new drivetrain, and Hobson will certainly stay with Street Outlaw for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a whole Racecraft car, they built the whole thing,” noted Hobson, who will also keep the Racecraft rear end and Menscer Motorsports rear shocks with Santhuffs in the front. TBM brakes all the way around, along with Weld wheels and Mickey Thompson tires, complete the straightforward yet effective setup.
A new paint job of fresh, clean white from Gordon Morton at Cee-Jay Autobody gave Hobson the perfect “blank slate” to start adding his own mark to the car, and he’s ready to do so as soon as the Covid-19 social distancing protocols are relaxed.
“The Coronavirus shut downs actually worked in my favor, since I was going to miss the Atlanta race anyway to get the new car done,” shared Hobson, who will now be able to make the event after all thanks to the rescheduled date. “Now I’m just thrashing and trying to make sure this new car is more than ready. My coworkers at HPJ Performance have been a huge help and are an integral part of my program.”
Hobson is planning to test locally before the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Illinois, in late May. For a car with so much history, it’ll be exciting for the Ford community to see it come back around once again.