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The Harvey brothers dominated autocross in an obsolete Datsun a couple decades ago.
I am a through,and true rotorhead at heart,but recently I have been thinking about selling my RX-4 just because it really isn't as nice as I would like it,and to get it to where I would like it would cost a great deal of cash,and lots of time that I don't have. I plan on keeping my 78 production Rx-7,and the REPU,but thoughts of replacing the RX-4 with an early four eyed fox have been dancing through my head. I tend to like early models of cars the best,so maybe a 79 would suite me best,but it seem the later cars had some better features,and power with fuel injection,and such.
Iam not looking for a 10 second car or anything,but rather a well sorted or near stock car that has some style,and is at least sort of fun to drive. It would need a rear seat,and I suppose all Mustangs have those while some may be larger than others.
Are these early cars fun to drive? Are they easy enough to work on? Are parts easy enough to find? Can you recommend a certain year,and or model for me? I think I like the notch back coupes best,but I have seen a few 79 Pace cars online that really look sweet. Is the early turbo 4 a bad engine? Am I better off with 5.0 litre car fuel injected or carbed,or does it even matter with these old emissions choked cars?
Any input would be much appreciated.
I had an 89 LX 5.0. It was pretty fun to drive other than the power steering not working. 86 I believe was the first year for FI, also boosted the horsepower with the H.O. (I could be wrong, haven't had one for a while and I've had a few beers). I would go for FI over carb and swap the early front end on for the looks.
I had a 1980 turbo Capri... special ordered... TRX tires/suspension, Recaro seats, turbo 2.3 (suck through carb type ) basically it was the RS model with the dark burgundy paint without any decals/vinyl
Added a few Racer Walsh supplied parts, Konis... and it was quite a bit of fun.........
they started making them good with the 82 GT- that's when the good suspension pieces started coming along and they started refining the interior. the 302 became the "5.0 HO" in 84, i think. that's when they got a Holley 4 barrel and i think when they went to roller cams. fuel injection came along in the middle of the 86 model year. but if you can find a decent 79-81 car, everything from the later cars bolts right in. you should be able to find an 8.8 rear end in a Thunderbird turbo coupe easier than finding an actual Mustang rear- they have the same mounting points, but are a couple of inches wider overall. i think. if you want to be stealthy about it, they built a lot of different cars on the same chassis. Fairmont, Zephyr, or LTD3 bodies should be easy to find, and everything that bolts to a 79-04 Mustang to make it handle and go good bolts to them, too.
EvanB wrote: I had an 89 LX 5.0. It was pretty fun to drive other than the power steering not working. 86 I believe was the first year for FI, also boosted the horsepower with the H.O. (I could be wrong, haven't had one for a while and I've had a few beers). I would go for FI over carb and swap the early front end on for the looks.
I had an 86 GT and I haven't had any beers. You're right, 86 was the first year for FI. They also put in a better and bigger rear end, a true dual exhaust system and probably a few other things. Thats the beauty of the fox mustangs, they improved them every year. I think 86 (Im biased) was the best looking, it was before they started dumping lots of plastic on the outside, adding flush headlights. 86 was also the last year for the interior style that they had for a while, the interiors of the 87's and onward just looked weird to me.
A GT Turbo or 4.9L V8 should be reasonably fun, but the 3.3L I6 and the 4.2L V8 were kind of dead-ends performance-wise.
Take a look at the '84 GT 350 and the SVO as well.
When I was looking for a Fox body, I came across an '84 SVO and an '85 notch...bought the SVO. Wouldn't mind having either today.
I can probably shed some light on quite a few aspects of these, I'm currently on my second 4 eyed mustang (see my garage). 84 was actually the first year of fuel injection, but was only available on automatic v8 models. It was a cfi throttle body injection, it worked, but had very limited aftermarket support.
83 also had the HO 5.0, was the last year for the 4 speed, and first year for a factory supported convertible since 73.
I love these cars for several reasons. They are like legos. Parts are interchangeable in some form or another with models from 79 to 2004. The early styling is 80's cool to me. Parts are dirt f'n cheap and almost everything is available reproduction through 50resto.com. They are extremely easy to work on in a driveway on jackstands. Having mustangs as my first "real" cars really spoiled me as far as maint and repairs are concerned.
Oh, and my 84 auto cfi had 250k on it when I sold it to put more money in my 83, which has almost 150k on it now.
I had an '85 GT 'vert... last of the carbed cars. As mentioned earlier, easy to work on, cheap parts, and sufficient power. Only issue I ever had was with the electronic carb.
However, as with most US Fords, despite the great engine, I never really enjoyed driving it...
