5 things the car industry could learn from the foxbody Mustang

5 things the car industry could learn from the foxbody Mustang


Photo source: Ford

The Foxbody Mustang is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of America’s primordial pony car, however, due to its commercial success and the sheer number of fox stangs roaming around, it should be no surprise it has gained a near cult following. Modern automakers could learn a lot from

what is considered America’s equivalent to the nissan S Chassis.

Here are five lessons the auto industry can take from the foxbody Mustang.

Big engine, small car.

For a coupe or hatchback of its size, the ford 302 eight cylinder engine makes for a great powerplant, providing enough grunt to haul around the fox. Even the 3.8 liter V6 and the turbocharged four banger could get this wild stallion moving.

In this day and age, downsizing seems to be the norm, and yet the gearheads among consumers still want a slightly oversized V8 in any small rear wheel drive car.

Light for its class.

Weighing in at around 1400 kilograms, the foxbody mustang is relatively lightweight when compared to other cars of its era. This means it has a higher potential when it comes to handling. This lightness also means better fuel economy, but who cares about that?

In all seriousness, a lighter car is most of the time, a better car,  yet this seemingly obvious tenet of car culture has apparently been forgotten. Strapping airbag after airbag on each nook and cranny of the modern automobile in an effort to pass safety regulations, car makers have made our vehicles bloated and full of gimmicky gizmos, packing pound after pound into each new iteration of any car.

Second life as used car.

Put simply, there is a million of these out there, plentiful, cheap, and produced before the era of planned obsolescence. Its availability makes it an attractive first car for many young gearheads and a potential project car for anyone, from drifters to drag racers, the fox body lives on.

Nowadays, each vehicle seems to come with an expiration date, and this is further showcased by how we buy or rather not purchase but lease our vehicles. Granted most gearheads won’t be leasing disposable daily drivers any time soon, but the remainder of consumers tend to lease rather than buy.

Tinker friendly.

While it’s true that the eighties’ emission and pollution laws strangled the performance of many muscle and pony cars, the 302’s potential can be unsealed with the help of the aftermarket. From drift to drag and even track or circuit racing, the fox mustang shapeshifts into a jack of all trades and cost effective master of some.

Aftermarket support is gigantic which enables any kind of build to be possible, put simply, the sky’s the limit.

In the same manner Apple computers limit user involvement in lieu of a more streamlined user experience, the auto industry nowadays seeks to eliminate the DIY guy that lives in the mind of every gearhead. Automakers should make their offerings more tinker friendly.

Platform for the people.

Just like the Nissan S chassis or any Subaru before 2005, the foxbody mustang is before anything else, a platform, one that spans the 80’s cougar, thunderbird and the late seventies ford Fairmont. Just like an adult sized lego set, the interchangeable nature of the fox platform cars and their affordability turns them into the perfect project vehicle for DIY mechanics and gearheads of any kind.

Affordability is a word that seems to have lost meaning in recent years, and no company offers a bare bones, down to earth muscle or pony car. The death of DIY and hot rodding for the masses, as well as the dawn of what some call the “virtual reality era” has locked the gearhead out of tinkering in their own garage.

We need to go back, in order to go forward, learn what we can from what was, in order to shape what is, into what will be.

Also you might like: The Fox body Mustang: Giving S-Chassis boys a run for their Money.