Old time member looking for help: 1970 vs 1995

Which will handle better?

  • 1995 with upgrades

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • 1970 with upgrades

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Both about the same after full upgrades.

    Votes: 2 33.3%

  • Total voters
    6

lamrith

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Jun 7, 2000
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I have been out of the Mustang scene since about '04, and now gettign back into it so figured I would visit the old stomping grounds in my search.

I am hoping some of you mustang guru's can offer some guidance. I am at a point where I am ready to start working on a project car. I recently drove a Miata and it reminded me how fun it can be rowing thru gears and throwing a car around corners. But who wants to drive a quiet and tiny miata!?

I want to make a street/touring monster and I want it to be a mustang. I want something that will carve decent without feeling like it will roll over and have torque/power to jump when I flick the throttle. Engine stuff is easy enough and I already have a plan that will work with both options below, but handling is an unknown to me.

I have a 1995 GT Vert already which was what I originally planned to do this project on. However I just had a 1970 Coupe pop up locally for a really good price and I have always wanted to do a project with a 1970 car for sentimental reasons. So now I am stuck deciding which direction to go. The 1970 will be more $, it needs paint, and the suspension upgrades cost more. I am not worried too much about the difference as the finished product will have higher market and sentimental value as well that make it worth it to me.

This brings me to my question.
"Out of the box" the 95 handles better hands down. But can the 1970 be made to handle as well as a 1995 GT can if both are upgraded? Meaning can the 70 gain such an improvement to overcome it's initial handicap and be equal to, or very close to the handling of a modified 95?

I planned to air-ride the 95, and would do the same with the 70, as well as probably replacing the entire front and likely rear suspension system on the 70 with one of the aftermarket kits (Some use Fox/SN95 style suspension parts/design) to lower it and make it handle better. I do not plan to race or track the car, but I want a good handling in the corners rig for when we do Mtn cruises or I find twisty back roads to play on. I want to make driving fun again so once it is done I am always looking for a reason to take a drive with it. I will say I do want it comfortable to drive, I am not looking full heim joint racing build, this will be a street rig so it will have rubber/uretthane bushings etc.
 
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I won’t call myself a guru, especially about suspension but I have owned a few Mustangs and have a ‘95 now. Mine has a Steeda suspension that has been in the car for about 15 years. It handles good to me and the ride is better than stock with Steeda’s sport springs and Tokico struts and shocks, even though the springs lowered it about 1 1/2”. Nothing in my car’s drivetrain is stock anymore and it makes about 600 FWHP. I built it as a fast street car that would handle well also. All of that being said, if I had not started on a project car yet, I would go with the ‘70. I know nothing about making a ‘70 handle well, but the older cars have more appeal and always will in my opinion. I think the reasons you want the ‘70 outweigh any edge in handling the ‘95 may have. Look up a shop called “Mustang Don’s Garage” in Richmond VA. He swears by Grigg’s suspensions and installs them, but they aren’t cheap. He has a ‘70, I believe, that is his own car and he takes that one to road racing events. Tell him Ronnie referred you. He is a wealth of info on the older Mustangs and does full restorations for people also. I will attach a couple of photos of my car. You will see it on his facebook page.
 

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Stang_1973

Founding Member
Jul 13, 2001
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Both ideas are great! I love it. Im parial to the old bodies, but that 95 is a great looking car too.

the old boys have sooooo much more parts today to upgrade. Ive upgraded a few things in mine and it handles fairly well. But i wish i could go full on like the guy from Auto Edits. Ill leave this here. You dont see this every day. And his other vids, youll see whats in store for the engine.
View: https://youtu.be/qSJ72eAVZFU
 
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lamrith

Founding Member
Jun 7, 2000
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Wow,
I forgot about this thread! I guess I should update!

