The 5 Coolest Special Edition Fox-body Mustangs You May Not Have Heard Of
The Fox body Ford Mustang is one of the most popular, and successful, muscle cars of all time. By providing enthusiasts with an affordable, and fun-to-modify sports car Ford was able to re-establish itself in the performance sphere during the 80s and early 90s, not to mention lean on the Cobra heritage that had been sitting idle for more than a decade.
Although the Fox Mustang is ubiquitous at drag strips and race tracks across the country, there are a number of special models that are a little less common. Hard to find Mustangs are often the coolest in the bunch, and so we've put together a list of our favorite special edition pony cars that we wish we'd see more of.
5. Ford Mustang SSP
If you were pulled over by the California Highway Patrol in the 1980s, chances are you're already familiar with the Ford Mustang SSP. From 1982-onwards, Ford offered a pursuit version of the Fox called the Special Services package, which came exclusively in notchback form (although a handful of hatchbacks snuck through).
The cars could be made to order, which meant it was possible to specify accessories such as a rollbar, but standard gear included cop stock like a certified speedometer, 3.08 gearing that was intended to offer long legs on the highway, enhanced cooling for the transmission, a heavy-duty alternator, and a pretty barebones interior. The cars are most familiar in their black-and-white police paint, and while most of these 5.0 coupes were sold to law enforcement, it was possible for the average citizen to score a lightweight, no-frills drag car.
4. Ford Mustang Cobra R
Ford revived the Cobra badge in 1993 as part of the Special Vehicle Team introduction, and in addition to the street-oriented model there were also a handful - 107 in total - of Cobra R models built at the same time.
The Cobra R was unique in that it traded comfort for curb weight, shedding much of its interior noise insulation and creature comforts like power windows and door locks and even the air conditioning system. The rear seat is missing, too. On the outside, the Cobra R is identifiable via its bright red paint job and the absence of fog lights.
Power was bumped by way of GT40 heads for the engine (and a matching intake), a larger throttle body, and a hotter cam for the 5.0 engine, while the vehicle's suspension featured Koni shocks, a front strut tower bar, and beefier springs. The R's T5 transmission was also upgraded to better withstand track abuse.
3. Ford Mustang SVO
Before there was SVT there was SVO, or 'Special Vehicle Operations.' Facing down an era of 80s performance where V8 cars were still choked with byzantine emissions controls, Ford turned to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to generate muscle for the Mustang.
The Ford Mustang SVO was equipped with a 2.3-liter turbo 4-cylinder that, thanks to its intercooler, helped it produce up to 205 horsepower (for the 1985.5 model year). Capable of showing a V8-powered 'Stang its taillights, the SVO was easy to spot thanks to its air intake hood and double-spoiler hatch. Offered from 1984 (in 175 horsepower form) to 1986, there was also a rare '4E green' model built exclusively for Hertz that was limited to just 20 SVOs.
2. Ford Mustang 7-UP
Here's a car that's cooler for the story behind its genesis rather than for anything specific that it brings to the table in terms of style or performance. Towards the end of the Fox's extensive production run sales were starting to falter, and Ford dreamt up all manner of packages, models, and contests designed to help goose interest from muscle car fans.
Enter 7-Up, which proposed to give away 30 convertibles painted a similar green hue to the popular soft drink's packaging during NCAA March Madness. For whatever reason the deal fell apart and Ford decided to forge ahead with the white top/green body Mustangs anyway, eventually building just over 4,000 of the 5.0-equipped 'verts. Each model came in LX trim sitting on GT rims.
1. Ford Mustang GT350 Turbo
In some ways, the Ford Mustang GT350—produced for 1984 to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the car—is disappointing to enthusiasts. As mentioned above, the early 80s weren't kind to 5.0 cars, and performance for the 'modern' GT350 didn't come close to matching its predecessor.
For collectors, however, the spot in the GT350 line-up was the Turbo model. This version of the Mustang tagged in the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was also available in the GT at the time, and although it didn't have the intercooled grunt of the SVO, it swapped the V8's carburetor for fuel injection and electronic engine controls. Good for 145 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, it wasn't as quick as the 5.0 but it was far, far more rare: roughly 350 of the 5,260 GT350 models built were turbos, and of those, just over 100 were convertibles.
Looking for a fast Fox that isn't a Mustang? We've got you covered.