Sub Model: cobra
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: rwd
Albany, Kentucky, United States
Is there a cooler car from the 1980s and early 90s to mod than a Fox-body Ford Mustang? No, there isn't. If you disagree with us, we suggest you have a look at this 1990 Mustang Coupe, which just might change your mind. Although considering just how extensively modified this car - the Top Notch Mustang from Creations n' Chrome - is, we wonder just how much Ford is left in this old pony.
It rides on a custom race tube chassis that weighs a scant 700 pounds, while carbon-fiber bits and bobs help lower the overall curb weight to a mere 2,400 pounds. When paired with supercharged, 5.0-liter, Aluminator V8 from Ford Racing, the results are, doubtlessly, exciting. 855 horsepower at the rear wheels and 667 pound-feet of torque are available from that force-fed V8 should be just plenty for this car's intended purpose of running in standing-mile competitions.
The Top Notch Mustang is more extreme than just weight savings and a big engine, though. That 5.0-liter is essentially in what's known as a front-mid layout - where the engine is actually behind the front axle. In this case, the 5.0-liter V8 is 17 inches further back than a factory Fox-body, for better weight distribution. As a result, the cabin has been completely overhauled. An SLA front suspension, wheels from HRE, Wilwood brakes and Sparco interior items round out the extensive list of mods.
Nearly every automaker doing business in the SUV or pickup truck segments offers a package designed to improve the off-road capabilities of its wares. But, of course, not all such factory kits are created equal. How, then, to separate the wheat from the chaff? Gather each of them up and put them through their paces, naturally.
The folks from Four Wheeler and PickupTrucks.com joined forces to run just such a comparison test, with the winner named the Ultimate Factory 4x4. A total of seven vehicles showed up to the fight: the 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X and Xterra PRO-4X, 2012 Ram Power Wagon, and 2012 Toyota 4Runner Trail and Tacoma TRD T|X Baja Series.
With the contestants in place, the whole crew put each vehicle through a battery of tests that included skidpad and acceleration measurements, a hillclimb, a rocky stairstep course and a rock garden. Considering the nature of the beasts, on-road ride and comfort were not part of the routine.
Ford's long-dormant Escort nameplate returned affixed to a sedan concept at last year's Shanghai Motor Show. While not exactly a beauty, it showed a clean, straightforward take on Ford's current styling. The Blue Oval said at the time that it wanted to create a model that was stylish "but not one that is arrogant or pretentious." Job done. A year later, it looks like the minimalist vehicle might make its production debut at the Beijing Motor Show.
Autocar claims that the streetgoing version has been confirmed to it for the upcoming show, but so far, Ford isn't saying. If unveiled, the Escort is likely to be produced locally for the Chinese market with a domestic partner. Powertrain details remain a secret, but it seems highly likely that any production model would use a small three- or four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Sales in other major world markets like ours are unlikely, but a test car was recently spotted in Europe.
Autoblog contacted Ford for confirmation, but the automaker demurred, with a spokesperson saying only, "At the moment, we are not confirming any vehicles planned for the show." It looks like we will have to wait to know for sure.