Vinnie The Hitman
February 21, 2007
Want to drop some e.t.s and smooth your ride down the quarter-mile without adding an ounce of horsepower? Then beef up your suspension and let the clutch pedal fly! We'll show you how.

Fox Mustangs are light, cheap, and best of all, easy to get parts for. Oh yeah, they're also simple to tinker with, and they really stand out in today's world as a respected performance car in all arenas. We could go on forever, but those are just a few of the many reasons we love them so much. With street values at rock-bottom prices, getting an early Fox of your own requires little financial obligation.

Unfortunately, time and flimsy unibody design have caught up to our favorite little Pony, causing most examples to be inconsistent to race, and in severe instances, ill-handling on the street.

The truth of the matter is, any Fox Mustang you come across will be from 12 to 27 years of age. Parts go bad, chassis flex, and rust always shows up. Although clean, good-running cars are still out there, you can no longer treat them like they're new-more work is required before you can get an older Pony galloping at full speed.

For this test, we picked up a used 120,000-mile '90 LX Mustang that had seen its fair share of daily use. With its worn suspension and powertrain that was well past its prime, the best we could muster with 26x10 slicks was a paltry 14.305 at 94.56 mph. Aside from producing mere 1.91 short times, the car was all over the track in between shifts. Going through the back door was more of a praying exercise than anything else.

The '90 LX 5.0 coupe you see here was picked up with over 120,000 miles on the clock, but it drove more like it had 300,000 on it. It bounced, bucked, and rode like an old lawn tractor because it spent the last 16 years of its life negotiating the war zone of a highway system that threads the city of New York. It had a couple of things already done to it (namely a K&N panel filter, a 14-degree timing bump, and a full exhaust), and seemed to run decently. But things got real ugly when we decided to do some baseline drag testing.

Taking it on its inaugural pass down Old Bridge Township's 1,320 was more of a game of chance as the years of use and abuse reared their ugly heads. Wheelhop was apparent, the car wallowed like a greased pig in a mud pit, and it jerked from side to side faster then George Michael could scream "Wham!"

With our adrenal glands flowing at maximum capacity, we catapulted our hooptie down the quarter-mile and were rewarded with a rather ho-hum 14.305 at 94.56 mph. By no means was this car quick (especially since it was on slicks), but it was sure an adventurous, borderline white-knuckle, ride. For the sake of this story, we jumped back into this bucket and posted a 14.308 at 94.45 as a backup. All launches were made at 5,000 rpm, and powershifts were thrown down at 5,500. Aside from the starting-line shenanigans, the car was quite squirrelly on the big end. Typical of most 5.0s with mileage on them, the stock rubber bushings that locate the rear axlehousing were completely shot and made the car steer to the left at each upshift-not safe by any means, especially if you want to go faster than low 14s. So, before we test any go-fast parts on this car, we want to get the suspension sorted and readied for future battle. Thanks to the aftermarket, it's now cheap and easy to update the suspension with genuine, hard-core parts.