Hooniverse Asks- Is the Fox Body Ford's All-Time Greatest Platform? If Not, What is?


In case you’ve never noticed, car makers like to make the most of what they have. To that end, Chrysler made their K-car into every shape and form this side of a carne asada burrito, and not far behind them in line at the Xerox machine was Ford with their Fox platform.

The Fox, a fresh rethink of the mid-size platform came to market for the first time in 1977 underpinning the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. These cars were, at the time, amazing in their advancement from their Falcon predecessors, featuring slick rack and pinion steering, a coil sprung rear end in place of the cart springs of yore, and the ability to be comfortably slid in under pretty much any number of bodies, which is exactly what Ford did.

So well conceived was the Fox platform that its front suspension, while a simple and effective McPherson strut design, had its coils springs not around the struts in a traditional fashion, but lower and separate. This allowed for a vastly wider engine compartment, allowing Fox derivatives the luxury of holding engines from the Pinto four all the way up to the mighty (well, not in the ’70s) 302 V8, and without the need to pull a wheel just to change the spark plugs!

Considering the fact that the Fox platform underpinned not just the Fairmont and Zephyr tins, but the Mustang for decades, the aero T-bird, Lincoln Mark VII, and many, many others, this go-to basis seems to me to be Ford’s greatest in history. Do you agree?

Image source: OldCarBrochures

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37 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Is the Fox Body Ford's All-Time Greatest Platform? If Not, What is?”

  1. muthalovin Avatar

    Fox is a great platform, but for me, it's Panther or GTFO:
    <img src="http://worldcarslist.com/images/mercury/mercury-marauder/mercury-marauder-06.jpg"&gt;

  2. OA5599 Avatar

    Forgive me for stealing a page from Mr. $kaycog's book here, but the best platform is not the one used in the MOST vehicles, but the one used in the BEST ones. That would be the GT40.
    <img src="http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Ford-Supervan-1.jpg&quot; width=500>
    BTW, the Lincoln Mark VII is Fox-based, not Mark VIII.

    1. $kaycog Avatar

      I love the way you think! 😀

      1. FreeMan Avatar

        Are you now Mr. $kaycog, like Murilee is Mrs. Martin?

        1. $kaycog Avatar

          Ha! I didn't even notice the Mr. part. No, I'm still a Ms. and always will be.

          1. FreeMan Avatar

            As is Murilee. As is Murilee…

  3. JayP2112 Avatar

    I think I asked this question a few weeks back after doing some reading on the Ford Durango.
    The only design that didn't come out of the Fox was a 2 door wagon / shooting brake.
    Edit: and had everything from a diesel to a 400hp supercharger (as long as we call the SN85 a Fox derivative).

  4. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    I have never had a desire for a Fox body, but the answer is still yes.

    1. humblejanitor Avatar

      I saw one in my part of Vermont last week. Should have snapped a picture. I knew what it was the minute I saw the back end. VT plates too!

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    Yes, Fox FTW, but obviously I'm biased. I just love how most Fox parts are easily interchangeable with other Fox cars. For example, I added the dead pedal from a Mustang and the fuel filter bracket from a Lincoln Mark VII to my '85 LTD, and the holes for both were already right there in the body. I just had to supply the hardware and they bolted right on.
    The post Fox body Mustangs (1994-2004) are still 90% Fox as well, so a lot of the later stuff is interchangeable too, as evidenced by the '94+ Cobra brakes and 2004 Cobra steering rack that I installed.
    36 years of production means there are a lot of parts to pick and choose from!

    1. crank_case Avatar

      The MK1 is awesome, my favorite shape escort, but it's the MK2 that you're far more likely to still see on the Club level rally stages, at least here in Ireland, sporting everything from tuned period engine, to modern zetec/duratec, opel XE and even Honda S2000 conversions
      <img src="http://www.nationalirishrallychampionship.com/BRADLEY.jpg"&gt;

      1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

        They are basicly the same platform, if I´m correct the Mk1 for the UK was assembled with imperial bolts and the Mk2 was metric.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          True, some minor changes, but largely similar

      2. MVEilenstein Avatar

        Jaded course worker is jaded.

