As did I. Though, I did always know the 83-88s were the cars that moreso revolutionised the sport in their day. I figured the MN12 body was simply the next higher step. Then again I pay as much attention to Nascar stats as I do tabloids lol
I was always under the impression that it was an MN-12 bodied NASCAR that held the record.....
Hooray, thread re-hash! Sorry, just now saw this...
Oddly enough, the MN-12 was a horrible
car compared to the Bullet birds. Too much frontal area, not enough rear downforce, garbage, garbage, garbage. The MN-12 was a barn door compared to the 83-88 cars.
Things did change, however, as it was discovered that if one tilted the body forward on the frame, the car picked up much-needed downforce. I believe it was Robert Yates who found this out on the #28 of Davey Allison, when during testing, the car was sent out with the trunk lid partially-opened, and braced with 2x4's. It picked up quite a bit of speed, and from that point on, future cars were built with the body tilted forward.
The car, however, compared to the a-bit-more-narrow Lumina/Monte Carlo (a co-worker has a 1995 Monte, I parked my 97 Bird next to his...it seems like the front of his car is quite a bit smaller), it was still a disaster, a disaster to the point where a team or two actually tried to run a freakin' Lincoln MK8-bodied car...
In effect, Ford left their NASCAR teams hanging on a limb with this disaster, and from 1989-1997, I'm shocked that T-birds won as much (or as little) as they did, with Alan Kulwicki posting the only Ford-based championship run during the entire time the MN-12 was in production.
Concerning the 'bullet birds'....there's a bit of history behind why they did as well as they did, and part of it kinda came from an unlikely source:
I've talked with a guy (supposedly worked in the Ford aero department, said the Endyn efforts were what made these cars dominant) who suggests that a lot more of this development work went into the NASCAR effort, but I didn't get a name, so I can't really say anything definitively.