Car Feature>>the Drift 5.0

Love it or hate it, the Ford Mustang is an automotive icon and the original pony car has been a favorite among enthusiasts ever since its introduction in the mid ’60s. After its Carroll Shelby and Steve McQueen “glory days”, the Mustang was reduced to a shadow of its former self with the Mustang II of the ’70s. By the mid ’80s the Mustang had regained some of what made the original cars great with the introduction of the famous Fox body 5.0. The 5.0 ‘Stangs became the car to have in the ’80s, and the potential of the EFI 5.0 engines made them one of the most popular “tuner”  cars ever. The original 5.0 Mustangs are now over 20 years old, but they continue to be one of the best “bang for the buck” vehicles on the used car market in the USA. The 5.0 has already been established as a great platform for drag racing and even road racing, but what about drifting?

All you have to do is look at the success of Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his Falken Mustang as an example of what can be with a Mustang on the pro level. But what about on the grassroots level? Can the older Mustangs be built into a drift cars that can rival the more popular choices like the Nissan S-chassis? The Mustang has a lot in its favor with a vast number of affordable aftermarket parts, an abundance of junkyard parts, and fair amount of power from the factory. In many ways, the 5.0 is the American version of what the S13 is in Japan. Geoff Chandler of had these questions in mind when he bought a stock 1990 Ford Mustang GT and went to work on transforming the car into a grassroots drift machine with the help of his good friend and driver David Padron.

I owned a couple 5.0 Mustangs during my younger days and I think they are great cars, but even the factory power easily overwhelms stock chassis, suspension and brakes. Geoff says that while a lot of car builders might simply throw tons of power and a crazy E-brake at the car, he paid attention to Japanese-built drift cars focused his efforts on improving the chassis and bringing balance to the car before adding any more power. Of course the privateer budget also kept them from adding anything crazy like a 600 horsepower race engine or one-off carbon fiber body panels.

As was just stated, most of the efforts have gone into improving the chassis and suspension. In fact, the trusty 5.0 small block with 170,000 original miles remains stock with the exception of a custom side-exit system. The list of chassis and suspension mods is long and includes a number of parts from Mustang suspension specialists at Maximum Motorsports. MM parts on the car include a full coilover setup (with Eibach springs), panhard bar, SN95 Mustang control arms, and strut tower and K-member braces. Other modifications include Battle Version rear lower control arms, Race Craft drop spindles, a rear end from a ’94 Mustang GT with disc brakes and an ARB air-locking rear diff.

One of the biggest hurdles for Geoff and David has been to overcome the less-than ideal steering angle of the Fox Mustang. After all, steering angle is one of the most important parts of a drift car. So far they have used wider wheels and spacers and modification of the front control arms to get some more steering angle. Like a lot of the other work done on the car, it has been a learning experience for them. There isn’t quite the same knowledge bank for setting up drift Mustangs as there is for S13’s or AE86’s.

Most of the car’s interior has been removed and the stock driver’s seat has been replaced with a Sparco Pro2000 bucket seat. The roll cage is a custom six-point unit from Alex Pfeifer at Battle Version. To help trim some weight from the Mustang’s chassis, the air conditioning, stereo system, and other unnecessary items were removed from the car. Despite this, Geoff uses this Mustang as his daily driver and the car passes California’s tough smog checks with no problem. It’s also driven to all drift events. So far it has proven to be quite reliable.

The car can bee seen drifting at a number of SoCal events including Just Drift! and the All Star Bash gatherings at Willow Springs and the Drift Day events at El Toro. Here we see a bit of dirt drop action at WSIR via the photography of Alison Merion.

And lastly, a little bit of tandem action from the most recent All Star Bash event at Willow Springs. One of the coolest things about the Drift 5.0 project is that Geoff and David have a website that his completely documented their progress in building and drifting the car with TONS of photos and video. A big goal of the site was to show the potential of the Mustang as a drift car and Geoff says that the website project has been just as fun and as important as the car itself. Make sure you check it out at

Thanks to Geoff for letting us feature the car.

