Making our first trip to the Street Machine Summer Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota, we didn’t really know what to expect. What we found upon arriving was a wide variety of cars, but a particularly strong showing by our beloved Fox Mustangs. Built for 14 years, from 1979 to 1993, these Mustangs have remained popular and that definitely rang true at the 2017 show.
It seemed that no matter which street we turned down on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds property, we would see at least one Fox. While that definitely put smiles on our faces, it also seemed like a sign. These cars are on the rise again, and we found several rare examples worth sharing.
While we are still collecting on our coverage of the event, we decided to narrow down our top five Fox Mustangs (and an honorable mention) from the event. It was tough to knock it down to such a short list, but someone has to make the tough decisions. So, here are our selections…
1. 1989 Mustang LX SSP
If you are into Foxes, you have undoubtedly heard of Special Service Package Mustangs. Based on the lightweight, 5.0 Mustang LX coupe, these cars featured numerous upgrades to help withstand the rigors of use by the likes of the FBI, DEA, Border Patrol, and other government entities. Those upgrades included engine oil cooler, silicone coolant hoses, high-output alternators, single-key locks, reinforced floor pans and more.
This particular example, owned by Joe Wagner, is the 20th of 20 purchased and configured by the Minnesota Highway Patrol. What makes this car all the more unique is that it has the law enforcement upgrades still intact. These parts were supposed to have been removed before the cars were sold at auction. Joe’s car is super clean an all-original, save for fresh paint.
2. 1989 Saleen Mustang
In its day, Saleen’s version of the Fox was one of the most highly coveted examples of the breed. We suspect that one day, these cars may become auction superstars. If that’s true, Moh Alsowumil’s one-of-four 1989 Saleen might be worth a chunk of change. According to his paperwork, only 895 Saleens were built in that model year and only 150 were black. Of those, only four wore the gold stripes and wheels, and this car is one of them.
3. 1984 Predator Mustang
While Saleens are the most well-known specialty Foxes, there were a variety of other variations that popped up. Most of these are quite unusual, like the 1984 Predator Mustang owned by Steve Kretsimger.
Built by Tom Solomon — whose background included working with Shelby — from 1983-1986, these cars would actually inspire the GT350-style 20th anniversary package offered by Ford. Unlike those cars, however, the Predator Mustangs featured a number of performance upgrades, including roll bars and optional camshafts. Steve’s car is number 2 of around 130 built and specialist Dan Gournaris restored it.
These days it’s rare to see a new car that’s not loaded up with all the creature comfort. However, back in the mid-’80s Ford Special Vehicle Operations created the Mustang SVO, which delivered a Euro aesthetic in a Mustang package courtesy of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a tuned suspension.
It could be ordered with the Comp Prep package, coded 41C, which deleted the air conditioning, power windows and radio. Our old friend, Dan Schoneck, scooped up this one-of-15 1986 example featuring that option. Its original owner autocrossed the car, so it was appropriate that we spotted Dan and the car in line for the QA1 Autocross at the Summer Nationals.
5. 1993 Mustang Cobra
Most would agree that the Fox Mustang reached its apex in its final year with the debut of the Mustang Cobra. Featuring high-flow heads, an improved intake, and more, the Cobra was the top of the line.
Just like today, however, people aren’t afraid to mod their rare cars. Ted Nourse’s Cobra is number 2,631 of 4,993 built in ’93 Cobra, and it brings us right back to the heyday of modding Foxes thanks to its Vortech blower, Anderson For Motorsport Power Pipe, Ford Performance B303 camshaft, and other mods.
Honorable Mention: 1982 Mustang GT
As we mentioned, it was hard to stick with picking just five of our favorite Foxes from the event. This one gets an honorable mention because the 1982 Mustang GT turned this writer into a Mustang fan. That’s why we made a beeline for Will Devera’s example. It is showing some age, but it took your scribe right down memory lane.
Will has upgraded the engine with a 1993 5.0-liter short-block topped by Edelbrock heads, a 650-cfm carb, and more. Most impressive, however, is that the freshened engine is still backed by the factory single-rail-overdrive four-speed transmission with over 100,000 miles on it.
So, there you have it. A subjective list of some of our favorites at the 2017 Street Machine Summer Nationals, but if you were on hand and have some other suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And, please stay tuned for more coverage from the Street Machine Summer Nationals.