LS Swapped SSP: 1989 Ford Mustang LX

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Would you consider modifying a rare car with limited production numbers? That’s a question that’s deeply personal, as keeping a rare car in stock condition that isn’t fun to drive or particularly reliable isn’t worth the cost of ownership. We don’t know the backstory behind this former highway patrol Ford Mustang SSP, which comes with a long list of upgrades centered around a seemingly well-sorted LS swap. The 1989 Ford Mustang LX shown here on eBay comes with a LQ9 6.0L V8 under the hood, and that’s just the start of the list of modifications. Bidding sites at $14,300 with the reserve unmet.

The SSP cars are generally considered collectible, and worthy of preservation. In fact, if you find one of these in project car form with some rough edges here and there, most caretakers would go all the way in bringing the car back to pursuit specs, complete with spotlights, light bars, and CB antennas. The SSP generally came with a very stripped down interior, by design, and flat-bottomed bench seats that made it easier to get in and out of the car with a police duty belt. Relatively few of these Mustangs came with a manual transmission, making this SSP car even more desirable.

The LS swap is certainly one of the more popular conversions for almost any performance car at the moment, from Mustangs to Porsche 911s. The question here is whether the seller hurt the value of an SSP by replacing the factory 5.0 – but that assumes, of course, it still had an engine installed when he got his hands on it. Even if it didn’t, a 5.0L replacement engine wouldn’t be hard to find if you wanted to bring this SSP back to true pursuit condition. That being said, can you imagine a car like this chasing down a scofflaw on the interstate? The list of modifications is too long to summarize here, so check out the listing for more info.

At the end of the day, you can still see the traces of an SSP inside, with the plain-jane, no frills interior being the biggest clue. There’s quite literally nothing wrong with modifying almost any car, outside of some exceedingly rare 1-of-1. The SSP may be rare, but it’s not going to be shown in the Louvre some day, so putting your own special touch on a forme highway pursuit vehicle is hardly a crime. If it were me, however, I’d keep the drivetrain and make sure every other detail was correct for police specifications, starting with a pair of white doors and black steel wheels. Would you have modified this SSP or kept it stock?

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Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    Hmm, pretty much tears it for me. I truly give up.

    Like 15
    • Bud Lee

      Just know that somewhere there is probably an IROC Z with a coyote engine in it. Unfortunately people use what they can afford to build cars. But this is the ultimate ” party foul” if I ever seen it.

      Like 23
      • Brett

        If you ever SAW it

        Like 1
      • Henry DavisMember

        Didn’t know the grammar police had a station here!

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        LOL! These grammar nerds must literally have their minds blown by some of the comments left here, or on any chat board.

        Leave the red marker at school!

        Like 2
  2. HoA HoAMember

    Okay then, after regaining composure, I won’t start another engine war post, although I suppose I already did, hey, an antique hot rod, be it a ’40 Ford or a Willys gasser, is one thing, but no matter what your feelings are, you must admit this is a bit over the top. It just shows the hype of an LS motor has no boundaries. I hated my LX, but would never rip it’s guts out.

    Like 18
    • Philip Lepel

      Good question. I have a fairly rare mustang. Only 604 made as 83’s but I had always dreamed of bringing it up to modern standards. So i did but I attempted to keep it as stock looking as possible which I did. But i brought it from 145hp to 340hp.

      Like 0
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    No particular comment on the LS swap but putting fake police instruments and colors on a good looking car as it sits is a bit much. What’s wrong with taking a worn out ex police car and making a hot rod out of it? Nothing I can think of.

    Like 15
    • CCFisher

      Mustang SSPs are highly sought-after in stock form. Wanna make a hot rod Fox body? Find a 4-cylinder LX and go to town. Nobody will bat an eye.

      Like 5
      • Herbert

        Well, some of us may blink once or twice. My BIL bought a new Merury Capri with a 2.3 / 4sp. Pretty nice road car except in the mountains when the air got too thin for the carb. Car was comfortable, and had a nice sporty look.

        Like 2
  4. ClassicCarFan

    I’d be on the “keep the original engine” side of the vote I think, but it’s a free country, the owner can do what they want. The original Ford 5.0 can be tuned to give pretty good horsepower for a street car? but as the author says, you don’t know the back story, maybe the original engine was trashed, or gone.

    On the plus side, there are plenty of ready-made kits to fit the LS engine into many other cars, so hopefully it’s been done properly and everything works well.

    Like 4
  5. Duke

    Ruined a good foxbody.

    Like 20
  6. mike

    Not again.I need to find a 63 split window and put a FORD mtr in it.

    Like 16
  7. Jack M.

    Only made the car better by installing Chevrolet power.

    Like 24
    • Mark

      LS is a copy of the SBF. The head engineer that developed the LS had worked for Ford long before heading over to GM.
      Change my mind.

