By on October 28, 2012

Jeff writes:

Sajeev,

Your “Panther Love” is so well known that it could be termed Legendary. But until your recent comments in “The Ultimate Commute” I did not realize you were also a Fox Body Mustang owner. Definitely my lack of perception and close reading or your articles!

I recently purchased a Fox Mustang: a 93 Hatchback LX with the 2.3 4 cylinder engine. I knew that if I bought a 5.0 I would get many Speeding Tickets & also be tempted to Race.

I would much appreciate it, if you could provide an update on your own Fox Body experience.

Thanx

Sajeev answers:

I always wonder if I’m sharing too much about myself on Piston Slap, aside from the narcissistic rants about Panthers or whatever else the B&B gets me worked on. It’s all good, but shit Son, I don’t even own a Panther!  And no, my Fox-ination has little to do with the Fox Mustang. But it all started on December 31st, 1986.

That’s the day my parents took delivery of a 1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino. It completely changed this 9-year-old’s perception of cars, since I was primed to learn by this age.  “The Lincoln” is a proverbial buffet of automotive uniqueness: style, surprisingly competent craftsmanship, period technology, and sleeper resto-mod potential. As the years went by I couldn’t stop absorbing more about cars and either applying it or witnessing it on “The Lincoln.” It’s so intense, so unique, that I am still researching it’s mysteries to this day. And spending tens of thousands on a complete rotisserie restoration and a significant resto-mod power train upgrade.

The money is a sunk cost on a fool’s errand, but I’m just a 9-year-old in a man’s body.

When you combine a stylish luxury car signed off by Valentino himself with the endless possibilities of the Fox Body, you have a car that appeals to the designer inside you and the classic Ford Hot-Rodder you always wanted to be since the days of the Flathead V8 powered Model A.  This is the car I drew in the margins of my grade school notebooks.  It “took” me to Detroit on a misguided journey to be a car stylist. Perhaps “the Lincoln” is the foundation for both Piston Slap and Vellum Venom.

Damn, I just blew my own mind.

If you like my work (which I appreciate more than I can put into words) thank your lucky stars that Ford used this car for a ton of later-Mustang upgrades, and that Valentino Garavani was hungry enough in the 1980s to license his valuable name to a modified Ford Fairmont.

And once you get one Fox, you kinda can’t stop. My parents loved the Lincoln so much more than their previous GMs (which where truly horrible) that they got a new Cougar XR-7 the next year.  We loved it.  So it continued: a 1985 Thunderbird 30th Anniversary Edition, a 1991 Mustang LX 5.0 notchback, a 1991 Lincoln Mark VII LSC, a 1984 LTD “LX”, etc…

 

And as the Fox disappeared into cult classic collectible, we turned into Collectors of the Breed. Our garage now has eight of them, in various states of repair.  The Lincoln pictured above is disassembled, floating on a rotisserie.  After four years of frustration, the Cougar is turning back into a daily driver for yours truly. My how time flies.

I doubt a day has gone by since the Fox wasn’t on my mind…since December 31st, 1986. When I’m old enough to write The Book of My Life, the Fox will likely intertwine itself in every chapter.

Jeff: so there you have it, you have my “update on my own Fox Body experience.”  Thank you all for reading, have a great Sunday and a fantastic week come tomorrow.

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89 Comments on “Super Piston Slap: Poser Perceptions vs. A Fox Reality...”


  • avatar
    Spartan

    Should have went with the 5.0L. Even if you’re tempted to race, today’s V6 family sedan would keep you in check since 5.0L Fox body Mustangs aren’t very fast to begin with.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    8 cyl good, 4 cyl bad! (At least in 80s muscle cars.)

    5.0 Fox has always held such posibilities. Would love to turn a baby LTD or Marquis into a sleeper.

    • 0 avatar
      RedStapler

      Blown 6cyl Better.

      Say the Sheep after Squealer has reprogrammed them.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        4 cyl can be good! If its the turbocharged 205 HP, 1986 SVO version of Ford’s 2.3 liter inline four (originally in the Pinto!). Originals came with a factory installed Hurst shifter that are nearly impossible to find in full condition. However, you can build an SVO clone for a little bit o’ the green and own a true sleeper.

  • avatar
    W.

    Sajeev;

    Combine the recent spread in Hemmings and the article from last year about the Aero-Birds, and your blue Thunderbird is just an amazing relic that I want to own.

