If I were to tell you that I had a story on a Fox Mustang that had been on this planet for approximately 24-and-a-half years in the rust belt, that had been converted into a drag car and then converted into a road racer, you'd probably think that this poor machine would resemble something fit for the next Mad Max sequel right? Well, in this case, your assumption wouldn't be close. This '82 GT - the first of what we now consider 'late-model' 5.0 Mustangs, was ordered and 'purchased' new by a Ford employee on the 'A' purchase plan. He drove it around for a while and then sold it to another Ford employee. That Ford employee figured now that the car had been around the block a little bit, it would make a great project for him and his son, so they built it up as a drag car. Eventually as sons do, Jr. grew up and it was time for college to beckon, so he figured, to give him a head start the car had to go - so the engine and gearbox were removed and the GT became a rolling chassis with a for sale sign attached, a low mileage, non winter, salt-free kind of chassis, which as we who live in the rust belt know, is one step short of the holy grail. At the time, Mike Schneider, another Ford employee, was looking for something to do in his spare time. A car nut for eons, Schneider had started out working as a mechanic in high school. After getting in and completing courses in engineering school he went to work at the 'Blue Oval' and naturally, being an engineer and car guy he built a few nice rides along the way. After doing stuff with sports cars and pickups, he figured the timing was right to have a go at this Mustang thing.
"I wanted to build a road race car. When I got into Vehicle Dynamics at Ford, they provided a lot of driver training - I went to Bondurant down in Arizona and did their course down there - needless to say I got bitten by the racing bug, so I knew that was the direction I wanted to take," says Schneider.
With a project goal already set, Mike began combing for a suitable project vehicle in order to achieve said goal. "Originally I wanted a 1987-93 Mustang, as they're fairly easy to work on and have plenty of aftermarket support, so I started looking for one of those. When I came across this '82 however I was curious. Although it was being sold as a shell - it had all the paperwork, right back to the original bill of sale from the first owner - it was also super clean and had low miles. It was in amazing shape for being an original Michigan car - it had original paint in decent shape and all the trim, full interior, even the Marchal foglights!" Another bonus, well, for what Schneider intended to do with it anyway, was the fact that it was a 'stripper' GT to boot. "It was ordered with no air, cruise, power windows, door locks, sunroof or t-tops - it was a bare bones solid roof car - all it had was rear defrost and the TRX suspension. Because it was so clean I thought about restoring it back to original, but I decided in the end, nah I'd rather have some fun with it." Although Mike now had his plan set in stone, he was careful about the modifications he performed to his '82. "Even though I was going to turn it into a road race car I was diligent - I had to install a cage to take it on the track, but I thought about it and performed the install methodically, as not to damage the car or make anything irreversible, should I chose to return the car back to factory stock." The same applied to all the stock parts that came off the '82 once the project got underway in earnest - each was carefully removed and put aside.