Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
February 8, 2007
Michael added new body-side moldings, weatherstripping, amber side marker lights, a GT hood decal, badges and emblems, and '93 Cobra taillights. Even though the '85s debuted with the infamous 10-hole-or phone-dial wheels-we've always liked the look of Pony wheels on square-light cars. Michael went one step further by adding Mavromont Industries Pony R 17-inch wheels in argent. The wheels are wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE-71 treads.

Horse Sense: So much for the thought that square-light cars weigh less than their aero brethren. Michael says his '85 GT weighs in at 3,300 pounds without him in it. It must be the new paint.

As late-model Mustang enthusiasts, we refuse to use the term "restore" when it comes to our beloved Fox body. That term was used by our dads and grandpas when describing what they did to their old cars. There is also the term "restomod," but we're no more comfortable with that. The phrase "fixin' it up" sounds too southern, so we don't really have a catch-phrase for taking our late-model Mustangs to the next level. Editor Turner likes the term "Fox rodding." Whatever you want to call it, we add wheels, brakes, performance upgrades, new paint, and so on. We just do it, and that's exactly what Michael Escobar did to his '85 GT

The East Meadow, New York, resident purchased this '85 GT in February 1999. Michael was the car's third owner. It was bone stock, Medium Charcoal Metallic, and the interior was perfect. "The interior was the selling point for me," Michael says. He knows the markings of a well-cared-for Mustang, and a fresh interior is one of them. It also didn't hurt that the '85 is his sixth Fox Mustang.

The Boss was back with the '82 GT's 157 hp, but horsepower was up to 210 for the '85 GT, boasting a four-barrel carburetor, a new-for-'85 hydraulic-roller camshaft, header-style exhaust manifolds, and forged pistons. Though the '85 GT featured a Y-pipe after the exhaust manifolds, Michael saw fit to have American Muffler in Westbury, New York, add a Catco H-pipe with catalytic converters, along with Flowmaster mufflers and Dynomax stainless steel tailpipes. Other than the exhaust improvements, he has only added Ford Racing Performance Parts ignition components, and Ponycarbs.com rebuilt the original Holley 4180 four-barrel carburetor

"The first thing I changed was the exterior color to Bright Atlantic Blue," Michael says. To go with the new hue, he also added new body-side moldings from Mustangs Unlimited. To make sure the GT looked the part, a new hood decal adorned the bonnet, while 5.0 emblems were added to the fenders. When Michael purchased the car, it featured aftermarket foglights in the bumper cover, so he located a set of what he calls N.O.S. foglights from MPS Auto Salvage.

N.O.S. is another phrase we wish to keep out of the late-model Mustang vocabulary. Not to be confused with the NOS of Nitrous Oxide Systems, N.O.S. stands for New-Old Stock. Basically, N.O.S. parts are new parts sitting around in someone's warehouse or personal stash and cost a chunk of change. The term is associated mostly with musclecar-era restorations or repairs. It's fine with us if it stays that way.

With the exterior completed, Michael turned his attention to the interior to make it even more perfect. He summoned AutoMat Auto Interiors and Tops from Hicksville, New York, to add a new headliner and carpet, and to steam clean the original seats. The interior trim pieces were treated to new paint, and new weatherstripping, door strikers, interior door handle bezels, lock knobs, and HVAC knobs came from Latemodel Restoration Supply.

So why do people do all this stuff to their Mustangs? Michael wanted to do better at car shows, and to have something nice to cruise in with his buddies Marc, Jarett, Bobby, and Ed, among many others. No matter what you call it, get your Mustang out, make it nicer, faster, louder, and get behind the wheel. Leave the clever slogans to long-haired, dainty-handed magazine editors.