5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
Test of Time - Bench Racer
For those that don't follow the inner workings of the 5.0&SF operation, we are spread out across the country. Our senior tech editor is out in California, and Associate Editor Johnson and I are in Florida. We stay busy, so it's not often that we have the time to sit around and talk cars. That's one of the best parts of coming together at events. In the off hours we get a chance to grab dinner and bench race.
Most recently we found ourselves chatting about what will happen with the upcoming '15 Mustang. We aren't immune to the hype of new cars and what they might mean for the magazine, the enthusiasts, and the industry at large. These big changes only come around so often, and they definitely provide a fresh injection of excitement for all Mustang fans.
I have long felt that this transition would echo the move from our beloved Fox to the curvy, some would say Asian-influenced SN-95. This time we move from the retroactive S197 to the Eurocentric S550. It will certainly be interesting to see how the new car is received after following up the popularity of the current generation of Mustangs. The SN-95 had a rocky start, especially when it transitioned into the modular era. This time around everyone expects the beginning of a transition into the Ecoboost era.
Now, I have mentioned it here before that I believe the S197 cars, particularly the first generation, have the potential to carry some of the same long-term respect of our beloved Fox Mustangs. They had a solid run, great aftermarket support, and really tugged at the heartstrings of longtime Mustang enthusiasts.
Every time I see an '94-'98 Cobra, I miss my Chrome Yellow '98
What came up in this particular conversation with KJ was a feeling I've had—there just hasn't been a Mustang since the Fox that carries the same level of street cred. That's not to say there haven't been some great cars between 1994 and 2004, but I certainly don't have the same worship of those cars that I do of their predecessors. It's odd, because in most ways the newer cars are “better” cars. And according to KJ, even fans of newer 'Stangs garner greater respect in car circles if they have a working knowledge of the Fox era.
Now I realize that this is somewhat a product of my youth. I saw the Foxes as they were just hitting the street, and that stuck with me and led me to this spot behind the keyboard. However, I don't really see that same Melvin passion about model-year details on these cars. Nor do I see the same level of interest in reproduction parts for them. Even engine swaps seem to naturally gravitate toward Foxes.
Again, I am not knocking these cars at all. I still love several specific models. Every time I see an '94-'98 Cobra, I miss my Chrome Yellow '98.
Certainly many factors play into the Fox phenomenon, but I'm really curious to see how you feel about the Mustang eras that followed the Fox. Do you have that passion? Do you know what years had what options? Do you fixate on which years had better taillight designs? Do you yearn to own that pristine SN-95 or New Edge that you first saw in high school?
Speaking of fixating, I take it to a new level when it comes to the Fox. I can't stand the term “Fox-body.” I know it's the vernacular. I also know I'm not going to change that, but it grates on me every time I hear it or read it. The term Fox refers to the chassis, or the Fox platform. This chassis was shared, at various times, by the Fairmont, Thunderbird, Mark IIV, Mercury Zephyr, LTD, and more. If it were the body that counted, how could 13 different cars be based on the Fox platform? Heck, even the curvy SN-95 runs on a tweaked version of the Fox platform known as Fox-4.
I took that tangent not to stir the passions of those that prefer the popular vernacular, rather to emphasize how seriously I take the Foxes. Do you take your era that seriously? Why do you think the Foxes still garner such love and respect? Either way, hit me at 5.0Mailbag@sorc.com or @editorturner on Twitter.