Project Lite-Weight — 1983 Mustang Coupe (Notchback), Log 5


Liteweight is finally running! The fuel system is finally finished and we have started the engine. Here is where lite gets heavy.

9-Inch Ford Rear – Lite is using the heavy but ultra reliable Ford 9” rear with the removable center section (also called a pumpkin).

The center section or pumpkin contains the differential, in this case a spool, along with a 4.56 ring & pinion. It was purchased from Rich Demarco as he will be stepping up his parts from a 31 to 40 spline setup. (see future Hot Street article). The axles are 5-lug and the Moser housing is a bit shorter than the standard 8.8 Mustang housing which aids in tire and rim selection. Although the emphasis of this project is to build an ultra lightweight vehicle, we felt the use of a 9 inch rear is just good old fashioned muscle car necessity. The 8.8 rear requires several modifications once you start going faster. C-clip eliminators (positive axle retention) is a necessity and are not to be used with disc brakes. Project lite is also using a Willwood lightweight rear disc brake setup, hopefully offsetting some of the girth added by this rear end setup.

9-Inch Rearend.
  1. Lakewood Safety bellhousing (scattershield) – Once again in the name of NHRA legality, the steel bellhousing is mandated by the NHRA on any manual transmission car running 11.99 or faster.
  2. Tremec Transmission – T5 transmissions just don’t hold up to the rigors of drag racing nowadays, so the heavier Tremec 3550 is the obvious choice, heavier, but a necessity.
  3. Another area where this project is not exactly light is in the engine compartment. Mike’s motor sports World Products cast iron Windsor Sr. cylinder heads. One of the heaviest aftermarket heads out there. The only reason we are running these is because they were already on this existing motor! The forged TRW pistons are also not of the lightweight variety ie: SRP,Ross,Wiseco,etc. Once again, already part of the existing package.
Complete Engine Assembly.

Although project lite has gotten a bit heavy, it has all been done in the name of safety and durability. The combination will still be on the lighter side of most late model mustangs out there. See ya on the scales!

Next Up – Putting in the rear end package, 8- Point roll bar, and support group.



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