Eric English
January 15, 2014

You might call Dennis Chandler a consummate go-fast guy. Not one to be pigeonholed into a particular genre or brand, Dennis seems to pretty well appreciate anything with four wheels and a muscular mentality. To the point, over the last 50 years he's owned both pre-war and post-war street rods, Chevys and Fords, vintage and modern musclecars, and a slew of small-blocks and big-blocks. In short, Dennis has experienced a wide swath of the high-performance world, and relished it all.

With the above as background, it comes as no surprise that such an enthusiast would react to the newest wave of high-tech FoMoCo V-8s with a big embrace. How big? Well, witness the '92 notch seen here as an indication.

Dennis explains that he's owned this particular Fox Mustang since 1995, when he bought the virgin Deep Emerald Green two-door with a scant 20,000 ticks on the clock. Never a fan of the automatic or stock nature of the pushrod 5.0-liter that came delivered from Dearborn, Dennis was slow to act on a plan that at one time called for a stroker 351 and five-speed swap—he says too many project cars will do that to a guy. In this case, it's a good thing, for when Ford's Coyote 5.0 arrived on the scene, Dennis had yet to turn a wrench under the hood of the '92.

"It's kinda funny" muses Dennis, "My initial intention for the new 5.0-liter was to put one in my '32 Ford pickup, but after purchasing a crate engine at the end of 2010, I was sort of overtaken by the idea of swapping it into the '92." Easier said than done of course, though the great thing about this swap compared to some vintage chassis is that the high-tech Coyote is a bolt-in—as in no cutting required. However, as anyone savvy to modern engine swaps would know, bolt-in in this instance isn't as simplistic as shoehorning a 460 into a '79 Mustang. Dennis recognized these realities, and despite considerable skills and experience spinning wrenches himself, he turned the project over to Brad Siebold and company at Brad's Custom Auto in mid-2011.

From the outset, both owner and shop shared a similar vision for the end result. Dennis wanted a powerful Fox Mustang that would look and function as if the Coyote were factory. As such, quality work and craftsmanship were a must. The crew at Brad's were equally enamored by the concept, and eager to discover how to overcome a litany of obstacles that would be encountered along the way. Ace technician Brian Holsten would lead the effort, and took care of the easy part—the physical engine swap—within hours of Dennis dropping off the car and engine at Brad's Seattle-based digs. We stumbled across the original-paint notch a few days later, when Brad and Brian trailered it to a local show for display. Even though it was far from finished, the car made quite a splash, and we committed to tracking the project through completion.

As already mentioned, bolting the Coyote into the chassis was the easy part, in large part thanks to Maximum Motorsports' modular-swap K-member for '79-'95s. With the new 5.0 sharing the same motor mount configuration as earlier 4.6 modulars, the Maximum piece is a perfect perch. Brian found that installing the K-member with Maximum's ½-inch spacer kit allowed the Coyote to sit low enough to clear the stock hood, and coincidentally yielded a near perfect 2.5-degree driveshaft angle.

Using a Kenny Brown sway bar with SN95-style ends enabled Brian to remove the factory Fox sway-bar brackets on the front subframe, creating room to lift the entire K-frame/engine/headers/trans assembly into the chassis from below. Given the proper equipment, this technique is far easier and time efficient than working from the top. Said headers are BBK's Coyote swap long-tubes, and work like a charm.