    Please keep up the good work. It’s why I come to TTAC – for the unique, oddball and esoteric. I enjoy reading your articles and all that you bring to the B&B!

    Tim

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    So, to ‘Jeff’, what’s your reason to buy a 4 cylinder Fox Mustang? Is it because you just love its styling/design? Some sort of nostalgia factor? I can’t think of any other reason. It’s just a poor car in general. And as posts above had said, the V8 ones are not actually fast, fast for its time, maybe, but not today. With the V8 ones you could at least got a little bit of fun, and be part of the legend. They’re not that reliable either, and with such a low-tech engine, I don’t think fuel economy is that great either. I think just about any Japanese econocar is probably a better choice than a 4-cyl Mustangs ss basic transportation. A 6-cyl original Mustangs may not be faster, but are at least beautiful to look at, plus with such an old car you don’t want to take risks with it anyway, so it’s more understandable.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Call me crazy but maybe he just wanted it.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Most car guys have some sort of irrational attachment to a vehicle that is cast off by the mainstream. I want to restore a 77 Corolla wagon with some sort of modern powertrain for example because when I think back to my youth that car is generally connected to the memories in some fashion. Also explains my love of the first gen Ranger and Bronco II as they are intertwined in my teenage years along with a first gen Saturn.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I owned a 87 T-Bird with the 3.8 and it was one of the best vehicles I owned. Granted it was no 5.0 but it handled great and was very reliable till the head gasket blew at 187k.

    As far as the Mustang LX 2.3 goes be different there are many mods available from Ford Motorsport to turn it into a SVO.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If his cars a stick it has potential, but not if its an automatic.

      I drove a Merkur Xrt4i with a turbo 2.3 mated to an automatic, probably the worst transmission/engine combo I’ve experienced.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        My sympathy.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        Really? Back in the day I owned an ’86 T-Bird with the turbo 2.3 Liter and three-speed auto. I remember that thing having some pretty good pep and even halfway decent fuel economy when you weren’t flooring it all day long. Was this powertrain combo any different from what was offered on the XR4ti?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At Otaku: The ’87 Turbobird gained a 4 speed automatic (finally) and extra power, but the ’86 models used the same 3-speed/turbo Pinto motors as Merkurs.

        On the highway it was okay but redlined very hard to get up to speed, around town it was a complete slug from its turbo lag, it felt just like my Dodge Omni.

        The motor was dangerously hot afterwards too, leave it to Ford to not include an Intercooler.

    • 0 avatar

      Heck, I’ve been driving my 170k stang 3.8 with a blown head gasket for 10k miles, including two trips from Ga to Pa (700 miles each way). Just top of the water at gas stops and she keeps going!

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        You are lucky. Mine was starting to lose a few ounces of water ever now and then. So I flushed the system and changed the coolant. Then I took it on a long vacation run and it blew. I used some Bars Leaks to keep it going but to no avail. It depends where the head gasket cracks, the coolant side or the combustion chamber. Mine was a combustion chamber leak, you could tell from the carbon. Coolant side tends to be foamy.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I have to agree with Whoopee, fox Stangs are fairly mediocre cars in my book. If you get one go with a 5.0 so you can atleast understand why people enjoy them.

    I used to own an ’84 Mustang with the 3.8, it had bad weight distribution, usual American 80′s quality (interior falling apart, broken guages, custom radio, cut up dash).

    I traded it after the brakes were fading, and after it stalled for the 54th time. Automatic? Yea, it’d still stall though.

    I did consider buying a four door fox years later, but I figured that if I wanted a decent 4 cylinder sedan I should buy a Volvo.

    So I did, but not before trying out a Panther.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    Good call on the 4 banger over the 5.0. I have yet to find a “5OH” that hasn’t had it’s Torque Boxes nearly ripped from the chassis out this way (AOD cars are typically a bit better).
    That 2.3 can be built to provide a respectable amount of power too. It’s not like you bought a boat anchor.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m a fan of Fox body Mustangs, I’m sure it has nearly everything to do with growing up when they were “king” of the road. For hot rodders that wanted to step into “scary” fuel injection, Mustangs were the ticket. I also really liked the clean, angular lines. It has aged much better than the redesign in ’94.

