Up To Pace: Barra-Swapped Kiwi Fox Body Mustang In The Works 

In 1979, Ford introduced the Fox Body platform to the masses. Unbeknownst at the time, the Fox would become a fan favorite for decades, transcending its initial role as a fantastic straight line car. Builds are now popping up all over with a different focus than the quarter-mile strip. The versatility of the chassis and its roomy engine bay have allowed a variety of engines to be shoehorned between the strut towers. We’ve seen everything from the 7.3-liter Godzilla to the GT350 Voodoo engine. Now, we’re witnessing the Barra starting to make an entrance, and Nick Andrews’ Fox is evolving into something great.


Native Barra

For those unfamiliar with the term “Barra,” it denotes Ford Australia’s inline-six engine, utilized in various vehicles from the late 80s up until the 2000s. While initially offered naturally aspirated, it gained widespread acclaim for its turbocharged iterations, renowned for their ability to handle substantial boost levels. Over time, a few Barra engines have made their way into America, notably exemplified by a YouTube sensation and RTR drifter Adam LZ, who installed a Barra into his Shelby GT350. However, the primary availability of Barra engines remains in Australia and New Zealand, where Nick Andrews’ 1979 Pace Car is currently causing a stir in the automotive scene.

The 1979 Mustang Pace Car originally offered two engine options: a four-cylinder turbo with 131 horsepower or a carbureted 302. When Andrews found the car, it had already undergone a swap with a T5 transmission and a fuel-injected 302 cubic-inch engine. Despite the power upgrade from the factory turbocharged four cylinder specs, the performance of the new 302 seemed mundane compared to other cars in the garage. It was time to undertake a project that, while commonplace in New Zealand, would be considered radical in the United States.

The exterior received a makeover with 1993 Mustang tail lights and custom side skirts, while coilovers provided the Fox Body with a clean stance. However, the real excitement lies under the hood. A stock Barra engine is being utilized to mock up a Plazmaman intake plenum, Sinco exhaust manifold and a massive 7875 turbocharger. Turbosmart products, including a 60mm wastegate and a 50mm blow-off valve, join the party. Managing the entire setup is a Haltec Nexus R5 and IC7 dash. Although the T5 transmission is gone, gear shifting duties will still be handled by the TREMEC Magnum transmission.


The Early Stage

While the Pace Car is still in the early stages of its build, there’s something pure about witnessing a car in its initial phases. As I reflect on the early forum days and the excitement of watching builds unfold page by page, it’s refreshing to see a project at its inception, especially one that’s venturing into unconventional territory. We’re eagerly anticipating what Andrews’ final creation will entail.

About the author

James Elkins

Born into a household of motorsport lovers, James learned that wrenching takes priority over broken skin and damaged nerves. Passions include fixing previous owners’ mistakes, writing, and driving.
Read My Articles