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Finding a Ford-powered Fox-body Mustang at the drag strip is a lot less a certain than in years past. Blame the capability and the power that an LS swap can bring to Ford’s lightweight pony car.
However, Devin Vanderhoof, the owner of HCR Innovations, deliberately chose to not stray from the Ford-powered path. Vanderhoof has been a gearhead and racer since his early days, but unlike a lot of his friends, who preferred their carburetors and the simplicity that they provided, Devin chose to learn everything he could about fuel injection, and was completely undeterred by his buddies’ claim that fuel injection was too confusing to deal with.
His skill with electronics and wiring would take him from helping wire up a friend’s car to becoming “the go-to guy” when a car needed to be sorted out electrically. Originally a side gig that played second-fiddle to careers like telecommunications and CNC machine repair, Devin’s hobby quickly started to eat up more hours in a week than he spent repairing machines.
In 2020, after years of making Holley EFI systems work for drag racing applications, and a racing career that saw over twenty street car shoot-outs, Devin and his fiancée Laura took the plunge and officially opened up HCR Innovations, with Holley Performance parts sales, and on-track tuning support and wiring being the main focus. It’s a labor of love for Vanderhoof…even with the list of cars that they tune, the sixty-plus vehicles he’s rewired from scratch, he couldn’t be happier with his job.
With all of that skill and the drive of a racer at heart, you know that he has to have something special to drive and that’s where this 1993 Ford Mustang comes into play. Purchased originally as a roller in 2008 from a friend for $4,000, this Mustang left the factory as one of the 1,500 “Triple White Fox” convertibles. While the restoration crowd might cringe at the thought, Devin saw a body with 11,000 miles on the clock and a known history…and with few convertibles making that kind of power, that pretty much sealed the deal. Devin sold off all of the triple-white special items, like the convertible top, the interior parts, the Pony wheels, and the unique spoiler for $5,000, then put a 408 cubic inch, carbureted Windsor small-block on nitrous and a C4 automatic in the car. That combination lasted a grand total of three entire days before Vanderhoof’s hatred of carburetors flared up, so the carb was ditched in favor of a turbocharger and fuel injection.
The current powertrain consists of a Ford Racing K351 block with a Callies 3.75-inch Ultra Magnum crankshaft, fitted with BME aluminum rods, and custom Diamond pistons. A Bullet Racing camshaft provides the rhythm for the Smith Brothers pushrods, which connect Bullet lifters to T&D shaft rockers in Blue Thunder 3.6 cylinder heads that were ported by Duane Busch.
A custom sheet metal intake designed by friend Kirk Eger at Redline Performance Cycles, is set up for sixteen Holley 220lb-hr injectors tops the Windsor, and is fed by a Waterman 17gpm mechanical fuel pump and Earl’s Ultraflex 650 fuel hose, which moves any of the three fuels that the Mustang drinks. That’s right, three: pump 93, e85, and methanol are all on the menu! But the party piece for the engine is the Forced Inductions 88mm turbocharger.
TKM Performance in Denton, North Carolina performed all of the machine work, parts specifications, and even machined the top fuel hoops for the copper head gaskets, and Kevin Mullins assembled the engine. A Holley Dominator ECU keeps everything happy, including the injector driver module for the 16 injectors, as well as monitoring EGTs. An MSD Pro600 handles ignition duties, while a Racepak keypad, a Smartwire PDM, a suite of Davis Technologies add-ons round out the electronics. Of course, wiring was handled in-house at HCR Innovations using a completely sealed harness.
All of the power from the high-strung engine is routed through a two-speed TH400 prepared by Cameron’s Torque Converter Services. From there, the twist is sent via a Drive Shaft Shop driveshaft to a Performance Fab-built 9-inch housing that has a Strange Pro Ultra HD center section with 3.90 gears, 40-spline Strange gun-drilled and lightened axles. Mickey Thompson 275/60-15 rubber on RC Components 15x12 double-beadlocked wheels delivers the grip at the track.
Putting over 2,000 horsepower through a Fox chassis doesn’t work without major modifications. The Mustang’s entire floor pan was removed, from the firewall to the taillights, and Matt Smith at Performance Fab in Roebuck, South Carolina built a 25.3 chassis that uses his in-house designed torque boxes and rear frame rails.
Everything was built to work around Vanderhoof’s 6-foot-3 frame, so even with all of the tubework that is required for a convertible to pass safety requirements, there is still plenty of room to stretch out. The all-new firewall still retains factory items and even makes accessing the Holley 12.3-inch digital dash easy via removable titanium panels. The rear of the car, from the seats back, is carbon fiber from Tim McAmis, and that includes the wheel tubs. Under the hood, the factory front frame rails link to a modified strut tower and are connected with tubing throughout the front end for strength. The front suspension utilizes a Racecraft Ultra Swap K-member with a Ford Pinto steering rack, Racecraft control arms, caster/camber plates, a bump steer kit, new spindles and front-end limiters from Innovative Racecraft, while out back Performance Fab upper and lower control arms and a chassis-mounted anti-roll bar control the 9-inch. Menscer Motorsports eight-inch stroke rear canister shocks and springs help the car launch on limited rubber.
That is a lot of gear in one Fox body, but most people will only really pay attention to the outside of the Fox. They might notice the hood and front bumper, which are from Schoneck Composites, or the rear wing, which is a Racecraft piece. Or maybe they will pick up on the clean Oxford White paint that overlays the bodywork, both done by Dayton Clayton at DC Customs in Inman, South Carolina. Together, it weighs in at 3,150 pounds and has been 4.34@168 MPH in the 1/8th mile.
There is a whole audience of people that deserve thanks in the making of this car: Matthew Smith at Performance Fab; Dayton Clayton at DC Customs; Byron Rabon at Cameron’s; Kevin, Eric and Sammy and the whole crew at TKM Performance in Denton, North Carolina; Matt, Colin, Ryan, Keith, Jeff and Doug at Holley; Shannon Davis with Davis Technologies; Kirk and Dan at Redline Performance Cycles; Jordan Tuck, Chris Kenney, and Forrest Kennedy. But most of all, his fiancée Laura deserves quite a bit of the credit. As Devin explained, “On days when I wanted to just give up and part this thing out, she talked me down, encouraged me to stick with it and surpass my goals to make this car what I want it to be. Without all of the people mentioned above, we would not have been able to accomplish all that we have. We are grateful, not only for their hard work and dedication, but for their friendship as well.”