    It is amusing though that technology has made something like a modern Toyota Camry or Honda Accord absolutely stomp any factory Fox Mustang. I think the peak was a ’93 Cobra that put out 235hp?

    I toyed with the idea of buying a clean LX as a second car, the problem is, they’ve gotten so old that most are just thrashed.

    BTW, LOVE the collection, we need more photos!

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      “I think the peak was a ’93 Cobra that put out 235hp?”

      For me the 5.0 was always more about low end torque. My brother had an ’87 GT that I occasionally drove and you could practically start that thing in fifth gear. Wasn’t it rated at something like 300 lb.ft. @3000 rpm?

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        It’s still anemic in today’s world considering it was at one time considered a V8 musclecar.

        That era Mustang GT had something like a 7 to 8 second 0-60 time with an automatic, a new V6 Honda Accord or Camry will do it in about 6 seconds flat.

        Progress is great, if you told someone in the 90′s a stock Toyota Camry would blow the doors off their souped up 5 point oh, they’d call you crazy.

        Regardless, I’m still a fan.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        @j_c “It (Fox body stangs) has aged much better than the redesign in ’94.” Funny you say that. What’s commonly known as a “Fox body” is in reference to the Fox platform it rides on. Which just so happens to reside under the SN-95 and New Edge Stangs til phase out in 2004.

        @otaku “For me the 5.0 was always more about low end torque. My brother had an ’87 GT that I occasionally drove and you could practically start that thing in fifth gear. Wasn’t it rated at something like 300 lb.ft. @3000 rpm?”

        I own one of the last 4.9L ’5.0′ 302 V8s made in the factory in Cleveland (as God intended) in my ’95 Cobra Hardtop Convertible. Factory was 240 HP with 305 Torques. With minor mods, have managed to massage about 280 and 400. Good solid engine just broken in with 50K miles.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    I don’t mind Fox body Mustangs and even had an 83 LX (I think it was an LX) with the little engine. The car hadn’t been treated well. The steering wheel was on upside down. The shift linkage was SO BAD. Oh that drove me INSANE. I just needed a beater but that was a headache on wheels.

    Now, there’s a 5.0 for sale down the road from me that has nice paint. I give it a week with the FOR SALE sign before it’s gone. I live in the south, Fox bodies are the stuff of dreams. I’d still rather have one than a goofy Civic with a loud muffler and nitrous stickers.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Looking at the fox Mustang from a current perspective…it seems so small, the modern equivalent of subcompact with a v8 what’s not to love? I also love what the fox Mustang represents: Ford making a modern Mustang appropriate for the times, not some retro-styled throwback machine like we get now. I suppose I like the foxstang for precisely the reason my Dad hates them…its a generational thing

    4 banger though…pretty useless…other than any good race car would start from a 4 banger no need to buy the 5.0 if you’re just going to rip everything out and put in the good parts.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve owned about 12 cars with some version of the Buick V6 so I get this post. I’m also glad that you restore cars form the 80s because this will make my future resotration of a ’88 Lesabre t-type or Bonneville SSE seem slightly less stupid.

    I’d be interested if sometime in the future you could make a post about the logistics of owning so many cars. I’ve found that I have a really hard time keeping more than 4 just due to time constraints (and I’m not really a busy guy) even though my budget could support more.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I would also be interested in a post (or series) regarding the logistics of maintaining an aging fleet.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        2 Early 90′s rides, a starting to rust 07 Hyundai for the wife, a dual sport bike that I absolutely beat on a very tempermental riding mower. The 90 Miata generally just wants time, The 93 Land Cruiser wants time and dollars (I don’t think there is a sub 250 dollar part on that truck), the Hyundai never needs anything though the body is starting to need a little love, the bike always need something fixed from me pretending it is an MX bike rather than a 300 pound dual sport and the lawnmower is a general pain in the a$$ but it does have a cupholder for a bottle of Sam Adams.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’ve got three vehicles for two people, and it’s all I can keep up with. Seriously thinking about paring that down to 2 in the next two years.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I am down to two from three last year, but thankfully my commute is < 3 miles so neither car gets more than 8K per year even with all of my personal traveling.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Car restoration is never “stupid” my friend, its modifications that can cross that boarder.

      My respect would sooner go to a man with a pristine Hyundai Excel than a manchild with a chipped and lowered Jetta.

    • 0 avatar

      Not likely: your restoration of a LeSabre t-type or Bonneville SSE is just as stupid as what I’m doing. Too bad about that.

