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Five Speed Survivor: 1986 Ford Mustang GT

Worn but not worn out is how this 1986 Ford Mustang GT can be described. It has clearly seen a lot of outside time and the sun has worked its Canyon Red finish over pretty extensively. With 122K miles on its clock, this Ford has seen its share of road work but the show is far from over. Let’s take a close look at all of its attributes. It is located in Swannanoa, North Carolina (near Ashville) and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,100, reserve not yet met.

In 1986, the Mustang was available with multiple engine options including a pair of 2.3 liter in-line, four-cylinder engines, one standard, and one turbo-charged (SVO), a 3.8 liter V6, and a 5.0 liter V8 with new for ’86 port fuel injection. And all of these options made the Mustang popular with 224K copies going to new owners. One year later, in 1987, the Mustang was down to just two engine choices, the low end 2.3-liter four-cylinder entry motor followed by a wide gap all the way to the 5.0 V8. Sales took a pretty significant dive that year with about 170K units, a 24% reduction.

In spite of this Mustang’s physical appearance, the body and underside show to be sound. The seller claims that the only rust present is in the rear hatch and he is including a replacement lid with the sale, interestingly finished in the same faded hue. The seller references two slight dents, one in the driver’s side quarter and the other in the passenger side fender, but he feels that both can be pushed back out from behind. The flatback trim and painted hood surface are pretty spent, hard to say if the trim can be refurbished. Weld Pro-Star wheels adorn the exterior of this GT, they are in nice shape and closely reflect ’80s trends. Subjectively speaking, the original Mustang alloy wheels would be a sharp choice too.

Under the hood is a 200 net HP, 5.0 liter, V8 engine connected to a smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission. As previously mentioned, ’86 was the first year for the 5.0’s EFI induction system as opposed to a four-barrel carburetor. The seller claims, “Runs great, but with the low miles, it should”. I find this comment confusing as I wouldn’t consider the reported 122K miles to be low mileage. Granted, the 5.0 engine is very durable but 122K miles is some significant use. The seller makes reference to the air induction tube but states that he doesn’t have the original airbox. Other notable mechanical changes include a new fuel tank, 4.10 differential ratio, and five-lug hubs. I get the hub swap but 4.10’s are pretty steep unless some quarter-mile action is your plan.

The interior of this GT is showing, as the seller admits, some pretty serious fade but all-in-all, it looks OK. There are no signs of rips, tears, or cracks. Even the carpet is still presentable – just dirty. The instrument panel has that very typical, blocky and angular layout that was so commonplace in the ’80s. It all appears to be unmodified.

From a preference perspective, I always favored this ’86 GT design over the follow-on ’87 through ’93 “melted Mustang” look. The lack of fairings/ground effects is just cleaner IMHO. The mostly original nature of this GT is a nice find, Fox-Body Mustangs seem to be rarely found in unmolested shape these days. The exterior appearance isn’t so much a concern but the 122K miles and the 4.10 gearset are things to consider. No idea what the bid reserve is, but if it is reasonable, this Mustang could make a good basis for a project – nothing needs immediate attention so any work performed could be parsed out over time. What do you think, is this GT worth consideration?


  1. Avatar photo Sherminator

    To many used car dealers, 122k IS low mileage…

    Like 7
  2. Avatar photo Jim

    To many of these available in good condition. Why bother?

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo Mike

    Should we save the patina on this one?

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Troy s

    My ’86 GT came to an end with with close to 250 thousand miles on it. Totaled by the insurance company after a….slight error in judgement on my part.
    They can last a long time, all depends on the owner. 122 thousand isn’t that bad in itself it all depends on how it was maintained, driven. This one here is a bit weathered and really the only reason I came here to look at it was to check out those wheels. Skinny up front, wide in the rear, the Mustang comes across more aggressive. Flowmaster mufflers, shorties, what looks to be suspension mods, Hurst shifter….its best bet is to remain a driver. That’s what it was set up for and really, trying to make it all pretty in a red dress again, I dont know….just get it on the road where it belongs.

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Rob S.

    Easy fixer upper. He should wait a few years as these are starting to climb in value but not there yet. BTW color is jalapena red. Canyon red was a darker metallic color

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Gus Fring


      Like 2
  6. Avatar photo Rob S.

    Color code 2R. Jalapena red. 😁😁

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

      Spicy words for an immaterial fact.

      However, if one is a “Pure-ist,” I guess it matters.

      But not to me.

      Crush it!

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Paul Baconn

    Had 2 of these mine was a black sunroof car, girlfriends was twin to this one. Would love another one.

    Like 0

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