Anytime the guys over at Hoonigan have a car in at the Donut Garage, its usually something pretty cool and unique. It usually takes a Ford to turn our heads and recently podcaster Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire and his super-cool, track-ready Fox Mustang paid a visit.
Matt built this no-nonsense Fox coupe to beat on in the canyons of California and that is exactly what he does with it. However, even with all the handling goodness, the Fox is still good for a burnout or two in front of the Hoonigan cameras!
There is no collector value at all. You break it, you fix it and continue driving. — Matt Farah
Like most of us, Matt Farah grew up wanting a Fox Mustang. However, thanks to his mom’s request that whatever he got had to have dual air bags, he ended up with a 1994 Mustang instead. He never gave up on his dreams though and eventually made his dream Fox happen.
This 1988 coupe started life as a Special Services Package coupe and did its duty from 1988 to 1994 for the California Highway Patrol in the San Diego area. As Foxes go, this SSP coupe is toward the higher side of the collectible level, but not to Matt, he wanted a Fox to build and drive, this just happened to be the one he settled on. While we respect the desire and need to protect and preserve the SSP cars, we cannot argue with his just-drive-it attitude.
Under the hood Matt’s Fox is pretty basic. He admits in the video even he is not 100 percent sure of the exact specifications on the engine, but basically what it sounds like it boils down to is a Ford Performance 5.0-liter crate motor. It even sports the more economical Explorer style GT-40 intake, making the engine some what of a budget build. Behind it is a freshly built T5 five-speed transmission.
But that is OK, it just goes to show that you can build a fun car without spending $10,000-plus under the hood on an engine swap or a boosted push rod engine. The basic 302 made 350 horsepower on the engine dyno and put down 270 horsepower at the wheels with 307 lb-ft of torque. All told, it’s a tried-and-true combo with just enough power to have fun in the canyons.
A simpler engine bay you won’t find under the hood of most any Fox. The mismatched colors show that looks were not top priority on this corner carver. Only the Maximum Motorsports strut tower brace gives us a little clue of what lies beneath this Fox.
The real story of this Fox is the suspension. Built specifically for the canyons near Matt’s home in California, this coupe is stuffed with handling upgrades. The car features basically every part from Maximum Motorsports you can put on a Mustang. A tubular K-member and custom valved Bilstein struts handle the front end work. In the back, a built IRS from of a 2004 Cobra keeps the 18-inch Michelins planted to the ground. The entire chassis is about 3 inches wider that stock, thus the reasoning behind the custom fender flares on the car.
The interior in Matt’s Fox is simple and functional. A basic roll cage provides safety and a point to mount the racing harnesses. A set of Recaro seats keep Matt secure and in place during those canyon runs. A Momo steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges and Hurst shifter round out the interior. Long gone are any resemblance of a back seat, center console, or radio. To make things unique, Matt added some custom material to the seats and door panels. It is definitely different and we dig it.
If you want to see more of Matt Farah’s Mustang you do not have to look long hard on YouTube to find it. He documented the entire build, which all culminated in a YouTubers shootout at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There the car took on a turbo’d C5 Corvette, a 2JZ swapped Nissan 240, a turbo’d Gen 3 RX7, and an R32 Skyline. The cars were all driven by professional sports car driver Justin Bell and pushed hard around the track. Even being greatly under powered, this Fox held its own!
We would sure love to get some seat time in the canyon behind that Momo steering wheel, but short of that it was a lot of fun to watch it kill some tires at the Hoonigan Donut Garage!