Note to Associate Editor Johnson:...
Note to Associate Editor Johnson: This is how your next LX should look-detailed to the max, freshly polished original Rio Red paint, and a trunk that's as tidy and shiny as a Nextel Cup shop. This LX gives us all something to aspire to. Then again, I guess mine should've looked this great as well before I gave them all away.
Horse Sense: Melvin notes: The new-for-'90 airbag dictated a new steering-wheel design and took away the tilt-wheel option. It was also the year of the disappearing center armrest, at least until near the end of that year's production run.
It seems like such a short while ago that Fox Mustangs were more or less regarded as throw-away cars-I know this firsthand because I practically gave away all mine. Relatively inexpensive to buy in the first place, subjected to heavy modification, and suffering the oft-resulting abuse of raging male hormones, the Fox became the automotive equivalent of a beer can-savor its flavor, twist it up, and discard it. How things have changed.
These days, a non-molested or a solid 5.0 is a commodity of rapidly increasing value. If currently searching for one, we're sure you'll agree that pristine notchbacks in particular have increased in value almost as rapidly as a barrel of crude-and certainly faster than my mutual funds. Once as common as cockroaches, the unassuming-but-rigid sedan has become a desirable collector's piece and the body style of choice amongst Foxophiles.
Even four years ago, when Clovis, California's Luis Blanco acquired this '90 notchback, the supply was beginning to diminish. He was lucky to stumble across the two-owner Rio Red sedan with only 33,000 miles on the clock. As the story goes, the original owner ordered the LX without the optional ($1,878) A/C, AM/FM radio, cruise control, and power windows/locks/mirrors package. The car was thoroughly babied in the accommodating West Coast climate. In all, it was a great find. A bonus was that the vendor, Jason Krassow-his name should be familiar to regular readers-was happy to help Luis modify and detail his new toy.
This fastidiousness also carries...
This fastidiousness also carries into the interior. Of course, it helps that the sedan has only traversed some 36,000 miles in its 17-year life. A pair of Corbeaus were to replace the covered factory buckets.
It's not hard to see that the work has paid off handsomely, with the result being one of those rare combinations of big power, the almost obligatory big/little tire look, and, perhaps most important, fastidious attention to detail. In fact, the car is so new it hasn't been to the dyno yet. But with a Vortech S-Trim and an NOS 150-shot on board, power is a safe bet. In other words, it was almost sure to catch the eye of our West Coast roving photographer, John Thawley.
Based on info from Luis' tech sheet, the engine is unusual in that it combines the renowned Ford Racing Performance Parts R302 block with a stock crank, pistons, and shot-peened rods, and it remains at factory 302-inch displacement. Jason did the engine build, adding Edelbrock Performer heads (2.02/160) and a matching Performer intake, fronted by a BBK 70mm throttle body. The mass air is an 80mm C&L, and it looks as though everything breathes through one of Anderson's effective Power Pipes. We imagine the FRPP E303 cam sounds nice and gnarly through MAC short-tube headers, the BBK cat-equipped H-pipe, and a Flowmaster after-cat system in 2 1/2-inch diameter. Probably another reason the combo hasn't been dyno'd is that, at the time of writing, a custom-calibrated Dynochip was on order from Powertrain Dynamics.
We'd love to tell you that...
We'd love to tell you that the combination of a 10-psi Vortech S-Trim and an NOS 150hp shot produced a gazillion horsepower at the suffering tires, but no one knows yet. What we don't need to tell you, 'cause you can see for yourself, is that this is one spit-and-polished engine room. Maybe that's one reason Luis only drives it on sunny California Sundays.
One quick glance at the Weld Draglites, and you'll notice that the Fox has been converted to five lugs, front and rear. The latter is appended to Moser 31-spline axles, spun via 3.73 gears hidden behind a naturally polished TA girdle. Koni adjustable dampers and H&R drag springs are employed front and rear, with traction maximized by Mega-Bite Jr. control arms. The Fox is stiffened with welded-in BBK subframe connectors, not to mention a four-point Magnum Force rollcage, powdercoated in red of course.
Luis is currently saving up for Corbeau seats, but the cabin is already showing nice touches with the nitrous switchgear in the ashtray's former location, as well as a whole raft of Auto Meter gauges including nitrous pressure, water temp, boost, oil temp, tranny temp, and of course, the tach itself. ICE hasn't been forgotten either, with a head unit and six speakers from Alpine, all protected by a Clifford alarm system and a black chrome fire extinguisher.
We mentioned the car was just being finished-save for the new seats-as we scribbled this. According to Luis, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the main advantage of such a newly completed project is: "I haven't lost a race yet!" That said, we still think it'll take a fairly quick hound to catch this Fox.