      Like 3
      • 19sixty5Member

        “Change my mind” Nope, can’t do that. Believe what you want to believe. The Ford/Chevy thing has been going on for ages. Do you actually think a former Ford engineer “developed” the LS engine? Name that “head engineer”, please! The LS engine development team, as expected would have a team, with specific area’s of responsibility. It is more than reasonable to expect that these employees signed non-disclosure agreements as part of their employment conditions. Ford would have sued GM. Ford was working the development of theri new modular engine, so again,very improbable that they were also designing another engine family at the same time. At the end of the day, Chevrolet has a huge percentage of wins in virtually every type of motorsports competition over any other manufacturer, certainly in US based racing. Urban legend, nothing more than that, de-bunked numerous times.

        Like 2
      • Matthew Wells

        Installing a LS engine in a rare Mustang is an oxymoron. I myself consider this dilemma more wrong than right.

        Like 0
  8. Brian

    If syrup of ipecac were a car…

    Like 5
  9. Jake8687

    LS swap in a Fox? Burn In Hades! Vengeance is mine says the Ford.

    Like 10
  10. Jake8687

    LS swap in a Fox? Burn In Hades! Vengeance is mine says the Ford.

    Like 2
  11. Oldschoolmuscle

    Well this is a waste … next……Every one thinks the ls motors are better. Just keep them to the GM family they have no business in another vehicle. Just my opinion.

    Like 4
    • Tony Primo

      I would be interested in seeing more Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Cadillac swaps into this generation of Mustang.

      Like 5
      • Rocco B.

        I bet a Chrysler 340 would drop right in.

        Like 5
  12. ken

    what a waste of an l/s. worth more with interceptor motor. If anything put a coyote motor in it.

    Like 0
    • 87Ragtop

      Well I have a 1987 Mustang GT convertible engine pooped out after rebuild and tranny was shot! Priced out doing the Coyote truck Mtr out of F150 with cam change, computer from only source ( found out cannot use the salvage computer not hack able yet) anyway over $10k and no tranny in sight! So picked up LS1 out of 2000 Corvette (all aluminum) and 6 speed manual tranny, computer with tune and wiring harness $6500. Car is unreal on performance! I am a FORD guy but $$$$ is $$$$. Also build Cobra kit car 1971 351 BOSS motor

      Like 2
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        And there you have it. Most likely the same story as the subject vehicle.

        It’s the nature of hot rodding, people. Use whatcha got.

        Like 2
  13. RichardinMaine

    The rarity came out of the car with the engine and it became just an LS Fox.
    Nothing more.

    Like 6
  14. C Force

    Might as well put a bowtie on the center of the grill.”Built Ford tough with Chevy stuff!”.If you wanted to go back to Ford under the hood a 7.3L Godzilla motor would be the way to go.Dimensionally smaller than the 5.0 Coyote they fit great in the foxbody.

    Like 8
    • Wademo

      I would even rather see a 7.3 SuperDuty than an LS!

      Like 3
  15. Frank Drackman

    These cars were dangerously under braked with the 5.0, hope they were upgraded also. There was so much mystery about cop cars in the 80’s. I remember an Alabama State Trooper (giving me a ticket for going 67mph on the Interstate) telling me his 86 Crown Vic had a “429”

    Like 4
  16. GIRTH

    I’d really like to know how many here have done or do engine swaps.
    I’m mainly a GM owner and I’m past tired of seeing LS swaps, I’d rather see a Terminator in this car or a coyote.
    Even GN turbo 6. But LS is affordable, compact and plentiful. Aftermarket parts are endless. Not hard to grasp if all you wanna do is drive.

    Like 5
    • 19sixty5Member

      You forgot to add that the LS platform is powerful, and performance parts are not only endless, but more budget friendly than any others it seems. There is a reason you see so many LS swaps. One of the best bang for the buck engines ever. Head out to the drag strip and you will see quite a few LS swapped Mustangs.

      Like 3
  17. Henry DavisMember

    My oldest kid had one of these, straight from the Florida Highway Patrol. Put a procharger on it and stomped everybody in town! Got tired of it, bought a Cobra R and put 2 turbochargers on it. Re-stomped everybody in town! Had a sanity attack, took the turbochargers off, put it back to stock, sold it. Now drives a 1 ton GMC pickup and sells realestate. Turning into an adult really sucks…hope it never happens to me!

    Like 14
    • Rw

      I guess anybody that commented on this has not been to a dragstrip lately, most of the fast fox body cars are running turbo LS motors, just saying my personal observation..

      Like 10
      • ExplodingChevySideTanks

        Save for the Fox bodies running Coyote’s. Of which there are more and more.

        Like 2
  18. Troy

    I’d be willing to bet the uni body is twisted to much money for a project car like this

    Like 1
  19. jwaltb

    There are a couple of Ford whiners who haven’t posted yet. C’mon guys, don’t hold back!

