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  1. #1

    Default '83 GT - Popular Hot Rodding Magazine Project Car PRICE DROP!

    For Sale ---- First Time Offered to the Public!

    (Vintage) Magazine and TV Project Car in "Time Capsule 1983-84" condition

    Highly Documented History from New

    Original Owner

    WAS $25,000...... NOW $20,000

    Hey guys, thanks for all the great comments and memories about my car. I'm really happy that so many of you remember it from back in the day, and even still have the old magazines.

    I've received many emails with interest in buying, but no trigger-pullers so far. To entice that, I've dropped the price by $5000.

    I would love it to go to a FEP member. Don't make me put it on BaT.

    My name is C. Van Tune. I have been an automotive writer/photog/magazine editor since 1980. (Yeah, I'm old.)

    Among other jobs I held in the car mag business, I was the Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend from 1994-2001.

    This is my first post on your site, but I have been a Fox Mustang enthusiast (and owner) since 1983.

    I decided to offer this very special car for sale here first. I want it to go to someone who really appreciates early Fox Mustangs and the history of this car.


    I modified this car when it was new and I was the Technical Editor of Popular Hot Rodding Magazine.

    It is a time capsule of the best of what could be done in 1983-84 to bring the 5.0 Mustang to life.

    It has been hidden away, rarely driven, and not seen at any car show or event since 1985.

    This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to own a Mustang that was specifically built for car magazine & television use, and somehow escaped the FoMoCo system of being stripped and/or crushed after such a high level of modifications were made.


    This is a long post, and I have endeavored to write everything I know about the car and its current condition.

    Please take the time to read it all, if you are interested. I am happy to answer questions and send pix of anything you want to see.

    I have lots of vintage photos from the magazine, as well as original proof sheets, the car's build sheet, window sticker, etc. I will post as many as the site allows me.

    The car is located in San Diego, CA.

    Email me at


    This Mustang was special-ordered directly by Ford Motor Company as a “media fleet” car in Los Angeles.

    It was delivered brand new to Popular Hot Rodding Magazine (our offices were in West Los Angeles) in April 1983 specifically for use in the magazine’s three-car “Battle of the Super Cars” competition. No other publication ever drove this car.

    The focus of the Popular Hot Rodding competition was to test the fastest 1983 production models from Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler head-to-head in drag strip, slalom, skid pad and braking tests.

    This Mustang GT competed against the then-new L-69 Camaro Z28 5.0 liter H.O. and the also-new Dodge Shelby Charger.

    After the baseline performance numbers were accrued for each car, in stock form, the three editors of the magazine were each given complete responsibility for modifying “their favorite car” with hot rodding parts and techniques.

    Then, the cars would be retested head-to-head in the same four track tests, to determine the ultimate winner.

    Editor, Cam Benty chose the Camaro.

    Technical Editor, C. Van Tune (me) grabbed the Mustang.

    Feature Editor, Pete Pesterre strapped on the Shelby.


    The modifications took place over a five-month time period, and were covered in subsequent issues of PHR.

    Television coverage of the three-car battle was provided in three episodes of PHR’s top-rated cable show “Performance Plus.” A fourth episode focused on modifications to the Mustang after the three-car shootout had been completed.

    All straight-line testing was done at famed Orange County International Raceway.

    The Mustang's stock ¼ mile time was 15.01 sec.

    The Camaro ran an almost-identical 15.00 ET. Try as we might, we couldn't break into the 14s with either car.

    No "tricks" were allowed for the baseline testing:
    Tire pressures had to be set at stock psi, ignition timing couldn't be changed, air cleaners had to remain installed, no icing the manifold between runs, etc., per our rules. We probably did 20 runs on each car.

    Skidpad, slalom and braking tests were all performed at the Chrysler Shelby Performance Center in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The same rules as to testing the cars in factory-spec settings applied there.

    After baseline testing was complete, we planed the modifications. And there were only a few rules:

    Anything that didn’t alter the displacement of the engine or change the basic driveline setup was okay.

    Suspensions could be beefed, interiors upgraded, and cosmetic enhancements made.

    But, close watch was kept on those costs, which were tabulated for inclusion in the important “price” category.