      Logistics of owning so many cars? It’s a nightmare, we aren’t in a Jay Leno type of garage setup yet. Cars collect dust the majority of the time, it’s not really worth making a Piston Slap about it.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Logistics of owning so many cars? It’s a nightmare”

        Well if you ever decide to do a Metha Collection Sales Spectacular, let us know. I’m sure I could make your fleet a few cars smaller.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Nearly bought an 84 LTD-LX, but couldn’t get a stick. Was driving a Malibu 4-speed at the time and liked it a lot. But, realllly liked the LX too. Now they’re a collectors item and can’t afford one.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Owned an ’87 Mustang GT (with the 5.0) from new until 1992 when I replaced it with a new SHO.

    My only serious complaint was the woeful inadequacy of the brakes (disc/drum) which were just about useless at speeds over 80 mph. Being that torque is more or less a function of displacement, the 5.0 put out some serious torque, which made stoplight launches fast and spectacular. The engine was out of breath by about 4500 rpm. Would easily achieve 100 mph; given the weak brakes and the 85 mph speedo, I don’t think I ever drove it much faster than that.

    Despite the very light rear end, had gobs of understeer, except when you were on the throttle. It was not a particularly easy car to drive fast.

    It should be seen for what it is — a vintage car; fast for it’s time, a little dangerous, but in no way equal to today’s Mustangs.

    Not, IMHO, the least bit collectable.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      +1 Great review. Bought mine used, the service manager’s wife had just traded it in.

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      “Not, IMHO, the least bit collectable.”

      Funny, people used to feel that way about most of the “classics” that we’re now doing rotisserie restorations on or cloning today.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Most collectible cars are that way because they represent a milestone of one sort or another in automotive development, or the apogee of a particularly excellent concept. For example, the original Mustang is collectible because it introduced a whole new type of car to the public. The Porsche 356 in its variations is collectible because it is the apotheosis of the 4-cylinder, rear engine aircooled sports car developed by Ferry Porsche and is, in its own right a pretty competent vehicle. Oddly, the first 911s are not nearly as collectible even though, objectively, they are better (or at least faster) cars. Perhaps it is because of their really vicious handling characteristics . . . I don’t know. Having driven a couple of 356s, including a Super 90, when they were only a few years old, I can tell you that they are a fun drive and reveal most of the British hardware of the era (MGB, TR-4, Austin-Healy 3000) to be the crude machines that they were.

        But I don’t think the Fox Mustangs really added anything to the brand, except a partial recovery from the disaster of the Mustang II and the avoidance of the path marked by the altogether different Ford Probe. At best, they kept the ponycar concept alive.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The caveat “yet” should have been added. They will be collectable “classics” in another 10-20 years just like you see Tri 5 Chevys are today.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I would agree with your critique of the 5.0L Fox body. I had several of them, but sold off the last one when my first child came along. I needed a grown up car instead of a fast coupe.

      Several years ago, I ran across a 1986 Mercury Capri Sport Coupe (which is what they were called after the RS 5.0L model was dropped in 1985) that was sitting in an used car lot. At the time, it was a 15 year old car, not particularly well preserved, but not beaten to death, either.

      I was able to get a test drive in it; much of what you wrote came back to me vividly as I drove the car. I hadn’t been in one previous to that afternoon for at least 5 years, I’d forgotten many things about the car(s).

      Tom Wolfe was right, you can’t go home again. It was great to drive that car again but newer, even more mundane machinery, has advanced far beyond what those cars were capable of doing.

      Collectable? I think that’s up to the individual doing the collecting. Would I have one? Sure. Only as a Sunday driver, though.

