I bought a fox body, now what?

    If you are new to the fox body game, you may be feeling understandably lost. There is so much information, and mis-information out there in the vast seas of the internet. While every single car is different, and has different needs, we will try and frame up the best first steps in getting going with your fox body. 

#1 Fix what is broken: Being that the newest of these cars is 24 years old, there is bound to be something that needs replaced. Could be a window motor, control arm bushing, cracked headlight, bad door lock actuator, etc. Grab a note pad and look over every inch of the car, making notes along the way. Obviously safety items like brakes need to be addressed first. Check your ball joints, tie rods, and wheel bearings closely; make certain the car is safe. Again, every car is different, so if it came to you with a broken T5, you already know your first step. 

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#2 Maintenance items: Especially if you don't have any history on the car, start with the basic items. Do an oil change (5 quarts) with a name brand oil and use a Motorcraft FL1A filter. Next up, change the transmission fluid. The T5 holds 5.6 pints of ATF. We like either the Castrol or Valvoline Max Life synthetic ATF in them, with the same fluid being used for an AOD (12.3 quarts). DO NOT USE GEAR OIL. If your car has an AOD, have a competent shop perform a flush on the trans, to get all of the old fluid out. Moving back, change the rear differential fluid using 80W90 gear oil, and four ounces of friction modifier. Inspect the coolant, brake fluid, and power steering as well. Any one of these can be in poor shape, but can also be flushed. When in doubt, change it out. All of these fluid exchanges will help prolong the components they lubricate, giving you some peace of mind. 

#3 Tune up items: Now we are really getting somewhere. Time to get the old girl back in shape, and running tip top. Here is how we do a tune up on a newly acquired fox: spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, rotor button,  PCV valve (remove and clean the screen underneath it with brake clean), fuel filter, and air filter (or clean the K&N). 

#4 Other adjustments: The next steps go a bit deeper. First thing is to check the timing, just to see where it is at. For staying stock, set it at 10 degrees with the spout connector out, for some extra ponies, bump it to 12-14 degrees, but be prepared to run a higher octane fuel. Next up is the TPS (throttle position sensor). With the engine running, check the voltage using the green wire, and grounding on the engine/body somewhere. Set the voltage as close to .98 as possible for optimum performance, while it can be tough to lock it there exactly, make it a point to stay under one volt. To make the adjustments, loosen the two screws and move the sensor around to change the voltage, it may be necessary to enlarge the holes slightly on the TPS, to get the required voltage reading. 

    With all of the above completed, you will have a strong performing fox body, that is ready for some additional upgrades. Just don't go throwing speed parts at a car in dire need of routine maintenance, you will most certainly regret it. This will also give you a solid foundation for knowing what has been done to the car, should you run into problems down the road. Knowing what is new, helps shorten diagnostic time. 

     For part two, we will get into the first mods for a stock fox body (if there is such a thing). CR 

What are the rarest fox body Mustang colors by year?

    If you are into obscure and somewhat useless knowledge regarding these cars we so love, then this will be right up your alley. As the foxes get older, and harder to find in a nice example, the interest in knowing more about your own cars numbers is bound to surface. I remember as a kid, hearing the old guys spout off production numbers, and why their car was so rare and special. 

    While I was pouring over the Fox Body Recognition guide last week, my mind began to wonder about what colors were the rarest ever to grace the flanks of the '82-'93 Mustangs. Bear in mind there are limited resources to get these numbers, so we used the best ones we could find, these are not numbers gathered by us, rather several resources that have worked with Ford to collect data. We make no claims of 100% accuracy, as only Ford can make that claim. Because the details on the '79-'81 cars were a bit sketchy, they have been omitted (god forbid I make a mistake and get piles of hate mail). Being that these colors are so rare, locating accurate picture examples simply was not an option for all of them. So here they are, not the rarest cars; the rarest colors on specific body types:

1982: Color code 6Z Pastel Vanilla was only sprayed 57 times on a GT Hatchback for the entire 1982 model year. Based on the ford color charts, this is a cream color, looking somewhat off white. 

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1983: Color Code 2G Bright Bittersweet GLX Notchback, there were only ten of these, making it the rarest color/body for 1983

1984: This year is a toss up, Color Code 35 Light Academy Blue GT Turbo convertible is a one of one, and one 9L Oxford White SVO was produced. This is rather odd, out of 4,507 SVOs made for 1984, one was painted oxford white. 

1985: For 1985, the rarest by color/body was a Color Code 4M Dark Slate GT hatchback. Only 29 of them were made, making it the winner for that year. 

1986: '86 is also a tie, with two body styles also thrown in the mix. Color code 4E Dark Sage on a LX notchback 5.0 was only done six times. Color code 4M Dark Slate (same as 1985) was done six times on a notchback 5.0, and GT hatchback. 

1987: For 1987, if you own a Color Code 8Y Dark Sable LX 5.0 convertible, that is one of 27, and the rarest fox body that year. I personally have never seen one in that color. 

1988: The winner for '88 is Color Code 8L Sand Beige, if you own a 5.0 notchback from that year, and color code, it is 1 of 23.

1989: For '89 another super rare color holds the crown, across all models. Color Code 66 Tropical Yellow, on a 5.0 notchback was done just 67 times. I have seen only one of these cars in person. According to our research, it was also called Mimosa (same color code). 

1990: For '90 Color Code YG Medium Titanium holds the title at 6 LX 5.0 convertibles. However, Color code  MM Ultra Blue was sprayed 7 times on LX 5.0 notchbacks. Color code EM Medium Red was also an ultra rare color for 1990

1991: For 1991, color code KA Light Crystal Blue takes the cake, with 65 being the low number on an LX 5.0 convertible. Color code K3 came in a close second with 67 LX 5.0 drop tops. 

