Here’s How The Fox-Body Ford Mustang 5.0 Becomes A Desirable Muscle Car | Daily News Byte

Here’s How The Fox-Body Ford Mustang 5.0 Becomes A Desirable Muscle Car

 | Daily News Byte

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The Fox-Body Ford Mustangs used to be cheap and easy to get at a moment’s notice. Every spring, when tax returns begin, avid hoons can easily browse their local Craigslist listings, select their stallion of choice, and then brutally abuse the machines without worrying about the problem financial.


Sadly, that ship seems to have sailed. As the classic car market continues to experience unusual trends, Fox-Body cars of the past have gradually increased in value, with some examples even becoming legitimate classics and exceeding their original values.

Notably, these particular Mustangs stand out from the rest of the stable for a number of reasons, especially in the styling department. Furthermore, the growing trend of LS-swaps have found a suitable home within the confines of the Fox-Body engine bay, which is just one of the many reasons these cars are seeing higher gross value than before.

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How Did Ford End Up With The Fox-Body Mustang?

1993 Ford Mustang GT: The fox body muscle car that ended a generation.
via: Mustang Specs

Ford first introduced their Fox-Body platform for the 1978 model year. It was the basis for the Ford Fairmont, as well as its counterpart, the Mercury Zephyr. Both the Fairmont and the Zephyr were designed to reflect the changing styles of the late 1970s, especially in the field of mid-sized, family sedans. During this time, Ford also worked to revamp their iconic Mustang, which barely survived the automotive turmoil of emissions regulations, the switch to unleaded fuel, and the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. These factors are the main culprits in the demise of the Ameican muscle car, at least in terms of performance.

In direct opposition, Ford previously introduced the Mustang II in 1974. Although the Mustang II was panned by critics in the following decades, the car itself was a financial success, as it returned the Mustang image back to the idea of a small, affordable, V8-powered coupe. This is essentially a direct contrast to Ford’s approach to the Thunderbird, a model that will only continue to pack on the pounds and get bigger throughout its life.

A year after the Fox platform was launched in 1978, revised versions of the Mustang first rolled into showrooms for the 1979 model year. Ford kept the same strategy to keep the prospect of a smaller Mustang alive. Designed by Jack Telnack, Fox-Body Mustangs showed cleaner styling cues that would carry over into the next decade, and into the 1990s.

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What Makes the Fox-Body Mustang Stand Out from Its Competitors

1990 Ford Fox Body Mustang, side
Via: Bring a Trailer

During its tenure of existence, the Fox-Body Mustang would see action in three separate decades. In total, this platform was used for the Ford Mustang from 1979 to 1993, making its fourteen-year run the longest in the history of the nameplate. Cars are generally referred to in the same terms as their original incarnation; a small, basic coupe that offers a variety of engines, including V8 power, for a price that doesn’t necessarily break the bank. A slightly upscale version, the Mercury Capri, was also offered before finally meeting its demise in 1986.

During this period, the main competitors to the Fox-Body Mustang were, of course, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. For the more basic trim levels, power outputs across all three models are pretty much the same, hovering more or less around 197 hp or 200 bhp (usually on the lower end). The Mustang, however, proved to have a slight advantage in terms of its overall weight. However, the 1980s also ushered in a new sea of ‚Äč‚Äčcompetition from Japan that would directly challenge Ford’s pony car. Cars like the Nissan 300ZX, Mitsubishi Starion, Toyota Celica, and more sought to make their mark on the affordable, RWD sport coupe market. Despite the Mustang having a V8 to back itself up, the popularization of turbocharging allowed some competitors to offer similar, and even higher horsepower levels, despite of sporting engines with smaller displacement.

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What to Expect From a Fox-Body Mustang

1980 Ford Mustang Cobra
by Car-from-UK

In the classic car market that has seen strange trends over the past few years, the Fox-Body Mustang has fallen into its clutches. As these cars become increasingly difficult to find in decent condition, their prices reflect that. Not to mention the ever-increasing demand for LS-swapping, which sees the Fox platform as a prime target for those not shy about dropping a GM engine into a Ford (which, in all honesty, has been a thing since when hot rodders first got their hands on the original SBC in 1955). Aside from the LS-swaps, these cars proved to be formidable platforms for racers looking for action on both road courses and the dragstrip, with a wide range of which were heavily modified within the decade since doing so. Because of this, finding a clean, undisturbed example can be more difficult than finding one that has been modified before.

As far as pricing goes, the Fox-Body Mustang sees a wide range in terms of overall value. On the higher end, good examples of the rare 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra can fetch more than $50,000. Convertible models are also seeing an increase in prices, with some examples being priced over $10,000 (although some examples show almost 100k on the clock). Lower levels that lack the 5.0 drivetrain are priced lower, depending on condition.

However, prices for a half-decent Fox-Body Mustang still seem close to $10,000 for fully roadworthy examples. However, like any car, it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay.

Sources: Ford CJ Pony Parts, LMR

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