Ford found itself at a crossroads in the early 1980s. The world was changing, the US government had officially adopted the metric system in 1975, although it hadn’t really caught on. The Mustang was all new, and Ford was working on a lot of new ideas.
When the Fox Mustang debuted at the twilight of the 1970s, and the dawn of the 1980s, one option was a new wheel and tire package, the TRX. The TRX wheel and tire combo was rather exotic for the Mustang at the time. The Michelin TRX tire was original equipment on not just the Mustang but also on some high-end imports like Ferrari. The wheels measured 390mm in diameter or about 15.3 inches.
What this meant was that only Michelin TRX tires would fit these unique wheels. The TRX option was highly popular with V8 Mustang buyers, and was standard on the 1979 Mustang Pace car, as well as the 1982 Mustang GT. However, most buyers were in for a shock when it came time to purchase replacement rubber. With no other manufacturers adopting this wheel size, the TRX tire market belonged to Michelin. This also meant sky-high prices, and spurred the aftermarket and later even used OEM replacement wheel sales.
Today, a set of replica TRX or new Michelin TRX tires can run anywhere from $1,300 to over $2,000. What are Fox body restoration nuts, and Mustang geeks who want an original look to do? LateModelRestoration.com (LMR) has come up with a solution in its new TRX R390 wheel.
Measuring in at 16×7 inches, the same as the popular early 1990s Pony 5-star wheels, the new TRX opens the door in a lot of ways for restoration or modification. We spoke with LMR’s Tyler Rodriquez about these new wheels. “Keeping true to our roots of restoration, developing the TRX wheel was just another step to keeping these great cars looking period correct. Our main focus was to provide these wheels to Fox owners who are looking to restore their cars back to period-correct condition. However, we can easily see these wheels making their way onto newer, and older, Fox Bodies that are still equipped with four lug setups,” says Rodriquez.
The wheels are cast aluminum with a polished and clear coated finish. According to Rodriquez they also carry a lifetime structural warranty against defects. In addition to being able to fit a more common tire size, “The new 16×7 TRX wheel from LMR allows you to run a readily available, and much cheaper 225/55/16 tire. This not only makes finding tires easier, it keeps the price down to fund other restoration projects you may have on your Fox. LMR also offers TRX wheel and tires kits that come mounted and balanced, ready for installation right out of the box.”
If you have plans to, or are already restoring an early 80’s Fox, or just want a retrotastic look for your Fox in four lug, this is probably the ticket. It’s either that or keep checking eBay, Craigslist, forums, and swap meets for a set of pristine TRX wheels, and then forking out the cash for the proper tires –good luck!
We know what we’d do on a ’79 Pace Car, or ’82 Mustang GT project if it were us. We’d head to LMR’s web-site and order a TRX wheel and tire package.