HOOF
Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
February 15, 2019
Photos By: Kevin DiOssi

The heat we got from readers and a few advertisers nearly five years ago was positively equatorial. In our company’s reorganization in 2014, four of our Ford magazines were consolidated into two: Mustang Monthly and Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, the two biggest sellers. To differentiate them, there had to be a clear demarcation line, so the corporate suits made the decision (and to be honest, I supported it) that the cutoff line would be Fox-bodies. Monthly would cover everything prior to the Fox (1965 to 1978) and Muscle would cover Fox-body and late-model Mustangs.

We figured fuel-injected engines said “late-model” more than anything, and the clear generational change from the Mustang II to the 1979 Fox solidified the decision. My first issue at the helm of Mustang Monthly, January 2015, happened to be the first issue that the change was announced to readers. And boy, did some of them despise us and especially me for the making the change, and they let me know about it with more than a few flaming emails and letters. An unnamed former Mustang association president was quite brutal in his assessment of “my” decision, my personal proclivities, and my mother’s “extra-curricular activities,” if you know what I mean. Like I said, brutal.

But eventually most people got over it, and we could focus solely on the early Mustangs from a mild performance and hardcore restoration standpoint. No longer were valuable (and shrinking) editorial pages given to cold-air intake installations on 2005 Mustangs, meaning we could add pages of tech and features on 1965-to-1978 Mustangs. In my honest opinion, the magazine back then seemed a bit schizophrenic, with harsh transitions from early- to late-models and back. But that was five years ago, and in the ensuing years the Fox restoration market has really gained steam. A 1979 Mustang is now 40 years old for cryin’ out loud, which not only makes it “vintage,” but it also means that most of them need the same restoration parts that the ’65-’78 cars do. Stuff like upholstery, carpet kits, and wear items like door striker bushings and stuff.

One champion of bringing back the Foxes into Monthly has been tech editor Mark Houlahan. He wasn’t happy with the decision to excise them in the first place, and he has been lobbying for their return ever since. Recently, the staffs of both Monthly and Muscle (myself, Houlahan, Content Director Henry De Los Santos, and his tech editor Michael Johnson) began the discussion to return the Fox to Mustang Monthly in our weekly editorial calls. We agreed it was the right thing to do, and after some persuasion, we got the higher-ups to agree as well.

If you noticed in the last two issues, we added a little bit of Fox-body (Johnson insists it should be “Fox-chassis”) editorial in the book, including a Rare Find from Jerry Heasley (March) and a tech story from Wes Duenkel (April). As I write this, those issues are still at the printer, so we haven’t gotten any feedback on the move, but I’m quite sure it’s going to be positive.

Vintage folks need not worry—Mustang Monthly is not going to turn into 5.0 Mustang from years ago with all Fox content all the time. And we’re not going to be building or featuring 1,200hp, 8-second Fox drag cars. That’s Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords territory and they are welcome to it. No, Monthly’s Fox stories will focus on restoration and mild street performance. For instance, in this issue we have a tech story on upgrading the clutch cable and quadrant on a Fox-body (sorry, Johnson…Fox-chassis), plus Houlahan’s story on rebuilding a T-5 five-speed, which is applicable for early-Mustang transmission swaps or stock Foxes. As time goes by, we’ll be sprinkling in some car features on Fox-bodies that have been restored as intimately as a Boss 429 and other mild performance versions. Who doesn’t like a traditional ’87-’93 with a GT-40 intake, B303 cam, and a Vortech S-trim? Those are retro-cool, and they’ll have a place in Mustang Monthly once again!

So welcome back fans of the 1979-to-1993 Mustang! We have some neat things in store for you!

Photography by Kevin DiOssi