I also had an '86 GT five speed. That was the first year for the 10.5" clutch too. They had a bit more compression than the later years due to the lack of valve reliefs in the pistons which limited your choice for heads without flycutting the pistons and aftermarket cams were a no-no. The E6 heads and 58 mm throttle body suck and the speed density injection makes for a finicky idle but it absolutely screams at WOT. Mine had 3.08 gears so, if I remember correctly, 2,000 rpms in fifth was 80 mph with 225/60R15 tires. I had installed a newer (87-93) intake and ported throttle body along with an adjustable fuel pressure regulator and, if I kept my foot out of it, I could hit 30 mpg on the highway. It had stock springs with SN-95 A-arms and a tubular K-member (tons of negative camber), tubular steel rear arms, C/C plates, an A/C eliminator bracket, underdrive pulleys and a gutted interior. Man I miss that car...
I came VERY close to buying a new '84 SVO. The dealer lied to me, so I walked. Wound up with a Dodge Shelby Charger, which I loved.
Still, I rubberneck every time I see an offset scoop or biplane wing ...
Depending on how much work you want to do, how much you want to spend and what you want the car to do I will give you the following highlights from my Mustangs:
1989 Mustang LX hatch: 2.5L 1998 Ranger long block, T5, SS Auto Chrome exhaust manifold with XR4Ti manual turbo, ported 1989 Mustang manifold, factory Mass air setup tuned by Pauls High Performance. SN95 control arms spindles front brakes, Ranger axle shafts, 9" rear brakes. Recaro seats from earlier car. White with Eagle Alloy 16" wheels and 225/50r16 front 245/50r16 rear.
Ran 14.80s all day long with the air conditioning on and no weight reduction. SHOULD have been faster but the car was never quite right.
1979 Mustang Hatch: Complete cross member, front suspension, rear suspension, engine and manual transmission from 1994 Ford Mustang V6. Super Coupe heads, custom cam, 351C roller rockers, poorly ported intake, 1996 Mustang "OE headers, X pipe, 2.25" GT duals (take off), 3.55:1 7.5" Locker diff, 1987 LX interior dyed black, 1994 base Mustang seats. 17" 6 spoke GT wheels.
Ran 14.95 once. AC worked. Interior was lighter than OE even with the heaver dash and seats, MOST excess weight was pulled out.
1982 Capri: Thunderbird TC cross member, 1988 Mustang control arms, 1988 GT brakes, SVO Konis, Eibach drag kit, full cage, gutted interior. .30 over 1971 351W, Edelbrock cylinder heads, roller cam, 1.7:1 rockers, Victor Jr intake, Holley carb. Long tube headers, 3" pipes, flowmasters, dumps. Shat tons of work all around and was set up as more of a one trick pony but it would dance a little.
Ran 11.20's No air, no comfort, no problems.
if you want a 5 speed, look 83 and later. I bought an 82 for parts on my pinto and got a few surprises.
1) it had the SROD (aluminum top loader) trans 2) 5.0 HO swapped with a worn out 351w
honestly, I like the srod. with the ratios I have, I rarely get it into 4th
Ohhh now we are talking my type of cars. I have had several fox chassis mustangs (its not fox body).
1982 5.0 with the 4spd, 4.2 with the auto. 2bbl carb, dual snorkel air cleaner, available TRX suspension, 7.5 rear end with slapper bars. 147 hp
1983 both 4spd SROD trans and 5 spd T5, 4bbl holley carb with NO electronics ( none of the mustang Holley carbs had electronics), dual snorkel air cleaner, 7.5 rear end. 175 hp
1984 see 1983 but add quad shocks and a different front bumper cover with fog lights on the later cars.. 175 hp
Also available in 83-84 was a turbo GT and Capri RS turbo. 2.3l turbo cars with small ish T3 turbo non intercooled. Trans/suspension same as GT cars.
1985 First year of the roller cam, factory installed headers,fake dual exhausrt, 4bbl holley, dual snorkel air cleaner 7.5 rear end. 210 hp
1986 First year of SEFI EFI, true dual exhaust,8.8 rear end(the one you want),last year of the four eye car. Important note. The 86 engines had a smaler throttle body, E6 cyl heads, smaller runner and opeing on the upper intake and 86 ONLY pistons with no valve reliefs so you need to watch piston to valve clearence when changing cams etc.
Also available from 84-86 was the SVO mustang. 4cyl turbo, intercooled, 4 wheel disc brakes, 16inch wheels,14 mph speedo, recaro style seats, hurst shifter, factory koni shocks and struts, wider track front and rear,differet k member, front control arms, spindles.
