The Fox-body Ford Mustang might not be the most obvious choice for an autocross car, but throw enough motor, rubber, and suspension at just about anything with four wheels and it will perform in the tight twisties of an autocross course.
Enter Mike Trenkle’s heavily-modified, Boss 363-powered, IRS-swapped 1982 Fox-body Mustang.
Despite being now 40 years old, this Fox-body Mustang can hang with the best of them, with a sure-footedness that comes with having an independent pushrod rear suspension, and a short-long arm configuration up front. It’s a perfect recipe for cornering finesse, aided by a square tire setup with massive 335-section rubber tucked neatly under the widebody fender flares at all four corners, giving the ‘Stang extraordinary levels of grip.
Of course, this car needs all that tire to effectively put down all 550 wheel horsepower, which comes by way of a built 6-liter Boss 363 V8 fitted with lightweight H-beam connecting rods, Probe pistons, and a custom camshaft. The motor, with its 7,000-rpm redline, is fed fuel by a FAST injection system, and it sends its grunt through a Centerforce DYAD clutch to a 5-speed Tremec TKO 600 trans. Out back sits the differential from a circa-2000 SVT Ford Mustang Cobra, upgraded with a WaveTrac limited-slip unit, which funnels the Boss 363 motor’s plentiful torque to the rear wheels.
Despite being a corner-carving beast on the autocross course, this Fox-body Mustang is surprisingly civil, too, with working air-conditioning, a 9-speaker audio system, Dynapad sound insulation, and full carpeting. It’s truly the best of both worlds: a competitive SCCA autocrosser and Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge contender on the one hand, and a reasonably comfortable, livable road car on the other. And it’s got quite the resume; according to website FordMuscle, this Fox-body has to its name multiple SCCA national tour wins and two SCCA Solo National podiums, plus a few SEMA Show appearances.
Not too shabby for a 40-year-old Fox-body.