    Because we wanted these cars to have real-world relevance to our readers. Price factored as equally as each of the other four categories into the final points tally.

    The details of the work done to the cars, and how they performed, are covered in the 9/83, 11/83, 12/83, 1/84 and 2/84 issues of PHR. (Copies go to buyer.)

    The best acceleration times for the modified Mustang were:
    0-60 mph in 5.5 sec. Quarter-mile in 13.4 sec @ 104 mph.


    After our “Battle of the Super Cars” series was completed in 1984. The Camaro and Shelby were stripped of their hot rodding parts and returned to their respective manufacturers in stock configuration, as was previously agreed. The Camaro was crushed.

    With blessing from a high-up executive at Ford, the Mustang slipped through the cracks in the system and I was allowed to buy it directly from Ford, with all of its aftermarket hot rodding parts still in place. That adds to the uniqueness of its history.

    I then further upgraded and refined the Mustang, including the adding of Scheel racing seats and a matching rear seat upholstery kit, color-keyed to complement the car’s red and black exterior.

    Articles covering those modifications were covered in PHR’s sister-magazine, Fabulous Mustangs, in 1984.

    Additionally, the Mustang appeared on the cover of a PHR sister-publication, Super Cars Magazine, in 1985.

    Industry-publication Specialty Automotive published an article on the three car shoot-out, including a cover photo, in 1984.



    5.0 liter/302 cid, standard bore & stroke, balanced and blueprinted by Bill Stroppe Racing.

    Top end was modified in 1983-84. Engine has not been apart since then. Stock pistons, rods, crank.

    Engine still makes 75+ psi oil pressure on cold start, and 40 psi hot.

    Camshaft: Ford Motorsport dual-pattern, solid lifter, 0.512”/0.536” lift; 282/292-degree duration.

    Cylinder Heads: Stock heads ported and polished, cut to accept larger valves, 3-angle valve job.

    Valves: Ford Motorsport 1.90” intake valves; 1.60” exhaust valves, sodium filled.

    Valve Springs: Crane high-rpm double springs.

    Rocker Arms: Crane aluminum roller rockers, with Crane studs.

    Pushrods: Crane chrome moly, with Manley guide plates.

    Timing Chain: Ford Motorsport dual-roller, high rpm.

    Carburetor: Originally, Holley 650. Now, Edelbrock 600 cfm.

    Intake Manifold: Holley Street Dominator.

    Ignition: MSD 7AL, MSD Blaster 2 coil.

    Exhaust System: Hooker Super Competition shorty headers, dual 2.5” exhaust with dual cats and turbo mufflers.

    Power adder: NOS nitrous system was installed and tested, but removed.


    Wheels: Epsilon three-piece modular, aluminum, 16 x 8.0 inch.

    Tires: BFGoodrich Radial T/As 205/55R16.

    Springs: Quickor Engineering lowered, progressive rate.

    Anti-sway Bars: Quickor 1.5” diameter (front); 0.875” rear, polyurethane bushings.

    Custom-built “strut tower to cowl” boxed square-tubing support bars with adjustment turnbuckles.


    Ring-and-Pinion: Ford Motorsport 3.73 ratio with Traction Lok.


    Front Air Dam: Ford Motorsport, with Marchal quartz-halogen fog lights.

    Hood Scoop: Factory scoop opened to ingest outside air.


    Seats: Scheel front racing buckets. Custom matching rear seat upholstery kit in black cloth with red racing stripes to complement exterior colors.

    Steering Wheel: Momo “George Follmer” design anatomical grip, black anodized center.

    Shifter: Hurst short-shift with T-handle.

    Roll Bar: Autopower Industries’ 2.0” diameter chrome moly, black powder coated.

    Speedometer: Quickor 150 mph.


    GT Package

    5-speed Gearbox

    Tilt Wheel

    Power Steering

    Power Brakes

    AM/FM/cassette “Premium Sound” stereo

    Tinted Glass

    Rear Window Defroster

    Traction-Lok rear axle


    Window Sticker

    Build Sheet

    Owner’s Manual and Warranty book

    Paperwork from Ford to Popular Hot Rodding and C. Van Tune

    California DMV registrations

    “PHR MAG” California blue-and-yellow license plate. (The car was registered on these plates 1984-1991)


    In 1991, I sold the Mustang to a long-time friend in Las Vegas, Nevada, with about 18,000 miles on the odometer. The friend is a muscle car guy who also owns a ’67 Shelby GT500 and a 2013 Shelby GT500. He drove it about 35,000 miles over a 24-year time period, but retained it mostly in its “time capsule” condition.