    • 0 avatar
      LTDScott

      There are several companies out there offering restoration parts for Fox bodies, so I think you’ll eat your words words about collectibility in the future.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I’ve always really liked the Fox Body’s sheer diversity. You could have it in a big ol’ luxo-barge Lincoln, a plain jane family car LTD, and of course all the Mustang options. I almost considered a 4 cylinder Mustang fastback for my college car, until some one beat me to the punch. Now I just fantasize about the possibility of buying an inevitably wrecked Focus ST and cramming its engine into an old Fox, like a bastardized SVO Mustang.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    PoS! The 2.3 was in the Falcon. The only difference is it is now a TBI instead of carb. Whoopee! All that means that Ford elected to squirt oil down the throat to lube the injectors. Sucker always burned oil! Mileage sucked for an engine that has only 88hp! Clutch is a heavy sob, too. Light ass backend means that you can spin out the sucker in wet weather. Rings will give up the ghost before the car.
    What you have is a little funmobile, a little crude, tailhappy, with all the fun removed. It sucks! Ask me how I know.:) 10 terrible years as a DD.
    Good points: Body is strong. Repairs are cheap. Lots and lots of mods available.
    Bad points: beyond the car itself, trying to modify the car to put back the fun will take more money than it’s worth. It’s much better to buy one already set up. They’re still not uncommon so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a 5.0 that you can afford.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    I dont understand what makes the Ford 302 so legendary. Sure, it survived for decades. In it’s day, it was not much more than a mediocre reliable small base model V8 engine. The 351 Cleveland is a different story…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree but I think its because 351 wasn’t offered in much from 1984 onward, so 302 is really all you had in many models including the Foxes. Given the alternative in some Ford products was the 2.3L HSC swirl-of-shame, you’d see 302 as a white knight too.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_HSC_engine

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Maybe if you are talking 60s the Cleveland was the desirable motor over the Windsor.

      If you are talking 80s though, the port injected HO 5.0 was pumping out 225HP(SAE Net) good for the money in the Mustang and competitive with the Camaro/Firebird 350. Really it was the huge aftermarket of parts built around that 302. You can build for pretty much any HP you desire at reasonable prices…

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        From what I remember, it had to be a Cleveland with a 4bbl, which had the high-flow heads, the 2bbl heads flowed less.

        The Windsors weren’t bad engines, I had one in my ’69 Mach I, it’s just that the 351Cs were better on top.

        The upgrade to FI in ’86 added 15 ponies. My ’85 GT was rated at 210hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It was still a kick to drive and I remember it fondly.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Maybe the OZ Clevelands since the offered the best of both worlds – the 2v port volumes with an open chamber IIRC, the US version of the 351 Cleveland was a classic example of a great idea poorly executed. Had Ford coupled the Cleveland’s canted valve head with a good chamber and sane intakeport design and properly designed exhuast port it would have been a stellar performer. Also the block while utilizing a great main bearing setup was hobbled by core shift problems that could render blocks bored more than .020 useless and an oiling system that pioritized the lifters over the main bearings. The windsor block by comparison featured an oiling system that oiled the mains first and was a little smaller in size and weight with the 351 version offering larger bearings which could be an issue at high engine speeds.

      Anyways, the 5.0 gained its fame due to its fairly robust nature (well when kept below 6500 rpm and 500hp), cheap to modify price and aided by the fox car’s fairly light weight.

      De riguer enhancements were a K&N filter, bump the timing, underdrive pullies, a shorty belt to bypass the air pump and AC compressor, 2 chamber flowmasters, equal length shorty headers. an off-road H pipe and 3.73′s.

      Those mods made for a really quick car on the street and for those looking for something a bit more, Ford had the alphabet cams and 1.6 roller rockers with maybe the sweet as hell looking GT40 tubular intake manifold.

      By the mid ninties, the 5.0 had a huge aftermarket following, very near the small block Chevrolet in scope – a plethora of good flowing cylinder heads, a good variety of intake manifolds – even a good selction of stock to aftermarket blocks in iron or aluminum.

      It also helped that for whatever reason Ford saw fit to saddle the 96 to 98 Mustangs with an absolute boat anchor in the form of the SOHC 4.6 two-valve V8, it might have churned out a higher HP/L figure compared to the 5.0 but GM and just a few years earlier relased the LT-1 with 275hp with more cubes and more torque to boot in a lighter (thus better power density) more compact package and absolutely bitch-slapped Ford with the introduction of the LS1 and its “300″ wink…wink…wink HP (that LS1s were dynoing 300hp at the rear wheels was pure pimp hand enhancement)

      You could step up to the 4v motor but the cost to power ratio still favored the small block even in LS1 trim.

      Not that I’m bitter or anything but if I could build a wayback machine I’d kick Ma Nasser so hard in the ovaries they would shoot out her ears! (PAG this Jac!)