1992: The hands down winner for 1992 is color code MM Ultra Blue, sprayed on a 5.0 notchback. Only two of these exist. I have never seen one. This color was mainly used on GT models. 

1993: The last and final year brings us to color code LA Royal blue, with the low number being LX 5.0 convertible coming in with just 132. 

    So there you have it, the rarest color/body combinations by year. Sure there are lots of rare colors and models, but these are the lowest numbers produced for each year. Check your color codes closely, you never know how rare your fox body might be. 

Fox Body Mustang For Sale

    Oh yeah, you've seen this phrase a million times: "Ford Fox Body Mustang For Sale". You get all excited and think maybe this is the one! The ultra clean survivor car that some little old lady only drove to church. Then you open the ad and the car is near death, or hacked up beyond repair. I know for me personally, that has happened more than a few hundred times. So if you are looking to buy a fox body Mustang, where should you start?

    Bear with me as I do my best to help with this delima. There really is no easy answer to this. This doesn't just pertain to foxes, any older car is going to give you a fit trying to locate the right one. The older they get, the less picky you can be when it comes to colors and options. If you are absolutely dead set on a specific combo, you will need three things: patience, a pile of cash, and the ability to travel as soon as you find the car. If you aren't quite as picky, your search will be a bit easier. 

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    Where do you start? The best thing to do is crack open your laptop and check Craigslist nearby. Craigslist is a complete pain in the rear, full of scammers, and full of junk, but you can still sort through and find a solid candidate. Next place I would look is Auto Trader, the cars there seem to be a bit nicer, simply because to get a decent ad, you have to pay for it. I have found some super nice cars there. Message forums still have cars for sale as well, places like the Corral, Stangnet, SVT Performance, etc. I have personally bought three cars off of the forums, but this was ten years ago when they were much more active. Facebook can be a source as well, the problem there is that you really have to dig in and spend hours looking. For sale pages are scattered all over the place, and could drive you to drink. Another option is dealers like Gateway Classic Cars, Performance Autosport, etc. Dealers like these carry high end foxes that will fetch a pretty penny. The best of the best will be found there. 

    For tips on what to look for, check out our other posts, thats a whole other can of worms. Finding the car is just the tip of the iceburg, once you go look at the car, you can decide if its right for you. I can't tell you what to buy, simply because everyone has their own wants and needs for their car. Someone who is building a drag car has different needs than someone just wanting a cruiser. Have your plan in mind before you start looking, and then hit up all of the above mentioned places.  CR

How to buy and sell a fox body Mustang

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    When I say people get pissed about fox body values, I am not being dramatic in the least. Being commander in chief at FCM, it is my job to have my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the fox body world. So with nary a complaint, I monitor the goings on some sixteen hours a day.

 

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    To be fair, the tide is turning, to an extent. There has been much discussion about the Barrett Jackson cars selling for big coin, and several examples on Ebay as well. The argument against the rising value is always the same: "They are a dime a dozen" "It's just an old fox-body" "All they are good for is a race car". The problem with these arguments is that none of them hold any water. Fox body Mustangs, in fact, are no longer "dime a dozen" cars. Were they in the 90's? Yes, even on into the 2000s. This is 2017, time to realize the clock never stops ticking. 

    So, how in the world do you price your fox body fairly, or pay a fair price? The short answer is; that question simply can't be answered. Sorry, it can't be done. That being said, here are some tips on how to price, and present your fox body to sell for a good price, as well as how to avoid buying the wrong car. Being that there is no clear cut answer, we compiled some rules for the road:

Know what you have: As soon as I hear someone tell me their car has an "interceptor" motor, I run...fast. The same seller will tell you it's a GT, Cobra. If said seller knows that little about his own car, can you assume he did quality work on the car? Highly unlikely. Study up on your car, have as much ACCURATE information, and history as possible. 

When the excuses begin to fly, so should you: The minute a seller starts making excuses about the car, instead of presenting facts, I am done. Ever heard these: "The a/c just needs to be charged up" "The part is only like $5 at Autozone" "I just haven't had time to replace it". Those are the classic crock of sh*t excuses. Walk away. If you want to sell your fox, lay out everything the car needs with as much honesty as you can. If you don't know, say so. 

Present the car in a quality way: I can't stand seeing ads all over the internet that are absolutely horrible. Full of spelling errors, in all caps, mods jumbled together, etc. Let us not forget the pictures, miserable pictures. Take two seconds to think about if you would get excited about the pictures you are posting up. Here's a hint; screen shots, interiors full of trash, weeds growing up around the car, and so on is not going to entice buyers. Then when you put a premium price on the car to boot, it becomes a total joke. Give a detailed description of the car, list the mods by segment, (engine, drivetrain, exhaust, brakes, etc) and for goodness sake clean the car, then take some decent pictures. 

Documentation: I have always tried to keep every receipt for my past foxes. Even if it was just a water pump. This instills confidence in a prospective buyer that there is some merit to your claims. Regardless of what you put on your car, or do to it, document it as much as possible for when you decide to move on. This will also put you on a firm footing to get top dollar, simply because most owners do not take the time to do this. One of the biggest turn-offs is hearing a seller make all kinds of claims, and can't prove a single one. Sorry, I'm not buying. 

    Pricing and valuing ANY car like a fox body is tough. But remember these two facts: they aren't making any more of them, and like it or not, the values are going up fast. Stop caring what other people say about the price of your car, you own it. List it for what you want, and see what happens. CR

To be continued...

