Our Top Ten Fox-Bodies From Ponies In The Smokies ’19

The 2019 edition of Ponies In The Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee boasted one of the greatest collections of Fox-bodies in recent memory. Once we got a look at the advertised line up, we knew we had to bring you a top ten list full of our favorites! Picking ten was hard! But we managed to somehow narrow them down!

#10 – “Sweetasp” Cobra

Brandon Ennett’s teal 1993 Cobra grabbed our attention right away sitting in the SVT Modified display. Being a 1993 Cobra, 1 of 4,993, 1 of 1,355 in Teal and 1 of only 802 with Opal Gray Leather makes it display-worthy enough. However, the theme of this years SVT display was modified cars and Brandon’s Cobra is definitely very tastefully modified. A set of Niche 20-inch wheels set the car immediately apart from a regular ’93 Cobra and give it a modern look. Under the hood lies a simple pushrod 302 awakened with a set of Trick Flow heads and a GT40 polished intake. A host of suspension modifications including a list of goodies from Maximum Motorsports keep the 1993 planted to the ground.

#9 – Coyote-Swapped ’86

Jamey Mattingly’s 1986 Coyote-swapped GT was one of the highlights of the outside car show. Clean and well executed, the car took home Best 1979-1986 in the outdoor car show. Other than the obvious 5.0L Coyote, the exterior of the car appeared mostly stock other than a few subtle upgrades including wheels and some aftermarket gauges. It might have been the Tennessee sunlight, but the car appeared to be a shade lighter than the factory most silvers we are accustom to seeing, giving the car almost a white hue which really grabbed your attention.

#8 – The SSP Collection

The SSP Preview Collection was easily one of the crowd favorites at the show. The display served as a teaser for the 2020 SSP Reunion to be held at next year’s Ponies In The Smokies event. Reunion coordinators Mike Medley and Bobby Edwards tell us that they expect over 50 SSP cars to be parked inside the Sevierville Convention Center along with room for more on the outside. While preparations for the 2020 event are already under way, that did not stop the SSP owners from having some fun this year. On Thursday night, four of the SSP cars surrounded an otherwise innocent Saleen for a quick photo opportunity. Then once in the convention center, the cars surrounded a non so innocent Camaro reported to have taken part in all sorts of illegal activity. The lone wolf Chevrolet in the building made for some great photos and a lot of laughs. The SSP owners ended the weekend with a lights and sirens show just before the awards ceremony on Saturday to the delight of the crowd.

#7 – The Last 1993 Cobra

Brandon Clontz is known for quite an impressive collection of Fox-bodies including a pristine low-mile 1993 Cobra and a 1992 Cobra R Prototype, both of which our regular readers probably remember here on Ford Muscle. Brandon had four of his beautiful Foxes on display at Ponies In The Smokies, but the most unique one had to be this teal 1993 Cobra. The car wears number 4993, making it the very last 1993 Cobra to roll of the assembly line. With the documentation and letters from Ford to back it up, this Cobra has to be one of the most collectible of all the 1993’s.

There is nothing more valuable to any car than proper documentation. When making a claim such as being the "Last Cobra," it's always good to have the paperwork to back it up. One look at Brandon's paperwork and you will quickly realize that this is the real deal!

#6 – Georgia State Trooper Car

While the SSP Display came in at number six on our list, there was one SSP’s story that stood out above the rest and we felt it deserved its own special spot on our top ten list. Georgia State Patrol car #9222 was assigned to Sgt. Ricky L. Wilcox on March 7th of 1990 and would serve him faithfully for 110,000 miles until June of 1993. From there the car was stripped down and sold off at auction and spent the next ten years or so drag racing before ending up in the SSP collection of Bobby Edwards. From there, the car was reunited with Ricky in September of 2016. Since then, the car has been restored to its original condition and as of this writing is the only SSP car to be owned by its original officer. The car still features many of Ricky’s original service items including the original ticket book and Ricky’s hat and badge among many other things. The car was apart of “The 56” Display at Ponies In The Smokies which features one Mustang of every year. The car took home a Vendors Choice Award at the event given by Sean Cook at Saleen America.

From all the original issue equipment to the photos to the story, this car and its story is just too cool. It's great to see Sgt. Wilcox enjoying showing the car off all these years later!

#5 – World Championship Winning Cobra

While this 1993 Cobra may be in the number five spot on our list, it spent most of 1998 as the World Number One in the Trophy Stock 5.0 Class (Fun Ford Weekend). Piloted by Bruce Winn, him and his wife Patti campaigned the car all across the country, finally taking the number one spot in 1998. Avid Fox-body collector Dennis Fahey has since purchased the car and brought it to Ponies In The Smokies as part of title sponsor National Parts Depot’s “Snake Pit” display in the center of the convention center. The car is still “as raced” and features many period correct racing tricks and parts.

Sadly, most race cars die the death of an internet part-out or weathering away out behind someone's shop as a roller. So to see a race car, especially one with a winning history, preserved in as-raced condition is always a special treat! Our hats off to Dennis for not only preserving this one but bringing it out and allowing us to enjoy the cool history.

