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Mustang tuners: Canadian power ponies in grandma look

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Around 50 F ord Mustangs, some of them ready for scrap, have their tires flat on a meadow in Georgetown, Canada. Some look like they were left there to die. But appearances are deceptive: The cars are being rebuilt or are at least waiting as organ donors to help other conspecifics to regain life.

'Fox Body' - The Ford Mustang was the longest-lived pony car

Jeff Chapman owns the 'Mustang Specialteaz' company, a half-hour drive from Toronto. Ford Mustang fans from all over North America and Canada come to Jeff to get rare spare parts or to have their car properly tuned. Jeff has a warehouse with tens of thousands of parts in addition to his workshop. And they all belong to just one generation of Mustangs - the 'Fox Body' Mustang from the 80s and early 90s. These cars are hardly known in Europe. No generation of the famous pony car was as durable as this one. From 1979 to 1993, the car rolled off the assembly line without any major visual changes.

At the beginning, the car was a typical product of the oil crisis-ridden 1970s: small and angular, shockingly ordinary styled and the engines were more fuel-efficient oriented as black stripes on the asphalt. The classic Mustang logo, the galloping horse on the radiator grille, had disappeared and had to give way to a disdainful Ford lettering. Visually, the new Mustang couldn't keep up with its legendary predecessors from the 60s, which were burned into collective memory through films like Steve McQueen's “Bullitt” and still serve as an eye-catcher in every cheap music video today.

The 'Fox Body' -Ford Mustang was practical and versatile

But the 'Fox' - that was the name of the Ford platform on which the car was built - shared the decisive virtues of the original: It was practical and versatile, offered a lot more space inside than you could see on the outside and was affordable, especially for smaller budgets. Ford could be extremely satisfied with the sales figures. “Many of my customers are around 40 years old. They associate many memories with the Fox Body Mustang - it was often the first car they owned in high school, ”says Jeff Chapman. The trained car mechanic began tuning the Mustang in 1992, initially only doing it as a hobby. “The cars are lightand agile. They're screaming to be pimped up, 'says Jeff.

Today, the '80s Ford Mustang is hard to come by, even among young car fans who are looking for an inexpensive tuning item with an understated look. And Jeff has long since turned his hobby into a profession. Under the bonnet of the sixth generation of Mustangs, however, the first years of production were leisurely. The basic engine with four cylinders laboriously shooed 88 weak horses out of the stable. The 2.8 liter V6, which came from Germany and drove the Ford Capri there, was a bit more nimble. The unit did not stay in the US for long.

Sport look for the Ford Mustang with bright colors

The first V8 that was offered in the new Ford Mustang was small and weak. Ford experimented with four-cylinder turbo engines, but they had a huge turbo lag and a reputation for extreme unreliability. For lack of performance, bright paintwork and 'Cobra' packages with spoilers, air scoops and snake graphics on the hood should convey sportiness. “The big breakthrough came with the five-liter V8,” says Mustang expert Jeff. The unit was nicknamed HO (High Output), even if 157 hp did not seem particularly impressive compared to the American big block monsters of the late 1960s.

But the new V8 made the light Ford Mustang fast enough , was increased to more than 200 hp in the course of its production and offers hobbyists and tuners a popular base to this day. “The ways you can tune this engine are virtually limitless,” says Jeff Chapman. With special exhaust systems and a modified axle ratio - the Mustang has rear-wheel drive of course - even more performance can be tickled out of the pony car. A popular extra is the 'Cowl Induction' hood with a huge backward-facing air scoop that dissipates the engine heat. “This baby here is happy to put 400 hp on the road,” smiles Jeff and points to the black Ford Mustang with an air scoop and extra-wide tires that stands in front of his workshop.

The Ford Mustang helped planes land

The police also quickly became aware of the potential of the angular pony cars. The Highway Patrol in California replaced their Camaros with notchback Mustangs in the early 1980s, equipped with a 'Special Service Package'. Sirens and searchlights, reinforced suspension, oil cooler, limited slip differential on the rear axle or the rifle mount in the trunk made the Mustangs fit for the tough everyday police force. The vehicles managed the sprint from 0 to 100 km /h in less than seven seconds. Even the American Air Force bought some Ford Mustangs, literally to hunt planes: The Lockheed U2 spy jet was extremely difficult to land with its long wings and small landing gear on the fuselage. So a second racedPilot in a Ford Mustang after the U2 on the runway to give the pilot in the aircraft control instructions by radio shortly before touchdown.


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