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        On the subject of the 351 Cleveland with the modern canted valve heads and the ability to build a stout “Clevor” (351 Cleveland heads with a Windsor block) much of its past sins have been washed away. IIRC Trick Flow has a clevor lower manifold which allows the use of the windsor style upper intakes allowing for fuel injection coupled with a modern combustion chamber, right sized intake ports and a much improved exhaust port. IMO, the way to go at the moment with a modern Ford pushrod engine.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Dying laughing at the Ma Nasser comment!

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The Ford 302 is relatively light weight, compact, and inexpensive with a great variety of aftermarket engine upgrades. It came from the old world of V8 engines built for torque and sound, but with fuel injection for lower pollution.

      Once you step up into the world of drag racing, it makes some sense to switch to stronger cheaper Chevrolet engines and transmissions in a light weight Fox Mustang. Annoy both camps!

  • avatar
    Luke42

    There is something to be said for learning a platform and sticking with it.

    I owned a 1998 Ranger for over 100k miles and through a lot if periods of heavy maintenance (100k-130k), and several periods of almost no maintenance (130k-180k).

    If there’s a machine that I personally can keep on the road through knowledge and stubbornness, it’s the late 1990s Ranger/Explorer. This platform is way better than I expected when I bought my Ranger but I don’t particularly like it — but if there’s a machine that I personally can keep running when TSHTF, this is it. I *want* and EV, or a high-MPG plugin hybrid to experience a new way to drive, for efficiency, and for ubergeek factors — but I *know* the Ranger platform, and how to keep it running.

    I imagine that the same knowledge effect makes Sajeev’s Fox body Fords really easy for his family to own — and there’s a lot to be said for that. When there are no mysteries under the hood, and you know each subsystem, you can really do the maintenance fast, cheap, and good. It’s just that, for those of us who don’t fix cars for a living, it takes about a decade or so of ownership to get to that point, and a lot can change in the world in that time.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Sajeev ;

    I am by no means a Ford Man however , I know many , we’re all old Geezers who had A – Bones back in the day , one fellow I know is a die hard Ford Hot Rodder and he too likes the Fox Body Mustangs , built himself an extremely fast one .

    IMO , even the small engined ones are fun drivers, not if you buy a shytebox and fail to fix it up , then of _course_ it’s a pile but it’s _YOUR_FAULT_ at that point , don’t blame the car because you’re lazy & cheap .

    Anyone who ever considers the value of the vehicle before deciding to put in the necessary $$ , is -not- true GearHead , stop now .

    Anyways , you have a serious gift with your writing skills , I am not alone in enjoying your muse greatly ~ keep it coming .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Ion

    I had a 93 LX vert with the 2.3. In 91 the 2.3 was revised with dual spark plugs so it produced 105hp and 138lbfts of torque so perfomance is on par with say a civic of that era. If your wondering the needle on the speedometer keeps going after 85mph and your best bet for performance parts is actually the Ranger aftermarket.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Sajeev,

    If you really want to sink some cost, and earn tons of respect from a very small sector of the car loving populace, plunk a BMW diesel in that Continental.

    By the way, I love the Turbo Coupe. That was and is a beautiful car.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I have the 2.4L diesel mill in mine. I don’t believe they offered it in the Valentino, but I’m no where near my Lincoln library so I’m not sure.

      The Diamler/Steyr/Pusch M20 adaptation is a cool runner. It’s a bit sooty if you romp on it, but watching the twin plumes of particulate in your rear view while you’re trying not to get ass-ended on the Woodward-Davidson-Lodge transfer is truly enjoyable.

      Either way, when that head cracks, I’m probably dropping a built 351 in it.

    • 0 avatar

      The diesel is a 1984 thing. Along with the air suspension. 1982-83 Contis need to stick with V8s, or the very rare 3.8L V6s in early 1982. Mine’s getting a 331 windsor…probably. Unless an idiotically cheap LS1 motor shows up instead.

      And that’s not a Turbo Coupe. The 30th is actually Elan based.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Everything LS is idiotically cheap, unless you’re really stuck on LS1, 2 or 6 all aluminum.

        An LQ9 truck 6.0L block ($400-500) complete, with stock LS1 862 heads ($100), MS3 cam ($350) and LS1 intake will net you between 4-450HP and will weigh less than the 302. Throw in hardened push rods and springs too. Just troll LS1tech for this stuff on the cheap.

        Of course you’d still need to get a harness and PCM ($400 for the nice aftermaket harness) but there are bolt in LS swap subframes and trans mounts for the Fox.

