Restored Driver: 1989 Ford Mustang GT

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Another day, another super clean Fox body up for grabs. Even with a decent supply of these 1980s muscle cars seemingly always up for grabs, I never tire of seeing a clean one come up for sale. And if you want the most classic of Fox bodies, going for a late 80s model with the hatchback and the turbine-style wheels is the way to go, in my opinion. This 1989 Mustang GT listed has been substantially restored with fresh paint and a rebuilt drivetrain, so it sounds like it’s about as turnkey as it gets. Find the Mustang here on craigslist for $17,500 and located in Washington state.

Truth be told, I do wonder about some of these quasi-restorations. Surely, with a paint job and significantly refreshed drivetrain, there has to be over $10,000 into this car. And as anyone who has restored a car knows, there’s easily $3,000 – $5,000 in incidental expenses. So, you figure there’s $15,000 into this Mustang at the moment with a $17,000 asking price, and the first real offer is going to be $1,000 off your bottom line! Regardless, as someone who has been in too deep on projects multiple times, it’s often not about the ROI and just about improving a car that deserves a face lift. Given the seller claims this is an accident-free Mustang with clean sheetmetal, I’m guessing it was an honest specimen that responded well to a few weeks in the spa. The interior is certainly in beautiful condition.

In addition to the recent paint job, the Mustang has been given a new lease on life under the hood as well. It features your bread-and-butter 5.0L V8 with a new Cobra top end. In addition, the seller has rebuilt the rear end and the automatic transmission. There are numerous upgrades as well, including a Street Terminator “Lock-Up” valve body for manual shifting; a Trick Flow aluminum high-capacity transmission pan; a BBK H-pipe with high-flow cats; ARP head studs; a ’93 Cobra intake; Maximum Motorsports sub-frame connectors; and much, much more.

In my initial rough math, I didn’t even factor in upgrades and other enhancements! Taking all the budget talk out of the conversation, this seems like a very well put together driver that looks absolutely killer. The performance upgrades aren’t in your face – the enhancements are very subtle but meaningful – and the good news is that all told, you’ll have a Mustang that should be quite reliable for years to come. The seller does note that the wheels need paint, which isn’t obvious in the photos. and that the A/C evaporator has a pinhole leak (is that component behind the dash?) So, you definitely have some bargaining room on this refreshed Fox body, assuming the seller is a reasonable guy.

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  1. Aussie Dave Aussie DaveMember

    Ok, you got me.
    It’s a Stang!!!!
    It’s a V8!!!!!
    It’s black, mmmmm
    But you lost me, it’s an automatic 😭

    Like 12
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Jeff, your points about restoration costs are well-founded, even for a nice Fox Body (like this) which fetches solid dollars in today’s market.

    Like 5
  3. Charles Atlas

    I dare say this’89 Mustang will go nicely with my White ’86 Escort 4 speed.

    Like 18
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      You changed your commentary.

      Like 2
  4. Bakyrdhero BakyrdheroMember

    As much as I’ve always loved a black 5.0 LX hatchback, I’m a sucker for the turbine’s and the GT taillights. It’s almost a guilty pleasure.

    Like 8
  5. ClassicCarFan

    Yep, I’m with you Aussie Dave – this car checks the box for many desirable Mustang must-have features, but the automatic is a real downer.

    I’ve never understood why someone buying a Mustang, especially the GT version, goes for an automatic. I guess there are a lot of folks out there who never learn to drive stick? Looking at the long list of performance mods (some good choices there, in my opinion, having carried out similar upgrade process for a track Mustang recently) you assume that the current owner, or some previous owner was a keen driving enthusiast, so hard to understand why they’d opt for an automatic – you are losing so much of the driving experience by not shifting for yourself ?

    Still, it is a nice example and no doubt there’s a buyer out there for it. Judging by the historic sales of recent Mustangs, stick-shift drivers sadly in the minority.

    Like 4
    • Steve H

      If you live in the city with heavy stop and go traffic an auto looks really nice.

      Like 8
      • FrankTA2

        Agree 100%, I live in New York City!

        Like 0
    • Aussie Dave Aussie DaveMember

      Totally agree, a GT is only a real GT in a manual.

      Like 1

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