I ended up finding a running high mile '94 5.0 coupe locally for a decent price. Car crossed 200k on the trip I took to pickup the 351W block for it. Then I found a steal on a 393 stroker kit, and then a '04 Cobra IRS... Engine is in the car, just firing up and trying to learn how to tune now as well as get hood closed on taller engine. Waiting on 351W 3/4" drop mounts and fox body TB conversion parts to arrive so I can reconfigure a bit and see how it goes.

Desktop Dyno is showing 493#[email protected] and [email protected] #ft starts over 430# right from idle, so should be a great street motor.

Debating on which Mfg to go with for suspension stuff. It is a street car and I will not race so torn on dropping thousands on top tier full suspension replacement. versus going with the basic bushing/spring/shock upgrades.
 
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Stang_1973

Founding Member
Jul 13, 2001
556
8
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San Antonio, Tx.
Wow,
I forgot about this thread! I guess I should update!

I ended up finding a running high mile '94 5.0 coupe locally for a decent price. Car crossed 200k on the trip I took to pickup the 351W block for it. Then I found a steal on a 393 stroker kit, and then a '04 Cobra IRS... Engine is in the car, just firing up and trying to learn how to tune now as well as get hood closed on taller engine. Waiting on 351W 3/4" drop mounts and fox body TB conversion parts to arrive so I can reconfigure a bit and see how it goes.

Desktop Dyno is showing 493#[email protected] and [email protected] #ft starts over 430# right from idle, so should be a great street motor.

Debating on which Mfg to go with for suspension stuff. It is a street car and I will not race so torn on dropping thousands on top tier full suspension replacement. versus going with the basic bushing/spring/shock upgrades.

i didnt even notice when the original post was from, lol. I just recently started coming back on here. Thats actually one of my next tasks, getting more power out of my 351. Looking to do TFS intake, TFS heads and a custom cam. That setuo should get me to around 400 to wheels.
 

lamrith

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Jun 7, 2000
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i didnt even notice when the original post was from, lol. I just recently started coming back on here. Thats actually one of my next tasks, getting more power out of my 351. Looking to do TFS intake, TFS heads and a custom cam. That setuo should get me to around 400 to wheels.
Man I will tell you, stroker kits have gotten quite "affordable" these days and hard to beat a 408 kit in a 351W block for sheer grunt. I was going to go 408, but the price I got the 393 kit for was beyond rediculous and it included tons of parts beyond the stroker kit. In fact I have sold most of those extra items off since I was staying Factory style EFI and got what I paid for the entire package.

What heads do you have on the 351W now? Checkout CNC motorsports, they have very affordable stroker kits, about the same $ you would spend on those heads.
 

rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
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glad to see you made a choice, and it was a good one. given the amount of upgrading the early car would have needed to get the handling up to where you want it, you would have spent a lot more money than on the 94. as for the 393 stroker kit, it would ahve been cheaper to do your own since you only needed the crank and the 302 pistons. but a complete kit is always good for the right price.
 

lamrith

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glad to see you made a choice, and it was a good one. given the amount of upgrading the early car would have needed to get the handling up to where you want it, you would have spent a lot more money than on the 94. as for the 393 stroker kit, it would have been cheaper to do your own since you only needed the crank and the 302 pistons. but a complete kit is always good for the right price.
I think so too, I have always been partial to the SN since having the 95 vert that the wife would not let me mod. I got the running '94GT for $1500, not a super crazy deal, but important part fro me was the body is all there, no dent, dings, cracks and no rust. I don't do bodywork. Bone stock, original motor with 198K miles on it I think when got it, drove it constantly until she hit 200K just for general principal.

Yeah the price was more than right on the stroker, I essentially got the kit for free from private party that had it sitting for a while. I paid $700 for the kit (crank, rods, pistons, bearing, rings, arp main&rod bolts, balancer and flexplate) which was also balanced by CNC Motorsports. Plus the kit also came with 7qt Kevko oil pan, oil pump&shaft, Pertronix flamethrower distributor, water pump, XH262H cam and lifters, XE274 cam, 110GPM mech fuel pump. I sold off the extras including camshafts for more than I had into it. :p Upgraded to XE270HR roller cam and linkbar lifters.
 

