Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 13, 2011
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

"We're seeing what we think is a similar condition to what the early Mustang guys went through in the late 1980s," says LRS general manager Scott Springer. "The cars are 20 years old now. And the guys who were in high school in 1990 are now at the age where they're ready to pick up a project, and they might choose a Fox-body instead of an early Mustang because that's what they relate to. I'm in that boat. I graduated in 1992. To me, the Fox-body was the popular car of that time."

Laszaic notes that as '65-'73 Mustangs continue to increase in value, many people will gravitate toward the Fox-bodies as a less expensive alternative. "A lot of people can't afford a classic Mustang because they are getting kind of expensive," he points out. "For younger people especially, it's an affordable way to get into the hobby and an opportunity to get involved in something like the Mustang Club of America."

Like the classic Mustangs, Fox-bodies are relatively simple and easy to work on. However, unlike the classics, some predict fewer concours restorations and more drivers restored to look and sound like the 5.0s that everyone remembers.

"People seem to be restoring them to a good 70-80 percent original," says Laszaic. "They paint them the right color and use the correct moldings, emblems, and all that. However, they want to make the car the way they remember them, so they put on a set of performance heads or a cool exhaust system and gears."

Springer concurs, "Back then, 5.0 Mustangs were not stock cars. They had Flowmaster mufflers, gears, a cam, etc. Those cars had deeper roots in drag racing than the vintage Mustangs. It's like nobody restores a '69 Camaro back to stock unless it's a Z28 or something. That's what people are doing to the Fox-body cars. The restomod movement that has been happening with the classic cars is going to be super-strong for the '79-'93s. Some will restore them to the way they came off the line but more people will be interested in making them quick, more like the 5.0 they wanted back when the cars were new."

Ford built nearly 2.6 million Mustangs from '79-'93, almost as many as '65-'73. And like the early cars, the popular, rare, and high-performance versions will likely lead the way in terms of value and restoration.

"From what we're seeing, people are restoring SVOs, '93 Cobras, and anything with a 5.0, especially the coupes and convertibles," says Laszaic. "Right now, they're having to scavenge parts off four-cylinder cars, like getting a full interior so they can put it in their 5.0-liter. The big difference between Fox-bodies and classics is that you don't have the big selection of engines, from six-cylinders to 428s in 1969. With Fox-bodies, you pretty much had the 5.0 V-8 and right now that's what people are going for."

Springer adds, "The '87-'93s are the most popular. They're the '65-'66 Mustang of the Fox-body era. I think the Saleens, '93 Cobras, and SSPs are going to eventually bring big money because they represent the lower production out of a wider group that was essentially the same. We've got a lot of customers with SSP Mustangs. Those guys want stock Goodyear Gatorback tires and the original police equipment that's correct to where the car served. I think that's the future of the hard-core Fox-body restoration movement. It's still in its infancy but it will happen."

With a large national mail-order company like NPD devoting so much resource to the Fox-body, parts manufacturers see an opportunity to spur sales with new Fox-body product. TMI Products, best known in the classic Mustang industry for their high-quality seat upholstery, began investing in Fox-body Mustangs several years ago and now they're seeing the numbers to back up their decision.