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Spotless Survivor: 1988 Ford Mustang LX

Nicely preserved examples of the Fox-Body Mustang are continuing to grow in popularity, and this 1988 LX Hatchback does appear to be a good one. It is said to be original and unmolested and sports the wonderful little Ford V8 engine under the hood. The Mustang is located in Woodruff, South Carolina, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $10,800, and at that price, the reserve has been met.

The Mustang is finished in Scarlet Red, and while this is purely personal taste, I think that this is one of the nicest colors that Ford ever applied to a Fox-Body. The paint itself looks to be in really nice condition, while the panels appear to be as straight as an arrow. The owner claims that the Mustang is rust-free, and there are certainly no obvious issues in this area. The original alloy wheels have survived nicely, with no signs of any staining or damage. With the external trim and the glass in a similar condition to the rest of the vehicle’s exterior, it’s pretty hard to find much to be critical of with this car.

I get the impression when I look around this Mustang that it has been someone’s very cherished baby. The reason that I say this is because it is so nicely preserved. I know that it isn’t a terribly old car, but when you look at cars from the 1980s with the sheer quantity of plastic and cloth trim that you received during that time, finding brittle and cracking plastic, along with faded and frayed cloth, is a pretty normal occurrence. We don’t strike any of these issues with the Mustang, with the red interior appearing to be close to faultless. The cloth on the seats is free of tears or fading, while the carpet is free of significant stains or scuffs. The plastic looks really nice, while the rear seat and cargo area look like they have had little use over the past 31-years. There are no aftermarket additions to the Mustang’s interior, but you do receive air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player.

There were two engine choices available to new Mustang buyers in 1988, and the more desirable of these was the 302ci “HO” V8. This fuel-injected unit sent its 225hp to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. This combination resulted in a car with pretty reasonable levels of performance. It was capable of knocking over 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds, while a ¼ mile was despatched in 14.9 seconds. You only have to compare those sorts of figures to what cars like the Mustang, Trans Am, and the Camaro were producing less than a decade earlier to realize just how fast manufacturers had managed to get their heads around fuel-injection and electronic engine management systems. There were plenty of performance enthusiasts who were grateful for this, and things have only continued to improve to this day. Looking around under the hood of this Mustang reveals an engine bay that presents quite nicely for a car of this age. It isn’t perfect, but it is still neat and tidy. The owner says that the car runs and drives really well and that it has been meticulously maintained since new. If this is true, and the owner’s claim that the Mustang has a genuine 88,000 miles on its odometer can be verified, then this is a car that should have plenty of life left in it yet.

This 1988 Mustang LX is a car that presents nicely, and with the HO engine and manual transmission, it has the most desirable of drive-trains. The Fox-Body Mustangs are an interesting proposition as a collectible, because a few years ago, I made the decision that when I reach retirement age, I would park a V8 example in my workshop because they were an affordable classic. Today, they remain affordable, but values are steadily rising. I suspect that by the time that I am in the market for one, they will probably be out of my reach. With that in mind, now would seem like a good time to consider investing in a 1980s classic.


  1. Stevieg

    In the writers statement that it isn’t a terribly old car, we need to remember it actually is over 30 years old now.
    It is in very nice, well preserved condition, especially for the age. Someone will be very happy to drive it in 2020!

    Like 6
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      I still have my ’89 LX 5.0 that I purchased new – the only new car I’ve ever bought for myself – and I remember realizing at some point that they’ve been making Mustangs for more years AFTER my ’89 (30+ years and counting) than the years preceding the 25th Anniversary model year in ’89. That seems incredible! I simply considered the ’89 to be “an old car” then one day someone at work said “You need to hold onto that car; it’s a classic!” I just about spit out my coffee. Now I would never sell it, and I drive it every chance I get, nearly 10,000 miles last year. 242k on original motor, clutch, glass, and more. One head gasket, one tie rod end otherwise just maintenance items. Thanks for a nice write-up Adam!

      Like 14
  2. dirtyharry

    Owner deserves an award for car care. These rolled into our shop with the owners wanting more power. Change the intake, advance timing 5 degrees, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, cold can, headers got you real close to 12 seconds with the drag axle and some sticky tires. I was racing my 67 Mustang 390 drag car at the time and getting beat up, from cars we tuned no less. Great find Adam, buy it now.

    Like 7
  3. socaljoe

    Wow, hard to believe these are 30 years old. Car looks great, I agree with Dirty Harry!

    Like 2
    • steve

      You are correct, seats have been changed. It also has been repainted.

      Like 1
  4. Superdessucke

    As one minor issue, my memory says that the sport seats did not come on the LX 5.0 until 1989, when Ford made the LX 5.0 its own model (versus an engine package) and substantially raised the price. It included those seats to try to justify the price increase. I recall this vividly because I was going to buy one in 1989, LOL! So if that’s correct, then those seats are not original, unless they were somehow available as an option?

    Like 3
  5. Jack M.

    Rear window louvers are a nice bonus. You should clean up the workshop and snatch this one up Adam!

    Like 3
  6. JoeNYWF64

    Could you get a solid dark or even medium mostly BLUE or TAN interior on this gen? All i ever remember seeing was a drab grey interior.

    Like 1
  7. z28th1s

    Very nice car!

    The seats are from a ’90-’93 because they have the small headrests. The ’87-’89 high back buckets had the large headrests.

    The ’87-’89 fabric also had a different pattern.

    Like 0
  8. Kevin Baker

    I bought an ‘88 dealer repo 5.0LX 5-speed in October of 1988. White with a blue interior. It had just over 5,000 miles on it. Purchase price was $10,800. Wish I still had it.

    Like 0
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $10,900.

    Like 0

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