7991LXnSHO

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You made the better starting point choice. A factory upgraded Fox chassis was a big heatstart over a bloated Falcon chassis. Is it up and running?
 

lamrith

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You made the better starting point choice. A factory upgraded Fox chassis was a big heatstart over a bloated Falcon chassis. Is it up and running?
Engine has fired. I am switching up intake stuff (ditching SN elbow and going Fox TB so I can lower the upper intake) and motor mounts to get the engine to fit better under a hood. Then lots of learning how to tun EFI. Probably wait until next winter to do suspension/interior related stuff.
 

wicked93gs

10 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
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You made the better starting point choice. A factory upgraded Fox chassis was a big heatstart over a bloated Falcon chassis. Is it up and running?

The SN95s do handle well(better than the foxbodies) but I wouldn't discount the old cars once they have their suspensions upgraded. Shaun from Street or Track routinely beats Roush mustangs around the track using SoT's suspension and braking upgrades....a 1970 coupe is hardly a "bloated" chassis when the SN95 already weighs significantly more. I would even go so far as to say that a vintage mustang will likely handle every bit as well as an upgraded SN95 once upgraded to coilovers(retaining the stock-style geometry) and corresponding rear suspension upgrades(the leaf springs wont cut it). From the factory though, of course the SN95 handles miles better. The real difference is going to be how much more work is involved in getting the vintage chassis to handle....I have probably 150 hours in chassis stiffening mods alone on my 66 coupe....it paid off though, I would guess the car is now more rigid than a brand new S550 mustang....as rigid as possible without going to the extreme of a roll cage.
 

DBegley

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Jun 24, 2017
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I'd say the reason to get a 70 Mustang is not the same as a newer Mustang. A Classic Mustang is a classic Mustang. Talk to John at OpenTracker Racing about how to upgrade a classic Mustang suspension. In fact here is a link to John explaining the parts he offers for these old Mustangs.
View: https://youtu.be/zrPZHKiMmTk

I put John's front and rear suspension on my 1968 GT 350. Love it. HUGE improvement on the old, tired suspension that was on my car. I am NOT racing my car though. Street driving only.
I am a classic Mustang fan and love my 1968 Fastback. Almost everytime I drive it I end up in a conversation with someone wanting to look and talk about my car. You don't see many classic Mustangs on the street anymore, especially a Cherry Red Shelby Mustang. I've had guys follow me into a gas station just to see my car.
I'd say you can upgrade the suspension on a classic Mustang and have a car that will handle just as well as a newer Mustang. Well maybe not a good as the latest Mustangs but I bet you can match any of the earlier Mustangs. I own a 2017 Mustang GT with Performance Package. That is one awesome handling car with a very impressive Coyote engine.
 

7991LXnSHO

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I could have picked a kinder adjective than “bloated”, but it was much nicer than what Iacocca had to say about the 67-8’s increase in size. And the 1970 grew even more from the pony car built from a Falcon chassis into a muscle car. The first time I rode in a 71-73 Mach One, I remember feeling like it was hard to see out of and was a huge car compared to the 65, and 68 and 79 Mustangs I was used to. It also had the biggest engine!

If you are old enough to have stayed awake during actual lectures and films in school, take a listen. You will hear the full context of Ford making small, sporty cars and “blowing it up”.

