While he was fighting a serious ailment, Jim Addis’ dad promised to buy him this car, so it holds a special place in his heart. Now, thanks to the crew at Five Bar Motorsports, this clean Fox now has the heartbeat of a turbo Coyote. (Photo Credit: Keith Keplinger)
For many fans of the Fox Mustang, these cars represent an era when Ford’s pony car was ascendant. Built on a long-running platform with a potent 5.0-liter engine option, these cars help move the Mustang from an aftermarket afterthought to a market leader. In the case of Jim Addis, this 1986 Mustang GT convertible truly gave him a reason to live.
This was my first car when I turned 16. — Jim Addis
“This car is special to me,” Jim said. “I’m 47 years old. This was my first car when I turned 16. I had a rare illness at 15 and my dad said he’d buy me a car if I pulled through and lived; so here we are today. I have a special nostalgic affection for this car.”
Jim wanted to revamp his all-original Fox with a modern drivetrain without deterring from its classic lines.
As fans of the era, we have nostalgia for these cars too, but with the car representing survival for Jim, it clearly is a special machine. Because of that, he took great car of the car, but he eventually decided to bring its performance into the modern era while retaining its nostalgic visage.
“For starters, the car had only 50,000 original miles. It was garage stored under cover for its entire life, so it has no rust and no corrosion whatsoever,” Jim said. “We had a great starting point. My mission was to bring the car to look showroom new as stock 1986 GT convertible, but with all the newest technology, including the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, gauges, wheel/tires, and most importantly air conditioning!”
For Florida residents having air conditioning is as important as having a steering wheel. When it comes to bringing Mustang’s powertrain into the modern era, it’s also crucial to either have some mad skills or turn to expert. Jim was fortunate to find a shop in his backyard that had plenty of experience. That shop is Five Bar Motorsports in Fort Myers, Florida.
His dad promised to buy this car for Jim and on October 16, 1986 he did just that. The interior remains true to that era with the exception of the American Powertrain shifter poking up through the shift boot. It actuates a Tremec Magnum six-speed manual transmission.
1986 Mustang LX Mods
Block: Coyote aluminum prepped by MPR
Crankshaft: Stock Coyote
Rods: Stock Coyote
Pistons: Stock Coyote
Camshafts: Stock Coyote
Cylinder Heads: Stock Coyote
Intake: Stock Coyote
Power Adder: 76mm Borg-Warner turbocharger
Fuel System: Aeromotive 340 in-tank pump w/ Radium Engineering surge tank fitted with two Walbro 450 pumps
Exhaust: Five Bar Motorsports custom turbo system
Transmission: Tremec T56 Magnum w/ a custom PST driveshaft
“I had to rely heavily on Joe Melvin, owner of Five Bar,” Jim said. “To be honest, the project evolved over time. Initially, we were going to do a plain-Jane Coyote swap, but I realized I didn’t want to settle for around 400 horsepower. I wanted a more power, upwards of 1,000. I wanted it to be very special. However, I quickly learned that ‘special’ meant taking an entirely different approach. Everything needed to be overbuilt to withstand the horsepower.”
To ensure his Coyote project was fit for four-digits, Jim sent his Ford Performance crate engine to Tim Eichhorn at MPR Racing Engines in Boynton Beach, Florida, for a robust reciprocating assembly. With forged internals in the 5.0-liter, the Five Bar team finished the assembly and topped it off with a custom single-turbo system.
“I’ve been working on Fords for about 10 years, bought my first new Mustang in 2007 that now has turned into our low-8-second — hopefully soon 7-second — shop car,” Joe Melvin, owner of Five Bar Motorsports, said. “We settled on this combo from knowledge we have gained with other turbo Coyote builds we have done. After the owner of the car had seen one of our other customer’s car on the dyno making close to 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower he said, ‘Let’s try and make that.’”
It would seem that four-digit outputs are the goal of many enthusiasts building high-performance street cars. Thanks to modern technology, it’s definitely possible, but fitting in all those accessories along with the upgrades necessary for big power is a challenge. Those hurdles are even higher if you are trying not to alter someone’s pristine, childhood Fox.
“The biggest challenge to overcome was fitting everything the customer wanted to have in the car — It has A/C, power steering, power brakes and the 76mm turbo kit — without cutting up the body,” Joe explained. “The only modification to the body was the smoothing of the engine bay to get rid of the factory holes.”
Fortified with a more robust rotating assembly by Tim Eichorn at MPR Racing Engines, this crate Coyote is ready to support over 1,000 horsepower courtesy of Five Bar Motorsports custom turbo system.
When the car is idling and part throttle it sounds like a stock Fox Mustang, maybe even a little quieter. — Joe Melvin, Five Bar Motorsports
The result was definitely worth it. While the car cruises around with the power turned down, it packs 1,000-horsepower potential all while driving better than the stock combination ever did. With the hood down, it even does a fair job passing as bolt-on Fox with a pushrod 5.0-liter.
“When the car is idling and part throttle it sounds like a stock Fox Mustang, maybe even a little quieter,” Joe said. “So, when you pop the hood people are definitely shocked and are amazed at how clean the engine bay is.”
The classic Fox rolls on SVE FR500 wheels wearing Goodyear rubber. It still sports the classic 5.0 badges, which still ring true thanks to the Coyote underhood.
The car definitely stopped us in our tracks when we spied it during the NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park. We too thought it was just a clean Fox, which is enough to draw us over, but that big turbo bolted to a Coyote had us clamoring to bust out the cameras.
“This is always the best part; people’s mouths drop in amazement,” Jim added. “You can eat in the engine compartment. It’s a cleaner look than came off the Ford assembly line. People always ask: ‘How did you fit all that in such a small space?’”
Of course, the ‘all that’ really packed underhood is a lot of performance. With four-digit potential on board, it’s no surprise that this car will give any blue-blooded Ford fan a reason to live for the next blast of acceleration.
It takes three fuel pumps to feed the turbo Coyote with ample E85. In the fuel tank is an Aeromotive 340-lph in-tank pump supplying a Radium Engineering surge tank filled with two Walbro 450 pumps.
“The car is a blast to drive,” Joe enthused. “We currently only have it set on low boost, since it was a new build. With pretty much every aspect of the vehicle being upgraded we wanted to drive it for a while and make any adjustments to the vehicle.”
Who wouldn’t want to take this droptop Fox for a drive on a sunny Florida day?
Even though it was still being dialed in, it’s still plenty fast enough to fulfill the owner’s dream of bringing his childhood dream car back to the future.
“It’s a rocket ship!” Jim enthused. “Not only fast, but it handles and brakes amazing all in the comfort of air conditioning. The car is a total sleeper.”