Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
September 20, 2016

When anyone asks this author what year Fox Mustang should they buy, one of my first answers is a 1989 model. The 1989 5.0 Fox was the first for mass air, unless you find a California-sold 1988, which also featured a mass air meter. The 1989 5.0-liter still had good pistons, and the airbag wouldn’t arrive until the 1990 model, so you still have a tilt wheel, as well. Sure, the Pony wheel makes the case for the 1991-1993 models, but for 1993, Ford replaced the engine’s forged pistons with hypereutectic pistons, and the horsepower rating for the 1993 model also dropped to 205 horsepower.

Granted, every Fox Mustang is great, and we’re splitting hairs here, but one person who thought 1989 was the perfect year to buy a Mustang is Alex Markou.

Looking under the hood of Alex’s 1989 LX is like going back in time. A Cobra intake manifold, a Moroso cold air intake, a Cobra mass air meter, March underdrive pulleys, a chrome strut tower brace, a Ford Performance 3-row radiator, and other performance upgrades were standard fare, and well, still is today.

Just 17 years old at the time, he worked his butt off to get enough of a down payment, but because of his age, the car had to be in his dad’s name. Plus, Alex’s dad Mike worked at Ford’s engine plant 1 where they built the 5.0-liter engine, so he was able to get the car at an A-plan price. He didn’t wait long to start modifying the car, and once he turned 18, Alex transferred the car into his name.

The mod list centers on the popular additions of the day. He added Ford Performance GT40X turbo swirl heads, Crane 1.72 roller rockers, an E303 cam, a Cobra intake, 24-lb/hr injectors, a Cobra mass air meter, and March underdrive pulleys. For exhaust, BBK Performance ceramic-coated headers exit through to an X-pipe and Flowmaster mufflers, both of which were Jet-Hot coated. Alex polished and chromed many components under the hood before they were available through the aftermarket.

The red interior has been upgraded with a 4-point roll bar, and the customary Auto Meter gauges. “To be different I have a red shift light attached to the tach,” Alex says. When Alex pushes in the clutch pedal attached to a Ford Performance clutch, he uses a Hurst shifter to get to the next gear.

“The cars has 34,000-miles on it, and only been in rain a handful of times,” Alex says. “I’ve had over 100 Mustangs, but this one will never be sold. It has too much sentimental value being my first Mustang, and the fact that my father helped me get it,” he adds. Alex takes a picture of his kids with the car each year on their birthday to show how fast they’re growing up. “One day they will own it,” he says.

Is it too late for Alex to adopt us?!

The LX hatch is lowered using Saleen Racecraft springs teamed with Bilstein shocks and struts, and Eibach sway bars, front and rear. The brakes are from a 2003 Cobra, while the Cobra R wheels are genuine Ford Performance items. The black coupe in the background is a no-option 1987 model Alex purchased in 2006 with just 27,000-miles on it. The coupe features many of the same mods as his LX hatch, but with Trick Flow heads and Pony R 17x8 and 17x10 wheels.