One Family Owned: 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Car

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

With low miles and one-family ownership, this 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Car is an attractive survivor with no modifications. Sporting the corporate 5.0L V8 instead of the upstart turbo, the Pace Car seen here is closer to the concept of the actual vehicles pacing the field, as those three examples had Roush-modified V8 motors. This one is so achingly original that the door mount bodyside graphics remain new in the box! Find the Pace Car here on eBay with an opening of $10,875 and no activity yet. 

While the on-track Pace Cars had T-top roofs, the ones customers could buy had fixed panels. The decal kit was tasteful enough, and the integrity of the original stickers looks quite good on this car. Both the V8 and turbocharged engines offered decent performance, but the V8 won handily in the torque department. We can see no obvious signs of body damage or other cosmetic concerns, and the seller notes that there are some minor scratches and evidence of black plastic sun-fading.

The interior also looks quite nice, with the Pace Car-specific Recaro seats holding together nicely and no obvious damage to the door panels. The radio and all gauges are said to still function as intended and even the door seals still appear sound. Pace car buyers would also enjoy a more aggressive suspension setup, which included beefier sway bars front and rear. One of my favorite features of the Pace Cars are those iconic Marchal fog lights, still visible in the front bumper.

Several recent maintenance items have been addressed, including: “Replacement parts include: alternator, drive belts, aluminum radiator, ignition control module, headlight switch, master brake cylinder, battery, oil filter changes, fuel filter, transmission filter, fluids, air intake snorkel, struts for hatchback, wipers and bulbs.” Pretty basic work but nice to have it done regardless. These Pace Car four-eyed Mustangs are not hard to come by, but is this automatic examples one of the best left?

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  1. Big Mike

    As a fox body owner, I do like these, especially with 5.0. A manual transmission would have been preferable. Nice car.

    • Don Rositch

      I had the same combination as this back in 1979, I drove all of the combinations and the turbo was awful, the manual transmission was terrible, leaving the V8/auto as the best combination. I did remove the heavy/useless hood bulge and some of the stripes for a cleaner look. A later T-5 would be a huge upgrade!

  2. r spreeman

    Glad to see this with the 5.0. In ’79 when I had lots of money to blow, I started looking into buying a new car. One was the Mustang (GT, Cobra, I forget) and it had the same-cost choice of the turbo 4 or the 5.0. I told the salesman I would definitely not want the turbo, and he nodded. ‘When you wind it out it sounds like it’s gonna blow up. The V8 is a much better choice.’

  3. Rob

    Dear Barn finds… cool cars, love this pace car, but the pop up advertisers you have chosen when you hit the eBay redirect link have GOT to go. It’s making me avoid your site, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Thanks from a loyal friend.

  4. Tim S.

    “Iconic” fog lights? Really? Somebody needs some new crutch words. Nice example of this car though.


    No stick, booh

  6. Horse 🐎 beat with ugly stick

    It’s what the fox said !

    I said no foxes 🦊 in my collection due to the UG disease

    I am happy they staid around though with Ford 👍

    No glue factory ever for Stangs!

  7. Coffman Atina

    Very very nice!! That is also a good price as well!! It also makes me happy to see the family has taken such great care of the car and that it’s not been ragged out!! I also find the fox body very interesting and unique! It’s got it’s own attitude and personality! Lol maybe I should trade my 95 3.8 in for that one. But mine girl is a 5 speed that is the only drawback, I prefer a manual tranny

  8. Boss351

    Seller refers to NADA values which in my opinion are way over valued. Prefer manual for this one and there is no A/C! Picture quality is real poor.

    No bids = too high starting bid.

    I think it is worth $9K which is closer to the middle value.

    • JJS

      Agree. I would much rather pay a bit more and have a 1994 Cobra convertible pace car. A nice one sold last year on eBay for $16,500.

  9. Rick

    Trx wheels! Trx tires! Metric! Good luck finding them! $$$$

    Never again!

  10. Skip

    Sweet, sweet, sweet! Nice little critter! I’ve always loved the smaller Mustangs and really liked it when Texas DPS ran them for a while. I had a ’74 Mustang Ghia for a short time. Really loved the little car; but it had been badly cared for by a teenaged driver, and wasn’t quite what I thought it was when I bought it; and I ended up taking it back to the seller. The engine was weak and it became hard to start. If it had been as mechanically sound as I had first thought, it would’ve been a keeper.

  11. KevinR

    I’m fine with the automatic transmission; it’s the lack of air conditioning that kills it for me.

    Regarding the TRX comment above, you can buy replacement TRX tires from Coker Tire for a lot of money, or you can buy 16″ TRX styled wheels for use with “normal” tires.

  12. Superdessucke

    Is it a MUSTANG? LOL!!

  13. irocrobb

    I was 20 years old when they came out and remember them well. I could never figure out why anyone would buy a 4 cylinder turbo over a V8. I recall the turbo motor cost more. Very rarely ever saw one on the road and have always liked them. Had 3 fox body Mustangs,all with 5 speeds and they were fun cars in there days.

  14. David Ulrey

    I’ve had four fox bodies. Enjoyed all of them. One (well two things actually) I hear over and over again is patina, get a paint job people, and if only it were a manual. Sweet baby j, not every d@mn car in the world has to have a stick shift. I’ve had plenty of both and currently own two very similar vehicles and one is a stick shift and one is an automatic. Sorry guys but I just don’t share your opinion that if a car has a stick that the sun shines out of its as…, er, tailpipe.

    • Paul Mayberryt

      Thank you! Automatics of today are not the inefficient ‘slushboxes’ of the past. (and you don’t have to replace clutches every few years).

  15. David Ulrey

    I’llI’ve never added a second comment but this time I will. I guess my feathers are ruffled. A stick shift is preferable if you plan to do a lot of cornering but still not mandatory. A situation where a manual is an advantage is if you plan to be overly abusive to your car with hard acceleration accompanied with hard and fast up shifts and down shifts. I have done in my youth and still possess the ability to drive equally abusive to the car and drive stupid in general in a vehicle with either transmission. I guess maybe it’s all about the driver not the car. Stunt drivers in the movies prove that.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Manuals are just more fun. There’s no way around that. Also, original paint is preferred even if not perfect because new paint is expensive and never as good as the factory applied stuff. That’s why you hear the statements about manuals and patina so much around here.

      • David Ulrey

        Jesse I have to disagree with you on most counts but at least you made the time to post a decent rebuttal stating your opinion and I respect that.


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