 

 

Best "Oh crap" moments with your fox body Mustang!

    Modding a car is just asking for trouble. Now granted thats never stopped any of us from diving head first, wrench in hand, to mod our fox. However, with the fun of the mods, comes those "oh crap" moments where you almost wished you had just left the damn thing stock. We came up with our best five, but we are betting you have some better ones. So without further delay, here they are! 

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#5 That moment you are at the track trying to wring out some extra E.T, so you are trying to check the timing on the car but damn if it won't keep moving around. Then you have that "oh crap" moment when you realize the spout connector is still plugged in. 

#4 After all the time and money you sunk into your new Trick Flow cylinder heads, you finally reach the moment when you can fire it up to see how she runs. You turn the key, and she fires right up! Success! But then you realize you have a horrible exhaust leak, and remember those little plugs for the back of the heads that you were to cheap to buy. Oh crap!!!

#3 When you are cruising along in your fox body Mustang which is looking ultra smooth because you yanked the wiper blades off. Then what was supposed to be a sunny day turns into a monsoon! Oh crap, I forgot to throw a wiper arm in the hatch. 

#2 The moment of triumph after you've just installed your first short throw shifter. Oh yeah, we are about to do some power shifting now! After of few miles of banging gears, your shifter handle flops over like a wet noodle. Oh crap I forgot to tighten the shifter bolts down tight!

#1 The mother of all "oh crap" moments. You finally did it! You just installed your 13" Cobra brakes, and new five lug rims. Every part was double checked and she's stopping on a dime now. All is bliss until that moment you have a flat, and realize that your spare is missing that fifth lug hole.......oh yeah.......and it won't clear those fancy brakes either! 

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So there you have it! Some of our sad but true "oh crap" moments for all the world to see! What are some of yours? CR

Could project "Road Warrior" really be out of commission?

    Say it isn't so! Our long term project fox body Mustang out of the game for quite a while? That would totally suck! Why though, theres so many events it needs to be at, how on earth could it be torn apart for six months or more? Before you go thinking that our beloved '92 LX is wounded, she's not. The little 302 between it's fenders is rock solid, and laid down 320/352 thanks to an SCT tune from Bob Kurgan. So why then, what could be the reason? Read on foxbody Mustang faithful!

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    For a long time, we at FCM command central have been contemplating the move to coyote. The firestorm of coyote swapped fox body Mustangs has been wreaking havoc in our brains, and we are succumbing to the trend. The simple answer? It just makes sense. While we are SBF faithful for life, and will always have some pushrod soldiers in the stable, Ford did themselves proud with a nasty little 5.0L that can best a full boogie 347, motor for motor. Check all of the top engine builders like DSS and Bennett, a forged 347 is not cheap, and neither is a coyote. However, prices have begun to fall, as the coyote nears it's sixth birthday, and trust us when we say that we have been watching prices very closely. A truck engine can be had for the paltry sum of $2200, and will lay down damn near 400 to the tire, with headers, cold air, and tune. The numbers don't lie, the little 4Vs are animals, even out of a truck. But if you are reading this, you don't need me to tell you that. 

    So all that is left to be decided is if we should pull the trigger, and get busy. Being right at the beginning of the 2017 race and show season, we really don't want to take the car off the road, that is problem number one. Problem number two is what engine should we go with? Truck motor, 11-14 motor, 2015 and up motor, crate motor, etc. What trans should we run? Our T5  is already on borrowed time, so the price will add up quickly. What do you think? Anyone need a stout HCI 302?

Run nines, GET CASH!

The NMRA Coyote Stock race to the nines is heating up in a big way! Back in March at the Spring Break Shootout, Darin Hendricks set the record with an insane 10.075! With Jacob Lamb and Drew Lyons hot on his tail, both running 10.14 respectively, the burning question now is who will make the very first nine-second pass, with a sealed coyote crate engine? With such tight competition, anyone could make this miracle happen!

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To fan the flames, the guys over at UPR and PMAS have stepped up with additional payouts for whoever backs up a record setting pass in the nines, running UPR suspension and PMAS intake. Not only that, but Foxcast Media is throwing in an additional $100, as well as several other brands, and the NMRA has promised the cover of Race Pages Magazine to the magic man! The only question now: Who's it gonna be?

Here's how it works: UPR already pays $300 for a win, and $150 for runner up in Coyote Stock.

For the record pass:

 UPR $100

PMAS $100

Foxcast Media $100

Mod Motor Mustangs $200

Flow Tech Induction $100

NMRA $1 (and the cover of Race Pages Magazine)

 

 

Strap in tight, it's gonna get real...fast! CR

looking to buy a fox body mustang? Read this first!

    If I had a dollar for every email and message I get from people wanting to buy a fox body Mustang, I would be typing this post from my private island. Not even close to kidding. When I (as the commander in chief of Foxcast Media) can't tell them where a clean coupe is for sale, they seem justifiably bewildered. In all fairness, if anyone should know, it should be me. Truth be told, I really don't know many times. I will get owners letting me know cars are for sale here and there, but they sell fast, and I can't keep up. There are a lot of super nice cars out there for sale, but you're timing has to be perfect, you better have a fistful of Benjamin's, and be ready to travel. 

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    The articles and videos on how to buy a fox body Mustang are a dime a dozen, I've read and watched all of them over the years. While they all had their good points, telling me that the ashtray doors tend to fail is leaning toward Captain Obvious. Yes, they tend to rust on the hatch area near the blue oval, and yes of course the driver seat will get the "lean". Noted. Being a bit frustrated with what is out there, I decided it was high time I took the bull by the horns and tackled this subject, Foxcast Media style. 

