"Termi-Notch"

Joe Chapman's '92 LX

“It’s a ‘04 Cobra, lightly modified, with a ‘92 Mustang body”
— Joe Chapman

      I get asked often by people who simply don't get it, why is the fox body Mustang so popular. I always get a laugh from inquiring minds who I know will not understand, regardless of how much time I take to get the point across. The questions about was it super fast, did it handle well, did it have good brakes, was the body extra rigid and so on; I have to answer no. These facts don't help my argument much, unfortunately. So why then? What the hell is so special about a fox body Mustang? Maybe I can explain it better by using the cars weakness as its strengths. Magazines like Motor Trend loved to point out all the flaws, and shortcomings of these cars; out of touch describes them well. 

   To bolster my case, let's go back to April of '64, when the Mustang was first launched. It was marketed as a secretary's car. This meant that working people, that couldn't afford a Corvette or t-bird, could still have a fun car.    

    I will admit I am not a huge fan of classic Mustangs, that was not my era. However, there is a legacy factor with the first Mustangs that is captured by the fox chassis cars. Affordable, decent performance, and a true drivers car. To validate that point, consider the Corvette and Grand National in the '80s. They were the competition to the Mustang as far as performance, but cost 15k more. This was the time when a LX coupe, could be had for under 14k! Talk about a steal. See where I am going with this? All of the shortcomings of the fox body Mustang were actually it's strengths. They gave the owner the excitement of upgrading, and modifying the car to their liking, while not being buried in a hefty car payment. The saying: "Built not bought" comes to mind. 

     Through it's run, the fox received little in the way of performance improvements. While many complained that Ford seemed to have abandoned the Mustang, this kept costs low. Consider buying a 500+ horsepower car brand new, sure they are loads of fun, but you didn't build it. The personal connection with a factory built car just isn't there. When an owner took his measly 225 horsepower, and transformed it into 500hp; therein lies the love. This is the best way to describe the reason why fox body Mustang owners are so attached to their cars, and why something newer just won't do. 

    A perfect example of this is Joe Chapman's '92 notchback. Could Joe have scooped up a '03-'04 Cobra and saved himself the three years of late nights in the garage? Sure! Could he have strutted into a Ford showroom and scooped up a GT500? Sure! This brings us full circle to the point of this writing.

    Despite so many options, Joe chose to undertake a three year long build, to transform his Calypso Green LX into exactly what he wanted. Under the hood is a full bolt-on '04 Cobra power plant, and is shifted by the Terminator T56 trans. Inside, Joe did a complete interior swap, including dash. This gave the '92 all the creature comforts of a car 12 years newer. The upgraded suspension allows the car to carve corners like the Cobra, minus about a thousand pounds of heft. 

    Would Joe have loved a '04 Cobra? Absolutely. Could he love it as much as his LX that took him three years to build? Not in a million years. Point made.    CR


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