Ford Mustang (1987-1993)
Article by Mark Trotta
American performance cars began to make a comeback in the 1980s, and Ford was right there. Major improvements for the 1987 Mustang gave more power, better handling, and a new, modern look. Three body styles were offered; two-door coupe, two-door convertible, and three-door hatchback.
The "Fox-body" Mustang was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1978 to 1993. Major exterior upgrades in 1987 included aerodynamic headlights and wrap-around turn-signal lamps. Also starting in 1987, all Mustangs were fitted with an electronic control unit (ECU). This allowed better performance with better gas mileage, as well as an easy way for mechanics to access service codes.
Only two engine choices were available for 1987-1993 Mustangs. The base 4-cylinder engine displaced 2.3 litres and was equipped with fuel injection. The 5.0 litre V-8 came standard with the GT package, and was optional on LX models.
The GT package included sculpted rocker panel skirts, louvered tail lamps, and fake fender scoops. With a larger throttle-body and better flowing cylinder heads, the 5.0L engine was capable of 225 horsepower. Styled 15" x 7" aluminum wheels, upgraded tires, and dual exhaust were standard equipment.
1987 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 95,035
LX Coupe 5.0: 4,888
LX Hatchback 5.0: 9,642
LX Convertible 5.0: 2,073
GT Hatchback: 37,056
GT Convertible: 10,451
1987 total numbers 159,145
Although there were no major changes for the 1998 model year, Mustang sales continued to climb. An 'Aero Package' for the Mustang GT included a rear spoiler, fog lamps, center console, and tinted windows. The 1988 Mustang GT was named one of Road and Tracks 'Ten Best Cars in the World' and also made the Car and Drivers 'Ten Best' list.
1988 Mustang Production
Total non-5.0: 115,698
LX Coupe 5.0: 5,568 (including 379 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 16,331
LX Convertible 5.0: 5,188
GT Hatchback: 50,282
GT Convertible: 18,158
1988 total numbers 211,225
Ford Mustang SSP
Produced by Ford between 1982-1993, the Mustang SSP (Special Service Package) was created to provide a smaller, lighter car for police departments. Noticeable differences between it and other models were reinforced floor pans, stiffened frame, heavy-duty alternator, silicone radiator hoses and aircraft-style clamps, and a certified calibrated speedometer. Of course, police radios, shotgun holders, lights, sirens, and other related equipment were added after the car was sold. Nearly 15,000 SSP Mustangs were built, and today they are indeed collectible!
The 85-mph speedometer found on earlier models was upgraded to 140 mph on Mustang GT models. A five-speed manual transmission was standard equipment on the GT, along with power steering and brakes, tinted glass, remote mirrors, and AM/FM stereo.
1989 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 104,284
LX Coupe 5.0: 10,528 (including 776 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 24,734
LX Convertible 5.0: 10,575
GT Hatchback (P42E): 40,231
GT Convertible (P45E): 19,417
1989 total numbers 209,769
New federally-mandated passive restraints came into effect in 1990. All Mustangs were now equipped with an airbag inside the steering wheel, which effectively eliminated the tilt-wheel option. Rear shoulder belts became standard equipment, as did door map pockets and clear coat paint. Leather interior trim was now optional.
Engine choices for the 1990 Mustang were either the 88-horsepower, 2.3-litre 4-cylinder, or a 5.0-litre, 225-horsepower V8. The V8 engine was included with the GT package and optional on hatchback and convertible models. Either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission were available.
25th Anniversary Mustang
Although 1989 was the 25th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang, the Anniversary model didn't arrive until 1990. All Mustangs produced between April 17, 1989 and April 17, 1990 sported the iconic 'running horse' on the dashboard with '25 Years' inscribed underneath.
Special Edition Convertible
The 1990 Limited Edition LX convertible was to be a promotional stunt from 7-Up Bottling Company. They had planned to give away 30 of the special models at the 1990 NCAA basketball finals, but never did.
With Emerald Green paint extended to the body-side moldings, a white top and white leather interior, the limited edition convertibles are commonly referred to as the 7-Up cars. A total of 4,103 cars were built: 1,360 with five-speeds and 2,743 with automatics.