1987 -1993 nothing much changed. 88 cali cars had mass air, 89 on cars where mass air and in 90 they added air bags.
Super easy to work on. They remind me of a tinker toy set. Every thing interchanges,easy to make good power with junk yard parts, lots of used parts all over craigslist and evilbay.
With a little bit of work they hande well and are dead nuts reliable on track.
I have been racing a Fox chassis mustang in CMC for a few years now and its fun.
My favorites are the 86 cars and the 2.3t powered cars.
Also forgot to mention that they are on the same FOX chassis as thunderbirds/cougars/LTDs/Lincolns/Fairmonts/Zephyrs so there are alot of mix and match parts out there.
I prefer the later ones, although there were one or two golden years of the mass air and tilt wheel. Once they added the airbag, the tilt wheel disappeared. I've owned two '92s, and aside from the aforementioned lack of a tilt wheel, I loved them.
If you're buying an earlier model, be prepared to swap out parts with the later models. The 87-93s got most of the goodies you'll want including a better intake, better heads, better EFI system (really 88+ Cali cars and 89+ 49 state cars, the Mass Air is much more mod-friendly), better clutch, better transmission, better rearend, and better brakes. If you're prepared to swap all that stuff in and get a four-eye, I won't hold it against you. Just realize that if you're not into swapping a bunch of parts, a later car may make sense.
Enjoy the search, and let us know what you pick up!
I had a '89 LX 5.0 convertible. Kept it stock. Really liked. Sold it in '95 or so & still have a little bit of sellers' remorse.:
You could also always come out and go racing with us in CMC. Hella fun times.
It doesn't look like anyone's brought up the exhaust and rear diff, so I'll fill that in. The 8.8" didn't become stock behind the V8s until '84 or so, which is also when the exhaust went from y-pipe to true duals. If you live in California, you're stuck with that single exhaust unless you ref in the later engine.
Everything got nicer in these cars the later you go, up to 1990 ('90-93 cars are basically identical, with the exception of '93s no longer having factory forged pistons). Speed density fuel injection started in '86, Mass air FI (much better for modding) started in '88 in California and '89 everywhere else. The front suspension geometry was improved ever-so-slightly in '90
ReverendDexter wrote: It doesn't look like anyone's brought up the exhaust and rear diff, so I'll fill that in. The 8.8" didn't become stock behind the V8s until '84 or so, which is also when the exhaust went from y-pipe to true duals. If you live in California, you're stuck with that single exhaust unless you ref in the later engine. Everything got nicer in these cars the later you go, up to 1990 ('90-93 cars are basically identical, with the exception of '93s no longer having factory forged pistons). Speed density fuel injection started in '86, Mass air FI (much better for modding) started in '88 in California and '89 everywhere else. The front suspension geometry was improved ever-so-slightly in '90
As I already stated in my post the 8.8 showed up in 86 along with the factory headers and true dual exhaust. The 85 cars had factory headers and fake dual exhaust.
You know.. I've owned a v8 powered car. Owned v8 trucks but never had cars.. hmm..
CaptainSpaulding wrote: You could also always come out and go racing with us in CMC. Hella fun times. http://www.vimeo.com/12625546
Thanks for making my day and giving me something to post on my facebook page!
How are the 79 Pace cars with a 302,and automatic? Again not looking for a pavement ripper,just a fun car that is simple,and easy to work on. Fun to cruise in,and having a rear seat is a must as well with my two kids.
Not all that powerfull and the auto will be a 3spd. Should have the TRX suspension and the recaro seats. Ford built fewer V8 pace cars than the 4cyl turbo cars so the V8 cars are hard to find and often worth more money.
No problem though. As all of the parts from the different years interchange. So adding a T5 is a breeze and so is upgrading the 10inch small brakes on the pre 87 cars.
If I had one I would do a few simple mods to increase the daily driver fun factor.
T5 swap. Pretty easy and you can use the 4cyl T5 that can be bought for cheap. You need a deisel ranger throw out bearing and the different gearing in first gear would help the car get up and move. Then I would swap a 4bbl carb onto it along with the factory 83-85 aluminum intake and dual snorkel air cleaner. Upgreade the exhaust to true duals using a mix of factory and aftermarket parts. Yo can usually find some one willing to give the factory headers and H pipe away. Just add a decent cat back to it. Then swap the 11inch front brakes on from a 87-93 car. You will need the spindles/calipers/struts from/for a 87-93 car or thunder bird turbo coupe.
Toss on a decent set of srpings along with camber plates and the factory 16 inch pony wheels.
That would make a pretty decent driver and weekend toy that would stand out and not brake the bank.
In reply to slantvaliant:
What did the dealer lie about?
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