    Like 1
  20. BrianT BrianTMember

    Do y’all think it possible to take a moratorium on the engine choice issue and try to be positive? The issue is getting really old. Oh, whoever brought up the 7.3 Godzilla, they are great engines if you happen to have an extra $25 grand burning a hole in your pocket.

    It would be great if we, as car lovers, could get along. I’m feeling n my seventies and y’all are sounding like it ld people even to me.

    Like 4
  21. BrianT BrianTMember

    Do y’all think it possible to take a moratorium on the engine choice issue and try to be positive? The issue is getting really old. Oh, whoever brought up the 7.3 Godzilla, they are great engines if you happen to have an extra $25 grand burning a hole in your pocket.

    It would be great if we, as car lovers, could get along. I’m feeling n my seventies and y’all are sounding like old people even to me.

    Like 6
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      AMEN.
      So many other aspects of what we all enjoy could be discussed here.

      Instead, it’s the same old same old same old same old same old same old same old same old same old same old . . . .

      Like 6
  22. CadmanlsMember

    The fox body Ford is light and with fairly cheap upgrades will handle lots of power. Subframe connectors torque box reinforcement and even the 8.8 differential is fairly sturdy. They were cheap and plentiful, the aftermarket builds so many parts for the fox, another old fella and I were talking and yeah it is sort of the tri five of the eighties. Cheap to buy and build ten years after they were built. You can buy a subframe for just about any popular engine, they work!

    Like 4
  23. william stephan

    “keeping a rare car in stock condition that isn’t fun to drive or particularly reliable” ??? Thats makes this thing about as rare as an understeamed ball park frank. Picked up a ’86 (?) B-turd one of these (not a Dorf guy) with a Turbo V-6 and a 5 speed for $200 after the original owner died and it sat since 1995 till 2000. Sold it running with 37,000 miles for 4K. All it needed was a fan belt and a battery. A click and it was running. This needs a 500 Caddy motor in it.

    Like 3
  24. Bunky

    Stupid is as stupid does.
    Yes you can put any engine in anything- doesn’t mean you should.

    Like 1
    • gearhead1

      Wow Bunky Gump , did you think that up all by yourself ?

      Like 2
  25. Dave in Virginia

    Many police cars have been used and abused, and are almost worthless when finally disposed of. If that was the case with this one, I can understand building it the way you want to or with what was on hand. If it was in good shape, it was a shame to change so much. How many old Mercurys were hotrodded? I’m surprised you can find a stock 49 Mercury. When a car is worn out and not yet collectable, kids can have a lot of fun and learn a lot by taking one apart and building what they like out of it. Yep, I’m an old fart.

    Like 2
  26. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    There is probably a good reason why the as-built engine is gone.

    According to the supplied Vehicle History Report, it had almost 119K on it by the time it was 5 years old. And, unless it has only been driven 10K miles in the last 10 years, then it probably had 270K miles on it.

    So, why not hot rod it with the engine from a wrecked Z/28?

    Like 2
    • 19sixty5Member

      The LQ9 was an iron block truck engine, not a Camaro. In the world of hot rodding, anything goes. It is a worn out old Mustang with a new life!

      Like 2
  27. Herbert

    Wanna upset people even more? Drop a Tesla in it. Might even be faster than the LS, quieter to.

    Like 3
  28. HoA HoAMember

    Happy tax day, except us retired folks. That alone is worth retirement. Since I kind of started this rigmarole on the engine, a lot of concern, and that’s a good thing. From it’s a free country( I don’t know, do Russians swap Lada motors into GAZs?) to refreshing to hear the opinions. It may not be what I want to hear, but interest is alive and well. Clearly, the purists gripe is originality, but time and time again, this being the blatant example, what we held dear, is back burner to what interests are today. Today, an LS anything, is todays hot button, and it’s true, we don’t what happened to the original motor, and it then becomes just another LS powered hot rod, and won’t stop here.

    Like 2
    • Henry DavisMember

      I’ve got a sweet running Packard V-8 and a freshly rebuilt Desoto Powerflite tranny…what should I put ’em in? Thinkin’ maybe a Checker Marathon wagon?

      Like 1
  29. Michael Berkemeier

    What a waste. This car is now junk. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Why even feature this piece of crap?

    Like 1
  30. Henry DavisMember

    Because everybody else’s taste in cars isn’t the same as yours, Mikey!

    Like 5
  31. Michael Freeman Michael FreemanMember

    An 86 Crown Vic patrol car brand new wouldn’t break 110 if you threw it out of the space shuttle. That mighty 150 horse 302 was a load.

    Like 0
    • ROCCO 603

      I like it what can I say. Light car power full motor , have everyone wondering
      What’s under the hood. as long as you can stop it. Ugly interior but fixed easy
      Enough.

      Like 1

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