KJ Jones
January 1, 2013
Photos By: KJ Jones

Alove for modifying, personalizing, and building hot Mustangs is one element of the DNA in all of us at the mag, and just about anyone else who faithfully reads 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords. Yes, we, in a sense, live for badass Ponies and rightfully take pride in having a role in their development. Through the years, the magazine's full-time and extended staff members have taken part in many Mustang builds. Some projects are high profile and have been successful, and there are some that unfortunately have languished into that area of the almost forgotten. And there are great ideas that still haven't come to fruition.

While time, or a lack therof, is often included among the main reasons why project 'Stangs don't get finished (Big Steve says project 'Stangs are not done until they're sold), we know the reality is that the project efforts of many hard-core enthusiasts usually screech to a halt because their owners' lofty intentions exceed beyond their budgets. The reality of limited funds is one of the factors that led to the acquisition of our latest inductee in the 5.0 Hall of Project Cars--a bone-stock, 145,000-mileage Deep Emerald Green '91 5.0-liter/AOD LX hatchback. Tech Editor KJ Jones purchased it in April 2012. Many of you who loyally follow our Facebook page may already be up on this new addition to the fleet. But for those of you who don't keep abreast of our online musings, consider this your official introduction.

Yes, this is another project series that features an old-school 'Stang. This virginal LX is perfect for presenting the ideas and upgrade options we have in store, which, in stark contrast to past project Mustangs, are not dominated by the high-tech, high-priced hardware that we've highlighted in other builds. This time our plan is to forgo building an ultimate street Mustang, and instead focus on transforming this project Pony from a stone stocker into a reliable street sleeper.

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To do this, we're infusing it with a mix of proven, old-school performance bits (and tricks), as well as a few brand-new pieces that are specifically designed for '86-'93 5.0s. It's a concept that's doable by enterprising and capable do-it-yourself types, or the project can be farmed out to a trusted Mustang shop--over time, and as funds permit the work to be done. Yep, just like the old days when such project Mustangs were driven every day.

With '79-'93 Mustangs being so old and abundant (even in stock trim), our Cheaper Sleeper project truly is all about taking a solid platform and building a cool 'Stang that doesn't require deep pockets to make it that way. Today, the market is strong for all sorts of quality, used aftermarket parts. Of course, there are components that must be new. But, remember, there are always fellow members of the Mustang nation who might be changing directions on their combos. If you're patient and really want to save money as you're upgrading, be diligent with your search. The parts or services you need will eventually come around. We plan on exploring all of these avenues of thought-based frugality and sharing the results in the series of articles that we hope you will enjoy. For starters, read on through the following photos and captions that provide a few details about Project Cheaper Sleeper, and some of the first steps we've taken toward ridding it of its bone-stock pedigree.

Horse Sense: Yes, there's a lot to be said about "ultimate" 'Stangs. You know--rides that are masterfully crafted to include interior/exterior appearance, performance, and street driveability. In a perfect world, we'd all have these bases covered when we modify our cars. But given the great expense of taking things to an ultimate level, we totally understand that building one isn't possible for everyone.

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