The SN95s do handle well(better than the foxbodies) but I wouldn't discount the old cars once they have their suspensions upgraded. Shaun from Street or Track routinely beats Roush mustangs around the track using SoT's suspension and braking upgrades....a 1970 coupe is hardly a "bloated" chassis when the SN95 already weighs significantly more. I would even go so far as to say that a vintage mustang will likely handle every bit as well as an upgraded SN95 once upgraded to coilovers(retaining the stock-style geometry) and corresponding rear suspension upgrades(the leaf springs wont cut it). From the factory though, of course the SN95 handles miles better. The real difference is going to be how much more work is involved in getting the vintage chassis to handle....I have probably 150 hours in chassis stiffening mods alone on my 66 coupe....it paid off though, I would guess the car is now more rigid than a brand new S550 mustang....as rigid as possible without going to the extreme of a roll cage.
 
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wicked93gs

10 Year Member
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I could have picked a kinder adjective than “bloated”, but it was much nicer than what Iacocca had to say about the 67-8’s increase in size. And the 1970 grew even more from the pony car built from a Falcon chassis into a muscle car. The first time I rode in a 71-73 Mach One, I remember feeling like it was hard to see out of and was a huge car compared to the 65, and 68 and 79 Mustangs I was used to. It also had the biggest engine!

If you are old enough to have stayed awake during actual lectures and films in school, take a listen. You will hear the full context of Ford making small, sporty cars and “blowing it up”.

Yes, a 67-68 was an increase of 2" in track width and several hundred lbs over 65-66...but even so a 67-68 is still lighter, narrower, and shorter than a 79-93 of equivalent body style(yes, I suppose you can claim a 79 coupe weighs 2511lbs....if equipped with a 2.3L and t5, and stripped down to no options...just like you can claim the same for a 66 coupe with a I6 and a 3 speed, but the reality when people go to weigh the cars is something else, because no one ever bothers to weigh a stripped down base model...if they are concerned about weight they have at least a v8)

You are absolutely correct about the 69-73s though, they just added on the weight, just like they did in the 90s with the SN95s and later generations. We can only be happy that the foxbody lasted so long....the MII was actually supposed to be a hard reset...but performance took such a hit in the mid 70s it never accomplished the intent(and the truck bumpers required by law certainly didn't help) the poor MII never had a chance with poor performance and aesthetics that were less than ideal.


I always did like extreme MII modifications like this one though....shows the potential the design could have had if executed correctly.
 

7991LXnSHO

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The OP was asking which is a better starting point, not which car we like best. If I could have a second Mustang, it probably would best 68 or a new one, but that’s not the issue.

Bigger is not the same as heavier or stronger. The fox and SN-95 cars had to meet impact standards the cute little Falcons never even heard of. They also handle better to begin with. Because of that increased unibody strength, the suspension mods are going to bolt onto a more solid chassis with each generation newer the Mustang. If the early one grew in size, but not in weight, the OP has more work to do to stiffen up the car. It is a matter of time money and if it is worth it compared to a more affordable and better handling starting point.
Enjoy your boat as it is or resto mod it,. Drive it, race it, or show it. Just do not wrap it around a stationary object.
 

7991LXnSHO

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@lamrith just a thought - How comfortable is the Miata for you? If you fit, please Google “Monster Miata”. I know people who race them with the stock engines, but a Mustang or LS drivetrain would be much like a modern Shelby Cobra.
 

lamrith

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Don't fit in miata well at all. Way ahead of you on that one, it was 1st thing I thought about. I built a 5.0L MGB back about 20yrs ago, very similar size/weight, though miata run circles around a MG.
 

wicked93gs

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Don't fit in miata well at all. Way ahead of you on that one, it was 1st thing I thought about. I built a 5.0L MGB back about 20yrs ago, very similar size/weight, though miata run circles around a MG.

You might be surprised. I am 6'3" and 230lbs. The first time I sat in a Miata I felt claustrophobic...but then I tried again and bought a 1991. After a couple days it was just fine. There are also certain modifications you can do to gain leg and headroom that are fairly simple, such as re-welding the gas pedal after shortening it a touch...and remove some foam from the bottom of the seat cushion....those 2 mods together give you a LOT more room...add in a slightly smaller steering wheel and it feels as roomy as a corvette.