Prime's 87 T-top Gt

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by Prime Lord, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. I've recently started gettting this thing back on the ground. And I realized I never made a build thread on the one forum that i've been a member of for 15 years.

    So here we go. Gather the kiddies and sit it a circle. It's story time.

    When I was 18 (1999), fresh out of high school, I needed a car. A buddy of mine had a '92 4-cyl LX 5-speed. So he let me drive it. And promptly, I told him, "I wan't this....with 3 times the power." And thus my obsession with the Fox Body was born. First was an '89 GT. Picked it up for about $3k. Oxford white w/ Grey interior. 5-speed, of course. A beautiful car. Something else was born that day. The mod bug.

    Here it was in its heyday. Brand new cammed 306 crate motor, CAI, braces, LX tail lights, & Pony wheels. I did a lot of the work myself. This car is really what I cut my teeth on for wiring, mechanical issues, motors, transmissions. Sure there were a few things I couldn't do because of a lack of tools. BUT. This was the first car that I REALLY got into. Had well over 10k in that car. Had it for only 2 years.


    And here it is the last day I drove it.



    Guy cut in front of me on a 45mph road. Had no choice but to hit him. His fault, he got a ticket, and a broken arm. I learned the value of seat belts. I still have that smashed up PRIMEZ license plate on my wall in the garage.

    But I couldn't stop there. I had to find a better specimen. Something that could be had for cheap, and made great.

    And that's when I found it in March 2001.



    The never ending mustang project to end all mustang projects. For me at least. I had plans. Big ones. And with the car only costing me $2k. I figured what the hell. It looked like garbage, it had almost 200,000 miles on it, it leaked from every orifice possible, the headliner was falling down, and it needed a new clutch just to move. I didn't care. IT HAS T-TOPS! They only made the T-Top cars in this body style for a year and a half! This was the king of Fox Body Mustangs in my eyes. I had to have it.

    Let the mods begin!

    You can tell from the earlier pictures that IMMEDIATELY the LX tail lights and Pony wheels came over from the wrecked '89. What you can't see is that the computer, MAF system, & main harness also came over. Also carried over were the strut tower brace & K-Member brace from the '89. Impressively, both of these pieces escaped the wreck unscathed and actually, in my belief, these braces minimized the damage as much as possible to the front end. Keeping the motor in good shape, not collapsing the entire front end on to my legs, etc.

    From there I went a different route with this car. I didn't even touch the engine. I just put an aftermarket shifter in it, and went on attacking the suspension. Springs, control arms, braces, you name it. All MM parts.

    I did experiment a little...on random things


    Once I purchased a Heep for a daily driver in late 2003, I thought it was time to really get into this car.

    I pulled the engine and EVERYTHING out of the engine bay in 2004.




    While I was at it, I did a junk yard swap to 5-Lugs on the wheels. Fortunately, the Heep got new meats, so I had wheels to put on the car to roll it around the yard. It sat in this condition for WELL over a year.



    Later (in 2005) I ditched the junk yard drums in the rear and converted to GT disc's. Also found some '99 Cobra wheels on eBay.


    About the same time, I finally started on the body work. Full color conversion (Chrysler Patriot Blue....yes....I know its a Chrysler color. But it looks awsome)

    There was a shop around the corner form my house, so some buddies and I pushed the car like 4 blocks to get it there. It started with the engine bay. I wanted that done so that I could start putting the engine back in it and get it functional again.


    I covered the entire inside of the vehicle with Dynamat.


    Again, it sat like that for a WHILE. I kinda slacked off on the whole project. Unfortunately, and I'm really kicking myself now, there are no real pictures of the middle part of the story.

    I thought about selling it a few times...

    It was now 2008....

    I had been riding a motorcycle for my ONLY mode of transportation for over 2 years. And while it was fun to ride, going to the grocery store sucked. Going out of town sucked. Being in the rain sucked. I found my resolve. I got a motor from a donor car just to get it running. Turns out, it was a cammed 306. Just like I used to have. And it ran GREAT! (despite the rear man seal leak)

    After about $6k in body work, paint, and parts.....and another few months....





    Even for me, and my wallet, it was hard to believe that it was the same car. But it was. While the body work was being done I had the door lock on the hatch and the factory antenna shaved. I figure if the trunk release ever fails, I can always climb through the back seats to pop it and replace the actuator. And I never listen to terrestrial radio. So why did I need an arial?? New carpets, dynamat, brand new T5z transmission. Everything was awesome. This was also the point when I started swapping in LED bulbs into the car. Started with the turn signals, and worked my way around. Today, the exterior is ALL LED. Plus the dome lights. Dash is next.

    Then, tragedy. In 2009, we got a TERRIBLE nor'easter. The entire area where my wife and I lived flooded. Her car was a TOTAL loss. I managed to get the Stang out of the flooded parking lot before the salt water reached the computer. It got into the interior, into the exhaust, into the wheel bearings, the axle, the transmission, but the car still drove. I managed to drive it out to a buddies house 25 minutes away. It lived in his garage for several months. Insurance finally coughed up over $2k for repairs. They didn't total it!

