Photography Courtesy of Holley Performance Products
When he’s not turning wrenches at the family business, Capizzi Automotive, Holland, Michigan’s Jon Capizzi has a bit of fun of his own in his Fox-Body Mustang. During the Turkey Bash 2K19 event at Ohio Valley Dragway in Kentucky, Capizzi was testing for the race and clicked off a 4.506 at 155.70mph pass and while that elapsed time is impressive enough, it was done with a bone stock 5.3-liter short-block out of a 2011 Suburban, thereby setting the record for an LS-based, stock bottom end (SBE).
The record-setting powerplant is actually the second LS engine that Capizzi has had in this Mustang, but a fuel system issue caused a lean condition and burned up it at the 2019 LS Fest.
“These things are amazing in most every attribute,” Capizzi told us. “It’s a $350 core that had two lifters wiped out. It was going to be scrapped. I cleaned it up with brake cleaner and sent it on down the track.”
Prior to his LS-powered performances, Capizzi did own a Ford-powered, 8-second SN95 Mustang with a Dart-based small-block Ford. Capizzi, however, is friends with the folks at Baker Engineering, who happen to build the baddest LS engines for another friend of his, LS elapsed time record holder David Adkins.
“Four years ago we got the hair-brained idea to LS swap a Mustang, so my street car went 4.80s with an L33,” Capizzi explained. “I didn’t want to make that car a real race car, so I bought current car last fall from a friend of mine who was looking to offload it.”
Capizzi’s “street car,” a 1988 Mustang coupe, went 8.96 at 152 and purportedly clocked the first 7-second run with a junkyard-based LS engine.
“They’ll live a 100 passes going that fast,” Capizzi said.
The latest car is a 1987 notchback chassis with a 4-link rearend, and Capizzi fitted its LC9 5.3-liter engine to a Capizzi Transmission Magician-built Powerglide with a PTC torque converter.
According to Capizzi, the bottom end has remained stock, right down to the stock fasteners, but the top half of the engine got a few upgrades, including some hand-porting work to the stock 243 cylinder heads castings. Capizzi also stuffed the short-block with a custom Baker Engineering hydraulic roller camshaft and topped the engine off with a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold. Intake manifold pressure comes from a Garrett Gen 2 88mm turbo, and Capizzi relies on a Holley Dominator EFI system to manage the engine as well as inform him of its performance.
“David [Adkins] and myself and my dad went to the Holley tuning class in fall of 2015,” Capizzi said. “I wanted to learn more because we were switching David’s Impala over to Holley. I ended up buying a Holley EFI system for my other car. Holley is fantastic stuff—it’s half the reason we’re able to do what we do.”
Since that initial tuning class, Capizzi has become quite familiar with the Holley EFI system and performed a baseline calibration to the methanol-burning machine using the Capizzi Automotive chassis dyno. Turning the stock bottom end to 8,700 rpm, Capizzi logged 994 rwhp at a conservative 15.4 psi of boost.
“It made 29.6 lbs at peak during the 4.50 run. I’m comfortable running 40! We’re not out of motor yet—I think we can go a sub-1-second 60-ft. time and run 4.30s with the junkyard Suburban motor!”
As snow is falling in Michigan already, Capizzi is pretty sure he’s done for this year, but he’ll be making some changes over the winter to his “professional test and tune car.” Plans include re-gearing the Mustang for some quarter-mile elapsed times, and to allow it to run in some other classes.
“It should go 6.80s at about 200 mph,” Capizzi told us. To us, that sounds like more records are in the works for the stock-bottom end Suburban bully.