If you have ever been into a band for years and other people suddenly take notice, you might hold it against the new fans. When it comes to cars, however, it is gratifying to see the cars you loved as a teenager enjoying their moment of nostalgia. In the case of this scribe, the 1979-1993 Mustangs built on the Fox platform are those cars and Foxtoberfest event is their homecoming.
Launched more than a decade ago, Foxtoberfest celebrates all the body styles that perched atop the long-running Fox platform, from Capris and Thunderbirds to Fairmonts and Mustangs, they are all welcome at the show whether the are project perfection or works in progress.
“People started calling and saying, ‘Hey, are you gonna have T-shirts?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I guess we need T-shirts,’ and then they were like, ‘Are you gonna have decals?’ Jennifer Highley, who organizes Foxtoberfest said of the show’s beginnings. “And then I was like, ‘Okay, this is like turning into a thing,’ so I was like, ‘I guess it kind of like needs a name.’”
Just like that, Foxtoberfest was born 11 years ago. What began as a Southeastern Foxbodies club meeting and expanded into a customer appreciation event for Fox Mustang Restoration has grown into something on a whole different level. It is now an annual pilgrimage for lovers of the Fox platform that includes several days of activities leading up to the big show.
Having attended early on, this writer was overwhelmed after attending last year’s event. In 2021, the goal was to finally surpass 500 Foxes, but blew right past that goal and clocked a whopping 718 Fox-platform machines. Having outgrown the onsite parking lot at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, this year’s show moved to the larger lot across the street, and the space was needed as the Fox count climbed to 726 vehicles, exceeding last year’s surprise tally.
“Our online registration was definitely higher by at least 100. Because we hit the weather lotto, it was a little iffy last year, so some people were like ‘I don’t know.’ It was raining on Friday last year, so it kept some people away,” Highley added. “But I think once they saw the pictures and stuff, they were like, ‘Oh, we like totally missed out like we should have gone anyway.’ And so a lot of those people showed up this time were like, ‘I’m not missing it.’ Especially with the weather cooperating, so that’s a huge thing.
With that many cars on-site, it was a challenge to even see them all in one day, but we were on a mission to see as many as possible and pick 10 of our favorites.
Walking the rows of cars had this writer grinning all day, but seeing Mark Ray’s former Florida Highway Patrol car brought back all the feels. Back in the day, yours truly covered this coupe’s 10-second exploits in Super Ford magazine. These days it is back in the family and receiving some upgrades, but it still sports the same Vortech blower and GT-40 intake combo as it did back in the ’90s.
The two-tone Foxes weren’t a favorite, but this example could convince anyone they are cool. With a glistening topside and wheels providing just the right accent, this Mustang GT rumbled into the lot early with a throaty growl from a built pushrod engine boosted by a Paxton Novi 2000 centrifugal supercharger, which was a definite power player back in the day.
The reason you are reading these words is the 1982 Mustang GT. It is the car that turned this author down the gearhead path. With that in mind, this New Edge Mach 1-swapped example delivered all the feels. There isn’t just a Four-Valve 4.6-liter engine under its scooped hood, however. This car even features a Mach 1 interior swap. If it had T-tops, it would have been even higher up the list.
This glistening red hatchback gave your scribe the vibes of my own Fox hatch. Powered by a VMP TVS-boosted Four-Valve modular engine that looks like it was installed from the factory, its interior is clean and slightly custom as well. It even rides on the same style of True Forged wheels as my ’88 LX.
Long a favorite of Fox fans, the Saleen SSC is a truly special example of the original tuner stallions that rose to fame in the late ’80s and early ’90s. One of only 161 constructed, this one sat beside and behind a house in Georgia after its owner passed away. Eventually, its new owner convinced the family to sell the car, which received a light restoration as a result of its new owner Lance Wilson.
This striking coupe is a fine example of why people love the Fox notch. Sitting just right on those five-spoke wheels that accent the paint, it is powered by a naturally aspirated Coyote swap with red accents that match its exterior that resides in an engine compartment free from clutter.
With so many beautiful examples in one place, it is tough to stand out from the crowd, but Tom Schwenzer’s War Admiral did just that. Sporting a turbo-boosted pushrod powerplant generating four-digit power, it is more than brute. The attention to detail on the car is immaculate, and given the heart-warming story behind the car, this writer can even forgive Tom for repainting an OG Wild Strawberry car. Look for a full feature on this car right here shortly.
Ford created a limited run of replicas of the Mustang built to pace the Indy 500 back in 1979. These race machines are usually seen in factory form, and there were several of those on the property. Conversely, this uniquely customized example carries all the stylistic hallmarks of its origins, but with a blue and silver flair. Number 2,137 built, it is modified top to bottom with a built 351 Windsor under the hood and a full Maximum Motorsports suspension underneath.
Yes, Ford did make T-top coupes, but they were never this clean or powerful. Looking sleek in silver and rocking the right stance, this open-air Mustang must be a blast to drive thanks to the VMP TVS-boosted Coyote under its hood and a Terminator interior swap inside. When this writer dreams of a Coyote-swap Fox, this is the car that appears.
You might not realize that there was a Shelby-authorized Fox Mustang. In 1992 the Shelby American Auto Club worked with the likes of Watson Engineering to create a highly tuned version of the Mustang GT, which ultimately served as the template for the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra. Larry Hill’s example is only the fourth one constructed and one of just three supercharged versions, which received extra upgrades.
If you are passionate about Foxes, you can pick your favorites in October of 2023 when Foxtoberfest returns, and if you can’t wait that long, its sister show, The Chocolate Fox, returns to Pennsylvania next May.