#1 Have a solid plan: When you go trotting off to buy anything, you have a specific purpose in mind, whether it's toilet paper or a lawnmower. You have to know what you want from the car. If you plan to build an all out race or show car, then you really don't need to worry about much other than the structural integrity of the car (i.e rust). Think about it: if the whole car is going to be gone through, who really cares that the rear main is gushing 5W30 faster than the Hoover dam. Your plan will tell you what matters and what doesn't. Not only that, but shortcomings in the car that don't matter to you, can also be used as negotiating tools to score a deal. Don't go divulging your evil plan until after the money has changed hands. 

Clean, survivor cars are pulling big coin these days. Be ready to pay for the honor of owning a mint foxbody Mustang. 

#2 If you are going to be picky, be ready to shell out the cash: True story, I was contacted by a "serious" buyer looking for a Reef Blue notch with black interior. Yeah, me too! I had actually been made aware of one in Kentucky that was possibly for sale, and I put him in contact with the owner. The car was mint, and stock other than a five lug conversion and Bullitt wheels. Later that week we spoke again and he had passed on the car because the owner was asking too much. Here's the thing: they aren't making any more of these, and with a car like that, it is a sellers market. Be ready to pay for it. 

#3 Know your limitations:  If you are not very mechanically inclined, don't go buying a car with a big turbo and Dart 363. Even if the ad says the car needs nothing, you WILL be working on it. There are two limiting factors you have to take into account; the first is your ability to work on the car, or ability to pay someone else to work on it. Getting in over your head will not make for an enjoyable ownership experience. 

The trained eye can spot a low mile car. Tight seat bolsters, good leather on the steering wheel, pedals that aren't worn, stock radio, etc. 

The trained eye can spot a low mile car. Tight seat bolsters, good leather on the steering wheel, pedals that aren't worn, stock radio, etc. 

#4 Hunt, hunt, hunt: The trick to finding the right car is going to take some leg work. Be ready to pound the pavement and the keyboard for that perfect fox body Mustang. Ebay, Craigslist, Forums, Facebook, Autotrader, and others are good places to monitor daily. Car shows and cruises are ideal also, don't be afraid to inquire about a car, you never know if the owner is ready to move on. 

#5 Know what you are looking at: If you have been in the game for a while, then you know what to look for. If you haven't, take someone with you to look at a car. There is no shame in admitting you don't want to lose your hard earned greenbacks because the current owner got over on you. Ask for receipts, test the owner's knowledge, ask for time slips, look at the fluids, etc. If the seller tells you it has a 5k paint job but it looks like they painted over the bugs on the front bumper; run.  Engines are tough, as you can't see if the block was machined and it actually is a 347 stroker, and you have no way to tell if the heads have a thousand dollar port job. The right seller will have pictures, receipts, dyno numbers, time slips, etc. Trust but verify. 

    I will expand on this in future posts, but I hope this offers a solid basis for a good fox body Mustang buying experience. Have a plan for what you want to buy or build, know your limitations, search, and don't get screwed. Happy foxbody hunting! CR

Why bandwagon brands left the fox body mustang, and now want to come back.

    A new movement is fast on the rise, and gaining steam everyday. The movement is the fox body Mustang. Plain and simple, there just isn't anything like it. Look anywhere you want in the automotive sphere and it is pretty obvious. At shows, the races, everywhere: a clean fox body Mustang will draw larger crowds than a new GT350. Just facts, and trust me when I say I have tested that theory more than a few times. Which is not to say I don't enjoy the newer cars, and appreciate them for what they are, but they just aren't a fox. 

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“From coyote swaps, to full suspensions, to built transmissions; fox owners aren’t just buying catch cans”

    To prove my point even more, there's the alternative foxbody that is also taking off in a big way. I have seen and wrote about several Fairmonts, LTDs, Thunderbirds, and so on that are getting coyote swaps, and full restorations. The "fox body" is not just the Mustang; it's a generation of several different cars that make up the most popular chassis to date. 

    Ever since FCM posted a few months ago about the top five reasons to buy a fox body now, several large publications have echoed the same points. Sure FCM is a small media company, but the larger organizations see the trend as well. With each passing generation of Mustang, many organizations left their reader base for the newer models. In a world of "right now" information and content, enthusiasts simply do not have to sift through cars they don't care to see, to get what they are looking for. Targeted and socially integrated media is the future, and we at FCM know this. 

Front to rear, top to bottom, fox body Mustang owners shell out big bucks to build their cars. 

Front to rear, top to bottom, fox body Mustang owners shell out big bucks to build their cars. 

    The aftermarket has done the same. Many brands have totally abandon the 87-93 cars thinking they should focus on newer cars. Big mistake. Let's be real here: some guy with a 2014 GT may buy a programmer and cold air intake, but a fox body Mustang  guy will buy a crate motor and built trans. Tell me again why you don't even carry fox parts? 

    Not only that, but the quality of parts is, for lack of a better word, crap. Companies selling off-brand parts that DO NOT WORK, and just expect us lowly owners to buy them, need a wake up call. We aren't buying your crap any longer. The fox body Mustang owners are grown now, with plenty of cash to spend on quality parts, and will spend it. On any given day I get messages from 3-4 new guys starting coyote swaps, wanting info and parts ideas. That doesn't even touch how many built 363 strokers, and total suspension restorations I see every single day. 

