PHIL KOSTKA'S1988 Ford MustangLX

Phil Kostka's 1988 Ford Mustang LX
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1988 Ford Mustang




Vehicle Summary

A 1988 Mustang designed for cruising, canyon roads, and autocross.

Horsepower280 HP
Torque300 LB-FT
Curb Weight3200 LB
Engine Size5.0 L
Transmission Type5-Speed Manual

The Story

1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I didn't pick the Grey Ghost, it picked me. My Mustang was purchased brand-new in 1988 by my Grandpa. He ordered the lighter LX model, but as a hatchback for functionality, with the 5.0 V8 for power, AOD for ease of driving, along with a number of options like power windows and cruise to keep a little bit of luxury. He gifted the car to me when I turned 18. I've been surrounded by fox-chassis Fords for most of my life - my mom bought her 1986 Mustang GT in 1987 and my dad has been swapping V8's into fox-chassis wagons for a while. There is a picture of the car brand new in the gallery, with me as a very young boy. Cars are my obsession, not a hobby. 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? The mod list is long! My grandpa didn't leave his vehicles stock and neither do I. He added Edelbrock heads, Crane cam, JBA headers, 70mm TB/EGR, 76mm MAF, underdrive pulleys, 24 lb-hr injectors, 190 lph fuel pump, 1.72 roller rockers, and at the time a decent suspension and 5-lug swap with Lincoln parts. Since then, I've added/swapped/updated the car with a tubular GT40 intake with ported lower, MAC exhaust, SN95 13" Cobra brakes, SN95 5-lug conversion, Maximum Motorsports coil-overs, Maximum Motorsports rear lower control arms, swapped to a Tremec TR-3550 5-speed manual, 3.73 gears, 18x9/18x0 SVE Drift wheels iwth Hankook Ventus V12 tires, electric fan swap, 3G alternator upgrade, high-torque mini starter, and recently upgraded wiring for the starter and alternator along with a slew of LED lighting updates to keep the reliability factor high. 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? The Tremec TR-3550. The car was ordered with an automatic, and the manual absolutely awakened the car. It was always fun but the manual makes it a beast. #savethemanuals 4. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? I do a ton of research, usually though forums (, Facebook, SCCA autocross buddies #teamBMO , and magazines. I like to support American businesses as much as possible. When installing parts, don't be afraid to repeatedly trial fit! It often occurs that an aftermarket part needs some changes right out of the box. 5. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? Up until my recent move to Texas, keeping the car smog-legal. Modified foxes are always hard to smog, but I don't worry about that anymore. Also, old wiring. With a car built at a less-than-optimal time in America's automotive history, correcting insufficient factory wiring and updating components to modern standards has really helped improve the reliability and therefore enjoyability I get out of the car. 6. What are you planning next? Suspension updates, mainly a panhard bar/pm3l combo. The factory 4-link rear suspension is a band-aid on the best day. I also plan to continue to make the car reliable while keeping up the fun factor. I want a weekend warrior I'm not afraid to beat on at the track or autocross, then drive home.

Comments (6)
8 here now

[]Craig Crall

Phil, what kind of HP are you making? just curios. Nice car BTW.

[]Phil Kostka

Current setup hasn't been dyno'd, but based on other foxes with similar setups, roughly 280 to the wheels. before the gt40 intake, x-pipe and exhaust, and when it was aod, it dyno'd at 250hp/288ftlb

[]Craig Crall

I see. Looks like you have it well sorted. What kind of tuning apparatus are you using?

I take it your Mustang is a work in progress, what's next for you; a 3 link maybe, or more power?

[]Phil Kostka

Current it's on the stock ECU/tune. The MAF is calibrated for the 24lb injectors. I'm aware its not optimal. Next is a Moates QuarterHorse to tune it DIY. Found a few great guides I'll be posting about once I dive into it. Then do some maintenance stuff: get the AC working, replace the cracked windshield, and maybe some paint. Then suspension, Panhard Bar and probably Torque Arm over a 3-link, as the packaging is easier in a fox. At this point, I'm fine with the power it has. It just needs more grip and better handling.

[]Craig Crall

I've been using the 1/4 Horse since way back, on several different vehicles, Excellent company.

I'm also using Binary Editor software. Initially there's a bit to take in, but in the case of your car, your ECU's are so well supported that you can grab all kinds of templates and you're done.

My car is far less supported, so I'm kind of out in the wind an on my own, so it's been a lot of trial and error for me.

[]Robert Sixto

Sweet fox body, I like the wheel choice, not a style I see very often on these but I think it works! 👍

Phil Kostka198 days ago

Updated the wiring to eliminate the factory solenoid, and added a bus bar for better power distribution.

Phil Kostka365 days ago

switched out my broken lincoln mk vii fan to the 96-99 contour v6 dual fan setup. hooray.

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