Friday, December 2, 2022

Driven out of the junkyard: 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX


Finding and driving your first car out of a junkyard! Yes! CJ Sanderson found a 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX in a family-owned salvage yard comprised mostly of Ford products. The discarded Mustang didn’t run in "as found" condition. His father, Chris Sanderson, was eager to extract this rare horse with a chain and a trailer. However, 16-year-old CJ convinced his dad that they should try to get it running right where it sat, in the pony car retirement home, for the sake of a better story.

16 year old with project 1993 Mustang in Calypso Green.
CJ with his first car, and first project car Mustang, driven out of a junkyard.

Aerial of Mustang junkyard. Calypso Green Fox body is easy to spot.
Calypso Green stands out even in an aerial pic of the junkyard.
Disable Stable With three generations of Ford tough determination and knowledge, the Sanderson family, of Fultondale, Alabama, grabbed some wrenches, fresh gas, fresh battery and willed the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder to move under its own power. The Mustang cranked! CJ drove the horse out of the ‘Disable Stable’ and into the garage where the serious Pony car wrenching takes place. (Note to self: Cool name for a Mustang salvage yard)

1993 Mustang is stripped down for paint.
The gutted Fox body was taken apart in preparation for paint.

CJ and Darrell work on interior details of the 1993 Mustang.
CJ and his grandfather, Darrell, tackle many of the Mustang details together.

First car CJ Sanderson’s first car totally has a cool factor to make any car guy jealous. Let's meet the car. Behold! A rare 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX! Although not born a factory 5.0, during the Pony’s re-birth a massive 351-V8 found a home between the fenders. More horses for the Horse Of Courses.* This 351 looks right at home in CJ’s car. Bigger cubes and fuel injection makes for a fun Fox. CJ and Chris didn’t stop there. A Ford Lightning lower intake and the Ford Explorer upper intake should blend the fuel and air quite well. Shaken and stirred.

CJ stands next to the 357-cubic inch V8 on the engine stand.
Bored to a 357-cubic inch V8, CJ is stoked about the Mustang's new engine. 

Engine has been installed and will be fired up soon.
The Mustang's engine bay is getting close to completion. 
More better! One thing Mustang enthusiasts point out is that in the final model year for the Fox body, Ford decided to go with hypereutectic (cast aluminum) pistons. Unlike the forged units that lived through a lot of nitrous between 1986 and 1992 model years. This didn’t bother CJ because his 351-cu. inch block is bored to a 357-cu. inch using forged pistons and balanced I-beam rods. This power plant has plenty of muscle-flexing action. Don’t spend much time worrying that a stock T-5 may not hold up to this massive power. CJ ditched the automatic that backed the original engine and opted for an indestructible ProMotion Powertrain. This T-5 is guaranteed to hold up to 600hp or one teenage car guy. Whichever comes first. For rolling stock he is currently running Weld Wheels, but plans to convert to five lug axles and run a rare set of Saleen rims. This kid never stops! That is also why a rear disc brake conversion is also in his near future!

CJ and his dad, Chris, (in front of the Fox body) discuss plans to enter the Calypso Green Mustang into the 2023 World of Wheels car show.

Envy? The paint and body work turned out sensational. What a stunning color. Calypso Green was used for just three years during the Fox body era, 1991-1993. Known to Mustang professors as Bright Calypso Green (Code PM). It was no beauty secret that the interior option was often paired with Opal Grey (Code 6). Ford did that very much on purpose because it was undeniably a beautiful color combination that let your eyes think they were at a party. A classy party. That was also the last year for the body style famously known as The Fox Body. So basically, an end of the run Fox Party! 

Interior pieces are new and make the car pop.
Progress on the 1993 Mustang interior is moving fast. Custom Gauges, Jegs high back sport seats were added up front and Corbeau seat covers in rear. Cup holders replace ash tray and a power point and USB charge plugs added to rear of console.

Ford Family Growing up in a car enthusiast family. CJ Sanderson never stood a chance of growing up to not be a car guy. Whatever path this sharp young man chooses, he will travel in style. That will never change the heredity-induced deep love of all cars–especially Fords. Destiny in CJ’s case was pretty obvious. When we came to visit this project one thing we loved was the three generations of Sandersons involved in this hobby. CJ is the son of Junkyard Life Brother Chris Sanderson who is known for his Mustangs and other creative Fords. Chris’s parents, Darrell and Teresa Sanderson (CJ’s grandparents), are lifelong Mustang collectors and passionate Ford enthusiasts. CJ’s little sister is named Shelby. Even the family dog is named Sally. Coincidence? No. This is a Ford family.

Calypso Green 1993 Mustang has a chin spoiler and cowl hood.
Chin spoiler and cowl hood ramp up the performance look.

Why we love this kid CJ is very grateful for the help and support that he has from his family. There is something special about one’s first car, even more so a Mustang. This one has a great story with three generations of Ford passion. CJ gets to enjoy being the king for a few more years until his little sister Shelby gets her 1990 LX 5.0 drop top on the road, but until then…CJ rocks the Calypso! Thank you for letting us be a part of this awesome story!

Ron Kidd — Junkyard Life

The Mustang LX has a bit of a stance. Lift blocks in rear may be coming out.

Junkyard Life’s Calypso (and CJ) Fun Facts:

  • Jacques Cousteau’s ship was named Calypso. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, CJ’s initials do not stand for “Cobra Jet” – they stand for “Christopher John.” That really is hard to believe in a family with a reputation of Ford inspired names.
  • The interior options were limited if you were lucky enough to score a Calypso car. Opal grey (6) or Black interior (variety of RPO codes) were the choices.
  • In Greek Mythology Calypso could mean “Concealing the knowledge.” That seems appropriate because you would not suspect a giant 351 was under the hood.
  • By 1993 the Fox body was in its 15th and final year.
  • Sources seem to agree that in 1993 there were 62,077 hatchback Mustangs rolling off the line. However, some sources say this color was rare on 5.0 GTs and 5.0 LXs.
  • Ford played with the name of this color before in history, but oddly before 1991 they never declared it to be anything green. 
  • Being the last of the famous Fox Body run from 1979 to 1993, Ford decided to sneak in hypereutectic pistons instead of the very solid forged ones used on the fuel injected cars. People love to remind 1993 owners of this. High doses of nitrous would turn the non-forged motors into a big rock. Not an issue on CJ’s car. Remind him all you like. 
  • Junkyard Life can’t stress enough how cool it is to want to DRIVE your Mustang out of the junkyard and over the horizon to a new life. Way to go, CJ!

Editor’s Note: “More horses for the horse of courses” is yet another reason that Ron is not allowed to watch TV while writing a car story. Our apologies to Mr. Ed.

CJ's Mustang has a factory sunroof.
That sunroof along with the Calypso color sold him on this Fox body.

This Mustang will have more downforce via the Steeda Aero Spoiler.

Up front is a Makers Garage LX chin spoiler.

The Hoosier slicks will give way to street rubber, Saleen rims, and 5-lug axles for daily duty.

This project Calypso LX has a few more weeks until completion and debut.

This Fox body build carries on a family tradition.
Wrenching, learning, and making memories. Father to son.

Do you have a classic or muscle car barn find?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
Send emails to Jody Potter at
and Ron Kidd at

1 comment: said...

In 1964 I owned one of the 300. It had 4 speed, factory built in tach, bucket seats, 300hp 327, fuel-injector heads & a carter AFB 4-barrel. The hubcaps had glass centers with the SS logo.