Fox Body Mustang “Durango” Truck Is an SVT Cobra for Busy Digital Drivers

I remember the time I found out that, back in the late 70s/early 80s, Ford made a Fox Body-based pickup truck called Durango. At first, I was stunned to see the Blue Oval used the name before Dodge (Chevy also featured a Durango trim level for the S-10 truck in the mid-80s). Then I couldn’t help but fantasize about a Mustang version of the trucklet—the actual vehicle was based on the Ford Fairmont Futura coupe. Well, this rendering delivers such a Gen III ‘Stang pickup truck and then some.

If you’ve ever looked at a Fox Body Mustang and felt that the greenhouse was somehow suitable for a truck transformation, this pixel ride is definitely for you.

However, rendering artist Oscar Vargas (aka wb.artist20), wanted to address one of the most important drawbacks of this once-popular segment (more on this below), which is why he extended the wheelbase, so the bed would be more generous. Of course, a real-life build of the sort would require serious structural changes that could allow the vehicle to offer a reasonable payload for its size.

And since serious hauling requires serious power, the artist based his work on nothing less than a Mustang SVT Cobra, the 1993-born special that extracted 235 hp and 285 lb-ft (386 Nm) out of the 305ci (5L) V8—those numbers were hefty for the era.

Now, especially due to that elongation, one would imagine that such a Fox Body Mustang pickup only deserves a moderate RPM (real project in the making) Potential rating, say, a 3/10. However, if we overlook the long wheelbase part of the transformation, the official Ford Durango mentioned in the intro means that such a body swap wouldn’t be that difficult in real life, so we’ll go for a 7/10.

Ford once made a Fox platform pickup truck and called it Durango

As we discussed when covering a fictional Crown Victoria truck whipped up by the same artist, Ford reinvented the coupe utility segment after WWII with the Ranchero, which came in 1957, two years before Chevy introduced the El Camino.

However, it wasn’t until the second-gen El Camino built some proper muscle by adopting a Chevelle chassis for its second iteration (1964) that buyers fell in love with the segment. And from that moment until its 1979 retirement, the Rachero arguably played catch-up with its Golden Bowtie rival, with the latter surviving almost an extra decade.

However, just when the El Camino was done (have you seen this late, four-figure output example called Mullet?), the Blue Oval decided it wanted to have another go at making a car-based truck—the class was clearly on its way out, but the carmaker thought it could test the waters by sending limited numbers of its Fox platform-based Fairmont Futura coupe to coachbuilder National Coach Works and having the specialist converting these into trucks.

The resulting Ford Durango was built in extremely limited numbers between 1979 and 1982, with the consensus being that most of these came out in 1981, while only a little over 100 units are said to have graced the world. Interestingly, the pickup conversion saw the taillights and rear plate remaining on the rear-clip-turned-tailgate, which meant owners got a label telling them not to drive with the tailgate down.

You can check out one of these Ford Durangos in the YouTube clip below (lens tip to jackielittle). And while these were only built with the 200 ci (3.3L) straight-six, which was the mid-range motor of the Fairmont Futura base car, the example we have here has been gifted with a 302 V8 swap, so your ears will be happy too.



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