How to buy and sell a fox body Mustang


    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.



    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 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...



Throwback: The Ten Minute Tune up


    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!

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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


    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?

  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!


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.


    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.


    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?


    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.


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.


    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?


    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.


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


    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

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.