    The writing's on the wall, any brand who cranks out good quality parts for fox body Mustang owners will enjoy very loyal customers. Customers that aren't looking to buy catch cans, and billet oil caps. The messages we receive daily across our social media pages about who makes this, and where can I get this, and who works on foxes is all the proof we need. All those "latest and greatest" brands take note: WE WANT NEW PARTS.

Throwback: The Ten Minute Tune up

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    Mustang owners of recent years are spoiled rotten. Walking in and buying a new Mustang with well over 400 horsepower on tap, out of a base GT, would have seemed like a pipe dream to those of us who grew up in the heyday of the foxbody. Lets face it, 225 HP these days is laughable. Aren't Honda minivans rated higher? Not only that, but a simple plug in of a programmer can net actual power gains, and you never had to set down your latte. I think it would be a fair statement that we've been spoiled with the modern day horsepower wars. Want some perspective? Vortech superchargers ran ads back in the '90s about their base A trim which bumped your fox to 270 horsepower and 344 torque. Yeah, supercharged. Now granted that was 5 psi with a primitive FMU for tuning, but still!

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    Way back when, fox body Mustang owners did it 3-4 hp at a time, MM&FF magazine came up with the ten minute tune up, to get a stock fox rolling. These steps were essentially free, and added 12-15 hp depending on the car. Basically it involved yanking the air intake silencer, adding a K&N panel filter, bumping the timing to 13-14 degrees, and a 70 1/2 short belt to bypass the power robbing accessories (a/c, power steering). With some sticky tires, and spirited driving, a foxbody Mustang could touch the elusive 13 second zone. Other tricks included icing the upper intake, jacking the tire pressure in the front tires, and slipping the clutch a bit to avoid tire spin.

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    Lets consider the time; handheld tuners weren't invented, and computer dyno tuning was still a few years away. Most of the time it was the old butt-o-meter, or timing lights that told the tale. Truth is, there was quite a bit of power hidden away in the venerable 5.0 HO. With some luck, and beaten to death testing shift points, tire pressures, and timing; your fox body could rock with little to no cash. Again, you must consider the times. When you look at what is possible with today's Mustangs, hell even back to the Terminator days, it tells the tale of how much times have changed. Even the mighty '93 Cobra at 235 hp was no rocket ship from the go.

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    If you have never heard of the ten minute tune up, then none of this makes any sense. But for the guys who still have piles of magazines from the early '90s, it brings back memories. I still recall taking my MM&FF mag to the track with me to make sure I did it right. Ice on the upper and all. Back when most foxes were still stock, this is just what you did. Even though you may not have been able to afford a GT40 tubular intake, you could still earn some respect at the local drags. That is where we came from, that is who we are, and turning a wrench was the only way to make power.

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    This was the beginning of the slippery slope of building your fox body Mustang. Whip out your magazine and do the freebies, take it to the track and test, then head home thinking about your next mods. The Friday night drags had a way of keeping you totally obsessed. Crunching the numbers from your time slips, and bench racing all night with your friends about how that last pass would have been a 13.90 if the 60ft was better. I remember these days like they were yesterday, wish I could go back and live them again. Chances are if you are reading this, you know exactly what I mean. CR

The Top 5 Things that Set the Fox Body Mustang Apart

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    I may get hate mail for this, but I always try and keep it real, so here goes: I don't care much for classic Mustangs! Ok there I said it. Now before you start sticking pins in little Caleb dolls, let me explain. Would I love to own a '70 Boss 302, or a Boss 429. Without a doubt. However, they just don't get me fired up like a clean foxbody Mustang (or even a rough one for that matter). Why? Because they were the muscle car when I was growing up, and at that time they came out as the underdog against all the Chevy junk that was at car shows and local tracks. If I saw another 69' Camaro or a 70' Nova I would have probably puked. They were all the same as far as I was concerned, and I couldn't get excited about any of them. That being said, The whole fox body Mustang thing was very appealing to me as a budding car enthusiast. I quickly caught on to the fact that Mustangs with little 302 engines were stomping the living daylights out of Camaros with a 48 cube deficit. I was an official Ford guy at the age of twelve. So why am I such a hardcore fox body guy? When I was early teens I rode my bike everywhere. As soon as school let out, my buddies and I would ride all over the place. About seven miles from where I lived was a Ford dealer, and I would ride there on my bike to check out the last of the '93 Mustangs sitting on the lot. I would dream sometimes that I could strut up into the showroom and plunk down the cash for one, and be eternally happy. Sadly, reality was not so kind. So why then, whats the what? What makes a fox body Mustang so different from all of the rest of the generation Mustangs?

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  1. No retro styling: The 64.5 to '78 all had very similar styling cues that made them recognizable as a Mustang. Skip on to '94 to present, and you have the same thing. The 79-93 Mustang was a complete departure from the appearance that Mustang always had, and yet retained the soul, and heritage much better with its budget price and solid performance for the money.
  2. No Running Horse on the Exterior: Before the fox body Mustang, and after, every single Mustang sported the running horse on the exterior of the car. There were a few exceptions like the 93' Cobra, and 79-82, but other than that it was simply Ford badging. The tiny emblems on the interior were about it. The defining emblem of the brand was noticeably missing on this generation. Why?
  3. The fox body Mustang took the Mustang brand into uncharted waters with EFI: Beginning in '84 with the auto trans cars, CFI (fuel injection) was introduced to Mustang owners. Later, in '86 Ford had made strides in mixing performance and fuel injection. This was a turning point for the market, and hotrodders were justifiably apprehensive of leaving their beloved carbs. As the 80's came to a close, and the 90's began, the fox body Mustang proved to the world that performance without carbs was possible. At that time, this was groundbreaking.
  4. The longest running generation: True, there were many changes from 79-93, but the basics remained the same. As far as actual structural changes, there were very few. The cars kept selling, and Ford kept pumping them out. Not that they didn't evolve, quite the contrary, but nothing like the change from a 93' to a 94'. Of course one could argue that the fox chassis lived on until '04, and you would be correct. However, major structural enhancements and changes were made that would not compare to the difference of a '86 to '87 model. This could get VERY long, but you get the point.
  5. Ford was trying to kill the Mustang: Without any insider info, I can't say for certain, but it was pretty clear the bean counters had no interest in continuing the brand. Not totally kill, but strip the life from it. remember the '89 Probe? One could argue this is why the fox received so little in the way of upgrades or even an actual 25th anniversary model. Roush performance tried by submitting a turbocharged Windsor for the event, but Ford was having none of that. At that time, the rumors were spreading that the Mustang would emerge as a front drive, four cylinder car. One could argue conclusively that Ford had planned for a long time to put our pony out to pasture.

