Rust-Free Fox: 1988 Ford Mustang LX

Dry climates like the one found in Arizona are great for preserving the sheet-metal of classic cars. It can exact a toll elsewhere, and that is the case with this 1988 Mustang LX. This is a rust-free survivor, although the paint and some of the interior trim has paid the price for life under the sun. It is mechanically strong, and would really benefit from a simple cosmetic restoration. If you are searching for the sort of restoration project that you can tackle in your own garage or workshop, then this is a car that is definitely worth a serious look. It is located in Tucson, Arizona, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has been extremely strong on the Mustang and has pushed the price along to $6,200. The reserve is now met, so the Ford is set to go to a new home very soon.

Tackling what can’t be seen first, and the owner supplies some pretty respectable photos of the Mustang’s underside. This looks as clean and solid as you are ever likely to find, with no signs of any rust issues. The same would appear to be true of the panels, with no visible rust anywhere. There is some panel damage, and this was inflicted upon the driver’s side front fender and door in a parking lot skirmish. Naturally, we are talking about a low-speed impact here, so the damage is superficial. Both panels could be repaired, but with replacement parts being extremely affordable, that might be the more economical path to follow. The owner refers to the paint color as being Regatta Blue, but the tag identifies it as Medium Shadow Blue. Regardless of what the truth is, the paint is certainly pretty heavily baked, and a respray will almost certainly be on the cards. Most surprisingly, the external plastic has survived quite well, and I feel that it should all respond positively to some light restoration work. The alloy wheels are looking pretty stained, and I guess that it will be a case of either having them restored or maybe choosing to replace them.

It is probably no surprise to learn that the Arizona sun has exacted its heaviest toll on the interior trim. Having said that, when you take into consideration the fact that we are talking about notoriously fragile 1980s plastic, it doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as it could potentially have been. The worst affected areas are the dash and the console, but I really believe that the worst of the damage could be addressed with dye, as there are no signs of any significant cracks. There is one piece of padding on the passenger side of the dash that looks like it might require replacement, while the front seat covers and the carpet are probably in the same boat. The rear seat has avoided noticeable fading and sun-rot, while the door trims and rear plastic also look surprisingly good. As far as comfort and convenience features are concerned, the Mustang comes equipped with air conditioning an AM/FM radio/cassette player, and cruise.

It is what we find under the hood that tends to make this Mustang a fairly attractive proposition. In this case, there is a 5.0-liter “HO” V8, backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. With a very healthy 255hp at its disposal, the 3,038lb Ford is a fairly spritely performer. Capable of covering the ¼ mile in a very respectable 15 seconds, it could still wind out to a top speed of 131mph. The Mustang is a numbers-matching car, it has been properly serviced throughout its life, and has 80,000 miles showing on its odometer. As a bit of a bonus, the transmission has been recently rebuilt. The owner says that it runs and drives well, and really gets moving when you bury the right foot. He does mention a knock in the front end, which could be an issue with suspension bushes or the struts. Isolating that will be pretty easy, and rectifying the fault shouldn’t be expensive.

As far as restoration projects are concerned, this 1988 Mustang would appear to be about as straightforward as they come. These are a pretty reasonable car, because thanks to their light overall weight, they can really provide some impressive performance figures. It seems that I’m not alone in this opinion, because there have already been 53 bids submitted up to this point. The big question is, will you be submitting the 54th?


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  1. Oregon_Guy78

    I never see the 4 cylinder fox body stangs on here. I remember them being very affordable in the early 90’s. I thought this might be one at first glance.

    Like 2
  2. whmracer99

    Hmmmm — wonder what happened to the carpet for the rear seats and in the trunk. Also odd that it needed a transmission rebuild after being “….owned buy an older folks its whole life.” Can’t argue with the detail in the pictures and certainly if you were going to restore or hotrod one of these you couldn’t start with a more solid foundation. $6400 with about 12 hours left.

    Like 3
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Seller put some serious effort into the ebay ad. It seems to me that should translate into more and better bids. Parts availability for these has gotten better and a refurbishment or restoration should be a straightforward project. Cleaned up and improved, this would be a cool 5.0 Fox Body in a less-common color.

    Like 1
  4. lc

    I think my 90 Stang lx hatch is way cleaner than this one just not as original since it had the aspirated 4 banger swapped with a 2.3 turbo 4 banger from an 84 Turbo Coupe. If I had an offer like this on mine, I don’t think I would hesitate on letting it go even though I do like this particular stang I have. 8 cylinders are in demand in the collector car world; that’s just the way it is. And that is why you don’t see 4 banger Stangs on this site.

    Like 2
  5. StanT Member

    Lack of rain means lots of sun, and paint fade. And if you need a scantily clad so-so looking female to help market the car, what’s the deal?

    I had an ’88 LX 5.0 convertible with a 5-speed and 3.73 rear in the same color blue, with a dark blue top. It was a blast. Sold it to buy a practical family car. Such is life.

    Like 2
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    To me, this is already over priced. It’s just a pretty worn out Mustang with an automatic transmission, nothing special, V8 included.

    Plus, the Vehicle History indicates some questionable mileage reports.

    Like 1
  7. Brian K

    I thought these were 225hp. Look at that bone stock engine bay. You won’t find any rust under those shock towers.The blue interior was the deal breaker back in the day but, now I love them. It brings me back to a time that you just don’t see much anymore.

    Like 1
  8. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    If you look past the woman in her underwear, you can see a DMC 12 with the gullwing doors raised. Wonder what’s up with that?

  9. Stevieg

    How come there are only 2 pictures in the ad now? What happened to the rest?
    I doubt it is 80,000 original miles, but whether it is or not, this is a fairly affordable entry point for this body style without going to a Fairmont. Bonus! It has a V-8 already (where are the 5.0 emblems on the front fenders?) & a rebuilt transmission.
    These had the 5 digit odometer, so stating the miles on the dash means nothing lol.
    My son, good kid…but not the sharpest knife lol, once bought a car with a 5 digit odometer. The odometer read 30,000 and something miles. By looking at the beat down war horse, it was obviously over 100,000 miles. He saw the first digit was a 3 and thought it had over 300,000 miles on it. I told him to count the digits lol.
    He asked me how many miles it had, and how you could tell. I explained there is no way to know the miles other than to take off a rim, torch it in half & count the rings lol.

    Like 1
    • Mark C

      He’s got the photos under the “more information” area. I’ll give the seller credit for providing quite a lot of them too. Looks like his girlfriend is searching for her shirt, however.

      Like 1
      • Stevieg

        I should have clicked on the “more info” box. Thank you. I will go back & look.

  10. Stevieg

    By the way, I think I would take the car for full price if it included the chick in the miniskirt & bra…just sayin’!

    Like 1
  11. Stevieg

    Drivers side fender & door both look pretty rough, not a big deal to find replacements since the car needs paint any how.
    After a couple more views of the chick, he can keep her.

  12. Steve S

    I still think they got a caviler and took the trunk off it and added it to the rear end of a mustang when they built this crappy body style of mustang. The hatch back model looks a lot better than this body style ever will.

  13. Howard A Member

    I’m sure people tire of my ’88 5.0 LX stories. To simplify, it was a POS. Oh, oh, is that the heater core leaking, Fritz?

    Like 1

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