        You could put all that together for around the cost of a freshened 331 or less.

        Do iiiit!

      • 0 avatar

        Nah, I want all aluminum. Otherwise I’d rather have a Windsor V8 for a Fox.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m surprised at the rather blunt negative comments on Fox bodies, I never found them to be great but they couldn’t be all that bad.

    I like to view the “Fox” as Fords answer to the K-Car platform, useful and versatile if not a tad over-used.

    Sajeev, do any of your fox-bodies feel that drastically different from one another as far as handling goes?

    You should top your Fox collection off with an LTD wagon.
    Or better yet, an LTD wagon with an 80′s Capri nose and a 5.0 powering it.

    • 0 avatar

      The long wheelbase Foxes feel significantly different than the Mustang. Far more confident. Put a matched set of swaybars on a Cougar/Tbird/Lincoln with decent shocks and you have an effective (if very crude) way to corner fast in a relatively light (3400-3800lb) muscle car. Good sleeper potential.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    My hero.

    Money spent on a project car is better than money spent on a psychologist. As that is what I would need if I didn’t have my Continental to drive around and enjoy when I’m back home.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I’d say drop the drivetrain from an 87 OR 88 5 speed T-Bird Turbo Coupe in it (5 speeds had more power if I’m not mistaken), but the 87-88 Turbo Coupe and the Cougar XR-7 to this day remain my favorite Fords so I don’t think I could part one out. This would be as close as I could likely come to my other favorite Ford (SVO Mustang) though since the prices of them have been on the rise.

    Has anyone seen a T-Bird SC drivetrain in one of the v6 foxes? I think that would be fun in a vanilla LTD.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      When the SC was introduced for the 89 model year I thought a version of the 3.8 SC motor would make it’s way into other Fords as SVO or SHO but to no avail. The 5.0 and 4.6 of the era were just as powerful. My 95 4.6 is 205 HP roughly the same as a SC.

      I never have seen a T-Bird SC drivetrain in a V6 fox body. Maybe due the fact that they have a preponderance of head gasket issues and SC owners keep them or rebuild them.

      I did see one once in an MGB.

  • avatar

    The last American-built car I have owned was a 1980 Mercury Capri (hatchback version of the Fox Mustang). I bought it from Budget Rent-a-Car and had an after-market air conditioned installed which convinced me to never again buy an after-market air conditioner. The car was really attractive (white, black trim and a red interior) and power was sufficient (autobox, 3.3l I-6). The hatchback was great and with the rear seat down made the car very practical. I just looked it up and am surprised that the engine only put out 94 hp. I usually travelled alone in the car so lack of performance was not a problem. What was a problem was the build quality of the Capri, with bits and pieces constantly falling off or breaking. I think I replaced turn signal switches four times and the hatch struts would suddenly give up and let the rather heavy hatch drop onto your head. Overall a just-okay car that did the job well enough. It was replaced with a 280ZX Turbo which gave me 240,000 kms of fine driving until the rustworm destroyed it.

    Here in Germany vintage cars are called (in English) “Oldtimers.” There is a movement underway for newer “collectible” cars which, inevitably, have come to be known as “Youngtimers.” These “modern classics” would be 15-20 years old and it appears the car-crazy Germans will collect pretty much anything as the list seems to go from Porsche 928s to older VW Golfs and Volvo 240s.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Cool collection Sajeev. It’s good to see there are others out there collecting the malaise/post malaise pseudo classics.

    To those that consider the 5.0 HO Foxes mediocre. Sure, by 2012 standards as a performance car, they are mediocre in stock form. Keep in mind that the bulk of these cars were made 25+ years ago.

    I see 5.0L Fox Mustangs probably like a lot of Hot Rodders in the 60s and 70s saw the ’55 Chevy; A default hot rodders choice for some very good reaons, but very common and very dated.

    Look at the prices of decent ’55s nowadays. Hang onto those 5.0 notches, in another 20 years, you’ll have the next Tri-five in your garage.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I love Fox body Mustangs, they are definitely on my short list of possible project cars I am considering. Sure, they are not fast compared to modern cars, but they can be made to perform very well, and the price of entry is super cheap. Now the 4cyl the OP wrote about? No way would I want one. The entire point of the car is the 5.0.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    Around here (Philly and it’s suburbs) the 4banger Mustangs usually bring a decent price in good shape, the 3.8s are usually fed to a crusher at the junkyard. Why? The four cylinder cars share a trans crossmember with the 5.0 cars so swapping in a small block is that much easier compared to a V6 car.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    Maybe Lincoln should go back to making convertibles and coupés, like back in the day. I almost picked up a low-mileage pristine 1982 Lincoln Mark VI coupé several years ago — Fox platform.

