5.0-Liter/5-Speed: 1988 Ford Mustang LX

The original owner of this 1988 Ford Mustang LX describes the vehicle as being like new, and when you examine the supplied photos, it is hard to argue with that assessment. It presents superbly, and with 12,000 genuine miles showing on its odometer, it should have years of faithful service left to offer its next owner. Adding to its appeal, it comes equipped with its original V8 engine and manual transmission. If you find yourself champing at the bit, you will find the Mustang located in Huntington Station, New York, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could drive away in this spotless classic by handing the owner $31,895. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this amazing survivor for us.

It’s hard to go wrong with any classic car that wears Black paint, and that’s the shade that we find gracing the panels of this Mustang. It holds an incredible shine, with no evidence of marks or flaws. While this color can look stunning, it is also wonderful for exposing any problems or shortcomings of the steel that rests beneath. That is something that is not an issue because the panels on this car are laser straight. There are no dings or dents and no evidence of prior accident damage. The color-coded body moldings with red inserts offer a welcome contrast to those acres of black, while the spotless factory alloy wheels help its cause further. The lights look crisp and clean, with no evidence of cloudiness or other problems. The glass seems flawless, and the plastic trim shows no signs of the type of deterioration that can develop due to long-term UV exposure.

When we turn our attention from the exterior to the interior, this Mustang offers us more good news. Plastic trim and upholstery from this era can be prone to all manner of deterioration, and it isn’t unusual to see some plastic components become brittle and crumbling. That hasn’t been the fate of this Mustang. It is trimmed in gray, and there’s a lot to like when you start to take a close look. The seats show no evidence of wear, not even on the prone outer edges of the front buckets. The remaining upholstered surfaces are clean and free from damage, while there isn’t even any of the wear or staining that can be so common in these Mustangs with this shade of carpet. The dash is in excellent order, while the rear cargo area has an as-new appearance. This interior doesn’t just look great because it comes with enough creature comforts to make time on the road a pleasant experience. These include air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, and an AM/FM radio and cassette player.

After the misery of the late 1970s, the 1980s brought some welcome news for those enthusiasts seeking something new with performance credentials. The 1988 Mustang LX could deliver if the buyer ticked the right boxes on the Order Form. This owner knew what they wanted when they walked into their Ford dealership because our feature car is equipped with the fuel-injected 5.0-liter V8 that pumps out 225hp. He also ticked the box beside the five-speed manual transmission, while power steering and power brakes were a standard part of this package. When the Fox-Body Mustang was launched, it struggled to produce a 16-second ¼-mile ET. It seems that Ford was making up for lost time by 1988 because this car should storm that distance in 14.8 seconds. The engine bay of this car presents as nicely as the rest of the vehicle, and its overall presentation is in keeping with a classic car with a genuine 12,000 miles on the clock. Therefore, it’s no great surprise to learn that this Mustang runs and drives as well as it did the day that it rolled off the showroom floor. The owner indicates that he holds a significant collection of documentation for the Mustang, and I suspect it will include evidence that verifies the odometer reading.

I’ve previously talked about the strong performance of Fox-Body Mustangs in the classic market, and the big-ticket models tend to be the GTs and the Cobras. Cars like the LX remain affordable, but values are growing at an impressive rate. That brings us to the asking price for this one, which could prove to be the sticking point for this owner. It is well above what potential buyers might expect to pay for a pristine example, and that is a big ask. However, its overall condition, ownership history, and low mileage place it in the upper echelon of examples on the market today. Will the buyer get their money? That’s a tough call to make, but I suspect they will if they are willing to be patient. There will always be that enthusiast who longs to own the best example available of a specific make and model of car. If someone is looking for the best 1988 Mustang LX on the market today, this could be their car.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Thanks Adam. Jeff worked this car up back in May. Looks like it is the same seller (?), but now $2000 higher. While Fox Body prices are steadily rising, the theme of the comments in May was that they don’t seem to have risen to this level for this car. Adam brings up the same concern. Anyhow, nice car.

    Like 6
  2. Todd Zuercher

    Yeah, they’re not at this price yet… Is that upholstery original? Doesn’t look familiar to me.

