KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
June 1, 2008
Photos By: KJ Jones
What's right with this picture? Well, if you're sharp enough to notice that the Pony-style wheel has a five-lug Ford bolt pattern, you're absolutely correct. But that's not all. Keep reading to see why this wheel and Mavromont Industries' other Pony Rs are special.

Horse Sense: "You're going to try and do what?! Put 17-inch 315 rear tires on a Fox?! Without mini-tubs?! Man, they're nearly 11 inches wide-there's no friggin' way. It's impossible!" That was the reaction of Race Pages' associate editor, and your tech editor's good friend, Jason Reiss after hearing about our intentions of mounting huge meats on the back of our project coupe. This one's for you, Jase, and all the other nonbelievers out there.

As hard-core enthusiasts, we all have a good understanding of how important aftermarket wheels and tires are to the ever-evolving process of modifying a '79-'08 Mustang.

Upgrading to larger-diameter/greater-width wheels and bigger tires is more the rule than the exception for many 'Stangbangers of the '99-to-present era. The envelope for how big a wheel-and-tire combination can go is being pushed all the time.

Fox owners, on the other hand, must live with a fixed limit: a 17x9-inch maximum wheel size. In addition, 255/45 17s and 275/50 17s are the tallest/widest front and rear tires that will fit comfortably inside the wheelwells without modifying them or narrowing the rear end.

Sure, the extra inch of the 17x9s is a nice step up from the 16-inch wheels and rubber worn by many cosmetically upgraded '79-and-up 'Stangs. However, it still misses the mark for those enthusiasts who want to put 17s on their street Foxes and capture a drag-race appearance in the process. Mustangs from 1991 to 1993 received 16-inch rolling stock from the factory, and '93 Cobras and Cobra Rs were fitted with 17x7.5-inch (four-lug) and 17x8-inch (five-lug) wheels, respectively.

This is the rear tire that Demetrios is talking about, Nitto's 315/35ZR-17 555R Extreme Drag Radial. The tire measures approximately a full inch wider than the 275/40ZR-17 that many consider to be the widest rear tire that will fit on a '79-'93 'Stang, without requiring chassis, body, or suspension mods that can go far beyond simply rolling the fender lips and banging on the inside wheelwells with a sledgehammer. Our project car will definitely look intimidating from the rear.

Thanks to the popularity of drag racing Mustangs in the NMRA and other sanctions, the wheel-and-tire-influenced "hot look" these days (especially for Foxes) is based on using 15x8- or 15x10-inch rear drag wheels and 15x3.5-inch front wheels. The widest, cleanest-fitting tires are used on the rear of the car and narrower tires (better known as "skinnies") up front.

Many of you have let us know how much you dig the Weld Racing 17-inch Alumastar 2.0 race wheels that adorn the '86 T-top coupe detailed in Editor Steve Turner's feature article in our Jan. '08 issue ("Top This," p. 102). Although the wheels are designed for S197 'Stangs, we discovered their 17x9.25-inch rear/17x4.5-inch front dimensions are Fox compliant. The way they look on our rare Pony is one of the 'Stang's greatest assets-along with 830 rwhp, of course.

Believe it or not, Weld's bad-dude race hoops weren't our first choice of wheels for the car. In the spirit of being true to Fox Mustangs and their history, your tech editor initially thought it would be beyond cool to have the T-top coupe roll on the ever-popular Pony star-style wheels-the 16x7-inch rolling stock that took the 'Stang world by storm when they were introduced on '91 LXs and GTs. A major setback was the fact that our coupe sports a five-lug setup, and a Pony-style wheel wasn't available with a 5-on-4.5-inch bolt pattern at the time we started mapping out the project car.

As we mentioned in our report on five-lug conversions for Foxes ("Four No More," Dec '07, p. 144), one of the biggest hurdles for enthusiasts who wish to make wheel upgrades on stock 'Stangs is the limited assortment of wheel styles that comply with the Fox's now-ancient 4x4.25-inch bolt pattern.

Well, it's a new (and better) time for Fox footwear. Thanks to a discovery made by our fearless leader, we're outfitting our coupe with a reincarnation of our favorite OEM wheels from Demetrios Mavrofrides and the crew at Mavromont Industries in Orlando, Florida.

With Mavromont's new Pony R wheels, our coupe has the throwback look that we wanted from the outset. These new-school Ponys (available in chrome and argent, the silver/gray color of the originals) are spitting-image replicas of the beloved '91-'93 'Stang wheels, save for unique center-cap emblems.