K.J. Jones
June 17, 2006
Photos By: From the 5.0 Mustang archives
The end-product of Ford's call for something new-the SN-95/Fox-4 MustangGT. It's still front-engined and 5.0-powered-with 215 hp-and,thankfully, it's still rear-wheel-drive. During the development stage,rumors circulated that Mustang would be going to front-wheel motivationwith the SN-95. This new 'Stang was a lot more aerodynamic than priorones, and its reinforced Fox-chassis underpinnings-with more gussets andadditional bracing-made it a big hit with road racers andperformance-driving enthusiasts. The first-gen SN-95s also featured reardisc brakes as standard equipment and strut-tower bracing forengine-compartment rigidity.

Horse Sense: The '94 debut of the SN-95 (aka Fox-4) Mustang represented a pretty radical change to our favoriteride's interior/exterior appearance-especially the exterior, as therewas a light-years' difference between the new design and the '87-'93'Stangs we had come to love. It also brought us a year closer to the endof the pushrod 5.0's 16-year run, which, to some diehard 'Stangbangers,was one of the most devastating tragedies in the modern-era Mustang'shistory.

When it comes to positioning in the Mustang family's food chain, the'94-'95 'Stang, without question, can today be considered the red-headedstepchild. While they don't absolutely suck, they're still consideredthe Mustang IIs of their time by some 'Stangologists we know.

In theory, we're sure Ford had enthusiasts' best interests in mind whenit decided to make the big changes to our favorite ponycar. But thereality is that the first-gen SN-95 ('94-'95) was definitely better interms of drivetrain and chassis, with 215 hp for the GT and 240 hp forCobra models, a stiffer chassis with longer and stronger rocker panelsand roof rails on each side. Plus it was quieter and had improvedhandling characteristics, but it seemed to fall a bit short in otherareas.

The '94-'95 cars were 200 pounds heavier than Fox 'Stangs-a quality thatwas frowned upon by many enthusiasts, especially in the drag-racingsector. One of the more dramatic shortcomings was the unforgivingprogramming in the EEC IV engine-management system. Enthusiasts quicklydiscovered that this deja-vu step backward opened the floodgates forfrustration, as simple bolt-on engine upgrades were almost impossible orexpensive because the aftermarket produced few '94-'95-specific 5.0parts or the critical electronics necessary for getting around thethen-newer EEC IV electronics (read more below in "Computer Science"). In asense, the cars were somewhat doomed in terms of additional performance.

As we all know, time goes on. Nothing stays the same and enthusiasts'love/hate feelings for the '94-'95 'Stangs are now leaning more towardthe "love" side, probably because of the cars' unique position inMustang history; the last Mustang GT with a pushrod 5.0engine-regardless of its electronic nuances. We saw this same trend afew years ago, when out of nowhere the carburetor-equipped '85 'Stangsexperienced a popularity boom. Maybe it's the "last of a particularfeature" novelty that causes these spikes in popularity, but the reasonthis phenomenon occurs is anyone's guess. The cars are definitely outthere in surprising abundance, and can be purchased at fairly decentprices. In some instances, first-gen SN-95s are being sold for less than'87-'93 Fox 'Stangs.

So while the SN-95 spotlight is bright, we're going to take a closerlook at the short history of '94 and '95 Mustangs and offer a fewinsights on how to make yours better.

Computer Science

The road course and winding highways were the true, natural environmentfor the '94-'95 Mustang. The cars featured a wider track, nearly aninch-longer wheelbase, and better steering geometry than the Fox'Stangs, which provided increased control during spirited runs. Thereare quite a few upgrades that can be made in the suspension area. Firstand foremost, lowering a '94-'95 is a great way to improve its handling,but adding pieces such as a torque arm and Panhard bar, bigger brakes,and a good set of performance tires really help transform these carsinto seriously fun corner-carvers.

As we mentioned, one of the biggest drawbacks of the '94-'95 Mustangswas their engine-management system. While they both relied on EEC IVtechnology, there were significant differences between the '94-'95electronics and the EEC-IV systems of '87-'93 'Stangs.

In 1994, Ford engineers were forced to make changes to EEC programmingin order to comply with stringent emissions standards. These changesseverely limited an enthusiast's ability to make powertrainmodifications because even minor upgrades usually resulted in difficultystarting the engine and poor idle quality.

Many enthusiasts claim they have made changes such as cold-airinduction, underdrive pulleys, 3.73 gears, transmission shiftkit/reprogram/torque converter, exhaust, and a Kenne Bell 6-psisupercharger-to their '94-'95 5.0s without experiencing any of theaforementioned results. But one way to ensure a good outcome is bymanipulating the EEC IV programming, which can be done with either acustom-programmed chip or a plug-and-play wiring harness that works witha pre-'94 computer.

