"Predator"

Daniel Fox's '85 Predator GT 

“These cars were billed as the hottest dealer bought Mustang, when they first came out”
— Roger Johnson~Mustang Times Magazine '95

     The '80s were a very cool time in America. So much innovation and growth was going on in our country, and times were good. Times for the Mustang were good too, they kept getting faster, and people were embracing the fox body Mustang as a true performer. Since the '82 GT, the Mustang had continued to evolve, and excel. During this time, several tuner shops had begun tinkering with the cars, and selling them through dealers. There were a few specialty foxes built, that many have never heard of, let alone seen. I will admit on the front end that there is very little info to be had on "Predator" GTs. Unlike the Saleens which had plenty of documentation, and history to be had. These Predator GTs are rare as hen's teeth, and details are scarcer still. Even my well worn copy of The Fox body Recognition Guide makes no mention of their existence. I searched the web for hours trying to get more information on these cars, without much luck. The details are sketchy at best, and quite inconsistent. 

 

     The story begins with a man named Tom Soloman. Tom worked with Carrol Shelby in the '60s, on the famed Shelby Mustangs. The Predator was built to be a tribute to the Shelby GT350 Mustangs. The Predator was also the first fox body Mustang to carry any kind of Shelby inspired graphics. The cars were built by Soloman American in Topeka KS, between '83-'86, or so the story goes.  

     Soloman received Ford's blessing to build the cars, and even had the dealers at his disposal to distribute the cars. They first appeared in 1983, only five cars actually made production for '83. For 1984, between 125-130 cars were sold, and a number of upgrades were added to the package. There was now a standard Predator, and a Predator Cobra. For 1985, things got a bit hotter. An "R" model was added, which included some performance modifications. These mods include 3.73 or 4.10 gears, fiberglass hood, and under drive pulleys. Several different wheel options were available including, a four spoke Enkei wheel, American Racing, and BBS wheels which had a 3 bar knock off style center cap. There is also information leading to the same firm building the "Twister II" Mustangs, bringing back an old name from the '70s. A few of the cars I came across had both Predator and Twister graphics on them. 

    Like the Saleen Mustangs of the era, there were several notable changes to the Predator Mustangs. Under the hood they received 14" chrome air cleaners, which are reminiscent of the old school 289 HiPo units. Under the chrome air cleaner was a four barrel carb, which was bolted to the factory aluminum intake. Finned aluminum valve covers were also installed, and bore the Predator name. A functional hood scoop was included, which also paid homage to the GT350 cars of the sixties. Securing the modified hood were Nascar style locking hood pins, with attached cables.   

       Moving to the interior, the changes were few, but important. The most notable was the addition of a four point, 2" diameter, color keyed roll bar. Adding a custom touch, as well as a measure of safety to the car. Optional items were a walnut shift knob, a steering wheel to match, and aluminum rear sport shade for hatchback models (I have yet to see one). 

   The exterior of the cars were breathed on as well. Beginning with the Shelby style stripes along the rocker panel, dual racing stripes over the top of the car, and color keyed tape on the tail lights. The GT emblems were removed from the car, including the blacked out area on the hood, and the 5.0 badges on the sides.  The emblems were replaced with GT302 badges to keep with the Predator theme. 

    Daniel Fox's '85 model is a pristine example of this ultra rare fox body Mustang. This car is #131 of the 140 cars built for 1985. With just 29k original miles, it is a true piece of fox body history. This car takes you back to the days when foxes were just coming of age, and their performance potential was being unlocked by men like Tom Soloman. Enjoy the view, you may never see another one. CR

   


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