  6. JayP2112 Avatar

    Squirreling around to see how long the Ranger production run was, I found this: http://www.ford.com/trucks/ranger
    "The 2011 Ranger: Although the Ford Ranger has been phased out, have you considered a Ford F-150 or Ford Escape?"
    No. I still want a Ranger.

  7. Senor Smee Avatar
    Senor Smee

    i could agree on the Fox platform. In fact, the one car I regret not buying was a Mercury Marquis LTS, a Canada-only version of the LTD-LX. 5.0L, Recaro seats, a neat little sleeper.

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      I'd still like to get my hands on a Marquis LTS, but likely nobody would care about its rarity except me 🙂
      They didn't have Recaro seats, though. Just standard LTD seats with pump up lumbar and different upholstery.

      1. Senor Smee Avatar
        Senor Smee

        I stand corrected, I thought the pump up lumbar was Recaro-specific. A neat car, but the Malibu coupe I was driving at the time had a 4-speed stick and I wanted a manual in the LTS. But, not avaialble of course.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          I don't think any Fords came with factory Recaros after 1982 or so. Lear Siegler (yes, of aircraft fame) made the bad ass multi-adjustable seats that were used in most '80s Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Lincolns, etc. They made seats for GM, too.

          1. Number_Six Avatar

            I doubt I've sat in a better seat than the one in my 1984.5 Mustang GT350 20th Anniversary Edition.

  8. mdharrell Avatar

    Ford's greatest platform speaks for itself while carrying its own weight.
    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3391/4564519138_991094f362.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Manifestly self-evident.

    1. Felis_Concolor Avatar

      The image of the mechanic pouring polishing compound into the open differential gears while speeding along a frozen lakebed during its record run epitomizes how completely crazy these early speed freaks were.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Oh, not just the early ones.
        The open rear bevel gears of the 999 don't provide any differential action, though. It is, in modern parlance, a full spool axle.

  9. mac350 Avatar

    I owned a used Fairmont tudor and was amazed how easy it was to work on – and roomy for a 2-door. Handled pretty good, too from what I remember. Seems like the Fox platform was touted as the American Volvo in the car mags. I'm surprised that 10 year old Fairmonts/Zephyrs did't become the go-to cars that kids could hot rod easily. But with cheap, used Mustangs available why bother.

    1. Devin Avatar

      The Fairmont would be sort of weirdly cool now though, because everyone and their dog has a cheap used Mustang. Since most of the go fast stuff could still be crammed into the Fairmont, you could make something just as exciting, but with a body not many people see very often.

      1. mac350 Avatar

        I think you're right. I had the 2-door sedan but the Futura 2-door still looks pretty nicel. There are a lot of examples out there in pretty good shape body-wise and to have a sleeper would be cool in a "Two-Lane Blacktop" sort of way.
        <img src="http://image.carcraft.com/f/fordracing79/35692548+w450+h338+cr0+re1+ar1/1979-ford-fairmont-1.jpg&quot; width="600">
        image source: carcraft.com

    2. humblejanitor Avatar

      I never thought that way about my late grandfather's '78 Fairmont until it was sold long after his death. If I had known more about the Fox platform, I would have asked to keep it.

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      I'm with you.

  10. MVEilenstein Avatar

    It was Ford's most successful and versatile platform, so I would say yes, it is Ford's greatest platform.

  11. Tomsk Avatar

    I would say the original Falcon architecture was pretty successful. It sold well both here and in Australia, plus it spawned the Mercury Comet and an obscure youth-oriented Ford called the Mustang…

  12. Neen85 Avatar

    As an owner of a similar '85 GT vert….I can say my opinion is heavily biased.
    <img src="http://www.mustanggt.org/photo/85gundlach2.jpg&quot; width="600">

  13. PotbellyJoe ★★★★☆ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★☆

    Hard to argue with a best seller…
    <img src="http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/1980-1989-ford-trucks-11.jpg&quot; width=550>
    1980 – 1996 was a common frame right?

  14. longrooffan Avatar

    A few years ago I spotted a rusty as all get out Fox body Cougar longroof on ebay just a couple hours away in Sebring, Florida. Sadly, thejeepjunkie would not let me buy it. I am still pissed, and happy, about that.

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