Sequestered Since 1993: 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Car

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I remember these so well when I was in high school! The Mustang pace cars with the TRX tires were the hot ticket back then, either in 2.3 turbo or 5.0 V8 form. This particular one has been off the road since 1993 after having covered 58,379 miles, is located in Prince George, Virginia and is up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is just over $2,000 but hasn’t met reserve as I write. Thanks to frequent finder Jim S. for this memory-evoking find!

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1979 was the year after Chevrolet was so successful promoting it’s Corvette Pace Car edition, so it didn’t surprise anyone when that year’s car was the sportiest Ford available at the time. Starting with the Mustang GT, a lot of cosmetic touches were added to make the pace car edition special. You certainly weren’t going to miss one coming with the red/orange/yellow graphics! This particular car has just been made to run, but isn’t safe to drive yet after its long storage period.

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Recaros! Genuine Recaros! Oh my, I remember how special it was at the time that you could buy a car from a dealer with Recaro seats already installed. Those magic seats that were advertised in the back of Road & Track and Car & Driver–I still remember the first time I sat in one and felt the bolsters to keep me in the seat while cornering. These look pretty good apart from one worn part visible in this picture on the upper driver’s bolster.

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Apart from the period radio “upgrade”, this looks pretty stock, albeit dirty. I think the seller could have presented a better case by cleaning the car better, but they have cleaned up the fuel tank (although it now leaks at the sending unit) and gotten the car running. However, there are no brakes yet. The seller is including a replacement master cylinder, so hopefully it won’t take too long to have the car roadworthy. Honestly, I’d feel better about it if the interior looked like it was kept up more, but I don’t see anything to stop you if you’re interested in having one of these Mustangs.

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The 2.3 liter turbo looks stock, but the amount of corrosion on the aluminum body of the alternator has me wondering how dry the storage environment was. There’s a few other signs that maintenance has been neglected as well–I don’t think I’d want to start it again without changing the timing belt, among other things. How about you–does this find push your hot blooded high school buttons?

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Comments

  1. cliffyc

    Built the Revell model in my youth!. Yes Recaros are lovely seats!.

  2. Gnrdude

    Uhmmmm Question? Where is the TURBO Charger? I See an Intake an AC- Compressor But No Exhaust valve or Turbo??? Looks like somebody Swapped In A Regular Naturally Aspirated 4cyl.

    • Andrew

      Hidden under the intake hoses.

  3. Mike H. Mike H.

    And either cut out or otherwise removed a lot of the vacuum tubing for the emissions system. Having owned a few Malaise-era Fords (including a 1980 Mustang GT Turbo) I’m all too aware of how important all of those stupid vacuum lines are to the car’s operation. Smog pump is missing also; it should be right on top of the A/C compressor.

    Something doesn’t smell right here. . .

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Smog pump.

  4. Steve

    My cousin had one of these back in 1997. It was an original 1 owner car with faded paint and decals. It was a 5.0 with an auto. Don’t know what he ever did with it but when he had it he pretty much ruined it with the enhancements he did. Duals with 4″ slash cut tips. He couldn’t afford the TRX tires and he threw on a set of black painted turbine wheels from an 87-90. It was a fun car.

  5. PaulBz31996

    The car on offer is no 58K mile vehicle. I call BS on the seller. 158K IMHO. BTW…the 1979 Mustang Pace Car didn’t start with a Mustang GT. There was no Mustang GT in 1979. There was a “Cobra” package available but was mostly stripes, hood scoop with optional cobra decal on the hood as well as a plastic dash made to look like carbon fiber and included “Cobra” emblems on the door panels and passenger dash. The 1980 Mustang GT was essentially the pace car package with different graphic and stripes with the front air dam with Marchal Fog Lights and rear spoiler carrying over. The Pace Car was designed specifically for the race. The actual car used to pace the race had a Roush modified engine so that it would actually be able to pace the race at proper speeds. Dad was a Ford Engineer at the time and let my brother and I drive a FOMOCO lease car which we ordered. It was a 1979 Mustang Cobra package with the V8, auto, air and included the TRX tire and wheel package. Tires were worn bald within the first 3 months. Fun car for a seventeen year old. Good times…

    • joe

      Seen this one on northern panhandle wv Craigslist for 2000$ supposedly a pace car I’ll try n find it again but not sure how to post it here maybe someone on here can find n post it.

      Like 1
  6. piper62j

    Couldn’t really take to these models.. Nice car though..
    Good find and a good car..

  7. z1rider

    This is a non-interference engine. The timing belt can wait, but still a good idea to change it after you get it ready for more than a trip around the block.

  8. Paul R

    The 2.3 actually ran better when the turbo was junked and converted to a exhaust header and a 4 barrel intake and carb set-up.
    A 390 CFM Holley worked great!

  9. Wayne Thomas

    Won’t happen for a while, but it will be a great day when one of these gets a Coyote swap….or even better, a Voodoo V8 swap to be the ultimate sleeper.

  10. Moxman

    I believe I saw this same car on EBay last month? It didn’t sell at $11,000 because the reserve was not met. That seems like a lot of money for a well-worn Mustang.

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