    In closing, there is also the long standing legacy that can be traced back to the fox body Mustang. Brands like Saleen, Steeda, ASC McLaren, and more were born out of the fox era. The massive aftermarket following that all later generations enjoy, sprung from the fox. I could continue to offer up examples, but I believe the point has been made. Agree or disagree, there simply is not any logical denial that the fox body Mustang has had the largest impact, and richest legacy of all generation Mustangs. Long live those fox body Mustangs!

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Are pushrod motors dead?

    I have to be honest and say I did not want to touch this subject. For a few personal reasons, but because the heart of the foxbody is just that, I needed to put it out there. I have to make this as honest and fact filled as possible. In 2011, Ford totally changed the game. The introduction of the coyote was groundbreaking, I still don't think the magnitude of its introduction has been truly realized. 302 cubic inches of fury, that destroy everything within 100 cubes of it, bone stock. A little perspective is the mighty Terminator with its blown 4V makes a tick less in stock form, than does a coyote (breathing naturally). The Terminator was a game changer, in a big way. So with the limelight so far removed from our friends of the 8.2 and 9.5 deck varieties; there is a discussion to be had.

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    The venerable 5.0L made a real come back in the 1982 Mustang GT. Through the 80's and 90's it reigned supreme on the streets. With a massive aftermarket backing, and an exploding following, the little pushrod mill still reaches insane power levels in many different forms. From an old ball drive Paxton supercharger, to a Dart based 363 with twins, the little motor that could still motivates foxbody Mustags to ridiculous power levels. So why the alarm? The different Ford mills can live in harmony right? Consider the lifespan of the 302. Dating back 40 years or more, the 5.0L has been seen in every configuration imaginable, and then some.

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    In mid '02 Ford changed the game with the Terminator. Going from the limp wristed '01 Cobra, to 390 horsepower Cobras that with a few simple mods laid down big power. The world took notice. The modular performance scene really began to take off, and fox purists knew that kind of power was much more fun when you subtract nearly 800lbs from the equation. As the engines became more available, the swaps began, and Terminator powered foxes sprung from everywhere. Their track numbers told the tale of power to weight ratio being king, swapped foxes are animals. All through the 2Ks, the Terminator engines were the hot ticket, with the 3V engine barely getting a nod from the aftermarket, and by the time '07 came around with the 5.4L GT500s, it had a lock on the performance market. Who really had the coin to buy a brand new GT500 power plant, and who really needed it when a Terminator could run neck and neck with them. Remember that power to weight thing?

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    Then, 2011. The dark days of Ford performance that reigned from 05-10 had come to an abrupt halt. For the first time since the muscle car days, you could buy a Mustang GT rated at over 400 horsepower. Not even the Mighty '00 Cobra R could stake that claim. To add insult to injury, the 6 cyl car of the year rocked the same rated power as a '96 Cobra. The game had changed. One could argue that the Muscle car wars of the 60's had nothing on today's power wars, I would tend to agree. Back to the coyote. Making in the 380-390 range to the tire, from the factory, it wasn't going to go unnoticed. Logical gear head thinking is: "what will it do with boost"? Ah yes, boost! Easily 600 to the tire without breaking a sweat, and 900-1K in capable hands, with some boost. That is just reality, and this engine is five years old. Let me say that again, FIVE YEARS OLD! Sealed from Ford these motors will propel a fox into the nines, with added weight to meet class specs. Need anymore perspective?

    Let me be clear, I love my pushrod motors, and will always own one. They are extremely capable of winning races, and being ultra reliable. They have been proven for decades, and I can build one with my eyes closed. They still terrorize LS fanboys at a large displacement deficit, and win races every weekend. What about in another five years? The coyote prices are dropping like a hookers pants, and they are popping up everywhere. Time will tell, and I'm interested to see what the future holds. Either way, I am glad Ford finally stepped up with a mill that hands the GM boys their ass, and laughs at the Dodge boys like a jet ski racing a pontoon.

CR

My First Fox body

    I typically don't get to be self indulgent and write about my cars. This not being a feature, I can be a little selfish and tell some of my personal fox history. I turned 16 in 1993, as the last of the foxes were being sold off to make room for the '94.  Me being so young, and the cars being new, no way in hell I could afford one. I had to settle for a white '83 Crown Victoria. My "Vic" did have a 5.0, however. A weakling of a CFI, flat tappet, cast iron manifold, 302. I threw some 5.0 badges on it, had the local muffler shop cut the muffler (yes, singular), and was content to have a car.  I drove my land barge for about a year and a half; it never missed a beat.

