Supercharged 351 Ford Mustang Foxbody notch on Forgiato wheels
Ron Baugh & I coincidentally went to the same high school – same graduating class in fact. Even back then, Ron had a 5.0 Mustang. So yeah… you could say he’s always been a Ford guy. Me? I was from the import/tuner side of the spectrum. But looking back over the timeline of the last 20-years of car culture, I think it’s pretty energizing that so many ‘import guys’ have started opening their minds to domestic chassis – like the new S550 Mustang for example. Likewise, guys like Ron (aka: people who’ve never been too influenced by the Japanese car culture)… are starting to appreciate & embrace the overseas styles… and starting to pull from some of that styling in their domestic builds. It really shines some new light on these old chassis. Maybe you even start to pick up on a beauty & attraction that you’ve been overlooking.
In Ron’s words…
I work at Forgiato wheels, which serves a high-end clientele. Years passed since high school & college… and I had built a lot of cool, newer cars. But I missed the old-school purity of my fox Mustang. Cut the BS and/or stigma, and the foxbody has some pretty clean lines, iconic legacy, and great aftermarket ingredients. So the plan – was to get anther fox body, and build an unsuspecting canyon carver/track toy… something that would surprise all the purist Porsche/Corvette/BMW guys.
I had already purchased the built 351 motor-swap from a good friend, so I just needed to find the right car.
After almost a year-long search, I found a 50k-mile white notch in Oklahoma. The car was super-clean with a supercharged 306, 5-lug conversion, and springs/shocks.
I drove it for a couple months, acquiring all the parts for the 351-swap. Everything was more-or-less on plan & schedule… and then my girlfriend surprised me with a trip to The 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon!!
This was a game-changer!!
Everything was going to plan… and then my girlfriend surprised me with a trip to The 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon!! This was a game-changer!!
As mentioned, I’m the sales manager at Forgiato Wheels… and I’ve worked in the automotive aftermarket, designing & selling wheels since 2001. I’d been to the SEMA Show more than a dozen times already. I had been around the glitz & glam. But I’d never seen this!!
The quality of cars, the displays, and the INSANE attention to detail at TAS blew SEMA out of the water. I had never really had much JDM-styling influence in my life. But there, in Japan, at TAS ground-zero, it was hitting ALL my senses… and coming down on me like a tidal wave! I loved it!
The cars that stood out to me the most – were the early 70s Nissan Skyline GT-Rs (Hakosukas) and Celicas built in the Kaido Racer style. I surprisingly picked up on A LOT of crossover-style to 70s American muscle – but with awesome proportions, perfect stance, and cool/purposeful features like bolt-on fender flares, fender mirrors, decklid spoilers and external oil-coolers.
It hit me during TAS, that I wanted to go back & apply that raw, functional aesthetic to my fox.
I started the motor swap in my carport in Summer of 2014 – working nights and weekends. The 5.8-swap got blessed with a gnarly Vortech supercharger!! And all the while, I was researching classic JDM styles, deciding how I was going to blend the East & West.
Somewhere along the line, I named her Project Kitsuné – as kitsuné is ‘fox’ in Japanese.
Once I secured the support of amazing sponsors like Baer Brakes, QA1, Cobra Seats and Toyo Tires, I kicked the build into overdrive. Again – in my totally exposed California carport. I bought some universal JDM-style fender flares, and cut/massaged them to fit so I could mock up the wheels/tires. Then I cut/welded/sealed the fenders so I could actually install the wheels & tires – and set ride height with the QA1 coilovers.
The wheels are Forgiato Formula Vintage series – wheels that I personally got to design!! The Formula Vintage series utilizes 7000-series forged aluminum, which has much higher structural rigidity than the 6061 alloy most forged wheels utilize. This allows a much thinner/lighter forging – with greater strength! They’re sized at 19×10.5 front & 19×12 rear, and weigh between 20 and 22lbs each. The car has a different style wheel on each side, because I couldn’t make up my mind. And I didn’t have to! The FV1 wheel is inspired by the Ronal/AR wheel featured on Saleen Mustangs of the 90’s. While the FV3 is derived from Halibrand style wheels of the 60’s.
From there – Hakosuka fender mirrors from Japan, & a Mishimoto external oil-cooler added the classic JDM design elements I was looking for on my fox. Perhaps the most polarizing feature is the hood art. It’s part of a mural by my favorite artist, Takashi Murakami, who happens to be Japanese. It’s a print made by Spin Imaging in Long Beach, CA… from a 4K photo I took of the original piece at the Broad Museum in LA.
Text by Wooley & Ron Baugh Photos by Leonard Mayorquin – CNCpics
351W (5.8L) swap
AFR 185 heads
Trick Flow R intake
Ford Performance F303 cam
Vortech supercharger w/Anderson power pipe & Vortech race bypass
Mishimoto aluminum radiator & external oil cooler
Custom trimmed/shaped JDM-style over fenders: +2in front & rear
Forgiato Formula Vintage 3pc wheels: 19×10.5f, 19x12r
Toyo Proxes R888, 295/30f, 325/30r
Baer Racing Pro+ 14″ 6-piston brakes f&r
QA1 ProCoil 18-way adjustable coilovers
Maximum Motorsports front k-member, torque arm, & panhard bar
Boss Inc Cobra R hood: wrapped with Murakami print
Reproduction Hakosuka fender mirrors and rear spoiler
Cobra Daytona sports seats
Sparco 777 suede steering wheel w/NRG quick release
Custom interior with suede panels, rear seat delete
Ring Brothers billet shifter/handle & anodized billet switches/handles/hardware
Custom sound system by Pacific Stereo w/ ipad integration
Alpine amps w/ JL Audio components and 10″ subs
Kdezines upholstered rear seat delete
Scott Rod aluminum trunk panels and underhood panels