Category Archives: Blast from the Past

Remembering The Fox Bodied Ford Mustang

By   October 17, 2013

Fox Bodied Ford Mustang

Fox Bodied Ford Mustang

Ford is currently working on a new version of the Mustang. The new car will be different looking than the modern throwback cars. A while back Ford was doing something similar when it released the Fox bodied cars.

The Fox body Mustang was something quite different from the American car that went before it. The car had a more aerodynamic design and at the time looked more modern. When first released the muscle car market was considered dead and many thought that the famed Ford would soon be out of production.

However, the Fox body cars went through the bad times for such cars and even provided some much needed muscle. The 5.0 cars offered that big V8 engine that fans of the American muscle car wanted. These cars have a big following now and you never know if in the future they will be as prized as the 60’s cars are today.

Let us know what you think of the Fox body Mustangs in the comments.

Press Release

“Thou shall never do a slantback front end.” That was the commandment from Gene Bordinat, Ford’s vice president of design, “Henry Ford II only wants vertical front ends, and he’ll show us the door if we ever try anything like it.”

This mantra hung over the early development of the third-generation of Ford’s wildly successful Mustang. In 1975 Ford designers began the job of redesigning the iconic pony car for the coming 1980s. The car and country had been through a roller coaster 20-year period and both were in something of an identity crisis.

What defined a Mustang? Compact value and efficiency? A luxurious personal tourer? A muscle-bound performance bargain?

Two teams of designers in Dearborn and a third from the Ford-owned Ghia studio in Italy began competing for the privilege of crafting an all-new Mustang. By the fall of 1975, full scale sketches and clay models were being turned out and refined.

From the outset the only thing that was certain was that the finished product would be a very different sort of steed from Mustang II. That car had been a response to growing concerns in the late-1960s about fuel economy, creeping vehicle size, and safety.

The ’79 Mustang would be based on Ford’s new “Fox” midsize platform and given a tidy 100-inch wheelbase. A minimum of two bodystyles were targeted – a more conservative notchback first and then a racier fastback model. Compared to Mustang II, a higher priority was placed on the fun-to-drive aspects, interior space, limiting weight and improved aerodynamics.

Within these parameters the teams worked their magic and things were proceeding along the path laid out by the boss. Many of the early fiberglass bucks resemble a sleeker, more refined take on the Mustang II’s design elements. Bucketed headlights, a formal upright grille, and a lower sportier stance. Lots of variations were presented including larger personal luxury cars, vinyl tops, surprisingly compact economy versions – there was even a woody station wagon design!

In April 1975, everything changed when Jack Telnack returned to Dearborn after an overseas tour of duty that included a stint at Ford of Australia and then as the vice president of design at Ford of Europe. Telnack was a rising star in Ford’s design department and eventually succeeded Gene Bordinat when he retired in 1980.

Telnack took over as the lead for one of the competing groups. Seeing the boxy designs that had been put to full scale, he wondered aloud why sleeker, more European-style design elements weren’t being introduced. They existed in sketches but not in the cars physical models. Telnack pushed his team to introduce those elements as well as the previously forbidden slantback grille. With this newly unleashed creative freedom, less traditional shapes began to emerge by early 1976.

What’s perhaps most interesting is the aggregation of different design elements from various styling concepts. The basic proportions for the fastback and notchback were developed by February of ’76 and the winning design themes from Telnack’s group were complete by July. Refining the details meant remixing different styling elements from several earlier models – the laid back grille came from a June clay model, quarter window louvers from April, side strakes were avoided, and four sealed beam headlights allowed for a low, wedge-like hood line.

The result was unlike anything else on the road. Modern and European-inspired but clearly American. What would become the 1979 Mustang had significantly more leg and shoulder room than the Mustang II, a tidy 2,700-pound curb weight and improved outward visibility. The new shape was Ford’s first serious stab at reducing air resistance with the lowest drag coefficient on the road at the time – 0.44 for the fastback and 0.46 for the notchback. The wedge hood and higher seating position even allowed the driver to see the road surface four feet closer to the car. Topping off the new look, stylists even altered the famous galloping Mustang logo, making it more muscular with a longer stride.

Today, we know these cars as the “Fox Body” Mustangs. They went on to be one of the most long-lived and successful platforms in the history of the nameplate with a production that lasted from 1979 to 1993. Along the way, Ford reintroduced the Mustang GT in 1982 and the Mustang convertible in 1983. In 1984 the limited production Mustang SVO was launched followed by the first SVT Cobra in 1993.

Fox Mustangs remain popular with street and drag racers for their light weight and compact design. More than 2.6 million third-generation Mustangs eventually ended up parked in driveways across the country. Click through the gallery above to see how the styling on this much loved car came together.

Porsche Carrera GT: A Technical Marvel – Video

By   April 17, 2013

In a world were a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 seconds seems fast, but not mind numbingly fast, it is sometimes hard to remember just how great some older cars are. Thanks to recent technology you can get performance that was once only available in the fastest supercars in a lower priced sports cars. Case in point is the Porsche Carrera GT.

Back in the mid 2000’s (hard to believe that 2004 is almost ten years ago now) the Porsche Carrera GT was a technical marvel. It was a marvel that cost plenty for the privilege of driving (over $400,000 when new), but with its high level of performance and low production numbers it looks like it will be a valuable classic in the future (if you can find one for sale, they haven’t really gone down in price). However, for a fraction of the original price of the Carrera GT you can now get essentially the same performance from a Porsche 911 GT2. Plus once the new GT2 is released we can expect even better performance.

This video is from Motorweek and shows just what made a supercar back in 2004. The video has some great footage of the Carrera GT being driven on the track and goes into some detail as to what makes it such a special car.

Trouble watching this video? Click here.

Source: Jalopnik

Porsche 944 Turbo Against Its Japanese Rivals – Video

By   April 12, 2013

Back in the 80’s the styling and performance of the Porsche 944 was so popular that it brought on a host of competitors. Most of these competitors were from Japan and they attempted to have performance and style as close to the Porsche as possible. The 944 Turbo was the top of the line in ’86 and many thought it may totally change the purist’s view toward the front engined cars.

This classic video from Motorweek from 1986 pits the turbocharged 944 against its Japanese rivals. The video shows a test of all the cars on the track. The interesting thing to note, is that today you can get a Porsche 944 Turbo for under $10,000 and that is a lot of car for the money. All of these cars are still saught after by different groups of enthusiasts.

Source: Jalopnik

Trouble watching this video? Click here.

Vintage Porsche Commercials Featuring the Porsche 944, 959, 911, 917 and More

By   February 7, 2013

I love to see old Porsche advertisements. The way that cars in general used to be advertised is quite different than they are advertised today. At one time even the most boring cars would be shown driving quickly on fun curvy roads with a a lot of engine sound. Now a days ads often don’t even show the cars in motion.

The above video features a few vintage advertisements. The ads mainly feature Porsche 944 variants, but there are also scenes with the Porsche 911, Porsche 959, Porsche 928, Porsche 917 and more. Watching the video will make you want to get out there and drive these Porsches that are becoming classics (if they haven’t already made it there).

Can You Identify the Year of this Early Porsche 911 on the Track – Video

By   December 28, 2012

The above video is of an early Porsche 911 doing some track testing. The footage in the video is great and shows just how much fun someone who knows what they are doing can have in an early Porsche 911. I personally love to see this type of footage with an early Porsche on the track were it was meant to be.

I haven’t found any documentation of the year of the Porsche 911 in the video, so thought we should leave it to our knowledgeable readers. If you know the year of the 911 in this video let us know in the comments below.