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31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a little on the fence about what I want to do. So, I'm asking for opinions on which way to go. Do I restore it, because, at least to me. It seems like a somewhat desirable combination of colors and options, or, do I build the notch I've wanted since about 1994, and make it my way?
About 6, 7 years ago, I stumbled across a 1988 LX 5.0/5spd notch on Craigslist. First, I'll bore you with the good. Its got factory black paint with a red strip on the molding, with red interior. Manual windows, no cruise, no A/C, no power door locks. 3.08 gears. A tad over 95k original miles. It didn't have much wear on anything, and the only modifications from stock (that I noticed at first) were 1) the factory radio was gone, and 2) there was a cheap conical air filter replacing the missing air box. No wear holes in the seats, carpet, pedal pads looked like new, etc. Factory exhaust, at least I thought, until I saw it had 2 different mufflers. All in all, SUPER complete, running...and $800!! This was RIGHT before prices started going up.
Now, for the bad. First, the paint was original, but was shot. It sat for a large portion of its life outside, in the sun. F/r bumpers faded through the paint, down to the yellow, in some places. Decklid=shot. Clean doors, hood, fenders, and all the VIN stickers match the VIN. A small dent on the roof above the drivers door, and a messed up drivers latch.
Now for the worse. At some point, years prior, apparently, the rear window was broken out, and it sat, outside, exposed to the elements. The interior...shot. Nasty, moldy, faded, dirty, disgusting are some nice ways to describe it. The rear seat top/bottom are shot, the foam just turning to dust. (To my suprise, the quarter plastic, and really, almost all of the plastic, was decent still). Same with the non-sport front seats, and the carpet is faded slong with the above descriptive terms. Long story short, most of the interior is shot.
Now for the WORST. Thanks to the broken glass, and the drivers door not latching, the floors are GONE. The pass side still has the area under the seat, but the front and rwar wells are gone. The drivers side...after removing the carpet, I saw it is gone from the firewall to the rear seat, and from the tunnel to the inner rocker. Sest brace is still there, but thats it. Obviously, the front subs are in need of repair, but they aren't as bad as you would think after looking at the floor. The rear subframes/torque boxes/etc look great. It will need some sheetmetal repair under the rear seat/various trunk spots/etc. There is wsy more good and bad, but thats the gist of it.
I would have started on it right away, but, it took some work to get the title, because the car had passed hands at some point during a divorce, when the title was lost thanks to the filing cabinet that contained it being thrown away, and then a few times after that, minus a title. I got one, finally, so I can start building it. a black on red 88' 5.0/5spd/3.08 geared notch, with no a/c, pw, pdl, etc worth restoring to as original as possible the better idea, or, do I take all the good parts from my other 2 mustangs, and make it my way? Either way, the amount of rust repair will be the same. I have access to a nice original red interior from my red Mustang (but with sport seats, at least for now, and some other minor and temporary changes, until I found the correct stuff), or a really, really nice black interior that is in my white one, with 2003 leather seats, and almost all new black plastic stuff. (Those seats are waaay nicer on my back and hips lol)

Oh, one last thing. Because I wasn't sure if I'd ever get the title, I used A LOT of parts off of it. Like, thats how my red car got its aod to 5spd swap. Quite a bit went to the white car. That being said, because I like the car so much, I will gladly take anything and put it back on the notch.

Since that's quite a bit of reading, I'll leave it at that, for now. This thread will very likely turn into a build thread, as soon as I can get the car home. I'll go more in depth on my drivetrain/suspension/braking options in the future. I'm just curious to see which direction everyone else would go.

(Lastly, but really important, I can weld. Im not afraid of the subframes/strut towers, whole or partial floors, etc. I'm sure some of you will say "find a cleaner one" or "its too far gone". No, and to me, its not. I'm really just trying to figure out how I want to build it!)

31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Engine option #1: original 5.0. The shortblock is still in the car, covered. I'd obviously take it out, and do whatever was necessary to it. I have a set of E7 heads I ported years ago, factory intake, tb, etc. The only real deviation from stock would be the port work and decent springs/retainers. I'd do my best to make it appear factory original.

Engine option #2: original 5.0 shortblock, but, install the GT40P heads and Explorer u/l that I robbed from my Explorer (intake has the EGR provisions). Again, decent springs/etc. Stock otherwise.

