Ford Fox platform

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Ford Fox platform
88Mustang 9917.JPG
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1979–1993 model years
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Personal luxury car
Pony car
Layout FR
Body style(s) two-door convertible
two-door coupe
three-door hatchback
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 that was used by Ford Motor Company in North America for various compact and mid-size automobiles from 1978 to 1993; a substantial redesign of the Ford Mustang in 1994 extended its life another eleven years. With the exception of the Panther platform, the Fox platform is the longest-produced vehicle architecture by Ford Motor Company.

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. Through its production, the Fox platform would spawn a total of thirteen distinct Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln models across various model segments 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 American automobile manufacturers adopted front-wheel drive in compact and mid-size vehicles during the 1980s, the use of the Fox platform shifted away from family sedans and towards coupes.

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 four-cylinder (naturally aspirated and turbocharged), inline-6, V-6, and V-8 engines.[1] During the 1980s, the Fox platform was adapted for the use of diesel engines.[2]

1983 model year changes[edit]

For the 1983 model year, the Fox platform was a central part of a major shift of the Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln product ranges. While the 1980-1982 Ford Granada, Ford Thunderbird, and Mercury Cougar had all seen a sales collapse in the marketplace, fuel prices had stabilized to the point where Ford chose to postpone its planned discontinuation of its full-size vehicles. To rectify the situation, Ford updated its Fox-platform vehicles.

In an act of downsizing, the base model of the full-size model range became a mid-size car while the upper-trim car became the sole full-size car. The Granada and Cougar sedans and wagons were restyled to become the LTD and Marquis. This resulted in the Granada nameplate being discontinued. Returning exclusively to the personal-luxury segment, the Thunderbird and Cougar coupes were redesigned for 1983, becoming the first aerodynamic-bodied Fords; while not as sporty as the Mustang, the Thunderbird and Cougar placed a far greater emphasis on handling than their predecessors. At Lincoln, the Fox platform became the home for two models; for 1982, the division split the Continental nameplate away from the Town Car with a four-door sedan (while not a direct replacement for the Versailles, it again competed with the Cadillac Seville). For 1984, the Continental Mark VII was introduced; while not a coupe version of the Continental sedan, the two cars shared a common wheelbase. Along with a number of other advanced features for its time, the Mark VII was notable for being the first car sold in North America with composite headlights since before World War II.

As the 1980s, Ford Motor Company was part of a growing trend among automobile manufacturers with the adoption of front-wheel drive in compact and mid-size models. For 1984, the introductory Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr were discontinued at the end of the 1983 model year, replaced by the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz. After the 1986 model year, the Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis were discontinued following the introduction of the 1986 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable; the Fox-based Lincoln Continental was replaced by a front-wheel drive version based on the Ford Taurus for 1988. 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, which was discontinued in 1992.


The Fox platform architecture was substantially upgraded for the 1994 model year redesign of the Ford Mustang under the body family program code name Fox-4; it later came to be known as the SN-95 platform. This version was wider and about 60% of the parts were redesigned. With the 2004 Mustang SVT Cobra as its ultimate development, production of the Fox/SN95 platform ended at the end of the model year after 26 years of production.[3]

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

1978–1983 Ford Maverick Ford Tempo
Mercury Zephyr

Mercury Zephyr Z7.jpg

1978–1983 Mercury Comet Mercury Topaz
Ford Durango Ford Durango Side.jpg 1981–1982 Ford Ranchero
  • The Durango was a limited-production factory-commissioned conversion of the Ford Fairmont Futura two-door by National Coach Corporation.
  • Approximately 200 were produced.
Fox-platform vehicles (mid-size)
Ford Granada 1982 Ford Granada wagon 1981–1982 Ford Granada (1975-80) Ford LTD
  • The Granada was updated and took on the LTD name for 1983.
  • The 1982 Granada was the first American Ford to wear the revived "blue oval" badge.
Ford LTD 1984 Ford LTD four-door 1983–1986 Ford Granada Ford Taurus The LTD was an updated version of the 1981–1982 Ford Granada.
Mercury Cougar
1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon.jpg 1981-1982 Mercury Monarch Mercury Marquis Cougar sedan and wagon models were discontinued after the 1982 model year.
Mercury Marquis 1983 Mercury Marquis 1983[4][5]–1986 Mercury Cougar Mercury Sable
Lincoln Continental
(sixth generation)
1984-1987 Lincoln Continental -- 09-03-2010.jpg 1982–1987 Lincoln Versailles Lincoln Continental (D186/seventh generation)
Fox-platform vehicles (Pony car)
Ford Mustang 1979 Ford Mustang Official Pace Car.jpg 1979–1993 Ford Mustang II Ford Mustang (SN-95)
Ford Mustang (SN-95) 1999-04 Ford Mustang coupe.jpg 1994–2004 Ford Mustang Ford Mustang (S197)
Mercury Capri MercuryCapriRS.jpg 1979–1986 Mercury Capri II
Fox-platform vehicles (personal luxury car)
Ford Thunderbird
(eighth and ninth generations)
Ford Thunderbird 1983-1987 Aero Bird-1.jpg 1980–1988 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 1980[6]–1988 Mercury Cougar (fifth generation) Mercury Cougar (seventh generation / MN-12) Same as Thunderbirds
Lincoln Continental Mark VII Lincoln-Continental-Mark-VII.jpg 1984–1992 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Lincoln Mark VIII The Mark VII was the first American-market car sold with composite headlamps and anti-lock brakes.


  1. ^ Lamas, Jonathan. "Third Generation Mustang (1979-1993)". Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Sass, Rob (2013-02-01). "Few Thrills With a Diesel Continental". New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Lamas, Jonathan. "Fourth Generation Mustang (1994-2004)". Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Mercury Cougar
  5. ^ Mercury Cougar
  6. ^ Mercury Cougar