Apex Video: Matt Farah Benchmarks His Foxbody On A Roadcourse

Apex Video: Matt Farah  Benchmarks His Foxbody On A Roadcourse

As someone that loves The General’s products as much as I do, I have a confession to make: I’ve always secretly lusted over Foxbody Mustangs. Yes, it’s true: From the early “four-eyed” cars to the last ‘93 Mustang to roll off the assembly line, I’ve got a soft spot for them all.

If you really think about the revival of the performance vehicle aftermarket in the 80’s, the Mustang can be credited with helping to kickstart it, if only because the move to EFI in the early 80s forced people to expand their thinking beyond rejetting a carburetor. Sure, there were some growing pains in the form of a blown up motor or two along the way, but fast forward to 2014 and we now have 600+ horsepower vehicles with factory warranties and relatively mild street manners to boot. That’s a big leap from a factory 426 Hemi car of yore.

However, while the Foxbody is famous for its straight-line performance, one thing that it’s not as well-known for is taking corners, or to be more precise, exiting a corner facing the same direction that it entered said corner. Not that the Foxbody couldn’t be turned into a capable autocrosser and road racer, but the vast majority of their owners seem content with adding some form of forced induction and going Camaro hunting at the local drag strip.

The thing is, with Pro Touring in full swing and a bountiful aftermarket, there’s no good reason why you can’t create a killer track car out of a third-generation Mustang. Sure, the four-link rear suspension and solid rear axle isn’t the best design out there, but my G-body has the same basic design and there’s plenty of solutions out there to allow the rear to articulate as needed. Outside of bolting up the now-ubiquitous adjustable aftermarket control arms with spherical joints, if you really want to get fancy you can always look into a Watts link to control your roll center. Same goes for the front suspension and brakes: If you have the money and/or the ingenuity, the factory shortcomings in all areas of the chassis can be overcome relatively easily.

This is where Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire comes in. To my extreme jealousy, he picked up an ex-CHP car a month back and is filming updates as he baselines the car at the track and from there builds the pony car into a canyon-carving monster. Stating that this car is close to mint is an understatement, as the majority of the drivetrain was recently rebuilt and looks restoration-fresh.

So far there’s two videos in the series, with the first being a walk-around of the car as-delivered, followed by the latest video which shows him tossing it around a few corners at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.

For me at least this is a “must watch” series as I really dig watching builds that benchmark performance along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing action videos of fully-prepped vehicles eating up tarmac, but in my opinion that end performance is much more meaningful if you have a notion of how far the car has progressed from its factory roots. It’s also inspiring for me as well as I’m hoping to follow a similar path with my ‘87 Monte Carlo LS over the next year or so.

Anyway, without further ado below are Part One and Part Two of the video series. Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!



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9 thoughts on “Apex Video: Matt Farah Benchmarks His Foxbody On A Roadcourse

  1. Bob Holmes

    The ability to corner carve with Foxbody Mustangs is a well traveled path. Kenny Brown, Steve Saleen, Bruce Griggs, the Maximum Mustang folks, all have made significant contributions.

    Significant capability is only a phone call and credit card away.

  2. jerry z

    Back in 1988, I came within a signature of owning a stripped down Mustang LX 5.0 coupe. It was going to white with red int, manual windows, lock, radio delete (salesman thought I was nuts!) and no A/C.

    At the time, the Mustang had a long lead time and couldn’t wait that long, so I walked out of the dealership with no car. Plus that were marking up the price by $10001 No freaking way was I going to pay that!

  3. twice

    A a foxbody guy , I can say that the haters are sometimes in our own camp. Many new mustang owners look at fox mustangs as ugly little cars not Worth earning the Mustang name. Heck , some does`nt even know what car it is when they see one. But they should know that the mid 80`s 5.0 revived the trend and because of that , they can appeciate their new cars.

    1. Mr.Blue

      This^^^^……………it totally blows my mind some of the stuff “new” mustang owners say about foxes………i’m 45 and these were the bomb when i was a teen…thats why i currently own 5 lol……..but i didnt dis the classics when the fox came out, just showed them the respect they deserved…..

  4. fast Ed

    I bought an 87 LX 5.0L hatchback brand new when I was 21 years old, $14000 CAN with A/C and no other options. Great value obviously, with a few tweaks I had it running high 13s on the original Gatorback tires. From there it became my Solo I & Solo II competitor, and then a bolt-in 6-point cage to go CASC regional racing at Mosport. First brand new car I ever bought, damn I loved that thing. Sold it in the late 90s because I hadn’t been racing for a while. Now a few years back I picked up a super clean never seen winter 89 GT roller, it is (slowly) being done up as a track day car with a bunch of old school Ford Motorsport parts and Saleen wheels and body kit.

  5. Arco777

    I have owned two 5.0s, a 91 GT vert and 90 LX hatch. If you don’t have deep pockets, in my opinion they are best enjoyed stock. In stock form they are great fun on the cheap. If you start modding they become money pits though; it is a race between the car and your wallet, and my wallet lost. I dumped thousands into my LX and ended up unhappy with the car. I only bought oxygen sensors for the GT and enjoyed every minute of ownership. I still love how easy they are to work on and how comfortable the interiors are, but I’m just not sure I want to risk the financial aspect of getting another Fox.

  6. 38P

    Sweet! Foxes are great!

    But too bad they’re apparently immediately going to the $$$ aftermarket “well” before optimizing it for “low dough” with (a) proper tires (not ancient, rock-hard Kelly Springfields), (b) track-day brake linings and brake cooling on the OEM brakes, and (c)select factory parts (i.e. SVO Mustang/SN-95 Cobra stuff).

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