The fox-body Mustang: back to the basics of “small car, big engine”Feb 1st, 2016
Building a car on the unibody Fox platform – the basis for the far less well-known Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr – was an audacious move that proved to have incredible longevity. At the time, unibody construction was not nearly as popular as it is today, and the advantages in overall weight, cost, and ease of manufacture made the Mustang a perfect fit for the budget and fuel-conscious late 70s and early 80s.
But even as the compact Fox body helped propel the Mustang into the North American imagination, that doesn’t tell the whole story. What made the third generation of the original “pony car” such a classic – and what made the Fox body one of the longest-running platforms in Ford history, with redesigns extending its run from 1979 all the way to 2004?
First of all, the Mustang of the late 70s represented a sea change in Ford design philosophy. Back then, the conventional dichotomy between big, beefy American cars and compact, fuel-conscious imports was alive and well. Years of insistence by Henry Ford II that front-ends must be vertical – having famously communicated “thou shalt never do a slantback front-end” to his VP of design – came to an end with as sleek, aerodynamic front-ends began to make the rounds in late 70s design sketches.
The Fox-body Mustangs that came out of those designs were not only lighter due to unibody construction, but new lines made them more aerodynamic – and thus more fuel-efficient – to begin with. Conventional wisdom was changing, and North American drivers responded positively, with a fiery enthusiasm for the era among collectors that continues to this day. While today’s Mustang has returned to a more traditional front-end, and unibody construction is now an industry standard rather than a revolutionary choice, the a strong emphasis on aerodynamic styling of the original Fox-body Mustang is alive and well in today’s designs.
But even as modern Mustang models draw from the lessons of the classic era, it’s what’s under the hood that really distinguishes today’s Mustang line from other compacts. The recipe is as simple as it is irresistible: a small car with a big engine that turns heads wherever it goes. What happens when the 526-horsepower, 5.2L Flat Plane Crank V8 of the Shelby® GT350R lets loose? Come down to the lot and take a test drive with the customer-focused experts at Kitchener Ford and find out for yourself.
The 2016 Ford Mustang comes in more trims than ever – from the balanced performance of the Mustang 3.7L V6, to the finely-tuned power of the Mustang GT, to the return of the racing-inspired classic Shelby GT350®. But even as sophisticated options like selectable drive modes, the SYNC® touch screen, and GT-exclusive racing telemetry package become available to a wide audience, the heart of the 2016 Ford Mustang remains the same, and it’s as compelling a recipe as ever.
To learn more about how the timeless design of the Fox-body Mustang continues to influence today’s hottest performance compacts, click or tap to check out Kitchener Ford’s unbeatable new and pre-owned online inventory – or follow these links to learn even more: