Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
December 26, 2013
Photos By: Drew Phillips

The golden age of the Fox Rod may have finally arrived. Of late, more and more high-end Fox projects have hit the streets. Spurred on by nostalgia, availability, and the ease of adding modern engines, the Fox Mustang is ready for its real second coming.

This new wave of respect and highly modified cars has slowly built for the last eight years or so, but when noted car builder and multiple SEMA award winner Creations n' Chrome switched gears from building up the latest Mustangs for the Vegas flash fest and decided to focus its talents on the beloved Fox Mustang, in this case the 1986 Ford Mustang LX you see here. It was time for everyone to take note—the Fox Mustang is here to stay.

"The Fox Mustang will forever be relevant in today's track and street markets. It is an affordable car and a great starting point for any enthusiast's project," said Chris Matye, marketing director at Creations n' Chrome. "It has a well-supported aftermarket with parts ranging from appearance modifications; strong and diverse powertrain options; and extremely developed chassis and suspension support. And it appeals to enthusiasts in many forms of motorsports."

It's hard to argue with that kind of logic, as the Fox is the impetus for the creation of the magazine you hold in your hands. Of course, it's still exciting to hear a company that had become closely associated with the latest Mustangs paying homage to the Fox on the automotive aftermarket's biggest stage.

"...SEMA 2012 was the perfect time to debut a new take on our favorite generation of Mustang, the '79-'93 Fox..." Chris said. "We simply wanted a versatile vehicle that excelled on any road, track, or driving environment we threw at it. Mustangs, in particular, Foxes had become way too cookie-cutter in our opinion."

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Hence the idea for the company's Top Notch project was born. Of course, if you have followed C n' C's various modern Mustang projects, including the Boy Racer, which graced our July '12 cover, you know that the company's name is quite indicative of its work. It specializes in applying sprayable chrome finishes. The results are jaw-dropping, and ideal for the flash mob that is the SEMA show. They look pretty great on magazine covers too.

"This is far from the first Fox we have built. In fact, Gary's first car was an '84 SVO. When he was only 17 years old, he gave it a complete custom paint job. He has since owned another SVO, three 5.0-liter Foxes, an SN-95, and two S197s," Chris explained. "Every employee at C n' C, including Gary's wife, Kristin, has owned a Fox at some point. Although our Modern Mustang projects have garnered the most attention as of late, like many 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords readers, we wouldn't be where we are without the Fox."

It's one thing to start with a brand-new Mustang from Ford and prep it for one of these glossy finishes. It's a whole different game when you are starting with a 27-year-old Mustang. With the coupe relieved of all its removable panels the C n' C team acid-dipped the body to create a blank canvas for its paintwork. That said painting was the last step before Top Notch's public debut at SEMA. It was painted just two days before the show.

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"The Spectra Chrome preparation process is the same for old or new metal. Besides the roof and A and C pillars, there isn't much original sheetmetal left on the car. We actually found painting the motorsports-oriented carbon-fiber panels more of a challenge than the steel," Chris explained.

Well before it could get to that point, the '86 coupe underwent a complete transformation. Not only did it become an aero-nose Fox, but it gained full-length subframes and an aluminum floor. All of its seams were welded and reinforced. Moreover, its suspension was completely revamped with a JME Short Long Arm (SLA) suspension in front and a custom, S197-style three-link made up of Hotchkis parts in back.