    In 2015, I bought the car back from my friend. It is back in Southern California.

    As a testament to the reliability and durability of the hot rodding parts installed, as well of this Mustang itself (and the maintenance it has received) the car still is running its original clutch.

    The engine still revs quickly and freely to 6000 rpm, and sounds great doing it.

    The car also runs cool, makes great oil pressure, and is a unique and well-publicized example of a modified early Fox Mustang.

    Now, the Popular Hot Rodding Mustang is being offered to the public for the first time ever.

    Also included with the sale are several original 1983 black-and-white proof sheets showing the build-up of the car.

    The original negatives are attached, to allow enlargements to be made.


    52,700 miles

    Original numbers-matching 5.0 liter engine.

    Original 5-speed gearbox.

    Original Clutch.

    Original Paint (except for black hood stripe).

    Original “Quickor” Engineering side graphics from 1983

    Original “Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving” window decal from 1983.

    Original Glass and Weatherstripping.

    Mostly Original Interior (last modified in 1984).

    Original Ford AM/FM/cassette “Premium Sound” system.

    Original Jack and Space-Saver Spare (never used.)

    New "Powered by Ford" floor mats.

    Original Epsilon 16x8.0 three-piece forged aluminum wheels.

    Mostly Original Suspension (last modified in 1983, except tires and shocks).

    Undercarriage is very nice, with typical road grime. Never in snow or salt.

    Specially-built engine oil and coolant pre-heating systems.

    PCV oil vapor catch can.

    All Original Sheet Metal & Bumper Covers.

    No Accidents or Bodywork.

    No Rust.

    Body is as straight as Ford made it.


    Original red body paint is thin and faded in areas.

    Tape pinstripes are sun-cracked. (New ones are included, as well as a new “GT” decal for hood).

    Window molding paint is faded or missing in areas.

    Bodyside moldings are mostly in good shape, but the front-fender moldings are not well aligned.

    There are a few door dings.

    Front air dam has a few scrapes.

    One Marchal fog light has a rock chip.

    Dashboard top is cracked in several places.

    150 mph speedometer face is wrinkled.

    Upholstery (front seats) is very good. Rear seat is excellent.

    Door panels are excellent.

    Carpet is faded in places. (There is very little wear.)

    Cargo area plastic has some small scrapes. Cargo area carpet is very good.

    Roll bar has paint chips.

    Engine drips a bit of oil.

    I am happy to answer any questions and send photos of anything you want to see.

    Please email me at

    Thanks, Van
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by PHR MAG; 09-13-2019 at 12:44 PM. Reason: PRICE DROP

  2. #2


    Very neat car!

    If you make another post you should be able to post more pictures. If the space limits are stopping you, you can donate and become a supporter and get a higher storage quota. Or see if someone will grant an exception so you can post these amazing pictures.

    Good luck with selling it.

    BTW -- what else are you going to do with those other cars? Crushed -- just like the hopes and dreams of the person who thought they were going to beat the four eyed fox.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the kinds words and ideas, Erratic50. Much appreciated. I will try that.

    Your BTW comment made me laugh. So true!

    Here are more pix of the car, back in the day...stock and being modified.
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by PHR MAG; 09-04-2019 at 06:14 PM.

  4. #4


    More photos...
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  5. #5
    FEP Super Member
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    May 2003
    Roseburg Oregon


    Amazing car ,and equally amazing history .
    clowns to the left of me , Jokers to the right

  6. #6


    Check out the original FoMoCo registration and insurance card for the car.

    I have lots more pix. Will upload more when I get the chance, or can email to anyone interested in the car.

    Attached Images Attached Images    

  7. #7
    FEP Senior Member Dave9052's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Saint Clair MI 48079


    Very cool car and story!

  8. #8
    FEP Senior Member rodster's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Allentown, PA


    Now this is a 1 of 1!

