It was 1992, Vanilla Ice had already dropped the song “Ice Ice Baby” with the iconic line, “Rollin’ in my 5.0.” The Gulf War had come and gone, gas prices were down, and everybody wanted a Fox Body Mustang. Believe it or not folks, that was 30 years ago. Vanilla Ice hasn’t quite held up over time, however, Fox Body Mustangs have a timeless shape that is still appreciated and coveted to this day. For Robert Sivess, from Dallas, Texas, he doesn’t just love the Fox body Mustang style, he loves one Mustang in particular— a Calypso Green Mustang LX that has been in his family since the day it rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1992.
It was actually Robert’s cousin, Philip, who ordered the Mustang back in 1992. Philip knew exactly what he wanted – a Calypso Green Mustang LX with a black interior, five-speed manual transmission, and gray Pony wheels. After Philip picked up the car, he immediately gave his younger 15-year-old cousin, Robert, a demo ride in the mighty Mustang. That spirited drive down Highway 635 in Texas resulted in an 85 mph in a 55 mph zone citation from Johnny Law. Regardless of the ticket, Robert was hooked on the car, and he has loved Mustangs ever since. While owning the car for three years, cousin Philip put very limited miles on it. “He was a perfectionist,” Robert says. “He kept the Mustang under a car cover and hardly drove it.” The Mustang spooked Philip after a hydroplaning incident in the rain that resulted in a non-damaging trip into a ditch. Philip decided from that moment he didn’t want the car anymore.
Robert and Philip were cousins through their mutual grandmother, Peggy Reed. When Philip wanted to sell the car, it was grandma Reed who decided to buy it. Being a grandma who peddled around a Notchback Mustang with a manual transmission earned her the nickname, “Mustang Granny,” a moniker she wore with great pride. She had a small decal made for the rear glass that said “Mustang Granny.” When Peggy passed away in April of 2018 the family had “Mustang Granny” placed on her headstone.
Prior to her passing, Mustang Granny kept the car for many years. Over time, she would be confined to a wheelchair and unable to drive the car, and the Mustang ended up sitting in a carport. As it sat there in the front yard, many people would stop by offering up to $10,000 for the 36,000-mile, unmodified Notchback. Grandma was not interested in selling the car, as she wanted to keep it in the family. Robert agreed that the Mustang had to stay in the family. When he was 36 years-old he purchased the car from his grandmother, telling her, “I want this car to remember you.”
The Restoration Begins
When Robert showed up to grab the Mustang, he realized the problems that arise when a car sits. “The car was parked next to a van setup for wheelchairs,” said Robert. “My grandma and grandpa would get in and out of the van and unfortunately bump into the body of the Mustang with their wheelchairs.” The car was on cracked tires and the rubber on the wipers had rotted away. “The car started, but it wasn’t running well,” Robert says. “I carefully and slowly drove it 50 miles to my house to work on it.” Robert replaced the fuel pump, cleaned the lines, replaced the fuel filter, and threw on some new tires. “I did a good make-run job on it and had it repainted the original Calypso color, then the car drove really well.”
Bad Fox Is Born
Once the car was in Robert’s hands its days of remaining stock were over. He has been working on the car for over six years and has slowly upgraded it. He installed a five-lug conversion, four-wheel disc brake kit, Cobra wheels, and started replacing interior trim. As a fan of racing games, like Need For Speed, Robert decided to take his online moniker “Bad” and add it to grandma’s Mustang. This resulted in the personalized plate being “Bad Fox.” While upgrading the car, it was chosen by a producer for a key role in a music video from hip hop act Eclipse Darkness for the song “Quit That.” When you see the Bad Fox roll into the parking lot during the music video, that is Robert Sivess driving the car. Robert later got out of the way so Eclipse Darkness could stand by the driver’s door and rap some lyrics. Nope, no Vanilla Ice or 5.0 references in the song.
Prior to the Bad Fox build, Robert owned two other Fox Body Mustangs, but they didn’t live the same charmed life Bad Fox has lived. They weren’t featured in any music videos and didn’t win any car show awards. Instead they found themselves in unfortunate circumstances.
“I had a 1987 Mustang GT with T-tops,” Robert shares. “I was going over to a friend’s house and ran across some slick asphalt. It was fishtailing and I gave it throttle and slid into a parked truck. It pushed the passenger door all the way into the e-brake handle.”
The Mustang GT was totaled. He parted out the car and scored enough money to pick up a 1991 Mustang LX Coupe. “This was a white Mustang with a gray interior. I bought it from a guy who had stored it in a barn. The car was immaculate.” Robert was using the car to get to work and while leaving one rainy day his pager fell down. Yes, this is a very ’90s story. He looked down for his pager and started hydroplaning. This was on Highway 635, the same highway his cousin received a ticket on years before during Robert’s first ride in a Mustang, he slid across five lanes of traffic and collided with a concrete barrier. Then a Ford F450 flatbed truck collided with him. “I jumped out of the car before I got hit again!” I think it is worth noting there seems to be a pattern here with rain and Mustangs. “I don’t drive this car in the rain,” said Robert. “I had some bad experiences in the rain.”
Ironically, after learning the hard way about Fox body Mustangs and the rain, Robert decided to add power to the Bad Fox that would make dry pavement seem like it was wet. He installed a Vortech V-7 YSi supercharger and then detuned it to make the car streetable. He added a Trick Flow Stage 1 cam, Trick Flow 170cc twisted wedge heads, a Trick Flow Track Heat Intake, Accufab 75mm throttle body, BBK shorty headers with a programmed Holley Terminator X ECU. All of this madness was bolted onto the stock low-mileage short block. The car dynoed 500 horsepower and 489 lb-ft of torque to the wheels with the big pulley. The car wanted to make more power, but Robert knew the engine wasn’t going to handle it. It turns out he was correct.
With a gorgeous wire tuck, fantastic polish work, beautiful custom three-piece wheels, and a great stance thanks to a Viking coil-over kit, Bad Fox earned the “Ford Fox Body Pick” award at Texas Motor Speedway during the 2022 GoodGuys car show. The trophy presentation would be on Sunday and the winning cars would drive across a Winner’s Circle. Unfortunately, when Robert was leaving the show on Saturday evening he jumped on the power and the Vortech decided to end the life of the stock block. “It didn’t sound that bad when it happened,” Robert says. “But the guys behind me said it was the largest cloud of smoke they had ever seen come from a car. I pulled over and looked underneath. Every single type of fluid the car had in it was pouring out of the bottom of the engine. The block cracked in half.” Robert didn’t seem to mind, as he saw it as an opportunity to install the Dart 363 block he always wanted. “750 horses should work,” he said. “And this block will be even more polished than my last engine.”
Even though Robert was unable to drive the Bad Fox across the Winner’s Circle, he still picked up his trophy and has it proudly on display. The Dart block is complete and the Bad Fox is back on the street. With the deep connection this car has to Robert’s family and the amount of work he has put into it you can see why he loves this Fox body so much. Look out for Bad Fox at a car show near you or continue to watch this build progress on social media!