    So, I went to town. Changed out the interior for 2003 GT Leather, replaced the carpet (again), some of the wiring, got it back up and going. AGAIN.



    Shortly after, I bought an Xterra as a DD. And then the Mustang was officially relegated to project car.

    I tinkered here and there. Upgrading the GT discs in the back to Cobra discs. Also swapped the wheels for 2012 GT500 wheels. 2012 marked 25 years for the car making it possible to put antique plates on it. $50 one time registration, no other registration costs EVER, plus no more state inspection.




    The last few months I've been swapping in an IRS unit from an '04 Cobra. Good bye live axle, hello modern cornering & 3.55 gears!


    The other thing I've done is completely ripped out the interior.............again........for the 3rd time

    Here's how she sits this very moment.



    Basically, the salt water corrosion is still wreaking havoc on my electrical system. So I've replaced the ENTIRE body harness from the drivers side kick panel back to the tail lights.

    At the same time I'll also be wiring for a 5-channel amp to run off of the Pioneer Premiere head unit and push the Infinity Component speakers that exist in all 4 corners. Once all the wiring is done, and the axle installed, its off to get a new catback installed (Thinking Borla) and have the carpet professionally fitted. Because the last time when I did

    I want this to be the LAST time I pull the interior from this car. When it goes back together this time, thats it. It's done.

    The FMS AL Driveshaft came in today, and I swapped on the correct flange for the IRS rear. Springs should be here by weeks end. I'm ready to put this thing on the ground.
    That's all for now. I'll be back w/ some updates as the remaining parts come in for the axle swap.

    Attached Files:

    #1 Prime Lord, Apr 14, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
    90sickfox, smkshw, 89oem and 2 others like this.
  2. This is awesome man. Really like a t top car. And that color is awesome. Keep it up
    A5literMan likes this.
  3. That is what my 87 T-Top car looked like when I first got it back in 1992. Brings back some memories. Keep up the good work. T-Tops rock.
  4. T Top cars for the Win!!! Nice project! Keep up the good work and keep us posted with plenty of pictures!!!
  5. Super sweet T-top 5.0! Glad it got saved from the flood. I think the "mod-bug" needs to be taken out to the wood shed and get the Old Yeller treatment. I know it's a labor of love but sometimes it means your car is on jack stands or taken apart 90% of it's life and is only enjoyed 10% of the time.

    Hope you get it the way you want it and get that thing on the road and show it off. Are you going to do coilovers up front to compliment the IRS out back?

    p.s. you're making me miss my 87 T-top and it's not even gone yet :(
  6. The car has really come a long way. How did my brackets work out for you?
  7. Always wanted a T Top. Best of both worlds- hardtop and open up the top on sunny days. It never ends does it.
  8. Wow man, what a story!! Love the T-top car. Nice work, way to stay at it and not get discouraged.
  9. Thanks for the compliments guys. Glad I'm not the only one that can appreciate it. heh.

    Dude, the brackets were awesome. Thanks so much for putting that together for me. Life made easier. I haven't had the holes in the spare tire tub patched yet. But I think Imma get the exhaust shop to do it when they fit the catback.

    I've got brand new H&R Race Springs that just came in today. So I'm staying w/ conventional springs for the time being. I want to do coilovers, but it's just not in the wallet right now.

    You've got a point....there does become a point where it just needs to stop. And honestly, even once all of this gets done, I've still got more ideas in my head. But like I said, after this, the interior will be finished. Done. Never coming apart again. heh.
  10. Nice job prime and good job not getting discouraged
  11. now thats a story....good work...
  12. I started getting the brake lines sorted this past weekend. It took me forever to figure out how the factory Cobra lines were routed and attached. Now that I have it, it's time to drill some holes and bend some brake line. Hope to have those done and mounted this week. Then I can start to fit the axle underneath the car.

    I have all the parts now. I just need the time. 20140419_171603.jpg
    A5literMan and elarm1 like this.
  13. It's half way in. Got the front side bolted in. Got a slight problem. The fuel lines are in the way on the passenger side. I may have to drop it again and rearrange things. I'm hoping that I can get it sorted by leaving the front side bolted in and angling the whole thing down.


    And yeah, I realized that I had the springs upside down the first time.
    #13 Prime Lord, Apr 30, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  14. Lookin good bro!
    Prime Lord likes this.
  15. Done and done. I think I have some tire fitment issues. Not sure yet how I'm going to address it, but the hard part is finished.

    20140510_202226.jpg 20140510_202307.jpg 20140510_202329.jpg 20140510_013015.jpg
    hsean likes this.
  16. CUDO for the T-TOP, life not complete without own a T-Top fox ^^
  17. Well crap. Dropped the front to install the H&R springs. Balljoints are trashed. Time for some more work!
    tamadrummer88 likes this.
  18. So. Update. Front is reassembled. New ball joints, new springs, new rotors, & new tie rod ends. New struts will be here this week. Then it's time to bleed the brakes and go for a drive.
    #18 Prime Lord, Apr 30, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
    A5literMan and 02 281 GT like this.
  19. Car is awesome bro
  20. VERY NICE!!! Did it take a year to get this done?