Project Notch: 1985 Ford Mustang LX

Up until recently, Ford’s “Foxbody” Mustang was a popular choice among those seeking affordable performance. While these Mustangs and their parts generally aren’t as plentiful or reasonably priced these days, this 1985 Ford Mustang LX that’s available here on eBay has a realistic Buy it Now price, making it a tempting choice for a project.

This Mustang is available in Castro Valley, California with a clean title. The seller mentions that the vehicle has remained “parked for a while,” but does not specify how long the vehicle was dormant. In any case, they recommend that the buyer of this Mustang takes it home on a trailer.

Despite the obvious patina on the vehicle’s Regatta Blue paint, this Mustang supposedly has no concerning rust spots, and it is the desirable “notch” body style. Also, up until the 1987 model year, the Foxbody featured a quad front headlight setup, making this one of the last to feature the “four-eyed” front end.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find a surprisingly tidy interior. Though the dashboard will likely need replacement due to sun exposure, the rest of the interior is well kept – especially the blue seats.

The 5-digit odometer displays 58,835 miles and a vehicle history report included in the eBay advertisement seems to confirm this as the true mileage. There’s a 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood, which pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels. Though the advertisement mentions how the engine starts quick and runs smooth, the seller claims there is currently an electrical issue with the fuel pump.

Due to the issue with the fuel pump, the seller adjusted this Mustang’s price to $1,850. If I were buying, I’d keep the exterior and interior on this project as-is, and then drop in a powerful driveline swap. What would you do with this project notch?


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  1. whmracer99

    Always thought that one of these with the new Ecoboost 4 cylinder drivetrain out of a late model Mustang would be a killer sleeper. Finding a coupe body in decent condition at this price is unusual. With a nice interior, a/c, and a no rust California car it’s pretty much a steal.

    Like 1
  2. Andrew

    Please for the love of someone please stop calling rust patina.

    Like 7
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      Agreed, Andrew. I’m tired of the word “patina” as related to cars. Rust is rust and calling it “patina” to me just means you’re too poor or too lazy to paint your car. From the dawn of the automotive age, rust has been a problem for car owners. It’s never been something to be cherished or admired.

      For quite a few years, I was involved in the antiques business. I managed a large antique shop in an affluent town and I managed a small country auction house. In the antiques world, “patina” is the result of decades of use and care that usually applied to furniture that has it’s original finish. It can greatly enhance the beauty of fine woods like cherry, mahogany and oak. If you’ve ever seen Margolis, Stickley or Fineberg furniture with original finish, you’ll see what patina really is.

      “Patina” was a thing for a few years but, apart from rat rods, I think that it is a fad that has run it course. Like mullets and your high school yearbook picture, it’s just a look to be avoided.

      Like 8
  3. CanuckCarGuy

    My mom had an ’85 LX coupe…it was very sharp, black with just enough chrome to keep it classy. She got it new and within 4 years the front driver’s frame rail was rotted from road salt…a true shame.

    Like 3
  4. Bakyrdhero

    This little car reminds me of a Mustang II. These things have all been built, I think I’d rather clean this one up and get the Essex V6 running its best. It would be refreshing to see this among a sea of 5.0’s at the local car show.

    Like 4
  5. Troy s

    My old ’86 GT was the last year of the quad headlight front end, which I actually liked better than the ’87 on up aero look. Never liked the coupe as much as the hatchback, opinions vary right?
    Potential is there with this basic coupe, stock it’s a fairly boring car although the most gutless of these Mustangs were equipped with the 2.3 four. Scary slow!

    Like 2
  6. Steve

    This is what most of us call a parts car.

    Like 3
    • David Ulrey

      No. It really isn’t and no I don’t have one just like it nor am I looking for one but no, it most certainly is not a parts car.

      Like 5
  7. Andrew Franks

    Another member of the Ultimate Driver Group. You fix this and commute in it or whatever; it’s a driver.

    Like 1
  8. don

    Man , we went through a lot of these racing Ministocks in the 1990s . In a normal feature , 20 of the 24 cars would be Fox body Mustangs , and nearly all of them were coupes . If it was like that at other tracks around the country I can understand why they are hard to come by !

    Like 1
  9. Wayne

    Bakyrdhero, it does look like this car has the 3.8 V6. The Essex engine was the 2.8 that came in the Mustang II as well as the Capri and early Rangers and Bronco IIs. The 3.8 is basically a 5.0 with 2 cylinders chopped of and small port aluminum heads. With the small ports heads and goofy oil pump set up, they were not a hi-po engine by any stretch of the imagination. However, with regular maintenance ( including 2 year coolant changes) I have seen these engines go over the 300,000 mile mark many times. But once they overheat the heads are junk and coolant has found it’s way to the engine bearings. By this time the age of the car makes it a bad choice to rebuild the engine as the cost exceeds the value of the car. ( particularly in the rust belt) These comments are based on the original 3.8s not the super charged “Super Coupe” engines or the engines in the ’95 on up Mustangs as I don’t have an experience level with those.

  10. Bakyrdhero

    Thanks for the info Wayne. Now I know. I almost called it the cologne V6 but I knew that wasn’t it. In any event, if the motor can still go then my earlier comments are my opinion. I’d clean this little car up and drive as is. I love the sound is a 5.0 Mustang as much as anyone, but you don’t see one like this too often anymore.

  11. Wayne

    Bkyrdhero, my mistake. ( this is what happens sometimes when you get old like me) the 2.8 is the Cologne V6. Man I hate when s__t like that happens.
    Sorry to have led you down the garden path.
    I will have to refrain from making comments until after about 12 noon when I am fully awake.

    Like 1
  12. Miguel

    I will never have another 3.8 V6 in anything.

    Lucky for me all Mustangs of this era in Mexico came with V8 engines. They didn’t even offer the 4 or 6 cylinder options.

  13. Hkpower

    Let the owner email me i want to buy it

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