Engine option #3: 5.0 out of my red car, the 1990 LX. Its been gone through, std bore, great oil pressure, Ford Motorsports x302 aluminum heads with a valve job, new springs/etc, F303 cam, Scorpion roller rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM u/l intake (not the RPM 2), bbk shorties, 24lb inj, and lots of other little things. It runs really well, be it 2.73 gears or 3.73 gears, and gets 19-20mpg with either. No timeslips since the heads/intake/rockers were installed.

Engine option #4: 347 that isn't quite finished. Shortblock is together, 2vr flattops, Scat I-beams/Scat 9000 cast crank, balanced/deck cut parallel/bored/honed w/plate/ARP fasteners throughout, Lunati Voodoo 231/[email protected] cam (forget the other specs atm), Canfield 192 54cc heads, never used, mild port work, springs/etc to match the cam, ARP head studs, 11.0:1, Trick Flow R u/l intake w/75mm tb opening, 1 3/4 bbk long tubes, 36lb inj, lots or other things.

If I go with options 1 or 2, I'll more than likely go the resto route, and keep it speed density. Options 3 or 4 will have me probably just swap the entire harness from my 88' hatch, which has a maf conversion.

(Because of the rust, and it has sat so long, coupled with my severe OCD, I'll be stripping the car to the shell regardless, so swapping the harness/computer/etc isn't going to be a big deal.)

5,160 Posts
Follow your dream. It will make it all worth while.
From your description; this would be the perfect car to strip and build into a street/strip car. I'm biased though as that's exactly what I did.
If you would rather have a comfy cruiser, and retain all of the luxuries; stick with a restoration.
Any of the aftermarket computer systems could provide you with a new harness under the hood as well or you can buy just the harness. This will take care of the broken plugs and connections in the engine bay and tidy it up as well.
So many options....Do it your way.
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57 Posts
Good for you in trying to save this car. Ten or fifteen years ago, people would have laughed at spending this money in bringing a fox back to stock. I think we're going to see more and more of this in the coming future. You are going to put a lot of time, money and effort in getting this car back to original. If it comes down to pure finances, it might make more sense finding a car that doesn't need all the work (rust repair, body work, paint, interior, etc) are going to spend a good amount this. But if you truly enjoying doing this, I say good for it.

If you want originality, stay with the stockish engine (ported e7s, intake, etc). But building a nice 347 will make the car so much more fun to drive. You can always figure that out later. Good luck with the project.

593 Posts
Not sure about the restore or modify, probably modify since it's not going to be a virgin with all the rust repair. But if you have other modified foxes, you might want to leave this one stock. I am a fan of the red interior, specially with black, white or gray exterior.

31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies! Actually, thank you to anyone who took the time to read all of it haha. I have a bad habit of typing too much.

I have so many possibilities with the car, its hard to decide. I think before I make any 100%, concrete decisions, I need to get the car to my house and REALLY go over it, although I have a pretty good idea of what it needs. I have access to a clean full floor pan, and, although they are expensive, I can buy new rails, if needed. I'm not afraid to do some welding, but, if I get into stuff like replacing the door pillars, for example, I might change my mind. Maybe. I know it wouldn't be original, virgin foxbody anymore, but I guess I don't really think about it like that. I think the "restoration" of fox body cars, making them original, is going to become more popular. I know I'd like to have one that was like jumping in a time machine.

I started off waaay back in the 90s lol, working on Mopars, so rust....well, I'm used to that haha. I think sometimes you can actually watch them rust. Believe it or not, there are alot of similarities with, say, my old 1972 Dart, and a foxbody. They rust in the exact same places. Even the area in the front subframe! Hopefully my experience with those cars helps with rebuilding the notch.