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    In late '94 I was still foxless, but fed my addiction by going to car lots and test driving them. After while the dealers would get wise to my plan, and I quickly ran out of willing salesman. Realizing there was no way I was going to be able to afford a Mustang, I had to get creative. Driving home from work one afternoon I spotted a light blue '87 Thunderbird on a local lot. I swung in for a closer look. Up until that point, I thought only the Turbo Coupe birds were worth consideration. When the salesman opened the hood, a fuelie 5.0 stared back at me. No its wasn't an HO, but I didn't care. It was a sport model with the floor shifter, and I was sold.

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    The car really was a complete turd. Heavier, and with quite a bit less power than a Mustang. I didn't care! My first mod was a set of yellow Accel plug wires from Auto Zone, and a used K&N panel filter. I was rolling! I worked all of the overtime I could get to pour cash into the car. A friend of mine who worked at an exhaust shop told me they had a used h-pipe off of a customer's Mustang, and he would hook me up. I wasted no time getting down to the shop and getting the h-pipe installed, but I didn't have the money for duals out the back, so I had to run dumps. I was sure I had picked up 100 horsepower!

    Not long after that I found a '88 TC with a blown turbo, and scored the whole car for $200. I also had a friend whose neighbor had a wrecked '88 Mustang GT, whom he had scored the engine from. He told me the whole T5 setup was still in the car, and could be had cheap. The GT was in knee high grass, and was pretty well sunk in the dirt. I spent an entire day with less than adequate tools, to get all of the parts off of the car. Long story short, I now had a complete T5 swap.

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    My plan was to do the T5 swap, and swap in the disk brake 8.8 from the TC, which would also give me 3.55 gears. The problem was I didn't have crap for tools, and nowhere to work on the car. What to do? A guy that worked at Sandy's 4X4 in Augusta GA, who was also a foxbody guy, hit me up for a deal. He wanted the TC body and the 8.8 rear. We struck a deal that he would do the T5 swap, and install a 4.10 gear in my 7.5 rear end, in exchange for the TC. Just like that, I had a 5.0/T5 Thunderbird (with duals). I remember the night before my car went to the shop, I hit the strip in Augusta GA. with all of my parts in the trunk, just to show everyone I was really going to have a five speed.

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    Now that my bird was "fast", It had to look the part. Nothing but a set of Weld draglites 3's & 8's would do. My plan was to buy one wheel with every paycheck, and I would be in business. While I was saving my pennies for the Welds, the old bird rode on a set of pony wheels, with used Goodyear Eagle GSCs that I had scored from a used tire shop. Three months later was that fateful day when I was able to bolt on my Welds for the first time. I had arrived. I drove the car like that for quite a while, adding other mods like stock Mustang shorties to replace the cast iron manifolds, an off-road h-pipe, and a set of two chamber flowmasters.

    In mid '98, a friend who drove a  wrecker told me about a wrecked '88 GT that had sat unclaimed in their impound yard. He needed the transmission, and interior, and I needed the engine. We went in together and bought the car from his boss, and it was time for my H.O swap. Because I worked full time, and was in college full time, I had very little time to work on the car. We decided to pull an all nighter, to swap the engine in my bird. In less than ten hours, we yanked my non HO engine, and dropped in the Mustang engine. Everything plugged up like it was supposed to be there (gotta love the fox chassis). The car fired on the first twist, and I was in a foxbody utopia. The funny part is, I had forgotten to swap the PCM, and wondered why the car was running so bad. After a quick PCM swap, it ran PERFECT. I went home and slept for a few hours, but I had to get the car out and see how it would run.  Less than a block from my house, I attempted to launch the car, and spit the ring gear out of the diff cover. There is a reason Ford used the 8.8 rear. Back to the donor car I went, and grabbed the 8.8 out of the car. While it bolted in just fine, the Mustang has a shorter track width, and the wheels were sunk in about half an inch. Oh well, it's not gonna break.

    I truly wish I had kept that car, I moved on to a '89 GT later that year, and the bird was put on the back burner as I finally had a Mustang. I ended up parting the car out to buy parts for my Mustang, and still kick myself for it. I mean, it was my first fox. In trying to keep the story as short as possible, a few details on the story had to be omitted. I sold the car to my best friend in '98, and later purchased it back in '99. He affectionately named the car "Rolling Thunder".  I could write on and on about this car, but in order to not put anyone to sleep, I will close here. CR

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Five free things you can do to your fox body mustang right now!

    The struggle is real for fox body Mustang guys on a budget. Lets face it, parts aren't cheap. So when things are tight and you want to make your fox better, what's a guy to do?

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#1 Grab a magic eraser from the kitchen and hit all those spots on your interior plastics. These things work great on all plastics and vinyl, they really dig in and clean well. Don't scrub too hard on darker colors, just enough pressure to get the soiled areas clean. Keep a small bucket of water and a microfiber towel nearby to rinse the sponge, and dry the areas you just cleaned.

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#2 Raise the car up on jack stands and clean the insides of the wheels. Especially if you have thin spoke wheels. Keeping the barrels of the wheels clean not only adds a level of detail to your fox, but helps prevent corrosion as well. Use a mild cleaner like Simple Green to get all of the grime off of the wheels. DO NOT USE HARSH CHEMICALS, especially if your wheels are polished or chrome, keep it mild.

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#3 While you have the wheels off, you can do number three! Take a scrub brush, hose, and mild cleaner to those inner fender liners. Get all the rubber, mud, sand, dust, etc out of those wheel wells. You can also grab some bug & tar remover and clean up the painted areas of the wheel openings. Once everything is all clean and dry, hit the area with some WD40 for a nice shine (avoid the painted areas and brakes).

