For 1979 an all new Mustang hit the dealerships. Larger and based on the "Fox" platform the new mustang deviated from the smaller compact Mustangs of the past. The i...More »
For 1979 an all new Mustang hit the dealerships. Larger and based on the "Fox" platform the new mustang deviated from the smaller compact Mustangs of the past. The interior was completely redone and could now seat four in comfort, even with the smaller back seat of a sports car. The new Mustang also enjoyed a good deal more trunk space, and a bigger engine bay for better serviceability. The 2.3 liter four cyilnder from the earlier car was continued, but refined. The four was offered in as many as four variations, including a turbo, and was further refined, gaining fuel injection after 1987. The Mustang II's 2.8L (171cid) V6, made by Ford of Europe, was continued only for 1979.
Ford's 200cid inline six was far more plentiful, and more easily maintained. The 3.8 liter (232 cid) "Essex" V6 was later offered, but was discontinued before 1987, then returned in the next generation Mustang in 1994. The 255cid V8 was offered from '80 to '82, but V8 power came mainly from the 302cid (5.0 liter) V8. For performance fans, this Mustang brought them back to the fold. With the 302, it was faster than the New-for-'82 Camaro, and with the LX package it could be had for less. Mustang added a convertible for '83, in response to the 1982 Chrysler convertibles. Camaro didn't have one until the late eighties. While the LX package was the fastest Mustang, the GT package was often billed as the fastest, becaue of its fender flares, spoilers, and bodyside moldings, but the LX is the real performer, because all those add-ons increase the weight of the car. A rare SVO mustang, which presaged later styling elements of the main line of mustangs was offered for '84, and an "Indy 500" pace car edition was offered in 1979. Both command higher prices, as do the convertibles. For 1987, Mustangs got new styling, which was very reminiscent of that earlier SVO, and gave the car more of an "Aero" look, in keeping with Ford's overall styling direction. This particular mustang represents the longest run on any platform.
"The Boss Is Back"
In 1982, Ford reintroduced a high-performance Mustang GT which opened the door for an entirely new era of the muscle car. Wringing a then-respectable 157 hp (134 kW) from its "5.0" (actually 4.94 L, 302 in³) Windsor V8 and backed by a four-speed transmission, aggressive tires, and stiff suspension, magazine ads of the period shouted, "The Boss Is Back." a 4-barrel carburetor in 83' and 84' bumped power to 175 horsepower, and 247 lb.ft of torque. The 1984 Mustang was to get a 205 horsepower 5.0, but this motor was delayed to 85', and the rating was revised to 210 horsepower and 270 lb.ft of torque. It got its power from a new, more aggressive roller cam, a larger Holley 4-bbl carburetor, a new intake manifold, a less restrictive exhaust system with dual outlets, and new cylinder heads. For those interested in modifying, the 85' Mustang also got forged pistons in place of the 84' and earlier's sandcast pistons. This combination was stout, but short lived, for in 1986, the first fuel-injected 5.0 made its debut. Much like the first 4.6 GTs a decade later, this setup didn't rev very high, and at around 5200, this motor began to fall on its face. The good news is that they were very strong until then, thanks to the Turbo-swirl heads dubbed "E6", the intake manifold with very long runners, higher compression(9.25:1), and the first true dual exhaust system(with 4 catalytic converters) on a Mustang in over a decade. It was rated at 200 horsepower, down a few from the 85', but the torque rating rose to 285 lbs. The combination made for the broadest torque curve of any of the 5.0's, and a good driver could put a 1986 GT into the high 13's in the 1/4 mile. In 1987, the Mustang got cylinder heads almost identical to the ones on the 85' GT, and a higher horsepower intake manifold, and ratings jumped to 225 horsepower and 300 lb.ft torque. The light weight of these fox-bodied mustangs, combined with the stout engine, allowed these mustangs to run the 1/4 mile in the mid-13 second range with a skilled driver. In 1989, the mustang's speed density air system was replaced with a mass air system. While it may have cost the 5.0 a whole 2 horsepower, it also made the Mustangs very mod friendly. In 1993, with no explanation as to why, Ford switched to cast eutectic pistons in all 5.0's, and also re-rated the GT at 205 horsepower and 275 lb.ft torque, without doing anything that would reduce power. Skeptics say this was to make the soon to be released 4.6 mustangs look better on paper. Ford claimed to have changed how they rated the 5.0, however, the 5.0 GT's made around 205-210 horsepower at the rear wheels anyway, so it was still conservative. A new Cobra model was introduced, with more subdued styling than the GT. The Cobra used Ford's new GT-40 high performance engine equipment, was rated at a very conservative 235 horsepower and 280 lb.ft torque, and could send a mustang through the 1/4 mile in low 13's. There was an R model Cobra in 1993 that used the same 302 in³ motor as the regular Cobra. However, there was talk of a Cobra R with a turbocharged 351 in³ V-8 with 400 hp. This, however, was not to be.
In 1987, the Mustang received its first redesign in eight years, incorporating both interior and exterior changes. Although this would be the last major redesign for years, popularity of the Mustang remained high due to its low cost and high performance. The "5.0" Mustangs, cars that gave birth to an entire aftermarket performance industry, remain extremely popular today.
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