I think I am kind of leaning towards what I used to love to do with the mopars. Make it look stock, or close to it. To the normal person, it would just look like a nice car. To you guys, it would obviously be far from it. Maybe. Since, at least in my opinion, it hss some pretty desirable options (or lack of), I would base the build on that, and keep that "personality" of the car. Black exterior, red stripe in the molding, 100% stock looking on the outside. Rust repaired, maybe some reinforcements like the rear boxes fully welded, and definitely connectors. I have always detailed the underbody of my mopars by painting them body color, with lots of stainless stuff, new paint/coating/nos parts if I can, and I would do the same here, except go with the Ford gray primer/black overspray. I don't really like the red interior. It actually my least favorite. But, I think that is the route I would take, unless...I found tan interior. I LOVE the tan interior. But, I think it will be red. It would stay a non a/c, non cruise, non pw/pdl, etc.
The rest of the build is still up in the air. Definitely staying a pushrod sb/5spd/8.8. Lately, I've been mulling over another possibility...a 408. (I'd DEFINITELY have to sell one of the other cars to do that! Lol). It would be fairly mild, but chock full o' torque. I want to keep it EFI, and preferably with stock stuff/probably a Quarterhorse and professional tune. (Again, maf conversion from my other car). Finding an EFI 351w intake is a little scary, but, I think I could probably still pick up a pro-comp lower, do some work to it, and use my Performer RPM upper, along with the Canfield heads. Pump gas, mild cam (no more than 6k rpm). T5, probably my z-spec until I could afford a tkx or something. 3.27/3.31 gears, maybe 3.55. I'm sucker for making enough hp/tq to overcome the need for 3.73-4.10 gears. I think that would fit under a Cobra R style hood, which would probably be my only deviation from stock.

Sorry for the somewhat rambling post. I'm waiting for it to warm up a little, so I can finish the rear end reinstall in my 90'. Gets kinda boring here by myself, and I am pretty sure even my dog is tired of hearing about my cars and indecision haha.

As of now, which I can't guarantee my mind won't change in an hour, I think a bone stock appearance on the outside, in the factory colors, is probably going to be the route I take. Same with the interior, but with sport seats and a matching rear seat, along with the double-din stereo from my 90'. Reinforced body is a certainty, too. I think that my engine from my 90' (F303 cam, Ford X302 ported heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM upper/lower, shorties, pulleys, 70mm tb, etc) would be alot of fun, and probably the most streetable and dependable. As for the transmission, the z-spec I have would be right at home. If my first attempt at an 8.8 rebuild goes well later today, then the notch would get the 8.8 that has the aftermarket posi/axles, with new bearings znd 3.55 gears. Poly bushings up front, factory style everything else. New rubber bushings in the rear housing, and my Whiteline upper/lower arms. Maybe lowering springs? Lastly, the aftermarket 17x9 bullitt rears with 275/40-17, and stock 17x8 up front with 245/45-17. Oh...the brakes. I am running a 5-lug conversion with the rotor swap, not the SN95 stuff. I have the minimum amount of spacer to make sure the wheels fit the rotor, and some new, longer Moroso front studs to feel safer lol. I have an SN95 rear disc set-up, and I am going to cut my extra set of GT brackets to try mounting them behind the flange so I can keep the fox width stuff. I already went OCD on making the other brake stuff look like it is factory, with pre-bent lines, new clips, hoses, etc. Even got the e-brake stuff. I went with a 93' Cobra m/c and booster, and the stuff from Maximum Motorsports to make it all work. If I do something to it that obviously isn't original, I am intent on making it at least look as original as possible.

Thank you again to anyone who reads my daydreaming post. I can't wait to get the car home and start posting pics, and more importantly, making the daydream become reality! Time to go button up the rearend in the 90', repair a brake line, repair a fuel line, and hope it goes well.

I should make a post about it...I installed 4.10s/rebuilt the diff/all new bearings in the 8.8. Going back to 4-lug also. Welded all the seams on the boxes, Tubular uppers, and...Lakewood lift bars. I didn't have anything else to use, so I figured what the heck. They were brand new. But, I did use some HPM brackets instead of what the Lakewood bars came with. I will just have to verify my pinion angle. The HPM brackets were on a rear my son bought, and they really tie everything in, and are waaay heavier duty, but are similar in how they end up working. If anything, I'll just swap the Lakewood stuff in, and weld it up.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Premium Member
3,006 Posts
I'm starting on a 1978 Cobra right now & I'm doing my way. Bought on ebay out of Texas for $13k. It arrived at my house today. It's a factory rare combo, tangerine with white interior. I'm changing it to black with black interior. Putting a 500hp 363 in it with an aod trans & ford 9" rearend. I make every car & bike FOR ME & don't concern myself with a future value number. It's an easy choice. I'll probably have $50k in a $30k car, but it's the only way it will make me happy. Otherwise, I'd just be OK with it.
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