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#4 Make sure your throttle body is going full open when you press the gas. This one requires a friend to sit in the car and press the gas pedal, doing it with your hand, at the throttle body does not represent what happens when the pedal is depressed. Yank the intake tube and make sure the throttle blade is 100% open. If not, grab a screwdriver and adjust the linkage until it is.

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#5 Hit all of your electrical connections with some terminal cleaner. Get as many connections as you can, and be careful not to break the clips off. Contact cleaner is fast evaporating like brake clean, and will clean all of the brass and aluminum contacts really well. So many times I have chased gremlins from dirty, loose, or weak wiring connections. While you are doing it, you may come across a connection that wasn't tight, or had damaged wires. Trust me, your fox body Mustang will love you for it!

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    So there you have it! No excuses anymore, get out there and give that fox body Mustang some love!

CR

What defines a "survivor" fox body Mustang?

    This is one question I get a lot, I also see the term used out of context ALL the time. To be clear, this is MY definition. Everyone has their own opinions on how you can classify a car as a "survivor". Webster's definition is pretty simple: "To remain alive". When I consider the term as it relates to a fox body Mustang, I think of a near stock car, with original paint, and original interior. A car that has survived the years without a resto, without being hacked up by multiple owners of questionable intelligence, and most of the original bits are still in place. The car does not have to be 100% stock to qualify either, which makes this term even harder to define. If I go look at a fox body Mustang that has original paint, original interior, good miles, and has a Trick Flow top end on the engine; I call it a survivor.

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    Believe me when I say you can split hairs on this discussion all day long. Sure a car can be repainted and be a survivor. It can have a restored interior and be a survivor, but not both. Without getting too deep here, I've settled on the overall picture as being the rule. My old Reef Blue '93 LX hatch was a true survivor. I got the car from the original owner, and while it had 155k miles on the clock, it was in amazing shape. This car was completely stock, down to the mufflers. The paint was faded on the front bumper cover, it had a few dings in the doors, and the carpet was soiled, but it was a survivor in every sense of the word.

    How about I throw you a curveball? You can take a survivor, restore it, and lose survivor status. Now the car is restored, not a survivor! My brain is beginning to melt here. As I said before, its the overall condition of the car, not necessarily just one thing, or even two. How about a few more examples?

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    I wanted to tackle this subject as the term gets brought up often. Putting it into a clear context is very difficult, as every car is different. However, I can walk up on a car and tell you in about ten seconds if it meets survivor status. Every fox body Mustang has it's own persona and history. I've even called some: "Rough survivors". The main point here is that I will take an honest survivor over a half assed restored car any day of the week. I see so many cars being called: "Restored" by their owners, and I just shake my head. Give me a faded OEM paint and interior any day of the week.

CR

The Top 5 reasons to buy a fox body mustang NOW!

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    I've been meaning to write this out for a while, and finally got around to putting finger to keys. I mainly decided to write this from the perception I've seen that many fox body Mustang fans still have:

-They are everywhere

-They aren't worth more than 10k

-The only reason guys buy them is because they are cheap

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Yup, many guys still think it's the late nineties. The above points were true even ten years ago, but this is 2016. So here's the reality:

#1 The newest fox body Mustang is now 23 years old, going on 24

    Thats right, nearly 24 years old. Just by sheer age, the foxbody Mustang is getting more and more scarce. All of the cars that were totaled, all the cars that are now strictly race cars, the rust buckets, all the ones parted out and rotting away, etc. Figure at least 1/4 of the cars succumbed to one of the above fates.

#2 Foxes are being exported daily

This is a fairly new phenomenon that I've come to realize. Many countries like Kuwait, Venezuela, UAE, and so on have a huge fox body Mustang fanbase. Especially the owners in the UAE that have plenty of cash to throw at a clean, low mile foxbody Mustang. I get messages everyday from people from those areas asking if I know of any cars for sale. They spend the bucks, and are buying super low mile foxes by the dozen.

#3 The value is going up due to reason #1 and reason #2

Supply and demand is econ 101. You simply can't argue with it. The less there is of something, the more valuable it is. Sure, there are a good bit of shitbox foxes out there, I am not referring to those cars. I am talking honest foxes, survivors, unmolested examples. Be ready to spend 8-10k for a fairly stock, fairly clean LX hatch or GT. Notchback? Plan on 10-12k depending on colors and condition. Add in black interior, rare colors like Reef Blue or Bimini Blue, and the price continues to climb.

#4 Older guys are leaving their GT500s, and coming back to a foxbody Mustang

The generation of Mustang guys that cut their teeth on a fox in 80's and 90's are abandoning their newer cars for the simplicity of a fox body Mustang. They are also becoming more nostalgic about their younger hot rod days, when they ran 13s in their new '87 notch. I get the messages every single day, from guys who can certainly afford whatever car they want, but are looking to get back into a clean fox. Simplicity is a wonderful thing these days, and many guys get tired of all the extra garbage on new cars that they simply don't want.

#5 The aftermarket is hotter than it's ever been

    As new models continue to roll out, many aftermarket manufacturers move on to the latest and greatest. That isn't true for the fox body Mustang. Almost daily I see killer new performance and resto parts come out for the 79-93 Mustangs. This is very appealing to someone looking to totally restore, or restomod a foxbody. Many cars from the same era have little to no parts out there, especially for restoration.

    So there you have it. The winds of change are blowing, and I predict the cars will continue to get harder to find in nice examples, and quite a bit more expensive. Get yours while the gettin' is good.

CR