If you think Mustang restoration is strictly restricted to the '65-'73 models, Kevin Schnyer may change your way of thinking. And if you're of the opinion that restorations are just for "old guys," the 27-year-old from Hanover, Massachusetts, will give you something else to consider as well.
Kevin obviously enjoys mechanical things. At 18, he started working as a line mechanic at a Lincoln- Mercury dealership while also moonlighting at Mustang performance shop MPE Racing and building 8.8-inch rearends for Factory Five. Today, he earns his living as a compressor technician, but on the side he continues to work on cars, mostly his own Fords, in his 40x60-foot professional repair facility at his home.
"I have loved cars since I was a kid," Kevin told us. "It all started with my dad's collection of Model As, but I like all Fords."
That's obvious by his collection--'94 Lightning pickup, '03 Mercury Marauder, and a fistful of Lincoln Mk VIIs, including a '90 LSC Special Edition currently undergoing restoration in his shop. Oddly enough, he has owned only two Mustangs--and he traded the first one to get the second one, a '90 LX 5.0L that his pal Andy had already stripped in preparation for a drag car build.
"I couldn't let that happen," Kevin said.
So Kevin traded his stripped '93 four-cylinder notchback project car for the stripped LX hatchback, even though "horrible" is the word Kevin uses to describe the condition. "It almost should not have been restored," Kevin continues. "The radiator support had been hit, there was no engine, and it had the worst cheap paint job I have ever seen. Everything needed to be taken apart, organized, and restored."
Although there wasn't anything special about the LX--other than it was an original black interior and 5.0L car--Kevin recognized the potential. So he rolled the hulk into his shop and began a year-long restoration with friends Ryan Bosworth and Lenny Cipullo. However, unlike earlier Mustangs that tend to be restored to concours specs, Kevin wanted to keep the now-classic Fox-body look--down to details like the wiper motor cover and rubber cover on the front of the intake--but add a few modifications for a more traditional Fox look and performance. After all, these cars were typically modified by day two when new.
Kevin admits that he initially planned a budget build, but after seeing the bodywork and impressive Viper Red paint by Paul Staffiers Collision, he decided to turn it up a notch, adding Eibach springs for a lowered stance over chrome SVT Cobra wheels with Kumho tires (P255/35R17 front and P285/55R17 rear), Cobra brakes, and a Cervini's cowl-induction hood with a modest 2-inch rise.
Other than a hotter Ford Racing B303 roller cam and Bassani headers, the 5.0L engine remains mostly stock, followed by a T-5 five-speed and an 8.8-inch rear with 3.55 gears. The interior is also mostly original other than TMI Product's Fox Sport R seats, the first pair sold. Which explains why we found Kevin's LX on display in the TMI tent at the Ford Nationals in Carlisle.
We keep hearing talk about the '79-'93 Fox-bodies becoming the next restoration trend for Mustangs. When that happens, we suspect most will follow Kevin's lead with a stock-appearing body and tasteful performance modifications--just as it happened when the cars were new.