In the "Almost 4" position, is "Almost 4" (pardon the bad pun)! Bob Goodson's 1993 SA10 that never was and its story will be told very soon in a full feature! Otherwise it would have been very high on this list! Be sure and keep checking back for the full scoop! The car did not go unrecognized at Ponies In The Smokies, it won the Saleen Club Of America's Pick and rightfully so! It is one stunning Saleen with an unbelievable story! Stay tuned!

#4 – Stunning Red 1991 Coupe
Jeff Chapman’s beautiful red 1991 coupe features one of the deepest paint jobs you will ever lay your eyes on.  This car is an ocean of red. Top it off with some killer black interior, deep but simple Bullitt wheels, a Vortech supercharger and you have got one of the cleanest Fox coupes in the country.

#3 – Twice Bitten
The story of Ben O’ Brien’s 1993 Cobra starts some 15 years ago when it was his daily driver, yes his daily driver and yes, we want to be that cool one day too! It was then that the original engine dropped a valve and started what would turn into a 15-year restoration project. Ben wanted a bit of a modern day in his 1993 Cobra (had Ford had a few more goodies available at the time). Out of some circumstances beyond Ben’s control, the build took a lot longer than he planned but it’s finally finished and even 15 years later, it’s still pretty impressive. The car features big horsepower, big brakes, modern gauges and race seats and all the normal details you would expect out of this level of a Fox build. The real wow factor sits under the rear of this car in the form of an ’03-’04 Terminator Cobra Independent Rear Suspension, planting the rear of this Cobra firmly to the road or the track. We would be happy to get some seat time in this beauty at either!

The attention to detail in Ben O' Brien's 1993 Cobra is second to done. Every corner of this car has been touched but in a very tasteful way. The car got the attention of Ponies In The Smokies staff member Kevin Brown as it received Kevin's "Staff Pick" Award at the show, one of the top awards at the event.

#2 – The Elite Five Fox
One of the cleanest Fox’s on the property had to be Joey Steadman’s grey 1989 LX coupe. From one end to the other, this car was done right. So much so that it caught the attention of the judges and moved inside Friday night to be on display Saturday in the “Elite Five,” making it one of the five finalist for the 2018 Ponies In The Smokies Outside Best Of Show. In the end, the car won its class, Best 1987 to 1993. Joey took the traditional route with a 302 based pushrod motor instead of going Coyote or DOHC, then added big brakes, some killer RUFF wheels, and just the right amount of carbon fiber accents to demand everyone’s attention.

No matter how many Fox builds we look at, there is something about a nice set of Corbeau seats and Autometer gauges that just feels right. Add in a set of perfectly colored aftermarket wheels and some tasteful carbon fiber and you've got one clean looking Fox coupe!

Before we get to number one, we have to talk about this car. Dennis Fahey's 1988 Saleen. If you are a regular reader here, you may remember the car from our coverage of the 2018 Saleen Nationals where the car was number seven on our top ten list of favorites. At Ponies in the Smokies, it was all number one's for Dennis as his pristine red Saleen beat out all the other cars in the "56 Years Of Mustang Display" for the inside 2019 Best of Show award.

#1 – 1992 SAAC
The 1992 SAAC Mustangs often comes up anytime the “Holy Grail” Fox-body conversation is had. Commissioned with Mr. Carrol Shelby’s blessing, they were intended to be a modern day GT350. Featuring many unique performance parts, the cars were impressive performers and easily put down more impressive numbers than Ford’s own 1993 Cobra. Only 65 SAAC’s were ever built, 30 of those being hatchbacks. Jay Ronca’s MKI SAAC filled the 1992 spot in the “56 Years Of Mustang” Display at Ponies In The Smokies where it took home the prize for “Best 3rd Generation 1979-1993.” But as rare as Jay’s car is, you are more likely to see Jay’s SAAC blasting down some back road in Alabama than all dressed up in show form. Jay enjoys the car as it should be! However, we are glad he put her in show dress for us to enjoy for the weekend at Ponies In The Smokies! Many people only get a chance to see these rare Mustangs online or in magazines so seeing one in the wild is always a treat!

You can see just a few of the cool modifications these SAAC cars had above. The outside features unique stripping and wheels. The interior has a traditional Fox-body GT seat but with a unique leather stitching and body colored stripe and SAAC logo. Under the hood, the 302 received GT40 heads, GT40 upper and lower intake, underdrive pullies, headers and a 65mm throttle body. Making 295 horsepower, nothing to sneeze at for the era considering Ford's own 1993 Cobra would only produce 235 horsepower.

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About the author

Jeff Southard

Growing up with a dad who loved Corvettes, I was destined to be a gearhead from day one. Beyond that, my dad owned an auto parts business for over 25 years. There, I learned the automotive basics as a child, then began my professional career working there after high school. From Corvettes and Superbirds to Hemis and Cobra Jets, my dad has owned a little of everything over the years, so I've had my chance to get some quality seat time behind the wheel of some rare, unique, and sometimes, just odd automobiles. I have owned my share of toys, including over 20 Mustangs. I guess to make a long story short, if you look up "car crazy" you will probably find my photo listed pretty close to it!
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