(Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

Any car builder will tell you that fast costs money. But, as Sloppy Mechanics demonstrates, there are still ways to build a wicked-quick car without help from Fort Knox.

Hence the genesis for this “Eight for Eight” build: A 1995 Ford Mustang GT that will run into the 8s, while staying within an $8,000 budget.

The SN95: A Solid Starting Point

Have you seen Fox Body prices lately? Fear not, because later 1994-2004 “SN95” era Ford Mustangs represent a good value still today, and the early 1994-98 cars that came before the “New Edge” makeover tend to be the most affordable.

And while the $8K budget is a tall task for sure, Sloppy Mechanics didn’t start with any old SN95. In addition to being a solid, rust-free car, this Mustang was actually another racer’s stalled project. That meant Sloppy Mechanics was able to get the roller relatively cheap—and it already had a bunch of race-ready parts installed, which we’ll get to in a sec.

In short, this build follows a prudent strategy of finding a less desirable car that already has some work done as the basis for a project.

Hang out in enough automotive forums and online classifieds, and you’ll discover that these types of half-done project cars are far more common than you’d think.

Here’s the SN95 project car as it arrived to Sloppy Mechanics. No motor or trans, and riding on Jeep wheels with unbolted brake calipers. Still, it had some pleasant surprises that made the 8F8 project far easier and cheaper than starting with a car that’s bone stock. (Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

The 8F8 Blueprint

So, what does it take to push a 1995 Ford Mustang GT past the quarter-mile beams in 8.99 seconds (or less)?

From fuel cell plumbing to some essential fabrication, a lot of the tough work was already done, making the SN95 a nice blank canvas. (Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

For starters, we mentioned that this particular Mustang had already begun a racing makeover and included some smart performance upgrades with the initial purchase price. Even better, a lot of the tedious work of removing the old, unused stuff was already done, so Sloppy Mechanics just needed to carry the project through the final stages.

Or in other words, skip right to the fun part.

Here’s a list of some of the upgrade parts installed by the previous owner:

^^^All of that jazz, plus the car, for two grand. So yeah, Sloppy Mechanics really lucked out a bit with the initial purchase. But there’s still a lot of work to be done—namely under the hood, where astute readers will notice there isn’t an engine OR a transmission. So…..

The 8F8 Ford Mustang GM LS Engine Swap

Ford purists may want to skip this next section.. (Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

C’mon, don’t act surprised when you see an LS stuffed in under the hood of a (GASP!) Ford Mustang. Sloppy Mechanics loves LS engines, and a lot of racers do too. LS engines are cheap, compact, and can make big power. And given the 8F8’s 700(ish) hp power goals and budget constraints, the LS is the easiest path.

Sloppy Mechanics’ build initially started with a “4.8L” LS plucked from a junkyard. A teardown revealed that it was actually a 5.3L. And not just any 5.3L either, one that had been built-up with some quality performance parts.

Unfortunately that engine was toast—its block destroyed by excessive crank thrust caused by a missing cam plate O-ring. (Yeah, make sure to sweat the details on your engine build, gang.)

Undaunted, another junkyard 4.8 was promptly acquired, disassembled, and rebuilt. 8F8’s new engine still uses its stock heads, but it’s running an aftermarket performance cam, PAC springs, and new valvetrain. There was even room in the budget for the newer Trailblazer SS intake, along with fuel rails and upgraded injectors to better feed the LS with E85. Engine management happens via a Holley Terminator X system.

We could spend pages describing the nuances of the engine buildup, but Sloppy Mechanics does a way better job in its own video series. Start here.

An LS vacationing in Dearborn. (Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

Of course, there’s the turbo too. It’s a cast 75mm S475 VS Racing Turbocharger fed by the stock exhaust manifolds, and features a four inch intercooler and dual 44mm VS Racing wastegates. The five inch, side-exit downpipe is a nice touch too.

Power is sent through a built GM TH400 automatic. After some tweaks on the dyno, the engine made 730 horsepower.

Want to see the numbers? Keep scrolling… (Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

8F8 Success?

So, by now you’re probably wondering if the Sloppy Mechanics 8 seconds for 8 grand project hit its mark. Well, see for yourself:

(Image/Sloppy Mechanics)

Yep, after a lot of hard work, 8F8 easily cracked the 8s with an incredibly impressive 8.858-second, 153.51 mph run. Want to see the magic in action? Check out the video here.

We’ve mentioned earlier that Sloppy Mechanics made a complete video series on this project. Click Here to Start With Episode One.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.