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Careful Secretary: 1987 Mustang w/ 35K


We all know the base model Mustang is a traditionally unloved vehicle. While it’s easier to lust after the GT models equipped with V8 power, it’s also somewhat easier to find one that’s been loved. That’s not always the case with the lower-spec models, as the 4-cylinder ‘Stangs often became high schoolers’ first cars and subsequently ended up in a junkyard – that’s if the stereotypical secretary or hair stylist first owner didn’t crash it long before then. Check out this survivor-grade ’87 Mustang with just 35,000 miles here on craigslist, courtesy of Barn Finds reader Brian C. 


So, first of all: the pictures in this listing are horrid. This is pretty much a “Classifieds 101” example of what NOT to do. My apologies for the grainy images, but you can at least make out a very nice driver’s seat that appears untorn and reflects the low use this Mustang has received. The seller says that the Mustang notchback was discovered in a storage unit, which always invites the question in my mind of: How do I get lucky enough to find a sellable project car socked away in a storage locker? Regardless, the seller is asking $5,000 OBO, so his payday won’t be a big one.

1987 Ford Mustang-02-03
Image courtesy of OldCarBrochures.org

Because we’re lacking for images, I turned to some sales collateral from the time this Mustang was offered. What’s interesting to me is right off the bat, Ford pushes potential shoppers to the V8 option. It’s hard to read, but that image of the LX notchback comes with a caption urging Mustang shoppers to pair the V8 with the more sedate trim line: “You get the more formal look of the sedan with the high performance of the GT” is how the LX was positioned to customers. Apparently, the original owner of this LX felt the base-level drivetrain was just fine for his or her needs.

Image courtesy of brendev36 on Pinterest

“It’s a sportscar for the 80s – for those who want to drive a winner.” Powerful words, well suited for a car with athletic stallion heritage. Aren’t copywriters funny people? It’s interesting to me how a car can be marketed one way, yet appeal to a completely different demographic group than intended. This Mustang 4-cylinder may be synonymous with women who had more interest in fashion than performance, but finding one in what appears to be a high state of preservation is darn near impossible to do today. Is this unloved LX deserving of a closer look?


  1. Rock On

    Courier drivers used to love these 4 and 6 cylinder Mustangs. Cheap to run. Cheap to repair, and almost bulletproof.

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  2. Chris in Nashville

    Sure… I would buy it and then just drop a V8 in it and make it actually be appealing.

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    • Bobsmyuncle


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      • Bobsmyuncle

        LOL how did I get thumbs down for agreeing with a comment that got thumbs up? I’d swear this was some peoples’ first time on the internet!

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      • Howard A Member

        Hi Bobs, I think those “thumbs” are the achilles heel of this site ( I can put up with the slowness) I’ve noticed several commentors don’t respond anymore because of that.( and possibly kicked their dog too) And then, only to have your comment “hidden” because there’s too many thumbs down. Pure nonsense. Lose the thumbs, please, it just angry’s up blood all the more!

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    • Rob

      Drop a Coyote crate motor in her and let’er rip.

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  3. Tony Goodner

    I personally love the 2.3L 4 bangers in these Mustangs, and Rangers. Great MPG, easy to work on, and with proper maintenance, will outlast it’s GT brethren. Plus it’s a notchback, you just don’t see many of them anymore

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  4. Jerry Grissom

    Got a yellow notch v8 in the garage.original owner 72 k . it’s a stripper no ac no pwr Windows locks etc.. Original paint still nice.

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  5. Howard A Member

    I owned an ’88 LX notchback like this with the V-8 automatic. It was a fast car, but I liked my ’95 with a V-6, 5 speed a lot better. The ’88 handled poorly, didn’t stop well, hard to work on, all attributed to the V-8. Oh, and good luck changing a heater core on a/c equipped models. The whole dash has to come out. Mine was kind of a beater, so I just hacked the firewall apart, access granted. The notchback is also the car of choice for drag racers. When I went to sell it, the guy asked if it was a notchback, when I said yes, he was there in 15 minutes. He planned on racing it. For a short time, they were a hit with law enforcement with the SSP package ( Special Service Package) While I heard troopers didn’t like them because they were too small, not many crooks could out run a cop with this car. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/1987-1993_Ford_Mustang_Police_Car.jpg

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    • JWH

      Howard – you’re right on with the heater core. First learned that with my 1988 gt when I had antifreeze on the inside of the windshield. For a while that was just a bad memory that went away long ago with the car (rear-ended while parked). However, about five years ago I tripped over a 1987 gt convertible for sale that had some interesting bypass plumbing under the hood and a new heater core in the box sitting in the trunk. Bought it anyway even knowing the headache because the price was right, the midlife crisis was calling, and I had no intention of driving it when a heater was needed. Five years later and the core is still in the box. Coincidentally, the heater core in my 17 yo sons 2004 neon (my old winter beater) just sprung a leak. Same deal – apparently the first piece that goes in the passenger compartment at the factory.

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  6. NotchNut

    If it is a rust free car from Washington, then it could be a good car. But it is in Washington. Always a concern from the north west. On the other hand, it is a notch and they are hard to find. Very easy to convert to a V8.

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    My first cat was a rusted out 1967 Mustang convertible, with an anemic 289 and the doors would fly open when I made a hard turn. My first New car was a grey 1987 GT with T-Tops and every option I could check. I never got into that car without a smile on my face and raced through the gears like I was late.I knew that brochure by heart, and have been a Ford nut since I was old enough to remember my first car ride at 3 in a 1955 Fairlane. There is nothing like that first new car, I miss it everyday.

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  8. CoventryCat

    Amazing how a set of wheels can change the look of a car. Those wire wheel hubcaps are dreadful. Almost anything would look better than those.

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  9. stillrunners

    let’s build a sleeper….like

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  10. Ron

    Drop in a 2.4 turbo and burn up the streets.

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  11. Kennyth W Solomon

    I spent 2000.00 on my 93 fox lx being a mechanic and doing the work my self or with best friend s I got the car from a guy that wanted something for he’s daughter when she got older well I got it and​ have been restoring it since long story short I love it and yes I can jack it up and make it a sleeper NA 2.3 IS GOOD FOR ME IT IS THE SLOWEST car I own or ever owned but all original mustang parts soon I’ll rebuild the motor and upgrade the alarm system but it probably getting close to doing g the interior and paint and body work don’t drive it much but will when I get the motor rebuilt say what you want best and reliable cheep car I ever owned and a lot of people want this is why let the gas prices go through the roof I’ll be in my 2.3 LoL theirs a better pic of it on my Facebook page not long after I got it

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