This illustration by artist Dave Kimble showcases '94 Mustang packaging on a GT coupe. Cockpit remained a cozy 2+2 affair.

The 1994 Ford Mustang Chassis

While stylists were working out the sheet metal shapes that would become the 1994 Ford Mustang, engineers were busying developing the rest of the car around a heavily revamped chassis and body structure.

Engineers worked to increase structural strength without adding weight, and they largely succeeded. Against the previous notchback, the SN95 coupe was some 56 percent stiffer in bending (resistance to flex in the horizontal plane) and 44 percent in torsion (lateral plane). Respective convertible numbers were 76 percent and an amazing 150 percent.

Despite these impressive improvements, curb weights ended up only some 200 pounds higher than for equivalent '93 models.

The SN95 team naturally relied heavily on the latest computer modeling tools but also common sense, their own considerable experience, and no small measure of trial and error.

This led to numerous under-skin alterations that improved crash performance as well as resistance to squeaks and rattles. For example, coupes replaced open-section roof rails with sturdier closed members, frame rails were beefed up, a hefty inverted-U beam was added to link the B-pillars, and there were reinforcements in a dozen other places.

Convertibles added a transverse beam between the rear wheelhouses and a stout underbody X-brace to reduce twist and shake. For the same reason, GTs got diagonal bracing between the firewall and front strut towers.

With all this, the venerable Fox platform was changed so much that Ford renamed it "Fox-4," the number denoting 1994, the targeted model year.

"This is not a carryover platform," project director Will Boddie declared, noting that of 1850 total parts, 1330 were redesigned or significantly modified. To convince skeptical journalists, Ford built full-size cutaway models with new components painted various colors to contrast with white carryover parts.

While Ford highlighted the many changes to the '94 model, steering and suspension were practically unchanged from 1979. To read about the '94 models' suspension and engines, go to the next page.

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