‘Rusty Notch’:
Mike’s LS1 Swapped Fox Body Mustang

For most people this would be a perfectly reasonable and entertaining second vehicle. Apparently Mike isn’t most people, because at the end of the summer Mike decided a 10-second summer daily wasn’t cool anymore and it needed to be changed completely.

So, what’s a guy to do with his discontent during the winter “build season”? If you’re as afflicted with automotive ADHD as I (and apparently Mike) am, then the answer is obvious! Everything!

The end goal for project Awesome Fox V2 was a very streetable car that could break its foot off in the ass of much more exotic metal at the drop of a hat on anything from an on-ramp to a lapping day. To achieve this, Mike decided an LS based aluminum block engine was the place to start, and between that and the Cobra IRS would be some comfy seats, a T56 trans, and a bunch of other goodies.

The path to twisty triumph began with the purchase of an entire Camaro. The process of relocating the LS1 and T56 from the home the General intended to the Mustang has been done more than once, so making it happen wasn’t the most painful process in the world. However, the realization that the LS1 had seen better days was far from painless. After swapping out some rings and bearings and a little machine work, the LS was spinning freely and keeping oil in all the correct places.

With the fine work of the General situated between the frame rails of Mike’s coupe, it was time to add a bit more Ford to the equation. The Mustang Cobra independent rear suspension was a brief production departure (1999-2004) from the world of the live axle, before switching to IRS across the entire lineup in 2015 with the S550 chassis. And although the Terminator Cobra’s seem to be largely drag strip centric builds, it’s very common to see the rear suspensions transplanted into other road course bound builds. Mike then added some Maximum Motorsports coilovers and new bushings to the mix to complete the renovations underneath his ever more capable Fox body.

Having a father-in-law who owns a machine shop and likes to tinker is never a bad thing! These StopTech anchors were fit to Mike’s car using some beautiful custom machined brackets.

And that pretty much brings us to the present day – where I unknowingly stumbled across a figment of my (over-active) imagination in the paddock at Speed Academy’s 2018 lapping day. The journey to get there was less than straightforward for Mike and his Fox-body, but it has been oh-so worth it.

Since we spoke in the late summer, Mike has taken his notch out lapping a few more times and continued to pile the miles on the car on the street. The additional miles have (as they always do) provided Mike with some insight into the package as whole and highlighted a few things that need minor tweaking. Over the winter Mike intends to upgrade the rear differential’s guts, as well as put a cage in the car for on track safety. History dictates that I’m sure there will be a few other tweaks at minimum and additions to the car over the winter, but I get the impression Mike is largely done with the shotgun approach to tweaks to the car – for now.

Rumour has it Mike’s willing to let Dave take this naughty notchback for a rip around Toronto Motorsports Park, so stay tuned for a track test video on it come springtime! Until then, here’s a little Mullet Mustang action to tide you over (no spectators were harmed in the making of this video, we promise).

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