Former Total Loss? 1990 Ford Mustang LX

This 1990 Ford Mustang LX is a desirable notchback example equipped with the 5.0L V8. The car has an automatic transmission and a recent repaint, but there’s some questions about its history that may raise concerns. The seller discloses that it was written off as a total loss by the insurance company, but I wouldn’t let that sway you: non-collector car agencies have a tendency to put very good cars out to pasture because of minor fender benders if basing valuations on a non-collector-grade basis. So, I’d certainly give this Mustang a closer look, where it’s listed here on eBay with bidding very close to its Buy-It-Now of $7,999.

One of the best things to ever happen to our hobby is collector car insurance. The big agencies that cover your house, daily driver and other must-haves aren’t set up to protect and preserve collector cars. It’s very likely this Mustang was involved in a run-of-the-mill accident that, in the insurance company’s eyes, put its repaired value under what they valued the car at. Even with just over 40,000 original miles, the insurance provider isn’t factoring into its assessment the stock condition, rarity of the notchback / V8 combo, or the minty interior. Therefore, they total the car and someone like the seller makes some quick fixes after buying it at auction and flips it for sale.

Image courtesy of Dad’s Classic Cars

And here’s why the carrier called it a total loss. I Googled the VIN and pictures of the Mustang sitting on an auction like (likely a Copart) show up, revealing a hit to the driver’s side rear that resulted in the taillight and license plate trim being smashed and the rear bumper getting wiped out. It doesn’t appear that there was any damage to the sheetmetal, or even the exhaust. The original rear bumper was clearly a replacement or at least poorly painted, all of which likely factored into the insurance company’s decision to declare it a total loss. Since it seems unlikely from this kind of hit for internal or unforeseen damage, it was likely a good bet by the flipper to snag and repair it.

It’s not hard to see why they took the chance. The interior tells you that it was well-loved prior to the unfortunate fender-bender, with no obvious modifications inside. The only concern to me is the auction lot location in the archived photos was in Mendon, Massachusetts, so this is likely a northeast car. However, the low mileage would suggest it was either used sparingly by an older owner or just used as a summer driver, so hopefully, rust isn’t a concern. The next owner will have to live with the salvage history, but if you want a clean Fox body in one of the more desirable body configurations for below market price, this seems like a worthwhile gamble.


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  1. Moparman Member

    Looks like a potentially good buy! Of course, based upon its history undercarriage photos and/or a personal inspection would be advisable. The rear bumper cover is wavy, and it looks as though the paint job was not the highest quality, and are those patches of clock on the bottom of the doors factory??
    GLWTA! :-)

  2. Steve R

    It’s too bad about the salvage title. At the current price I’d keep looking.

    Steve R

    Like 1
  3. Claudio

    Insurance companies sell cars with salvage titles
    When it is time to reinsure the car
    They get all shakey
    Its hard /impossible to get full coverage with them
    Ask me how i know !
    Bought and repaired a salvaged 2010f150
    With 30 k. Kilometers not miles
    Repaired and replaced a few things, had it inspected but was never able to get complete coverage
    Thats how it is in canada we are now in 2020, truck now has 53k kilometers, never had any issues cause it was and still is a new truck
    Rustproofed annually, stored on styrofoam and never, ever seen winter, its only purpose is to pull the car trailer and the fifthwheel

    Like 2
  4. John M.

    I checked the E Bay ad and it said the car was sold new in Tennessee and it’s still there but the archived photos according to the article says that the car is in Massachusetts where I reside.

    I’m confused here.

    Like 2
  5. Kincer Dave Member

    They say in the ad on ebay they believe mileage is 140k based on registration, it’s pretty rough in my opinion, they say headliner is in great condition but you can see at least two rips in it, and I’ve never seen those weird patches of cloth or whatever on the bottoms of the door panels. Look closely at the pics, I zoomed in and it’s not that great for the asking price anyway, especially for a totaled car.

    Like 2
    • John Taylor

      Also check out how shinny the steering wheel is worn, a bit of a show away to extra miles with the dimples worn off.


    A word to the uninformed. Your insurance is going to cost you more (a salvage rebuilt vehicle is rated on a higher symbol) Any damage claim you will only be paid 60% to 80% of value of a non salvage. You pay more and get less. Doesn’t matter if it was a light hit needing a bumper cover and reinforcement or it was cut in half and clipped. It was a total loss. On a newer car it isn’t so bad. Generally you are paying less then half retail. On a collector like the Mustang no thanks. It does hurt the value.

    Like 1
  7. Comet

    I’ve been repairing and driving late model salvage vehicles for years. My son’s bank even wrote a loan on a 18 Camaro with a salvage title that I recently repaired. There is a term (diminished value) that (some) cut rate insurance companies have historically been using in attempts to get out of full reimbursement costs for a formally damaged car with a branded title. I’ve never had problems finding insurance at a competitive rate, however make sure that the insurance company is aware of the title status and agree upon coverage’s in writing. Insurance seems to be one of those get-what-you-pay-for expenses. Also keep in mind that any manufacturers warranty disappears when a branded title is issued. Generally I’m into and driving a “new” car at about 60-65% of it’s market value. One other thing, drive the wheels off of it or pass it along to a relative. Often, resale is close to impossible.

  8. JCA

    Looks like a Maaco paint job. Too bad he didn’t spend the extra $3 for the pics that let you zoom in so we can see. And too lazy to polish the headlights? Pass

  9. Feras

    Hi this car available

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