2014 OUSCI Competitor Martin Pond's 1980 Ford Fairmont
We often hear grumbling from folks who claim the OPTIMA® Ultimate Street Car Invitational is strictly a high-dollar affair, where no one outside the automotive elite is invited- high dollar builds and big name shops is how the event is characterized. If that is the case, then how does a guy like Martin Pond, who drives a 1980 Ford Fairmont, get invited to the OUSCI? The same way so many other budget build competitors have in the past- he built a cool car and took it to an OUSCI qualifying event.
"Cool car" is not how most folks would describe any Ford Fairmont, let alone those of 1980 vintage, but they do have some unique and appealing attributes. They are Fox body cars, which means many of the Mustang parts from the same era can bolt on and they can be had for next to nothing. In the case of Pond's rust-free Fairmont, the sale price was just $250. The Fox body platform and bargain basement price made it a great starting point for a serious street sleeper.
Rather than going with a flashy paint job, Martin selected a discreet silver hue and traded out the tired factory six-banger for a very healthy 357 cubic-inch V8, packed with forged internals. There is plenty of old school tech in this build, including a carbureted fuel delivery system (Holley 750-cfm), an 8.8-inch rearend packed with 3.55 gears and rear drum brakes on the back end (it does have 13-inch Cobra discs up front).
The lack of modern upgrades didn't seem to hurt Pond at the USCA event at Laguna Seca. His Fairmont more than held it's own against a field of very well-prepared cars in the 3000+ pound class. In fact, Martin's Ford finished just .038 thousandths of a second outside of the top-10 in the Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed Stop Challenge. Line up against Pond at the dragstrip and you're looking at a competitor capable of running 12.6s at 115 mph.
There is certainly more than meets the eye when it comes to Martin Pond's Ford Fairmont and we are more than impressed that the entire car was built for just $10,000- proof that a well-built car has the same opportunity to make it into the OUSCI as an expensively-built car. Now that he has received an invite to the 2014 SEMA Show and had his ticket punched for the OUSCI, we expect Pond will be making some upgrades between now and then, as most OUSCI competitors tend to do once invited. The key is whether he will get any new modifications (like disc brakes all around) sorted out prior to SEMA and the OUSCI. Time is certainly on Martin's side, as we are more than seven months away from the start of SEMA 2014 and we're already looking forward to the show.
Martin did want us to mention the folks who helped him get his car together, including Perforce Software, Bay Bolt, Oakland Machine Works, Little House Cafe, Black Diamond Mechanical, Alameda Collision Repair and Tidewater Tire. Auto. If Pond's entry has inspired you to give the Ultimate Street Car Association a shot, sign up for an upcoming USCA event today! The USCA will be running at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend (and more SEMA OUSCI invites will be handed out), before moving on to Daytona International Speedway in May. Yes, that Daytona International Speedway.
If you'd like to learn more about Martin's Fairmont, check out the feature story Liz Miles wrote for Muscle Mustangs Fast Fords magazine. You can also hear the interview Martin recently did with the Pro-Touring podcast (it's at about the 22-minute mark in the podcast).