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Rough Start: A Ratty Muscle 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car

Rough Start: A Ratty Muscle 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car

Today’s Rough Start find is more of a selfish move than anything, but here me out because this is a pretty good budget build recipe that could be duplicated in most any market in the United States. Right now, one of the easiest cars to put together on the cheap is still the Fox-body Mustang. There’s a ton of aftermarket support, a strengthening restoration market, and you can still go onto sites like Craigslist and scoop them up for low figures. After that, it’s all about whatever engine and transmission that you want to jam in. And that’s why I stopped at this 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car while I was digging through the Seattle-area Craigslist. It’s not that the car is an Indy Pace Car that grabs my attention so much as it’s an early four-eye Fox (the one with the segmented, Fairmont-like taillights) with the sporty nose and the airdam that should have SEV Marchal driving lights below. It could be a 1982 GT 5.0, or a 1980-81 Cobra and I’d be all over it, too…both models got the same bodykit. 

Ok, so it’s the right Mustang to scratch my itch, but why look at a cheap Fox? Because right now, I’m rich in Ford powertrains. I just ripped the small-block and automatic out of the 1994 Mustang that is donating tons of parts to the Great Pumpkin Mustang, and after looking things over, I’m going to use it instead of the Rollover Explorer’s GT40-headed 302 simply because it’s a proven runner and less work will be needed to get things going. That leaves me with a still very useable small-block Ford and automatic transmission to play with, and I can’t think of a better home than a derelict Fox. Look at the outlay: For $1,200 you take home an Indy Pace Car that needs some floor patching, which you can buy via National Parts Depot or other outlets. Put in a little sweat equity and get the body together. You should have the car together for about two grand. Finding a cheap 302 to shove in won’t take much, and the transmission is your call altogether. If you can’t get a fun Fox going for under five grand, we don’t know what to tell you except to focus on run/drive/stop instead of making it look pretty. Though, once you get the running gear sorted and the car drivable, a trip to the paint booth would have this Indy Pace Car looking downright amazing!

The Mustang costs $1,200. That leaves a lot of cash left over to get things sorted out!

Craigslist Link: 1979 Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

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2 thoughts on “Rough Start: A Ratty Muscle 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car

  1. tw

    Hope they will soon make replacement door post for this model , like they already do for earlier models as they tend to rot pretty bad and are a pain to repair .

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