Pete Epple Technical Editor
May 2, 2012
Photos By: Jim McIlvaine

Bloomington, Minnesota, may not be the first place you think of when you hear about a hot Fox Mustang, but the location of this slick four-eyed Fox won't be the only surprise.

Underneath its subtly modified exterior hides a mixture of ingenuity, engineering, power, and handling capabilities, which combine seamlessly to make this Fox something truly special!

The car is the creation of Bill Wagner, who picked up this '82 GT as a replacement for his '71 Mach 1. "I wanted an '81 Cobra," Bill tells us. "But it was only available with a 255ci engine, so I went to look at the (then) new '82 GT with the H.O. 5.0L. Ford had dropped the Cobra name, so I felt I could make my own '82 Cobra."

A mere three months after driving off the dealership lot, Bill began the transformation, which took a total of 27 years to culminate in what you see here. "What you see here is what I feel is the best the aftermarket has for the Fox chassis, but what you see is only half the story," Bill explains.

Over the years, the car has evolved from a stocker through multiple combinations that would make most of ecstatic to call our own, to its current configuration, serving as an R&D test mule in the process. We are told that many companies--including Kaufmann Performance, Baer, Vortech, Kenny Brown Performance, Brembo, Stillen Motorsports, and Holley--have all tested new parts with Bill, and it has helped make this Pony what it is today. Although we don't have room to bring the details on all its past combinations, its current recipe is impressive--here are the ingredients.

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First and foremost is the powerplant. Lightweight and strong, Bill employed Ford Racing Performance Part's aluminum version of the 302ci Boss block as the base of his engine build. The bores were filled with Ross pistons and Eagle forged H-beam connecting rods, which are set into motion by a forged-steel Eagle crankshaft. The combination of 4.030-inch bore and 3.40-inch stroke brings displacement to 347 ci.

The short-block has been capped with a set of Trick Flow Specialties Twisted Wedge aluminum cylinder heads. Induction comes from a 1,000-cfm Holley throttle body mounted atop a modified Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, which has been updated to accept eight 30-lb/hr FRPP fuel injectors.

Behind the engine sits a Tremec TKO II Road Race five-speed gearbox, which transfers power to the Currie 9-inch rearend. Motive gears spin a set of 31-spline axles from Strange Engineering, which equally distribute power to the rear wheels. The underpinnings of this Pony have been reengineered with the help of Griggs Racing. The stock triangulated four-link has given way to a torque-arm rear suspension, which greatly improves suspension geometry and handling.

"I wanted a well-rounded sports car that accelerates, brakes, and handles well on the road course and street," Bill adds. "Weighing 2,850 pounds with 400 rwhp, it's a monster! It's fun to run down turbo Porsches and Vettes on straightaways. They always think they'll catch me in the braking zones or corners, and that's where this car really shines.

"Having the car for as long as I have, I've been able to tune the engine, suspension, and brakes for maximum performance--and I know my car very well!"

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