Free Shipping On Orders Over $49. Details

Talk to an Enthusiast
M-F 8:30A-11P, Sat-Sun 8:30A-9P

How to Dressup Your Fox Body’s Engine Bay

Written By: Connor MC

Shop Fox Body Engine Dressup

Prepare your Fox Body for your next meet with dressup items from AmericanMuscle. We carry the highest quality 1979-1993 engine styling parts in the ever popular chrome finish, as well as other styles popular with the car show judges.

Shop Dressup Items

Many people dress up A Fox's engine bay for car shows and bragging rights. Whatever your reasons, there are a few dress up mods every Mustang owner shouldn't do without.

A Quick List of Tips

  • Engine Degreaser: perfect for touching up your engine bay in a hurry
  • If you're carbureted, the air cleaner is a center piece. Make it shine
  • Matching brackets and caps (chrome or otherwise) are easy to get and install
  • Complimentary plug wires
  • Valve covers come in a variety of styles, and some can fit over aftermarket valvetrains
  • Headers: not only do aftermarket ones look great they free up some extra ponies
  • Engine block: tough to keep clean after a detail, but essential for the hard core showman

Mustang Engine Degreaser

Right, what is the absolute cheapest thing you can do to get your Foxbody’s engine and engine bay looking a little nicer? Give it a good clean of course! What does a cleaning consist of? A good quality engine degreaser, some water, and a very careful eye. Carefully following the directions on any brand name engine cleaner/degreaser can cause years of grime and grease to wash off. But, as mentioned, be sure to read the instructions, and then read them again. A good clean is the cheapest way to start things off, but can get expensive real quick if you accidentally shoot some water onto (or into) the wrong components!

Fox Body Mustang at the 2014 AM Car Show

Air cleaner, upper intake manifold

Another easy and Benjamin conscious way to add some underhood zing is to clean and polish the stock air cleaner cap or replace it with a tricked out, shinier version. Of course this is for carbureted cars only. If you have an EFI Fox, no worries. Pick up a good polishing compound and polish the heck out of that 5.0 plate, located on the upper intake manifold. An hour's worth of time will make it shine (it’s real easy to remove, 4 Torx bolts).

5.0 Fox Body Cobra Intake Manifold Plate

Accessory Brackets & Filler Caps

A final way to add a little pizzazz is to lace the engine with some polished accessory brackets, filler caps, and a radiator cover. The filler caps are of course very easy to do, just rotate the old one off and replace it with a chromed or aluminum version. The brackets, while not super hard to get at, will require a more hands-on and in-depth approach. To get access to them you’ll need to first remove the resident accessory. Alternators, power steering pumps, AC unit – all of these are a prime candidate for a gleaming bracket.

Advanced parts for a trophy winning Fox Body

The next few items require a little more cash and effort to install, but once done are sure to make that engine look real ‘perdy. In some cases, removing the engine may be required.

Plug Wires

Another relatively inexpensive way to brighten up your engine bay is to swap in some new plug wires. Many manufacturers offer them in a nice blue, red, or even yellow! Any of which will instantly catch the attention of any onlooker.

Fox Body Aftermarket Red Spark Plug Wires

Mustang Valve Covers

Swapping the stock valve covers with a fancier aftermarket version is a sure-fire way to dressup the motor. Ford Racing offers a plethora of choices. Foxbody valve covers are available in matte black (described as wrinkled black by Ford), chrome, or polished aluminum, and either with the iconic ‘Ford Racing’ or ‘Cobra’ stamped into them. All finishes are very durable (and are all aluminum covers), lightweight, and a direct fit. Be sure to pick up some new gaskets if ordering a new set of covers, and also be aware of potential clearance issues depending on what heads and valvetrain lay beneath the covers (it would be mighty embarrassing to receive a new set and realize they aren’t tall enough to fit!).

Ford Racing Cobra Style Valve Covers Installed on a Foxbody


Another instantly noticeable feature in the engine bay are the headers. The stock iron headers work okay, but leave a lot on the table in terms of looks and performance. Also, after many heat cycles, they begin to look like pickled prunes which are definitely not visually appealing! To counteract this installing a set of chrome or ceramic headers will make the engine bay look great. What size is up to you and dependant on your goals with your Fox. Whether you go with shorties or long tubes, swapping to aftermarket headers not only increases the gleam under the hood, but should free up a few extra horses.

BBK Ceramic Coated Long Tube Foxbody Headers

Engine Block

The engine block is perhaps the motherload in terms of engine dressup. The largest, singular part of the engine itself, it is also the most work intensive to dressup. Dressup, in this case, means to paint the block. Top show Foxbody Mustangs all have one thing in common – immaculate engine bays that start with an engine block so clean and nicely painted you could practically eat off one. Unfortunately, properly painting the block requires removing it from the engine and taking it apart. It is work intensive, but once it's all said and done, it really will separate the show cars from the daily drivers!

Really the key to a gorgeous engine and engine bay is to have everything very clean. Whether you want everything chromed or polished is a matter of taste, but for any Foxbody show car, having a clean and nicely painted engine is a must!

Fox Body Engine with Ford Racing Heads
Fitment includes: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, GT, Cobra, LX, SVO