Mike Bowen has long held the title of most unique ride in the NMRA’s G-Force Racing Transmission Coyote Stock class, but a challenger to that title will make his debut during the 2020 season, as Tim Donathen readies his 1978 Ford Fairmont Wagon for some gear-banging, heads-up racing.
Donathen’s wagon came off the assembly line already packing V-8 power, with a 302ci/C4 driveline combination moving the vehicle’s occupants to and fro. Donathen believes the 62,000-original-mile car may have been a service vehicle for a fire department as it bears a number 17 on its driver’s side strut tower in addition to the heavily waxed red paint.
“It’s pristine underneath, but a 62K-mile car with rotted front frame rails; it doesn’t add up.” The previous owner retired to Florida, but ended up returning to Michigan and brought the wagon with him, and that’s where Donathen scored the purchase.
“I had been hunting for a wagon or a box top Fairmont,” Donathen told us. “I build so many Mustangs; I just wanted to look at something different. I was getting tired of looking at Fox Bodies.”
“It was supposed to be something I played with for [Hot Rod] Drag Week, and I was going to do a turbo small-block Ford with an AOD, but the more I worked with the Coyote Stock cars, I just decided that it had to be one, too,” Donathen said.
Donathen Racing, Tim’s after hours job, is where he works on race cars, a growing number of which includes several Coyote Stock Mustangs. Donathen, and his co-president in Team Tiddie (Tim + Eddie), Eddie Bennett, corralled several Coyote Stock competitors, including Clair Stewart II, Frank Paultanis, Kevin McMullin, John Leslie Jr. and Randy Soper, to form an alliance that shares information within the team.
“Everybody adds value,” Donathen explained. “Everyone is testing something different and when you put all of that together, it makes for a pretty good result. Eddie Bennett and I talked on the phone. I was working on a number of these guy’s cars and I was the common denominator. As you learn from one car, you’re able to help out others. I told him that they all have flaws, but if we put them together, we’ll have a great team.”
And no doubt Donathen’s wagon will earn its spot on the roster, if for nothing more than to be the life of the party.
“The first mod was some fuzzy dice and a hula girl for the dash. I’ve got a surfboard that I’m going to throw on top of it and it’ll be removed right after the burnout.” Further eccentric touches include a picnic basket in the back to hide the fuel cell and battery box, and Donathen plans to keep it registered just so he can keep the personalized tag he came up with.
“I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Team Z. It’ll have Team Z front and rear suspension, Stifflers subframe connectors, and a G101a four-speed.”
While it is built on a Fox chassis, the wagon’s wheelbase is 6 inches longer than that of a Fox–body Mustang. Considering Donathen and Bennett are behind some of the quickest Coyote Stock cars in the class, we’re thinking they will figure out how to make it work.
“This car is going to be fun. I don’t know if I can make it as fast as a Fox Body, but I’m going to try.” Donathen is planning to debut his new ride at the 2nd annual NMRA Gateway Rumble in Madison, Illinois.