Race Car Chronicles #1
Time Machine II
1973 Ford Mustang Fastback
More than 35 years of racing history, and race wins for three different owners
This is the first in a series of articles about the cars that are drag raced in the New England region. One of the realities about drag racing is that there is very little “bumping”, at least not intentionally. That means that a drag car can have a long history. We will start this series with a car that has been racing in the Northeast for more than 35 years.
Author’s Note: I have to admit that I have an emotional soft spot for this car. It and its first owner were the subjects of my first byline in a real car magazine back in 1993.
There is a red 1973 Ford Mustang fastback that races at Lebanon Valley Dragway on a weekly basis in the Super ET class with a story to tell.
Since 1998, Kenny Edgar of Enfield, CT has been the owner and driver. Edgar is well known at LVD as a long-time Mustang fan. spending many years behind the wheel of a red 1967 Mustang called “Pouncing Pony.” Ken’s wife Sharon also gets in on the Ford fun with her own 1970 Torino that can be seen on the LVD quarter-mile on a regular basis.
But the 1973 ‘Stang has been racing in the New England region a lot longer than that, and it has its own story to tell.
John Faragi – First Owner – ca. 1983 to 1995
The ’73 began its racing life back in the mid-1980s at New England Dragway as a weekly bracket racer for Tewksbury, Mass. native, John Faragi. Faragi had been racing at New England Dragway since 1967, at first behind the wheel of his daily driver, a 1966 Ford Mustang GT, and later in a black 1969 Mustang Boss 302 called “Time Machine.” Faragi set records in AHRA J/Super Stock and K/Super Stock with the “Time Machine” Mustang and was a serious competitor at Epping until he began to suffer the effects of a heart condition known as congestive cardiomyopathy. By 1983 his condition had deteriorated to the point where the only recourse was a still-experimental procedure, a heart transplant.
Organ transplants of all kinds are fairly common procedures today, but in 1983, transplants of any kind were still considered “experimental”, primarily because the body usually rejected the new organ. It wasn’t until a new drug, Ciclosporin, was approved by the FDA in 1983 that transplants could be done that allowed the body to accept the new organ, and the improvement in life expectancy transformed organ transplants from experimental to life-saving.
But this was 1983, and all this was still very new, and insurance companies still weren’t paying for heart transplants. Faragi’s friends and family went to the public and asked for donations, and succeeded in getting the governor of Massachusetts to get the state’s Medicaid fund to pitch in. In July 1983 Faragi made the long flight to the only facility that could do the operation at that time, California’s Stanford University Hospital. Faragi was quoted as telling his oldest daughter, Michelle, “I’m going to come back and build a race car.”
On July 18, 1983, Faragi became the first successful recipient of transplanted heart from New England. And, true to his word, he did indeed come back and build that race car, a red 1973 Mustang fastback called “Time Machine II.”
Equipped with a 466 cubic inch Ford engine, the second “Time Machine” was just as strong a competitor as the first one. Faragi won his share of eliminator rounds, and in July 1993 Faragi and “Time Machine II” brought home an IHRA Oscar in the 10.90 Hot Rod class at the Northeast Nitrous Nationals held at New England Dragway. It was almost exactly ten years since Faragi had received his new heart.
Unfortunately, Faragi’s transplanted heart began the long slow process of failing soon after, and within two years he was forced to stop racing. He sold the car to another racer from New England, Eric Cabral.
John Faragi passed away on May 26, 1998, after surviving for nearly 15 years with a transplanted heart. At the time he was the longest surviving heart transplant patient in Massachusetts.
Eric Cabral – Second Owner – 1995 to 1998
In the mid-1990s, Eric Cabral, from Kingston, Mass, was in his early twenties and running in the track points program in a white 5.0 Mustang called “Sunday Driver.” Cabral purchased “Time Machine II” late in 1995 and in 1996 he could be seen driving the red ’73 at Epping, usually with the wheels up for the first 60 feet. But by now the original motor was starting to show its age, and when the engine blew up soon after Cabral bought the car, he decided to do a complete update while he was building a new 460 powerplant. Cabral enlisted the help of Rich DiBonaventura and they dropped some weight with fiberglass doors and Lexan windows, updated the hood scoop, upgraded the rear end and suspension, re-wired the car, and then Cabral sprayed the car black.
The overhaul paid off, with ETs in the low 10-second range. Cabral remembers at least one run at 10.00 even. In the short time he owned it, Cabral took the ’73 to the winners circle more than once, with wins in bracket races at Epping and a few Super Street class races. He also won his class on Fun Ford Weekend one year, and the Tasca Ford Day race in 1998.
Cabral’s skill as a driver earned him a full-time ride in the Dick Clark and John Jillett dragster at the end of 1998, and he has gone on to enjoy considerable success as a hired shoe in a number of cars since. But that is a story for another time.
Cabral sold the ’73 to its current owner at the end of the 1998 racing season.
Kenny Edgar – Current Owner – 1998 to Present
“Time Machine II” was still a race car, with lots of quarter-mile passes left in its chassis. Cabral put the car up for sale in 1998 and brought it to Lebanon Valley for that track’s King Of The Hill bracket race at the end of the season. Kenny Edgar noticed the For Sale notice on the car and decided that it was the car for him.
At first, Edgar ran the car as delivered, with the 460 motor and Turbo 400 transmission. The ’73 earned Edgar a few trips to the winner’s circle, both in the track’s Super ET class and in NHRA Super Street competition. He also made it to the semi-finals and a runner-up at two divisional races at Maple Grove with the Mustang.
Over the years, Edgar has made some significant performance upgrades, including a stroker 545 motor with aluminum heads, now backed by a Powerglide. Last season he made even more improvements. The car now has an aftermarket block, four-wheel disc brakes, and a new front suspension. He kept the black paint for a few years, but in the winter of 2019, Edgar installed a fiberglass nose and had the car repainted back to the original red.
In 2021, plans call for new electronics and the addition of Mach 1 graphics.
Outwardly, the car is relatively unchanged from the days when John Faragi owned it, but it now is capable of running ETs in the high-9-second range. Edgar reports that the car has gone 9.76 at more than 138 mph.
The next time you are at Lebanon Valley Dragway, take a look at this 1973 Mustang. It’s not just a race car. It’s a little piece of drag racing history.
If you know of other cars that have been racing for 25 years or more and have a story to tell, let us know at email@example.com