1990 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 47,292
LX Coupe 5.0: 7,905 (including 921 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 17,409
LX Convertible 5.0: 9,692
GT Hatchback: 33,639
GT Convertible: 12,252
1990 total numbers 128,189
In 1991, the price of a base Mustang reached $10,000 for the first time. Four-cylinder engines were fitted with a revised cylinder head featuring two spark plugs per cylinder Along with new, distributor-less ignition, horsepower increased from 88 to 105.
New five-spoke 16x7 alloy wheels were fitted on all V8-equipped cars. These bigger wheels proved quite popular, and many earlier Mustang owners purchased these wheels as an upgrade.
Also new was the power convertible power top that folded closer to the body than the previous top. Automatic transmission equipped cars now had a brake/shift interlock.
1991 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 47,422
LX Coupe 5.0: 7,229 (including 385 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 2,717
LX Convertible 5.0: 7,850
GT Hatchback: 24,667
GT Convertible: 8,852
1991 total production numbers 98,737
Sluggish sales from 1991 continued into 1992. The only notable change was a new dome lamp and the addition of color-keyed body side moldings and bumper rubber strips to the LX model.
Mid-year, Ford released a 1992-1/2 Limited Edition Mustang, a red convertible with white wheels, white interior, and a special rear spoiler. Just 3,333 were produced.
1992 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 16,911
LX Coupe 5.0: 5,346 (including 542 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 8,671
LX Convertible 5.0: 6,606
GT Hatchback: 4,065
GT convertible: 5,823
1992 total Production numbers 79,280
Although the Foxbody Mustang was virtually unchanged for it's last year of production, sales took an upward swing. A Limited Edition LX convertible was available in either Chrome Yellow or Vibrant White. Other special Mustangs released that year include the 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra and the 1993 Mustang Cobra R.
1993 Mustang SVT
Ford Motor Company had formed a Special Vehicle Team (SVT) in 1991 to create high-performance cars. The 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra was their first offering. Powered by a 245-horsepower engine with special big-port GT-40 heads and a revised cam, the SVT Cobra had a modified body and improved handling. Brakes were discs on all four corners.
The SVT had 245/45ZR17 Goodyear Eagle tires riding on 17" wheels, and an upgraded five-speed manual gearbox. Performance was good enough to help sell 4,993 cars in just half a year.
1993 Mustang Cobra R
Above and beyond the SVT Mustang, Ford offered the race-ready Cobra R late in 1993. The Mustang Cobra R was meant for racing, and came with no rear seat, air conditioning, sound-deadening material, or power accessories. This helped reduce the car's curb weight by 60 pounds. The wheels were black with chrome hubcaps. Only 107 examples were made.
1993 Mustang Production
Total non 5.0: 65,242
LX Coupe 5.0: 7,135 (including 628 SSP)
LX Hatchback 5.0: 9,376
LX Convertible 5.0: 6,382
GT Hatchback: 14,459
GT Convertible: 6,535
Cobra R: 107
Cobra Hatchback: 4,993
Production of the Foxbody Mustang concluded in September 1993. Total production for the year was 114,335 units. For it's 30th anniversary, a fourth-generation Mustang would be unveiled in 1994.
The 87-93 Mustang computer code follows a three-digit format, the code usually consisting of a capital letter, followed by a number and then another capital letter. Ford would later switch to a four letter/digit code on the 1994 edition. The Mustang's ECU not only accesses reports and repair codes, it also can be reprogrammed for performance modifications.
1990-1993 Mustang Alignment Problems
The aftermarket has brought about camber kits to help correctly align the front end camber on 1990-1993 Mustangs. This problem was corrected from the factory on 1994 models.
1987-1993 Mustang Collectabilty
Although convertible GT and LX cars are more in demand and more valuable, clean, low mileage notchback and hatchback coupes are also worth your while. An ample supply of aftermarket parts awaits the Mustang 5.0L owner. Performance and handling upgrades for the Foxbody Mustang are virtually limitless!
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