Cheap Turbo Pair: Mustang SVO Projects


Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Good things don’t always come in twos, but I can’t see the harm in trying to snag a pair of Mustang SVO projects like this one here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $6,000. Though they are far from perfect, finding two SVO’s that retain their original engines and haven’t been modified seems like an intriguing project to me. The pair is located in Nebraska and the reserve remains unmet. 

s-l1600 (12)

The red car has suffered a front end impact, and the seller says it will likely need to spend some time with the frame machine. Both cars are said to have little to no rust, but you’ll want more detail on the extent of any corrosion before taking on a car with frame damage. The red one may be better used as a parts car at this point, but it’d be a shame to hack apart a rust-free example if it can be salvaged. Unfortunately, there are too many of these still on the road to risk driving one with a tweaked frame, in my opinion.


The white one is heavily weathered, as you can see from the yellowed headlights and chalky paint. However, it has fared slightly better body-wise, with a punch to the rear quarter its greatest cosmetic flaw. However, the transmission has been removed from this SVO and will need to be reinstalled, but no explanation is offered as to why it was out of the car. This SVO has 104,000 miles on it; the red one has 80K. If it were my money, I’d get this one repaired and simply use the red one as a parts car, especially with the lower mileage components.


This is the interior from the red SVO, which offers further evidence for its potential as a parts donor – that interior still looks quite good, although the SVO steering wheel suffers from the typical puckering of the surface material. Now, when I say it looks OK, I’m mainly talking about the untorn seats – the dash looks pretty beat, or maybe it just needs a cleaning. Either way, both cars are a long way from being presentable drivers, but for a modest investment, you could have a decent runner and still have some parts to flip to recoup some money. Do you agree or are my math skills suspect?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jeff

    …and they’re the “good” ones.

    Like 0
  2. Todd Zuercher

    Pick pieces from the red one and use to get the white one back on the road.

    Like 0
  3. nessy

    I do like the Mustang SVOs but do you really think 6 thousand dollars is cheap for these two bombs?

    Like 0

    I never really got where these fit in.

    You had the entry level Mustang with V6 power. Knowing this will get you from point A to point B.

    The 5.0 HO V8 which no doubt as everyone knows will also get you there but with leaving rubber behind you.

    Then comes a Four cylinder with a turbo charger? Ford is now in competition with their other two cars. Chrysler had Turbo 4’s at the time but was only hopping up what they had. Maybe these were to get back at Shelby somehow. Don’t think it was very successful if so,

    I was always amazed by the gimmicky 5 lug wheels….on a 4 cylinder! For those that had them it meant it was faster. Reports at the time may have been quicker then the 5.0. However the aftermarket was tremendous and took care of that right away. Typical bolt on mods would do the trick. H pipe,under drives and cold air and don’t forget those Flowmasters.

    If I wanted an American Car with a 4 cylinder and a turbo I’ll take an SRT4 Neon any day. (Thanks Mitsubishi!)

    My Mustangs need a V8.

    Like 0
  5. DolphinMember


    I think the turbo 4 Mustangs came in when Ford was trying to meet the CAFE standards of the day. I could be wrong because I wasn’t a Ford engineer at the time—or at any other time.

    The CAFE standard for 1986 was 26.0 MPG, and I am guessing that over the test cycle the turbo 4 Mustangs got better mileage than the 5.0 V8 version. I believe the 2 engines were rated at the same HP, so the gas consumption problem with the 5.0 V8 would have been reduced by selling turbo 4 Mustangs.

    Strangely, the CAFE requirement for 1986 (26.0 MPG) was less than for the previous 2 years (1984 = 27.0, 1985 = 27.5). Maybe US carmakers had trouble meeting the corporate standard. I remember US carmakers having to limit the sales of some hi-consumption cars to keep from violating the CAFE standard for the year. The turbo 4 Mustang might have allowed Ford to sell more Mustangs.

    Any Ford engineers out there who know?

