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Puzzling History: 1984 Mustang LX 5.0

Hard to believe that a mid-80s Mustang is now nearly a forty-year-old car, but with time, even cars like this 1984 Mustang LX 5.0-liter have become the subject of collector nostalgia and desire. Hence it is that this one can find itself here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $14,000 and more than 70 people watching to see what happens. But the red flags are waving all over the place, and that, more than the car itself, is perhaps why it’s worthy of a Barn Finds writeup.

This Mustang represents one of three body styles for 1984: Hatchback (or 3-door Sedan, per Ford), Coupe, and Convertible. Not as aggressive on the outside as the GT, the car still benefits from the availability of the 5.0-liter engine in a smooth and even luxurious trim level called the LX. (GL and GLX nameplates were dropped starting in 1984. The base L model was available until 1985.) The addition of the “T-Roof” option makes it a fun summer cruiser without the disadvantages of a convertible top. But before you jump up with your bidder’s paddle, note some oddities of history which need to be resolved, not the least, perhaps, with your state DMV office.

To start is the claim that the car has been living most of its life at the Ford Factory in Newport Beach, CA. This is seemingly at odds with the claim, later, that it has been on an Arizona dealer showroom floor for the past 20 years. The included Marti Report does name DSO 89, which apparently is an indication of Ford Transportation Services (company) use. Who drove this car, and, as you’ll see below, how much, is quite up for discussion. Further, why did the engine need to be replaced with a remanufactured 1985-vintage roller motor? For performance, or maybe because the miles were not a simple 48,000? The AutoCheck vehicle history report seems to indicate so, and good of the seller to include it, but it’s more puzzling than comforting to read that there’s a title issue and possibly odometer problem. The car is also noted to have had a repaint. Not strange for a four-decades-old car, but something to take into account when prospective buyers factor its value.

Also to be mulled over is the fact that the car has had about $20,000 spent on it over the years given how original it appears. This is proved with receipts, but I wonder despite how clean it looks why this much investment was necessary? (Paint and the 1985 engine?) And how does this square with the fact that it is said to have been owned by a Ford master mechanic? Putting these questions aside, the video shows a smooth-running car that brings back the sound of those 80s V8s. As such, it might be an interesting addition to a collection as a representative of its era, or a good driver for someone who is happy to make others smile by piloting an “I used to have one of those” machine.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I agree Brian, reading the ebay verbiage leaves one confused. Some of the info doesn’t make sense. That said, it’s a nice-looking well-equipped four-eye Fox, and being an LX makes it a bit different. Most buyers I suspect would prefer a manual.

    Like 9
  2. Frank D Member

    The stories get wilder and stranger as time goes on in the car business.

    Like 1
  3. Wayne

    As long as it has not been crunched or has under carriage issues. (damage or rust) AND the title can be straightened out, then the price is still a little high.
    I never liked “T” tops anyway. As an aside, the creation of the Ford Technical Service Bulletin (TSBs) program was started because of “T” top leaks and fitment! (As told to me by the guy who wrote the Ford warranty manual.)

    Like 1
  4. Squigly

    I have never know a t-top not to leak, plus you also get body flex. Too bad, as they are pretty nice when new.

    Like 3
  5. Boatman Member

    That was a great hook, Brian! Got me to click.

    This goes to show that sometimes sellers say too much.

    • Brian Kennedy Staff

      Thanks for this! I still can’t puzzle this one out, honestly. As the kids say, “TMI”–Too Much Information! that’s too contradictory in this listing. After all, the car is only from the 80s-it’s not the world’s last 1956 Ferrari or something :)

      Like 1
  6. Howie

    I would post a photo with the T tops off, i also see a Honda trail 70 in the garage.

    Like 1
  7. Michael Berkemeier

    Too bad it’s a crappy EFI engine with an automatic…if it were a 5-speed car it would’ve been a Holley 4V car and would have actually been fun to drive.

    Like 3
  8. tiger66

    There is no “Ford factory” in Newport Beach CA and never has been. Ford used to have corporate offices — not a factory — in Irvine CA for its Premier Auto Group (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, etc.) but that was phased out nearly 15 years ago and Ford has no offices there now. PAG was started in 1999 and disbanded in 2008 so there is no way a 1984 car — already 15 years old when PAG started — could have spent “most of its life” there, assuming it was ever there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that there is no indication the car was ever owned anywhere outside AZ.

    Like 3
    • Brian Kennedy Staff

      That was my first thought. I’ve been in Newport a lot and don’t remember a Ford Factory nestled amongst the beach homes of the rich. But comment contributor Mike has his facts in order.

      Like 1
  9. Mike

    The Marti Report states a company lease plan, the dealer being Ford Motor Co. on Ford Road in Newport Beach, as well as noting Aerontr Div.

    The Ford Aeronutronic Division plant was located at that address. Its not a huge leap to make in that someone who worked there or the division itself leased the car.

    May also help connect the dots to sitting at a Ford dealer for the past 20 years, although there is a pretty big gap between the lease return and when it made its way to a dealer. I wonder if a Carfax would shed any light on the history.

    Like 4
    • Brian Kennedy Staff

      Interesting conundrum anyway!

    • tiger66

      The missile plant connection makes sense, since there was no auto factory in Newport, though it was sold by Ford in 1990 and gone by the mid-90s (multimillion-dollar houses there today) so still no way the car spent “most of its life” at the factory. Possible leasing by the plant or someone who worked there — an aerospace engineer, maybe — is an interesting idea.

      Like 1

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