Salt Flats Veteran: 1982 Ford Mustang

Former Bonneville Salt Flats race cars are an interesting breed of competition vehicle. They don’t necessarily have the provenance of a Porsche that raced LeMans, or an Alfa Romeo at Sebring. But they do have to feature some level of construction competence just to survive run after top speed run, and this 1982 Ford Mustang here on eBay is purported to have been one hell of a build back in the day. Bidding is at just over $1K with no reserve. 

The seller notes the Mustang has been off the road for many years, involved in one swap or another and moved between at least two owners. It last ran at Bonneville in 1995, and there are plenty of plaques, stickers and paperwork revealing its salt flat past. The body looks quite good but the damaged taillight is a typical scar of long-term storage; unfortunately, there’s a reason it’s been laid up. Note the parachute mechanism still attached the rear of the car.

The seller tracked down the original engine builder and found out the following: “The engine is a custom built 421ci SBF with dart iron heads, stud girdles, about a 750-800 lift cam, 14 to 1 compression, o-ring 1969 high nickel block with 4 bolt steel splayed caps.” There is some evidence of damage (details below), so the question becomes whether this custom build is restored or the motor parted out and a new drivetrain sourced. The current bidding makes either option attractive.

Unfortunately, his inspection of the motor revealed the following: “I removed the starter and saw that the flywheel is damaged and has a lot of teeth missing. I noticed that there was no exhaust valve.  The stem of the valve is there but no tip.  I looked In the cylinder with a borescope and saw that the exhaust seat is missing and the piston looks damaged.” The motor does still turn freely, so how would you restore this Salt Flats veteran back to good health?


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  1. Alan (Michigan) Member

    Rebuild that motor, put a more normal differential gear in it, and terrorize local hotrod meets….

    Hmmm… the tires look a ton more like 1/4 mile types than what might be expected under a Bonneville car…..

    Like 1
  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’m thinking the same, as far as the tires/tyres are concerned…

    Methinks that this was used at the dragstrip, at some stage.

  3. Steve R

    You’ve got to assume the engine is shot. It will probably be turned into a grudge night bomber, until it’s wrecked, or parted out. Turn key race cars are so cheap, rollers don’t have much value.

    Steve R

  4. Broke again

    Lots of nitrous through this motor.

    Like 1
  5. skagit340@gmail,com

    I think, get that motor apart and hope its not to broke. Its still a cool motor and a swap to smoothing comp. to this is a lot of cash. If its fixable makes since to me to fix whats broke. I bet that thing was scary fast !!

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