So with that bit of history out of the way, what has been done to this particular Fourth-Gen? After a couple of false starts and bad experiences at some other (now defunct) area shops, Dan contacted Kirk Dearhamer at Automotive Performance Engineering in Clinton Township, Michigan, to get his Bird flying right. Well, lift that SLP WS6-style Ram Air hood, and gaze upon an Edelbrock 58mm throttle body and a ported stock intake fed by a three-core-intercooled ATI ProCharger, pumping out 9.5 pounds of boost through the 10:1 compression powerplant with a stock bottom end. A Comp Cams 305 bumpstick (.544 lift with the Comp 1.6:1 roller rockers Dan has installed, and 220/230 degrees duration) tickles the lifters. Fuel is delivered via two separate pumps-the in-tank unit remains stock while the chassis pump is an ATI/Bosch unit rated up to 600 hp; that pump feeds a recently installed set of ACCEL 32-pound injectors. Stock aluminum heads were yanked so they could be ported, polished, and flowed; exhaust gasses are now expelled via long-tube BBK headers featuring 1 5/8 primaries and a 3-inch collector, a BBK Y-pipe and a complete B&B Performance 3-inch Tri-Flow stainless exhaust including muffler and tips. A full MSD ignition, including 6AL box, Blaster coil and 8mm wires, has been installed since these photos were taken. (Hey, it's a moving target. Improvements wait for no man-or magazine.) A Centerforce clutch transfers the torque to the T-56 and 3.42 gears multiplies it and puts it to the ground.
"I leave between 3,500 and 4,000 rpm out of the hole," Dan reports. "I shift at 5,800 rpm, and I'm through the traps just as I get into 4th gear...it really puts me back in my seat!" That it does, to the tune of 11.90s at 120 mph. With 500 dyno-tested horsepower at the wheels, we are not surprised at the trap speed.
Considerable attention has been paid to the suspension as well. First up is a set of welded-in RK Sport subframe connectors to get unibody slop out of the equation; an RK Sport front strut tower brace further reduces front-end flex. Eibach springs lower the proceedings a full inch and a half, and RK Sport traction bars and panhard bar work to prove that good handling and hard launching need not be mutually exclusive. Three-piece 17-inch aluminum Enkei rims (17x9.5 all) roll on Z-rated BFGoodrich Comp T/As (285/40s front, 315/35s rear). Healthy Baer Claw brakes (13-inch rotors in front, 12s in back; brake calipers were polished, while the brake hats themselves are painted medium Garnet Red Metalllic to match the bodywork) grind things to a halt when the party's over. Aggressive Auto took care of the chassis work as well.
Bodywise, large chunks needed to be redone after the incident in Indy, but as it sits now, dealer-installed '96 ground effects and a set of '98 taillights were added, as well as a custom faded silver stripe up the nose and back down the tail again done by Elite Auto Body in Clinton Township, Michigan; after the fireworks, Cawood Auto Body of Port Huron, Michigan tended to repairs and cleanup.
Inside, the most obvious addition is the bolt-in 6-point roll cage by wolferacing.com, though the A-pillar-mounted Auto Meter Pro Comp fuel and boost gauges help Dan monitor what's happening. (A dash-mounted tach has been added since these photos were taken.) The rest amounts to trim pieces, including spraying the sill plates, climate control and stereo fascias, and door handle pull surrounds silver, which does more than you'd think to brighten things up in the cabin. Sharp new pedal faces are part of the mix too.
Jealous stares from all corners, however, come standard.