Stephanie Davies Associate Online Editor
August 11, 2014
Photos By: John Machaqueiro

Joe Bielawa has owned Fox-body Mustangs his entire adult life.

"My love for Mustangs started when I got my first one just as I was ready to get my license," he explains, "The obsession really kicked in when I was 17 and I bought my second Mustang, then my third, my fourth, and so on."

Finally, 17 Mustangs later (15 of them of the Fox variety), Joe decided he wanted the stunning good looks of a Fox, paired with the modern performance and amenities of its newer brethren. He came across the beauty you see here on a forum dedicated to four-eyed Mustangs in a thread chronicling its build. The '82 Mustang was located in Vail, Arizona, and belonged to Aaron Roope, who was building the car in his garage.

"The car was built from an '04 Mach 1 donor car and painted in his home garage," Joe told us. "It was fitted with an '04 Mach 1 engine, transmission, and complete interior—plus all the wiring with working ABS, traction control, and keyless entry."

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The '04 Mach 1 281ci engine and all of its components are completely stock, and the transmission is the Tremec 3650 from the same Mach 1. A Ford Racing clutch is paired to the transmission, while a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter resides in the cockpit.

You might be wondering how all of this works seamlessly in a body that was built way before '04 Mustangs were even a dot on Ford's horizon. "For the engine to work in a Fox Mustang, a Maximum Motorsports 4.6 swap K-member and A-arms were used," Joe explains.

The independent rear suspension rearend was pulled from an '04 Cobra and now operates in conjunction with Bilstein shocks and struts, and a Maximum Motorsports coilover kit. The Fox is also outfitted with MM caster/camber plates and bumpsteer kit as well. Brakes and a Hydroboost setup out of an '04 Cobra helps the Fox stop on a dime, while the steering rack was pulled from the Mach 1 donor. Maximum Motorsports full-length subframe connectors keep the chassis stiff and sturdy.

The body was repainted the factory silver color and the front fenders were modified to allow for larger wheels. It's both strange and incredible to see the interior of an '04 Mach 1 within a four-eyed Fox's body, but the Dark Charcoal insides look both beautiful and classy.

Once Joe decided that he absolutely had to have it and took ownership of the Fox in April 2013, he added TSW Nurburgring wheels wrapped in Nitto tires all around, and an exhaust comprised of Ford Racing headers, and a Bassani H-pipe and mufflers. Naturally, there are quite a few modifications planned for the future.

The '82 now resides in Joe's stable with his low-mile built '84 GT T-top and '86 5.0 coupe with extensive modification. "Owning 15 other Fox-bodies in my life, I can say that this one doesn't drive or handle like any of the others," he explains. "It's extremely smooth, responsive, and corners like it's on rails."

He is grateful to Aaron Roope for building the car and his wife and parents for supporting his Mustang obsession over the years.

While Joe has yet to race the car or put it on a dyno, he explained that he brings it to quite a few local car shows and cruise-ins. "I bought it to drive and the miles have been adding up quickly," he told us.

So keep an eye out for Joe and his '82 in the Hellertown, Pennsylvania, area and make sure you get a glimpse under the hood at this modular masterpiece.