The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built

What if I told you that Ford commissioned a two-seater Mustang rally car designed and built by a legendary Italian coachbuilder that history quickly forgot? You’d want that car, right? Here it is: the ‘79 Ghia RSX, the coolest Mustang that never was.

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I wrote about the Ghia RSX a few days ago and lamented how little documentation exists for the car. Then Ford’s Alan Hall emailed us with the original press release for the car, as well as the original press photographs. I promptly died of happiness.

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The RSX stood for Rallye Sport Experimental, and the concept car debuted at the Chicago Auto Show back in ‘79. It had a stock turbo 2.3 liter four cylinder/four speed manual and stock suspension.

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built

The big changes were that the wheel base was shortened by 5.6 inches, the track was widened by almost an inch at the front and over an inch in the rear, the rear seats were thrown out, and it got a lightweight fastback/liftback body. And I shouldn’t forget the super clean new 7.5” wide, 16” wheels wearing 205 55 VR x16 Pirelli P7 tires.

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built
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The interior was in black leather with red trim with a dash-mounted shifter like an Alfa Romeo. It’s a little plush by today’s standards, but I would road trip the crap out of this car.

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built
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The doors were supposed to look like they were made entirely of glass. It’s really just black plexiglass bonded over the door panels, but it still looks great.

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built
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The stance might not fit with today’s lower-is-better ethos, but for a road car with usable suspension, the RSX was mean.

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built
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Basically, it was my dream Mustang. It was sleek, efficient, and inspired by my favorite all-terrain race cars. I can look at this thing and dream about it racing against Alpine 310s, Lancia Stratoses, and Porsche 911s in rallycross. How hard would it have been for Ford to crank up the boost, tune the suspension, and make a credible Group B contender out of the RSX?

Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built
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Most of the time when you hear about idolized Mustangs you hear about the 1960s cars - the ‘64 1/2 convertibles, the Shelby GT350s, the Boss 302s, the Kings of the Road. I respect and admire those cars, but my heart goes out to the light, cultured early Fox Bodies. More than any other Mustang, they seemed to match the European rivals. This RSX might just have been the ultimate Fox Body.

It would have been insane for Ford to build it in any considerable numbers, but good lord do I want one anyway.

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Illustration for article titled The 1979 RSX Rally Concept Is The Coolest Mustang Never Built

Photos and Information courtesy of Ford. Everyone give them a round of applause for blowing the dust off of this thing.

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DISCUSSION

orlove
Raphael Orlove

I know that the '60s Mustangs are far and away the most idolized Mustangs, but I think that once all the baby boomers all die off, people will come to realize just how cool, and just how radical early Fox Body Mustangs were.