Fastback Friday: The Fox Body Mustang

Don't worry we have more tires in the trunk

 

After the need for the Mustang II was over Ford went back to the drawing board to bring the Mustang back to it’s roots. It was time to move the Mustang out of the Seventies and head towards the next decade. No one at Ford could have predicted  the chassis  would last in production as long as it did. From Disco to Grunge, the Fox body Mustang saw it all.

Having recently acquired a Fox Body Mustang project car I thought it would nice to take a quick look at its heritage.

The Ford Ponystang

The gas crisis was over and the sports car of the days were appropriately anemic. What was Ford to do with the replacement for the reasonably successful Pinto based Mustang? Using the Fox chassis Ford planned to move the Mustang back closer to it’s musclecar roots. Offering more performance with a more modern design the new for 1979 Ford Mustang effectively pushed the into the performance car realm of it’s youth.

 

Mustang SVO

 

Starting with a carry over 4 and 6 cylinder engine the Mustang wouldn’t recover it’s performance crown unless the buyer chose the Windsor 302 V8. This was with one very notable exception. Like most automakers in the early 1980’s there was a brief love affair with the the turbocharger and the Mustang didn’t escape this. Between 1984 and 1986 the Mustang would be offered with a 2.3 turbo option as the SVO. This  engine would offer thirty five more horsepower then the larger V8 option but due to the cost was not a well received variation of the Mustang. A front clip that gave it a  look closer to the Ford EXP then to the classic Mustang didn’t help to ease their introduction into buyer’s garages. The turbo four engine would be dropped from the order sheets after the 1986 model year.

 
1993 SVT Cobra

 

Once the third generation Mustangs were out the door Ford set about developing its replacement. Going off the perceived needs of the future they felt they could attempt to radically change the Mustang name by moving it over to an aerodynamic front-wheel-drive platform. When word got out that this was their plan the press and public let Ford know that this was not an acceptable option for the Mustang nameplate. Ford continued development of this vehicle and sold them alongside the Mustang as the Probe. The thought of this being the future of the Mustang would be the same as looking at the Fiero and changing it’s name to Firebird. It just wouldn’t work.

 
 
With the Probe appealing to different buyers, the third generation Mustang would live longer then any other iteration. It would move from an 80 horsepower 4-cylinder to a 300 horsepower 351 V8 in it’s final variant. The third generation left its mark and can still be clearly seen in the design of the consequent model years.

[image credit – wikipedia.org]

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