    Good luck, I'm sure there is a caretaker out there somewhere for this unique car.

  9. #9


    Thanks for the kind words, guys. I really want it to go to a great Fox-loving home.

  10. #10
    FEP Senior Member rodster's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Allentown, PA


    That's where it belongs. Good luck.

    Thanks for sharing and bringing back a lot of memories. I remember reading lots of articles by C. Van Tune. Of course I was very young back then.

  11. #11


    You just made my day, rodster. And of course you were very young. So were we all.

    At PHR, we had the youngest editorial staff of any car magazine. The three of us were 26, 25, and 23 when these Mustang stories were written. Good times!

  12. #12
    FEP Senior Member
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    Jun 2003
    Santa Maria Ca


    It’s amazing the car wasn’t crushed by Ford, hammered by teenagers or parted by hacks years ago. So cool to see it in ‘as modded’ condition from 1984.

    By chance, did you save any of the stock parts that were on it from the factory?

    Pesterre did the first road test on the 84 Saleen Mustang. I’ve got the 85 press car, so was hoping you may have tested it back then.
    85 Saleen Mustang(s)

  13. #13


    I read many articles and saw many TV spots from C Van Tune. A bump for all of the entertainment. Good luck on the sale this is a very cool piece.

  14. #14


    Mr. BaconB8...I remember driving the early Saleens, back in the day. But, I think Pesterre always glommed onto those as "his story" as soon as they arrived at the magazine.

    If you search online for Fabulous Mustangs Magazine, from 1985, you might find it. Pesterre was its editor.

    Here's a recent shot of me (L) with former PHR Editor, Cam Benty, who saw the Mustang that day for the first time in about 30 years.

    Sorry, but I don't have any of the take-off parts. I kept them for a long time, but somewhere between house-move 10 and 15 they got lost/pitched.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by PHR MAG; 09-04-2019 at 11:08 PM.

  15. #15


    SoVeryOdd, thanks for your kind comments. I'm glad to have had you as a loyal reader/viewer, all through the years!

  16. #16
    FEP Senior Member
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    Jun 2003
    Santa Maria Ca


    Can you elaborate, if you remember, who was behind Quickor and what their deal was? Saw it was out of Oregon. Did they build a tuner Mustang like Solomon, Saleen or Dech? Never heard of them before if so.

    Also, do I spy a Predator carb with solenoids mounted on the side? Anybody with a Predator was the talk of the parking lot with one of those!

    85 Saleen Mustang(s)

  17. #17


    Good eye on the Predator. Yeah, that was the bad-azz carb back then. Had great throttle response, but we couldn't ever get it dialed in properly across the rpm band. We tried it with and without nitrous, but eventually did away with both. Wasn't working out.

    Quickor was owned by Russ Harness. Nice guy. He had previously worked for an aftermarket manufacturer, but I can't recall which one. Quickor was a Ford (predominantly Mustang) tuning shop in Beaverton, Oregon. They didn't build complete cars, but had some component systems.

    I drove the Mustang up there to get the suspension installed. It worked great. Ride quality is good, turn-in response and body roll were vastly improved, and it lowered the car to where it looked right.

    They had a cool '82 Mustang GT shop car that we tested at PHR before my '83 Mustang ever arrived at our offices. We were extremely impressed by it, as it had engine work (non-smog legal), Quickor suspension, and some appearance goodies. Sounded mean and handled great. I can't remember the issue date, but there's an article about it in PHR somewhere in '82 or '83.

  18. #18
    FEP Senior Member
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    Santa Maria Ca


    The time period you experienced and the cars/equipment you editorialized were so key in the future of production hotrods. Where we are today, 700 horse factory machines, has a direct link to the time when you built this car. Foxes like yours were what kept this all going during some really bad times.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. You car is really great, I hope you get your asking. I think it’s totally worth it!
    85 Saleen Mustang(s)

  19. #19


    Thank you. Great perspective on the legacy of these Fox bodies. I agree.

  20. #20


    I still have that Super Cars mag in my stash! Man, I lusted after that Trans Am. I wasn't that into the Mustangs then, I was a senior in HS then. I still love the Trans Am's of that era. I've had several Birds (91 Formula, 92 TA, 96 Formula). I've also had a number of Fox cars as well (84 Tbird 5.0, 86 Mustang GT, 89 Mustang LX, and my current 84 Capri RS Turbo project.

