Idled Turbo Pony: 1985 Mustang SVO

1985 Mustang SVO

Another car you should buy now before they get expensive is the Mustang SVO. This example here on eBay is practically begging for its next owner to take a little extra care in keeping it on the road and not becoming a wasted opportunity to have an appreciating classic in your driveway.

1985 Mustang SVO interior

It seems like these cars fall into one of two categories: mothballed collector cars or degrading projects held onto for far too long by owners waiting for a pricing surge. They’re never going to be that valuable – but I’m confident they’ll at least be more appreciated for what they are and the lower production numbers compared to the commonplace V8-equipped GT. And, that three-spoke wheel is the bee’s knees. What I can’t tell is if the carpet has been removed, based on what I’m seeing between the spokes.

1985 Mustang SVO Engine

’85 was a cross-over year so I’m not certain how you determine if this is equipped with the more powerful mill (205 b.h.p.) or the motor that came in ’84-’85 models (175 b.h.p.) The seller says despite its extended slumber for the past several years, the car still runs and he even drove it recently. Of course, up and down the street shouldn’t qualify as an exhaustive test, so a formal pre-purchase inspection would be encouraged if these vehicles intimidate you.

1985 Ford Mustang SVO

The mileage isn’t exactly low – 154,000 – so this SVO hasn’t been living in a museum. It doesn’t sound like the seller has much history, so it’s definitely a calculated risk taking this one on. Fortunately, this engine wasn’t only found in the SVO – it was also shared with the Thunderbird SuperCoupe. While neither car was mass produced, tracking down parts may not be a total boondoggle, but a compression test would be a worthwhile investment regardless. This is the second cheapest SVO on eBay right now, with one other car listed with an unmet reserve. Do you think it’s a fair deal?


  1. Jim

    I love the speedometer. I guess since they left off 100,115,130 and 140 it made the Feds happy!

    Like 1
    • MikeW

      You could get the numbers to make it back to a 140 speedo.

  2. gord

    i think you are seeing red carpeted mats on grey carpeting (with a foot thingy on the mat)
    why they never show the underside, hatch, etc. i will never understand sellers… digital cameras people, never enough pix!! even a camera on the ground aimed up will work
    we should make a “how to” for BF finders

    Like 1
  3. Squad41

    The Thunderbird Turbo Coupe shared this engine. The Super Coupe was a newer generation car, and was powered by a supercharged (Hence the name) V6. That being said, these SVO Mustangs were really progressive for the time, and were lauded by the motoring press for being very “European.” If you’re looking for an SVO, buy the best one you can find… But, in the same breath, this one appears to be mostly complete and could be a fun car for the right person.

    • MikeW

      The SVO also shared it’s engine with the MERKUR XR4TI. What killed the SVO was the price, it cost $3000 more than a v8 GT and had the same performance in a straight line.

    • Jett

      I think the SVO was fifteen to twenty years ahead of its time…and I really, really want one!

  4. JW

    I like the color but that’s where it ends, not enough info to make a bid without a personal inspection.

  5. Patman

    This is an early (pre 85.5) car based on the headlights (they were flush in 85.5 and later cars) and therefore should have the lower HP engine.

  6. Todd Zuercher

    I think it’s the lower hp engine as the change to the higher hp seemed to coincide with the flush mounted headlights.

  7. DavidP

    This is a 1984 model with the recessed headlights. I had an ’84 in charcoal grey metallic. They went to flush headlights in 1985 and upped the horsepower from 175 to 205. It was a blast to drive, the longer sloped hood meant that the nose of the car did not float at high speeds. Adjustable Konis had 3 settings, and the car handled like it was on rails. Was only the second American car to get 50 series V-rated tires at the time, after the Corvette. I spent about as much on repairs as the car originally cost. Quality was not yet Job 1 at Ford.

    • MikeW

      That happened mid year, thus they call them the 85½

  8. jim s

    i too think a nice SVO, turbocoupe or supercoupe will get expensive. this with the miles is a driver if the bidding stays low. nice find.

  9. MikeW

    If it was on the west coast, I might be tempted. I’ve owned 4 of them and they are a blast. The four cylinder turbo just didn’t catch on and that’s why they lack the popularity of the v8’s. The best way to tell the engines apart is the intake manifold. the one with the smooth round runners is the 175 and the square one is the 205 hp. The good parts are the 4 wheel disc brakes and 5 bolt 16 in wheels.

    I believe it’s the 175 hp.

  10. MikeW

    I forgot to click on “Notify me” barnfinds should do that automatically. Low mileage one’s can get expensive.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      We can set the notifications so the box is automatically checked for a while and see if it bothers anyone.

  11. MikeW

    sorry, edit timer cut me off. Recessed head lights is the early model, Another way to tell about the hp is the tail pipes, one on each side is the 205. Two on one side is the 175 hp. going by the steering wheel leather, the mileage looks correct.

  12. JamestownMike

    Back when I lived in the Phoenix, AZ area, I bought an 1984/85 metallic grey SVO in 1986/87 when I was 18/19 years old. I really liked the different euro “look” of the car and had my best friend test drive it because I didn’t know how to drive a “stick shift”. Despite not knowing how to drive the manual transmission, I bought it. It was the first car I bought on my own, and the first car I ever financed and thankfully I purchased an extended warranty. Shortly after buying it, it needed PRICEY new Goodyear 50 series tires………then came the turbo replacement (tires and turbo were original ones). I didn’t like the “turbo lag” and felt the car was slugglish/not that fast. The cars build quality was really cheap! I wasn’t happy with the car and didn’t keep it very long (maybe 6 months?) then traded it in on another vehicle. Glad I got rid of it! Since then, I’ve owned MANY fox bodied 5.0, 5 speeds that I’ve LOVED, especially the 88-91 notchbacks (with trunks, not hatchback).

    • MikeW

      the 84 and early 85’s did have a lot of turbo lag. Mid year 85 they changed the manifold, cam and injectors for 30 more hp and added a lower 3.73 gear to replace the 3.55’s of the earlier ones. This made the SVO a lot more fun to drive. Owned a 84, 85½ and 86

  13. jsilves1

    My son has an 87 Turbo T-Bird coupe and I gotta tell ya.. for a 4 cyl, it kicks butt in that size car..

    It’s my next restoration project for him…

  14. Wayne Thomas

    Just to be different. I’d love to see a SVO with an Australian 4.0L straight six engine swap out of a Falcon.

    Yes. yes. The Ecoboost is the more obvious choice by not having to import from Australia. But, oh to be really different.

    • MikeW

      If you want to be different try putting the SVO 4 banger in a 65/66 Mustang. It make a sweet package with adjustable power and great gas mileage.

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