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LX Sleeper: Coyote-Swapped 1985 Ford Mustang

Sometimes looks can be deceiving, as upon first glance this 1985 Ford Mustang here on Craigslist appears to be just a clean coupe that looks primarily stock and nicely preserved, but once you dig deeper it’s got some well-thought-out performance upgrades that just might justify the seller’s asking price.  We’ll check everything out closely in a moment, but if at any time you decide this one’s gotta be yours the Fox body is located in Huntsville, Alabama, so start heading that way with access to funds totaling $37,500.  A big Barn Finds thumbs-up goes to Tony Primo for his excellent tip here!

To look as good as this Mustang does on the outside, it’s surprising that not one word is mentioned regarding the body or what kind of attention has been given to it, but under any circumstances, the exterior presents beautifully with the large skins in the back being one of the few hints that something out of the ordinary could be going on here.  The 5.0 emblems leave no doubt that it’s a 302, but there’s a lot more to the story, and I also like the fact that an LX model was used for this transformation rather than a GT, further masking the surprise that’s hidden under the hood.

In the bay now is a 29k-mile 2016 Generation 2 Coyote 5.0 V8, which in bone-stock form got you 435 horsepower right from the factory, with a Billet oil pump, gears, and timing sprocket installed for some extra durability.  But the visionary didn’t stop here, as this one’s got plenty more additions, such as a TKO aluminum driveshaft, a rebuilt 8.8 rear end with 3.73 gears, a McLeod Super Street Pro clutch, Strange adjustable shocks and struts plus a host of other performance goodies.

A view from underneath shows the platform looking about as clean as the body, with fine attention to detail down below and one of the slickest exhaust configurations I’ve seen on a Fox Mustang in quite a while.  The BBK ceramic headers attach to a dual exhaust system that meets in the middle with an X formation, so who needs a safety loop when you’ve got a setup like this?

This is as close as we get to an interior shot, but we can see the standard LX buckets still in place along with a dash and gauges that certainly appear to be in good shape from the distance we get to view them, plus that shifter just looks way cool in there.  Before I realized the surprises this one was holding, $37,500 sounded high, but now that the truth is revealed I’m thinking that’s in the ballpark for what we’re seeing here.  What do you think?


  1. AndyinMA

    Well done. Usually an engine swap is signaled by ridiculous wheels and other exterior mods, but I love how it still looks stock.

    Like 29
    • Karl

      I have always been a fan of the fox body and if I were to do one I think I would do it just exactly like this one! Keep the appearance looking as close as stock as possible but with that drive train setup it’s going to be very quick!

      Like 17
  2. Rocco B.

    Nice find Tony Primo, textbook sleeper.

    Like 16
    • TorinoSCJ69

      Stunner. Far more than a motor swap.

      Sure, get a new one …like everyone else.

      A big Mustang fan and I have owned a ’67 v8 and a slug ’78 v8 new, and the Fox body new off the line in ’82, ’83, ’84 and ’86, all HO 5.0.

      My 2 cents as F-body nut is this ’85 is worth it given the time as well as the brakes, driveline, suspension, and the unbelievable rest of the improvements that have quality build higher than OEM.

      Worth it.

      Like 8
  3. Joe Haska

    WOW! What’s not to like? Seems like a lot of money, but isn’t. Thefun factor makes it worth every “Penney”.

    Like 8
  4. C Force

    The price might be a little high here,when you can just get the newer coyote mustang for less.The coyote swap is already becoming outdated.the newer Godzilla 7.3L liter engine is starting to be the newer choice for this kind of swap.While it is larger in displacement it is actually dimensionally smaller and fits easier in the foxbody.

    Like 9
  5. Glenn Reynolds Member

    Nice car, but there are a lot of alternatives if you’re spending 37K

    Like 9
  6. Big C

    With decent stock Fox Bodies prices going higher, and adding in the cost of the Coyote? This seems, sadly, priced accordingly.

    Like 5
  7. Davey Boy

    Only difference I would have done would be to use a hatchback. Love the exhaust and the shifter. Wondering how much it would cost to build.

    Like 2
  8. MGM

    Makes a person wonder what’s the investment in this bad boy. I love it. Well worth the ask, and then some.There’s a Mustang kid out there that’s willing to over shoot the price. Look out for a bid war. Employee of ours bought a perfect one of these from our tow in lot ,think it was an 85 LX,w-a5.0. White,I mean sweet. My nutcase sis sold it to him for $2k. I was out of town. And I still remind her.

    Like 3
  9. Don Settergren

    I used to get a rental V8 LX from Hertz. They could easily light up the rears. I remember seeing a cop just after doing a smoky power stand out of an unmanned toll booth. I should have gotten a ticket for something, but just cruised away in my nondescript LX…

    Love this one with the Coyote. Someone had a vision!!

    Like 2
  10. Philbo427

    Cool LX sleeper, if you can even say that. He even blacked out the “5.0” emblems! A 5.0 LX was always a quick car to me but this Coyote swap like about double the stock HP!

    Back in the day I remember a car magazine saying this was the version to get vs the GT. Obviously they didn’t have the Coyote engine back then, but the 5.0 LX Mustang was lighter than the GT if you ordered it right and therefore faster.

    Like 1
  11. Michael Berkemeier

    The Mopar shifter looks ridiculous but, otherwise, this is an awesome car.

    Like 1
  12. jwzg

    Needs AC, PS, and PB. Other than that…dang.

    Like 0

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