    It would have gone well with my well-kept 80s Panther Town Car, in the exact same color. Of course, my Panther had probably 180K miles at the time, so it was a little more heavily used. It still passed California smog tests at over 200K on the original transmission like it was brand new (and even though it wasn’t a California car originally).

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Actually the 1982 Lincoln Mark VI coupé was still Panther based, a shorter Town Car/Mark VI 4dr. 1984 -92 Lincoln Mark VII coupé’s were Fox-based. Probably one of the best Fox bodies or for that matter Lincoln’s ever.

      Yes, Lincoln does need a couple of coupes and convertibles their line-up is mighty bland.

  • avatar

    What Sajeev? No love for the Futura/Zephyr Z7? I laughed at them when I was young in the late 80s, but now they look like project cars with real potential. Also our Lemons car is one.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Tickets weren’t an issue when I daily drove a late model 5.0 in my early 20s even though I did crave the g’s it would pull getting up to traffic speed or from 30 to 60 mph. That’s not necessarily an infraction and it otherwise felt like a normal 4 or V6 in traffic except I’d shifted at 2K rpms or less.

    My SVO was a different story on the commute, because you really had to squeeze the throttle to get it moving until you hit boost. Then it had a big surge in power with a loud compressor swoosh that reminded you what a pussy you were by backing off right when things were getting good.

    I wouldn’t boost a 2.3 LX because it likely couldn’t take the stress. The SVO/XR4Ti/T-Coupe 2.3s had forged internals and high-nickle blocks.

    The 5.0s had potential if you knew where to unlock it. First, they came gear’d with 2.73 rear ends (unless you knew to order it with 3.08s). They really needed at least 3.55s to get the party started. With 3.08s, mine would redline 1st gear at 55 mph and I could bury the 85 mph speedo in 2nd. Its gearing was joke, performance wise. In 5th, 85 mph was barely at 2K rpm.

    If it was me, I’d leave a 5.0 completely stock until I changed to 3.73s perhaps. You’ll likely be more than satisfied with the results. I daily drove 3.73s and they felt like the car was designed for it from the start.

    Aftermarket rear upper and lower control-arms are an absolute must, trust me. So is a pro short-shifter.

    Just those three things would transform a foxstang 5.0 into something more world class. KONIs would be next on my list.

  • avatar
    LTDScott

    Preach on, Brother Sajeev! I have only owned 6 Fox bodies (five LTDs and a Mark VII) but you know I share your love.

  • avatar
    ushocker

    The comments on this discussion sadden me. The Fox Mustangs were a glory of their times. They were affordable and fast. In their day, their power and lightness made them nearly as fast as the exotics. For $11,000 to $14,000 they were a steal.
    Yes, v6 Accords can equal them now but that is a mark of the wondrous efficiencies of our information age. Fox Mustangs ruled roads the 1980s as the Corsair, Hellcat or P-51 dominated the skies in the mid-forties. Yes, an F-4 Phantom or F-22 could shoot them down in an instant but if you think that is really saying something you are a nitwit.
    In the same way, the thoughtful will see the foxes as something special.
    I own an 1988 Mustang GT which is a hand me down from my brother. I was there when he bought it new and it remains stock. It can probably get to 60mph in around 6 seconds – about the same as an Accord or Camry. Unlike those soft cars the Mustang is raw, brutal and real. There is no computer to guide or protect you, no airbags to save you when you make mistakes. There is nothing to save you.
    It is the last of its kind. When those cars stopped coming out of the River Rouge plant, computers began to pacify the automobile. The modern car is wonderful, the new Mustang marvelous- but they lack the crude beauty and rawness of the Fox.
    So enjoy your computerized toys. My Fox Mustang has something you can’t understand. Something raw and crude and glorious that the haters can’t understand. It represents the end of a breed, a glory of it’s time. For all it’s faults, it is the real thing. It’s a real car. Nothing less, nothing more.


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