1st Year Fox: 1979 Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car

The 1979 Ford Mustang ushered in a new era for pony car lovers. This first-year Fox Body Mustang in Toquerville, Utah is listed here on eBay with two days remaining on the auction and is bid to $10,000. And as you can clearly see, it’s an Indy 500 Pace Car edition that appears to be in excellent condition.

The Indy 500 Pace Cars for 1979 were fitted with multiple options including the TRX suspension. Most Pace Cars were ordered with the 2.3-liter turbo engine out of a total production of 10,478 cars, but this one came with the V8.

The interior was adorned with Recaro seats and a houndstooth interior.   This car shows 59,000 miles and has new paint, new decals, and new interior. The 302 V8 produced 140 hp and 250 foot-pounds of torque in 1979. It was a carryover from the Mustang II from the prior year.

All 5.0-liter cars have an “F” in the 5th spot in the VIN whereas 2.3-liter turbo cars featured a “W”.  Both engines were available with an automatic or a four-speed manual transmission. I believe the four-speed was actually a three-speed with a 4th gear overdrive in 1979. My older brother had a bronze 1979 Mustang with a 302 four-speed and I always thought it was a sharp car.


  1. Raymond Smith

    I was 16 in 1979. Worked at a dealer auto auction. I wanted one of these real bad. I think one of the dealers felt for me and gave me the matching jacket that dealers gave away with these. I wore it to bare threads.

    Like 6
  2. John Ervin

    Sadly my 2015 Hyundai Elantra has 150 HP.. and does 0 to 60 in 7 seconds, yet can easily get 40+ MPG in town, and 46-50 MPG on the highway. Yes it is a Korean model with a 1.8 liter and a 6 speed manual transmission… Although I remember these Mustangs well as it came out when I was in 9th grade the car and several years after that were absolute turds when it came to performance. Slide in a different camshaft, headers and dual exhaust, and these cars really wake up…

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      Why are you talking about gas mileage on a Hyundai in this thread?

      Like 1
  3. Tom71mustangs

    Time to get the matching car and wear IT to threads, Raymond!

  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Nice example of a four-eye Fox Body. Has had restoration work and now looks good. Has the recently reproduced versions of the TRX wheels which are slightly larger at 16″ and thus can use “regular” tires.

    Given there were 369,000 Mustangs built in 1979, few are seen today, even at Mustang Club of America shows. When they are seen, it is usually a Pace Car. There are even fewer 1980 and 1981 models around. Beginning 1982, when the “Boss is Back” campaign started and the 5.0 horsepower started upwards, more four-eyed Fox Bodies are out there. But still not that many. Thus I am always glad to see preserved, restored, or lightly modified four-eyes.

    Like 5
    • Miguel

      Bob, do you ever see 1982 or 1983 Mexican Mustangs at those shows?

      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

        Miguel, I do not recall seeing a 1982 or 1983 Mexican Mustang at a Mustang Club of America show in the 20+ shows I have been to over the past several years.

      • Miguel

        Bob, here is a picture of one for reference.

        It is a coupe, Capri front end and hood, Mustang fenders and usually Capri tail lights. All Mexican Mustangs were V8 cars.

  5. David M Montanbeau

    I was an engineer for Ford’s in Dearborn at the test track. We were twerking these cars for Indy.

    Like 1
  6. whmracer99

    Saw one in ’79 and had to have it — got the Turbo version of the “Cobra”. Great looking car but traded it right before the warranty ran out. Engine smoked, factory dye job on the seats came off (they had changed the rear blue seat to red), misc interior pieces fell off, mysterious rattles started, etc.. I had a friend that worked for Ford that told me to get the V8 but the turbo made all the right noises and was actually faster IIRC. Dealer I traded it to cussed me out a couple of months later when we had a chance meeting because the reputation on those cars had already gotten out and he couldn’t resell it. Cautionary tale about buying the first production of any big model change. Still love the way they look. Always thought these cars would be a blast with one of the late model 4 cylinder turbo Mustang drive-trains.

    Like 1
  7. irocrobb

    Even though I am a huge GM lover, I have to admit I love these. A 4 speed manual and a 302 are the perfect combo. Rare to see any Mustang from this era where I live.

    Like 1
  8. Dusty Stalz

    That is not a houndstooth interior. Pretty good looking car nonetheless.

    Like 2
  9. Frank Sumatra

    140 HP? $10,000 and reserve not met? I am forced to remind folks 1995-96 Corvettes are available with 300 or 330 HP for what the reserve probably is on this weakling.

    Like 2
  10. Jonas Grumby

    When I married my 2nd ex-wife she had one of these IPC-1EFB pony cars. Unfortunately her old beau had absolutely trashed it. All the trim had been removed, the sun roof leaked, it was in primer and it looked like crap. Long story short the pace cars had special wheels and could only wear 1 size, type and brand of outrageously expensive slipper and they didn’t wear well or last long at all. I took the car to Maaco and had a couple of coats of high gloss white spayed on it and unloaded it in an OC Register classified ASAP. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Should’ve unloaded her sooner too.

  11. Stephen Lessard

    I bought a dealer demo Pace car in 1980, V8/4 spd. Took off the smog equipment, replaced the stock carb with a small Holley, Edelbrock Torker manifold, Hooker headers and 2.5 exhaust with h pipe. I also made the fake hood scoop functional. Loved that car, but it wasn’t well made. Handled great at high speed, was lousy off the line – tons of wheel hop. Paid just under 10k. Traded it in on a 1983 Mercury Capri RS HO Crimson Cat. Much better car in most respects except for high speed handling and the seats. Build quality was far superior.

    Like 1
  12. irocrobb

    I agree the 4th gen Corvettes are a bargain. But ,I saw 2 of them when I went for a cruise this afternoon and its been 30 years since saw a 1979 Mustang like this one.Sometimes its not all about horsepower.

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      You are right. It’s also about comfort,design, driveability, handling, acceleration, reliability.

      Like 1
  13. Arthell64 Member

    I remember thinking these looked pretty cool when they came out and I still do. I also remember the metric michelin tires required for these wheels. The tires were expensive and not very good.

    Like 3
  14. Bob McK Member

    I thought these were really ugly when new. Unfortunately time has not changed my mind. But I bet someone will think this is really something.

    Like 2

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