(Photos from Alison Merion and DriftLive)

-Mike Garrett



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Thanks for the write-up Mike. The car is really staring to come together, it even has it's fender extensions back. :)

The last pic was actually from Top Drift Battle, but here is a pic from ASB, with a different red Nissan following.


This is Speedhunters quality? LOL


1. I give a lot of prop's to Geoff and David for using a chassis that is hardly ever used for drifting.

Despite the fact that I never liked any Mustang, I'm glad I see someone doing something different for once :)

2. I like the thinking-outside-the-box philosophy.

3. I like the fact that they drive the car to the track, and drive back home.

Finally someone that is not afraid of dings, scratches and what not.

I'm sick and tired of seeing over and over AE86 in pristine condition and hardly ever tracked because their owner are afraid of fender bender and what not. Not to mention about the AE86 craze (and the S13-S14) too much hype, everyone is coping everyone......very sad.

So, seeing someone doing something different, it's refreshing....:)


Chrome don't getcha home fool!


Even though people won't admit it in public Geoff and David, they all secretly love the car and are just too ashamed to admit it in public. Props guys for getting the story put together and run on Speedhunters.


Thanks Joey.

I know the car ain't much to look at, but that patina was earned. After smacking a few hay-bales most cars are a bit worse for the wear.

Just consider it a rat rod that's 60 years too new.


this is great, i've always wanted to see someone drift these. Considering that i see alot of these on the east coast, although they are used as dime-a-dozen drag racers. A drifting project would be awsome, and its about time someone started drifting these domestics. Good luck with this!


Geoff, hats off to you.

This car is an awesome idea that seems to be coming together in an even better way.

I have had several mustangs (not the newer generation ones either) and have always wondered what it would take to get one of them sideways on the track. Looks like you're getting it on lock.

And as for the jerks that may not think this article is "Speedhunters" worthy, this blog, to my understanding, is a representation of the automotive CULTURE, and everything having to do with it on all levels of the spectrum, from the multi-sponsored pros, to the homemade drifters. What has been found here is pure gold, and is a pleasure for myself and many others to read. Thank you guys at speedhunters, and keep it up!



^^ What Harrison said.


'Bout time somebody did something different.

As much as i love silvias and skylines, its nice to see somebody using their head and their own intuition to create something unique.

BTW: The fourth picture down is awesome....on the rack son!


Ahh it's great to see this post! I'm looking at getting a Fox body and it's cool that they're getting more popular in the drifting scene!


I think a fox coupe stang would be sweet. This car is basically very similar to the 86, its a little bigger, but it has the same boxy look with a live axle rear end. Gotta love the stock v8. I had a '94gt and even though it burned oil, it passed smog no problem. I think you might start seeing more drifters pick this car as a base, the aftermarket is huge. Way to go!


The only time these cars don't leak oil is when the don't have any left.



I like it. I'd want to see a Capri instead, better body style. ;)


That car eats babies.


I've seen this guy in a Just Drift event back in January. He's really good!


Fun fact: the 302 CI 5.0L V8 is actually a 4.9 liter. Ford badged it a 5.0 because it sounded better.

and props for using outside the norm to drift!


302 (cubic inches) = 4.94889333 liters

Now, how big is the combustion chamber?

61 (cubic centimeters) = 0.061 liters

Looks like 5 liters to me.



Hahaha. Nice.


Alex ALMOST said something positive. That is what is refreshing (almost). LOL. stop whining.


New video of the car in action at Willow Springs:


yeah all of those boxy, 80's mustangs are bad ass.....drifting the odd is also a fav. of mine and seeing a merican' ver sideways always gets me!


Could I get a parts list of what worked for you suspension wise and the more important parts to get from the start. I'm building a 95 sn95.