    Your car is a gem. What a tribute to rodding back in the day!

    Bill H
    84 Capri RS Turbo
    Vinemont, AL (formerly El Mirage, AZ)
    USAF 1986-2007 (Ret)

  21. #21


    Thanks for your nice comments, Bill. You've had some really cool cars, and I'm honored that you still have that Super Cars issue.

    I shot those cover photos, and still remember that dual burnout very well. Cam Benty was driving the T/A and Pete Pesterre was in the Camaro. I was balanced on a ladder trying to capture the action. We put so much smoke into the air that we thought neighbors would think there's a fire. (Yes, it was at the end of a street in a new residential area.) So, after I got the shot, we hauled azz out of there!

    Whenever we got a test car at PHR, it hardly ever sat parked. Between the three of us staffers, and occasionally the boss George Elliott (super cool guy), we drove the tires of of them. A day of drag strip runs at OCIR trying to shave a hundredth off of the ET (we'd exclusively rent the track.) Stoplight drags wherever we went. Cruising for chicks, etc. It was a great era.

    Cars rarely went back after our one to two weeks with them with any tread on the tires. To the car companies, that was just seen as the cost of them doing business with the press. Or, at least to a point...

    One time, we borrowed a new Lincoln Town Car press car for a road trip to Vegas for SEMA, and did a bit of drifting in it. Afterwards, I got a call from our contact at Ford PR who (somewhat amusedly) said "That's one press car we never thought we'd have to replace the tires on!" But, we took him and a few others in his office out for a nice dinner, and all was well again.
    Last edited by PHR MAG; 09-05-2019 at 07:52 PM.

  22. #22
    FEP Senior Member rodster's Avatar
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    Great behind the scenes history!

  23. #23
    FEP Supporter Mustang Marty's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Everett, Washington, United States


    I lusted over this car as a college freshman. I had a 79 Mustang 5.0 at the time and this was so much cooler than my 140 HP shushbox. I still have these magazines in my collection. Great to see this car still around as so many magazine cars fall into disrepair or are crushed.
    79 Mustang Coupe - Jade Green Metallic - 5.0 5Sp - Purchased 2006
    01 Mustang - True Blue - 3.8 Auto - Purchased 2001, now daughter's car
    85 ASC - McLaren 5.0 SC - ASC White - 5.0 CFI Auto - Owned 2004 - 2016
    98 Mustang - White - 3.8 5pd - Owned 1998 - 2001
    84 Mustang SSP - White - 5.0 5sp - Owned 1993 - 1998
    84 SVO - Charcoal - 2.3t 5Sp - Owned 1989 -1992
    79 Mustang Ghia - 5.0 Auto - Owned 1981 - 1986
    68 Mustang Coupe - 302 Auto - Owned 1980 - 1981

  24. #24
    FEP Senior Member rodster's Avatar
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    Allentown, PA


    Quote Originally Posted by Mustang Marty View Post
    I lusted over this car as a college freshman. I had a 79 Mustang 5.0 at the time and this was so much cooler than my 140 HP shushbox. I still have these magazines in my collection. Great to see this car still around as so many magazine cars fall into disrepair or are crushed.
    Just it could be yours!

  25. #25
    FEP Power Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Rockledge, FL


    Cool car and story! Good luck with the sale!

    Hope you don't mind but I have a few questions about that Holley Street Dominator intake and carb combo I'm hoping you could answer.

    Is the Edelbrock carb on any type of spacer?
    Did the stock Holley 4180c ever get installed on the Holley intake and if so can you opine (lol) please?
    Does it seem like either carb would fit on top of the intake without cutting the hood?
    Is that one of the "Z" model (Duntov "designed") intakes or a "standard" type? I've got a "Z" type with EGR provisions in a box that I've thought of using compared to a Weiand X-CELerator 7515 but haven't bolted either up yet. Honestly the only "talk" I've ever seen about the Holley Street Dominator was in an old shootout done by Tom Wilson in Super Ford Magazine July 1988.
    '85 GT

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