Ford Fox platform

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Not to be confused with Volkswagen Fox or Audi Fox.
Ford Fox platform
88Mustang 9917.JPG
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1978–2004 model years
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Personal luxury car
Pony car
Layout FR
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
2-door coupe
3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Vehicles see below
Successor Ford SN-95 platform
Ford D2C platform
Ford MN12 platform
Ford D186 platform
Ford CE14 platform

The Ford Fox platform is a rear wheel drive, unitized-chassis, automobile architecture used by Ford Motor Company in North America. Introduced for the 1978 model year, it would go on to be produced until 1993 in its original version; a substantial redesign of the Ford Mustang in 1994 extended its life another 11 years. Designed to be relatively lightweight and simple, in keeping with the general downsizing of Detroit designs in the late 1970s, the Fox platform served as a replacement for many models derived from the original Ford Falcon (dating from 1960). The Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr were introduced as the replacements for the Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet.

Eventually, thirteen distinct Ford models in several market segments would be built off it, with multiple bodystyles and powertrains. As downsizing became more common in the American automotive industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Fox platform was used for many nameplates that underwent downsizing. As the industry shifted to front-wheel drive, the Fox platform was used less for family cars and more for sporty cars; from 1989 to 1993, it was used exclusively by the Mustang.

Design history[edit]

The Fox platform, like most compact and mid-size cars of the late 1970s, was designed with a rear-wheel drive layout. In contrast to the full-size Fords and Mercurys of the time, the Fox platform used unibody construction. Due to the wide variety of cars using the Fox platform from its introduction, it was designed to accommodate 4-cylinder (naturally aspirated and turbocharged), inline-6, V6, and V8 engines. During the 1980s, the Fox platform would be adapted for the use of diesel engines.

1983 model year changes[edit]

In 1982, the Fox platform was involved in a major shift of the Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln product ranges. The 1979 redesign of the 1980 model year Ford Granada, Ford Thunderbird, and Mercury Cougar had been poorly received by buyers; due to popular demand, Ford had also reversed its decision to discontinue its full-size, rear-wheel drive cars by the early 1980s. To rectify this, the midsize car range was facelifted. In an act of downsizing, the base model of the full-size model range became a midsize car while the upper-trim car became the sole full-size car. The Ford LTD replaced the Granada while the Marquis replaced the Cougar sedan and wagon. In addition, the Fox platform became the home of the Lincoln Continental (both replacing the Versailles and splitting it from the Town Car). Returning solely to the personal-luxury segment, the Thunderbird and Cougar personal-luxury coupes were redesigned for 1983, becoming the first aerodynamic-bodied Fords.

The introductory Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr were discontinued at the end of the model year and replaced by the front-wheel drive 1984 Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz. Their replacement was part of a growing trend among American car manufacturers towards the adoption of front-wheel drive; most Fox-platform cars either adopted front-wheel drive or were eventually discontinued. After the 1989 redesign of the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, the Fox platform had been pared down to two models: the Ford Mustang and the Lincoln Continental Mark VII.


The Fox-platform Ford Mustang was redesigned for the 1994 model year under the body family program code name Fox-4. This version was wider and approximately 60% of the parts were redesigned. The SN-95 platform finally ended production with the last 2004 Mustang. This platform was replaced for the 2005 Mustang (code named S-197), with the new Ford D2C platform.


Vehicle Name Image Production Predecessor Successor Notes
Fox-platform vehicles (Compact)
Ford Fairmont Ford Fairmont sedan 1.jpg 1977–1983 Ford Maverick Ford Tempo
Mercury Zephyr Mercury Zephyr Z7.jpg 1977–1983 Mercury Comet Mercury Topaz
Ford Durango Ford Durango Side.jpg 1980-1981 Ford Ranchero
  • The Durango was a limited-production factory-commissioned conversion of the Ford Fairmont Futura 2-door by National Coach Corporation
  • Approximately 200 produced
Fox-platform vehicles (Mid-Size)
Ford Granada 1982 Ford Granada wagon 1979–1982 Ford Granada (1975–1979) Ford LTD
  • The Granada was updated and took on the LTD name for 1983.
  • 1982 Granada was the first American Ford to wear the revived "Blue Oval" badge.
Ford LTD 1984 Ford LTD 4-door 1982–1986 Ford Granada Ford Taurus LTD was an updated version of the 1980-1982 Ford Granada
Mercury Cougar
1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon.jpg 1979–1982 Mercury Monarch Mercury Marquis Cougar sedan / wagon models discontinued after 1982 model year.
Mercury Marquis 1983 Mercury Marquis 1982–1986 Mercury Cougar Mercury Sable
Lincoln Continental
(sixth generation)
1984-1987 Lincoln Continental -- 09-03-2010.jpg 1981–1987 Lincoln Versailles Lincoln Continental (D186/seventh generation)
Fox-platform vehicles (Pony Car)
Ford Mustang 1979 Ford Mustang Official Pace Car.jpg 1978–1993 Ford Mustang Ford Mustang (SN-95)
Ford Mustang (SN-95) 1999-04 Ford Mustang coupe.jpg 1994–2004 Ford Mustang Ford Mustang (D2C)
Mercury Capri MercuryCapriRS.jpg 1978–1986 Mercury Capri II (1976–1978)
Fox-platform vehicles (Personal Luxury Car)
Ford Thunderbird
(eighth and ninth generations)
Ford Thunderbird 1983-1987 Aero Bird-1.jpg 1979–1988 Ford Thunderbird (seventh generation) Ford Thunderbird (tenth generation/MN-12) Produced in two generations (1980-1982 "Box Birds" and 1983-1988 "Aero Birds")
Mercury Cougar
(fifth and sixth generation)
5th Mercury Cougar.jpg 1979–1988 Mercury Cougar coupe (fourth generation) Mercury Cougar (seventh generation/MN12) Same as Thunderbirds
Lincoln Continental Mark VII Lincoln-Continental-Mark-VII.jpg 1983–1992 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Lincoln Mark VIII The Mark VII was the first American-market car sold with composite headlamps and anti-lock brakes.

External links[edit]