Today, Pro-M wiring harnesses can still be found on eBay and variousclassifieds on Mustang Web sites. The wiring allows use of an earlierEEC IV in the '94-'95 Mustang. While doing research for this story, wecame across the owner of a '95 GT who had installed the Pro-M harnessand the popular A9L EEC IV computer. The car was equipped with AFR 165heads, a ported Trick Flow intake, 24-lb/hr injectors, a calibratedPro-M meter, and a high-flow exhaust. According to the owner, all of theparts caused severe knocking and surging idle when they were initiallyinstalled. But with the A9L handling the air, fuel, spark, and timingparameters, the driveability problems went away and the car ran strong.

Special Editions

351W powered '95 Cobra R. Only 250 of these cars were produced.

One of the things that makes our passion cool is there have beenspecial-edition or limited-edition Mustangs built for eachgeneration/body style since the car's inception. Of course, the lowproduction numbers make these 'Stang's rare, but the sight of one todayin its showroom-new shine really makes them special. This is a sample ofearly SN-95 "timeless classics"-the '94 Boss was a Boss 429-poweredone-off built at the behest of former SVT main man John Coletti. It wasa reincarnation of the original Boss Mustang and featured styling thattipped its hat to the OG Boss, the late Larry Shinoda, the '95 MustangGTS-a direct descendant of the race-car-friendly 5.0 LX, a bare-bones,no-option, no-nothin' 5.0 Mustang-and the big daddy of the lot, the351W-powered, everything-deleted, only-250-made, 300hp, '95 Cobra R thatis, for all intents and purposes, the epitome of a street-legal racecar.

5.0 vs. 5.0 . . . What's the Difference?

Looks like any ordinary 5.0 long-block, doesn't it? Look again. Subtledifferences, such as the water pump, timing cover, and even many of theaccessory brackets (not shown) set the '94-'95 engines apart from theirpredecessors and limit the opportunities for using those parts fromearlier cars, which can be a bummer if something like a water pump isneeded in a crunch. The owner of this ride is stepping up his game withthe addition of aluminum heads, a few more cubes-this one is bored andnow displaces 306 ci-a good crank/rod/piston trio and, of course, acentrifugal supercharger.

While '87-'93 5.0 engines share displacement specs with their '94-'95replacements, Ford infused a few changes in the later engines thatlimited the amount of interchangeability between the early and SN-955.0s.

The intake manifolds, air-inlet tubes, and throttle bodies aredifferent-'94-'95s featured a 70mm throttle body, an upgrade from the60mm stock units on earlier 'Stangs-as are the location of the ACTsensor and the distributor SPOUT. The '94-'95 front accessory bracketsare different-about 1 1/4 inches closer to the engine-and, in aflip-flopped version of the mounts found on '87-'93s, the A/C compressorsits low and the power-steering pump is mounted higher. The new carmarked the introduction of the electric cooling fan instead of amechanical, clutch-fan setup, and alternators were upgraded to 130A from65A. The '94-'95 Mustangs had a unique bellhousing to accommodate a5/8-inch longer input shaft in their T5 transmissions. So,theoretically, only '94-'95 T-5s and bellhousings can be used ineither-year Mustang.

Some 'Stangfreaks install Tremec 3550 or Z-rated T5 transmissions in'94-'95 cars. With this type of swap, a half-inch aluminum or steeldriveshaft spacer, a Fox-Mustang bellhousing, and longer driveshaftbolts are required to compensate for the 51/48-inch difference.

The most important differences in engine parts are probably in thetiming cover and water pump. Usually, they are parts that were changedin engine builds and water-pump or timing-chain replacements. Because ofthe '94-'95 water pump's reverse-rotation, however, attempting to useany other nonspecific 5.0 pieces will not work.

Because of their brief two-year run, finding salvaged '94-'95 5.0 partsisn't as easy as it is for the previous-generation 'Stangs. The Internetis your friend in this area, so visit eBay (www.ebay.com), theclassified sections of the Corral (www.corral.net), NMRA (www.nmraracing.com),and Fun Ford Weekend (www.funfordevents.com). Also check out your local 'Stang shop to find the correct partsyou're looking for to help make your project, especially a show-qualityresto, go smoothly.

Almost any late-model, Mustang enthusiast Web site is a good place tocheck for ideas and advice on mod projects for '94-'95 GTs.