    Like 3
    • tiger66

      Those are the seats that came with the LX trim level that year. The GT had the nicer “articulated sport seats.” Later LX 5.0s (but
      not the 4-cyls) had the GT seats as standard but they were not available in the LX in ’88.

      Like 3
    • Tiberius1701

      Vinyl seat trim was an option for the LX cars, cloth was standard.

      Like 1
    • Jost

      Not at this price yet but as crazy as it sounds, they are getting there. At some point he will most likely get his price , and then this is what they get. I do some evaluations for a classic and specialty insurance carrier and 30K on a clean Fox body is being approved now without photos to back it up.. so the day is coming. Unbelieveable what they are going for. And to think that a few years ago it was not even worth half that.

      Like 6
  3. tiger66

    I like Fox Stangs and owned one for 13 years, but the asking price for this one is just nuts. Cheap, they made sense. At this price level, they don’t. Many better alternatives for less money out there including newer Mustangs.

    Like 3
  4. tiger66

    @Adam Clarke: “When the Fox-Body Mustang was launched, it struggled to produce a 16-second ¼-mile ET. It seems that Ford was making up for lost time by 1988 because this car should storm that distance in 14.8 seconds.”

    Not necessarily. That 14.8-second ET would be with the optional 3.08 final drive ratio. Most of these came with 2.73 rear gears for fuel economy, though, and are not that quick — likely mid-15s at best. They definitely have performance potential but will need some modifying to achieve it.

    Like 1
    • jwzg

      With 3.08’s these cars could break into the 13’s with a short belt, a 1/4 tank of 93 premium, 16 deg of timing, removed intake silencer, and a bit of ice on the intake. Slicks helped as well. For their day, they were THE pony car to beat. Only tuned GN’s and Vette’s were faster but not by much.

      Like 10
      • 19sixty5 Member

        Hmmm, my 87 GN with a TE44 turbo, 45lb injectors, a Terry Houston downpipe, stock intercooler, RJC powerplate, a chip change would run 11:90’s on street tires through the exhaust. But… I do like this car!

        Like 5
  5. Todd Fitch Staff

    Blimey – that’s my car! Not really, but that’s what ’89 looked like when I bought it new in ’88, except I have the cloth interior. Can’t complain; it’s needed almost no parts other than maintenance items to give me 33 years and 244k miles. I did change one head gasket after celebrating 30 years of ownership with a celebratory burnout. With 3.73s I can bust a 14.8 at 94 on street tires, blowing through the four 33 year-old cats. Here’s a picture of me about 100 years ago. https://barnfinds.com/road-legal-todds-one-owner-232k-1989-ford-mustang-lx-5-0/

    Like 12
  6. Terrry

    They started bringing performance back to the Mustang during the 80s, but it took Ford until 2005 to bring back the style. These things are ugly, worse than the Mustang 2.

  7. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    30 years ago as a kid this is how I spec’d my pipe dream Mustang only add in the GT seats. $32k?? That’s Cobra money. If this is the price point these are headed for then I’d better stick to the 94 and up models…much better value

    Like 2
  8. man ' war

    Sold my 90 Mustang LX with a 2.3 turbo swap over a month ago for a loss. The new owner spray painted the exact wheels like this car from argent to black! At first glance I thought he had put some SVE wheels on it then I realized they were the same rims! Lol.

  9. Dino

    95YNF plate? Must have been a Tampa Bay car! That was the station to listen to in the 1980s!

    Like 1
    • man ' war

      What about Cruisin with Wings? I don’t know what year that show came on the radio, but I have a cassette of it with songs GTO, Wipeout, No Particular Place To Go, Pretty Woman, Deadman’s Curve, etc. In between the songs, the DJ hosts Cruisin with Wings.
      No year on cassette just says “Produced by Buzz Curtis~Phoenix Prod., Inc.~Phila,Pa 19131”

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi Dino – One of my best friends moved to Tampa right after high school and I visited him down there and snagged the plate. At the time I was living in Pittsburgh where 102.5 WDVE was the killer rock station. I had the DVE sticker on the back window. :)

      Like 2
  10. Miminite

    Nice car, but optimistic market price IMO. But hey, what do I know? I’m no Dennis Collins or Gas Monkey dude. Still a clean example for whoever gets it.

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