The Other Fox Bodies: Ford's Cheaper & Rarer Mustang 5.0 Alternatives
As we recently highlighted in a story here, as great as the 1979-1993 Mustang is, it's days as an affordable and plentiful platform for enthusiasts has all but come to an end.
After decades of being one of America's favorite low-buck performance cars, the rising values and rarity of clean Fox Body Mustangs has lead to what's likely a permanent shift in the market for them.
Fortunately though, there are plenty of alternatives to these increasingly valuable Mustangs that are a lot more affordable, including a lot of cars that share their underpinnings with the '79-'93 Mustang.
The Other Fox Bodies
When you hear the term "Fox Body" or "Fox Chassis" the Mustang is going to be the first car that comes to mind, but the Mustang was just one of many Ford vehicles that used the Fox platform beginning in 1977.
Ford began developing this new rear-drive unibody chassis in the mid '70s as a platform for the company's midsize passenger cars as well as coupes like the Mustang, Cougar and Thunderbird.
And amazingly, it would stay in service long after the "Fox Body" Mustang was retired. A version of this platform underpinned the Mustang all the way until 2004.
But some of the most interesting Fox platform vehicles aren't Mustangs, but the array of sedans, coupes and wagons that Ford built from the late '70s through the mid '80s.
Fox platform cars were sold under many names and in many body styles. There was the Ford Granada, the Ford Fairmont, the Ford LTD, the Mercury Zephyr and for a short time even the Lincoln Continental.
Ford designed this platform to be versatile, and you get a sense of that from the engine options these cars had over the years. You could find everything from turbocharged inline fours to inline sixes, and of course, V8s.
There were also a ton of different body styles available, from basic two and four-door sedans, to sporty, luxury-oriented coupes and even station wagons for maximum passenger and cargo space.
And that practicality is another benefit these cars may offer over a Mustang. Ford may have never built a Mustang sedan or station wagon, but a Fairmont or Zephyr might be the closest you can get to that.
As you might imagine, the great thing about these Fox platform cars is that most of the parts used to upgrade a Mustang can be used on these cars as well. Suspension, chassis, drivetrain—the possibilities are nearly endless.
The same goes for the powerplants as well. You can go with the classic Ford 5.0L small block, a modern overhead cam V8 like the 5.0 Coyote, or you can even go with an EcoBoost swap to be different.
And given the current prices of 5.0 Mustangs, you can basically be sure a Fairmont, LTD or Zephyr will be a lot cheaper to purchase than a Fox Body Mustang.
Under appreciated = Hard to Find
The only drawback is that despite being sold in big numbers in the '70s and '80s, none of these cars are especially common today. Unlike American cars of the '60s and '70s, these cars weren't preserved and appreciated in the same way.
And without a lot of demand, many of these cars found their way to the scrapper after rusting away, suffering mechanical issues, or as is often the case here in California, failing an emissions check.
And while their rarity might make your search a little harder, it also means you'll stand out from the crowd should you decide to build a project out of one.
So if you've got the Fox Body Blues over not being able to afford one of the 5.0 Mustangs that used to be so cheap and easy to find, one of these alternative Fox platform cars might be the choice for you.
More From Driving Line
- Are the days of the affordable Fox Body over?
- Speaking of the Fox Platform, the 2003-04 SVT Mustang Cobra might just be the ultimate example of the family.