    CAFE reference:

    Like 0
  6. Mike Williams

    I love SVO’s, but not this pair. The SVO was supposed to replace the 5.0 with their 4 cyl turbos at a time when gas was at a premium and v8 sales were tapering off.

    Like 0
  7. Mike Williams

    “The SVO’s shifting duties were dispatched by a Borg Warner five-speed manual gearbox with a Hurst shifter which sent the power to a limited slip differential with 3:45:1 gears. And while its engine was rated at 175 horsepower – or ten ponies more than the top-spec V8 that year – the SVO team’s development emphasis was on handling.

    “The 2.3-liter mill’s small size versus the V8 gave it an inherent weight advantage that the race team wanted to capitalize on, so they tapped performance suspension supplier Koni for the shock and adjustable struts and gave the SVO stiffer bushings, up-rated springs, and beefier front and rear sway bars.

    These suspension modifications, along with four wheel disc brakes, Goodyear high-performance tires, and a quick ratio steering rack gave the SVO the handling prowess to match its straight-line performance.” I think this explains the “5 bolt wheels” the same 16 in wheels and 50 series tires that came on the Corvette. these babies would corner

    Like 0
  8. piper62j

    Charlie, This may help.
    A couple of things:

    1.) The “Fox” platform/chassis from which the Foxbody name derives is not unique to the 79-93 Mustangs. There are actually a handful of different vehicles that share the Fox platform, including SN95 vehicles. You may have heard of an SN95 being called a Fox-4.

    2.) Foxbody really has nothing to do with the actual body but rather the chassis from which the body is built off of. At some point, rather than calling 79 to 93 Mustangs 3rd generation vehicles, it just became slang to call them Foxbodies.

    As far as where the name Fox results from, the design was inspired by the Audi 80 or Audi Fox. In fact, Ford brought engineers over from Europe so a lot of their inspiraion in engineering came from European design and again, the Audi Fox which actually originates as a Volkswagon Fox since Audi is simply a VW division.

    Like 0

    Dolphin, A very educated thought as always. Certainly a different spin inside corporate makeup and most likely would have something to do with why this car was conceived. I see it very possible reason. If not being the main one could have played a part of it.

    Mike, great info as to Ford thinking outside the box. Again to me only created competition to an already superior offering. A set up for failure. How can you advertise a 5.0 HO V8 then offer a four cylinder and try and convince the same buyers that is is the the same only better? You can’t. Handling on the street is better then straight line performance? In theory yes. But face it. The 5.0 Fox didn’t handle that bad out of the box. Any short comings could be easily rectified through the extensive aftermarket.

    In the Mid 80’s four cylinder performance had not been proven. Still a V8 world then. Instead of dropping it after 3 years should have developed it instead with the Fairmont (early Fairmont’s had the turbo option) instead of diluting the Mustang. Only they simply put it in a larger heavier Cougar and Thunderbird body further limiting potential.

    Had Ford put more emphasis on the Escort by bringing the RS to the United States could have had an edge and may have dominated the tuner market early on. Now after all these years decides to offer it.

    The SVO was a quirky car simply put. These two poor examples while somewhat collectible are both wrecked and beat. When restored or just operational wouldn’t equate to the value of it’s V8 counterpart. $1200. each and I am being generous. Good luck to the seller.

    Like 0
  10. Mike Williams

    The way of Ford was to emulate the Europeans with a high powered small displacement engine to replace their gas guzzling v8’s. But as all plans, it all went down the drain with the price of oil. and the mighty v8’s lived on.

    Like 0
  11. Bill bo

    4 cylinder engines were well known to be great with the right turbo and Inter cooling. Think of the 944 turbo for example. That’s the car Ford was thinking of. The svo had euro hands all over it. The interiors were far more sophisticated than the fake wood panels in the other models. All grey dash and seats carpet etc. the wheels or rims were Porsche copies too. 16×7 was great for those years.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds