"The next evolution"
Mark Schlitzkus '89 LX
Photos By: Harris Lue
I will put this a simply as I can: the fox body is evolving. I can't be more clear than that about what is happening in this sphere. I have said it before, the old days of these being throw away track cars is long gone. The days of slapping on china made Ebay cold air intakes, is coming to a close. Finally, after all these years, the little fox is growing up. If you scroll through the past feature cars here on FCM, you can definitely tell the winds of change are blowing.
To be fair, these cars came by that reputation of "cheap" honestly. You could score a brand new LX back in the day for around 13k, which was much cheaper than the Camaro, Supra, and Grand Nationals at that time. To compound the interest, the Camaro didn't stand a chance in the stoplight drags against a fox. There were several free mods that the cars would respond very well to, and word traveled fast around the bench races.
Mark Schlitzkus of North Georgia is no stranger to the fox game. "I grew up around the time the fox body was really gaining in popularity, and I always dreamed of owning one" recalls Mark. His junior year, Mark's parents rewarded his grades with an '87 GT that already sported some mods, and ran high 13s at the track. "My dad and I worked together on the car, and eventually added heads/cam/intake and some nitrous". Growing up in Houston, Mark got into the street race scene, and was loving how wicked fast the cars were. Working in a shop all through high school, Mark also learned a ton about paint & body, engine building, and tuning a chassis. Those skills he learned would prove instrumental in this build, many years later.
Fast forward to 2006, Mark bought the '89 you see here, in his final year of college. He began slicking out the engine bay, and some other mods, when life happened. Mark was going through a divorce, and the car was put in storage until 2014. During this time, Mark was hatching ideas on what he wanted, which would be the ultimate fox. Something he could show, cruise, and race was what he wanted (he doesn't ask for much, right).
To be clear, this isn't some deep pockets car built by a race shop. Mark performed all the work himself, in his garage, including the paint. Save for the machine work on the block, this is a home built hot rod, that will put SEMA cars to shame. The underside of Mark's car is just as slick as the top side, as he color sanded the undercarriage before re-assembly began; its that good.
The motivation of such a car would surely have to match the rest of the build, and Mark knew this. Starting with a Dart Iron Eagle block (9.5 deck), Lunati billet crank, Oliver rods, and custom Ross pistons with steel rings. Final numbers come in at 461 cubic inch. The heads are TFS 245cc high ports, hand ported by Mark. Intake valves spec in at 2.13 and exhaust are 1.6. The intake is a TFS box R, that was milled down 1.5" to clear the 2" cowl hood. Mark spent countless hours hand porting the intake, as well as building custom plates to raise the intake runners to match the heads. The cam is a custom grind from Cam Motion, and actuates Jesel 1.6 rockers. Massive amounts of atmosphere are crammed into the stroker via twin Precision 76mm turbos, making this combo easily 2,000 horsepower capable.
With the monumental power coming from the 461, the drivetrain of Mark's notch would need to be equally as stout. The transmission is a fully built TH400 with an ATI Supercase, and lightweight billet drums. The converter was built by Joe Rivera at Pro-Torque. On back, a custom chromoly driveshaft from Strange with their billet 4340 yoke sends the power to the Fab 9" rear end, filled with a Strange aluminum 3rd member, 3.25 gears, and billet True Trac.
The suspension and rolling stock are equally as impressive. Up front a UPR k-member, with 1" shorter control arms, Afco double adjustable struts round out the underpinnings, and 18x8 Boze wheels, with 12.5" Aerospace brakes haul it down from speed. The rear suspension is all custom via Lyons Custom Motorsports, with AFCO double adjustable shocks, and 19x12 Boze wheels shod with monstrous 345 series drag radials.
Whats bad is that I could write a three page essay about this car, and still not cover all of the details. Instead, I recommend examining the workmanship built into the car, to really appreciate it. Making its world debut in our booth at Foxtoberfest 2017, the car drew huge crowds. The comments from onlookers were priceless. Your author also took the opportunity for a ride along, which I streamed live on our Facebook page. The power is truly awe inspiring. Set at just 5psi, the car wants to rip your face off, in fine turbo fashion. The twin 76s spool almost instantly, and that surreal feeling of brutal acceleration smearing your peripheral vision is intoxicating.
In closing, I have to return to my original point. Next level builds like this will become even more commonplace as time goes on. If you caught our booth at Mustang Week, you saw more examples of where the fox game is headed. This is a new day, and the future of what fox body builds will look like. This is the next evolution. CR