Tired But Stock: 1990 Ford Mustang GT

What’s better: a completely stock car clearly left to the elements, or a modified car that’s been kept under a cover in enclosed storage? That’s the question in front of you when considering this 1990 Ford Mustang GT. Sure, it’s hard to find a cheap Fox Body that hasn’t been “enhanced” with numerous aftermarket modifications, but are the cosmetic needs too great on this Florida barn find? Check it out here on eBay where bidding is over $2,700 with no reserve.

While it’s not difficult to find a Mustang in the hatchback configuration, a stock GT with the 5-speed manual for under $5K takes more effort to track down. However, it’s clear to me this Mustang has been baking in the Florida sunshine, with its clearcoat burned off and plenty of other indications of heavy weather exposure. The seller reports this is a genuine one-owner Mustang, which begs the question as to what happened in the last few years of their ownership.

Here’s where my “prolonged sun exposure” theory goes out the window: check out that interior. The bucket seats are darn near mint, and the steering wheel and dash surfaces look quite clean as well. The carpets show some signs of use and the missing passenger-side door panel begs the question as to what failed to make its removal necessary. The seller notes the A/C still works, which is the sort of thing you’d find in a car still being called upon for daily use.

The 5.0L V8 is said to still run and drive well, but the seller will perform some basic maintenance updates before the next owner takes possession; this includes a new cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and fluids changed. While I realize this Mustang will need plenty of work just to bring the cosmetics back, I will always choose a tired project like this over buying someone else’s pride and joy. Which would you choose?


  1. RoughDiamond

    I guess someone needed a driver’s side door handle and passenger’s side door panel. I’d put a driver’s side door handle on and drive it like I stole it while looking for the replacement door panel.

    Like 9
    • Steve

      Rough: The door handles are notoriously weak, the right lasts longer due to less use. I bet the right handle is on the drivers door now. Ask mme how I know! haha.

      Like 9
      • Fiete T.

        Yellow bumper covers…sure sign those are after market

  2. Capriest

    The “all stock” aspect doesn’t really add value to me, as I wouldn’t be able to leave it stock myself. The next owner of this likely won’t either. As long as it isn’t butchered mods don’t bother me. Especially bolt ons. It’s cosmetic mods that bother me most. I certainly don’t mind if someone replaces an inferior stock part with a better aftermarket one though.

    This should be an easy project. These are very simple to work on and EVERYTHING is available from multiple vendors. That door panel will be an easy find as those red interiors were hated by the mid 90’s and everyone with them was converting it to black or gray. Thus used red interior parts are the cheapest for fox mustangs. Whoever buys this will be spending a lot of time on LMR.com fo sho

    Like 10
    • Sal E

      From my personal experience restoring an 84 GT, it’s way cheaper to buy a car in good original condition or with some light mods than one like this here. That may not pertain to all cars, but definitely fox mustangs…for now.

      Like 1
  3. Superdessucke

    I actually think sun damage is a reasonable theory. The carpeting on the passenger side is sun bleached almost to white.

    Neat find but I wonder what condition all the rubber components are in being exposed to all that heat over all those years.

    Like 3
  4. Troy s

    While he’s at it maybe he could change the in tank fuel pump too. Hated that on mine, left me in the middle of an intersection when it went to sleep.
    I’ve dealt with three 5.0’s, my ’86 5 speed and my girlfriend’s 90 LX coupe and ’92 LX hatch of course hers were automatics. Friend of mine used to borrow yet one more LX hatch back that was a bit souped. They’re great little cars, especially the 5 speeds, but some upgrades really enhance the driving experience.
    They were the best bang for the buck when new and started a whole new aftermarket explosion of parts and how-to magazines, maybe the most popular high performance Ford ever. Buy this for the driving experience and for the tuneability, plenty of stuff out there to make it really solid.

    Like 8
  5. AR

    Tune-up, replace what’s missing or broken, CLEAN the interior, pass inspection, no paint, daily drive.

    Like 2
  6. CJinSD

    I remember paint falling off of Ford and Chrysler bumpers and fascias revealing yellow primer or material beneath, but that doesn’t explain why the headlights are yellow.

    Here’s a pro-tip for Fox-body Mustang enthusiasts: Buy a Mustang SVO. None of them have many miles because of the silly turbo engines. Many were put away new waiting for appreciation that never occurred. I just saw a low-mileage, garage-stored bad investment SVO sell for $5,200. For that you’re getting the best brakes, axles, seats, and chassis parts ever put on a Fox by Ford. Swap in a Windsor V8 and you’ll have the great Mustang that Ford was too stupid to sell for the cost of getting a beat up Mustang GT into paint.

    Like 4
  7. Wayne

    CJinSD,even though the rear axle had disc brakes. It was a 7.5, not an 8.8. I asked a Ford engineer about that and he said it was to keep the rear suspension unsprung weight down. (Too bad the Koni shocks were installed instead of Bilsteins, then the concern over how the car rode and handled would have made sense.) I drove an SVO with “soft setting” Bilstein shocks. ( when they had 2 or 3 valving sets available) It was a completely different car. Kind of like a firm suspension BMW. The car felt very agile and compliant, but still very responsive. It was a joy to drive, instead of having to try and pick the smoothest part of the road at all times. Also, the springs and sway bars are different, so I agree with the above statement. But the SVO front springs would be too soft for a 5.0 conversion. (I would be inclined to install a pair of stock 5.0 springs up front, and the heim-joint style rear upper control arm bushings and call it good.) Also adjust the Koni shocks to almost full soft.
    I love the SVO ( have one) and the 5.0 ( have one) and with the aftermarket items available ( sub-frame connectors, anti chassis flex reinforcements, lighter weight/stronger suspension parts and stainless steel brake lines) you can have a very nice riding and handling car. A true GT with power and low cost of entry and upkeep.

    Like 4
    • CJinSD

      That’s good information. I didn’t realize the pumpkin on the SVO was so small. They were claiming similar output for the SVO, so I’d have thought it would have as strong an axle, especially with the five-bolt hubs the GTs were missing. I do think that if you were to build a Windsor with aluminum heads, it would weigh no more than the SVO’s stock turbocharged Pinto 2.3.

      Like 1
  8. Wayne

    I think I remember somewhere that even with aluminum heads the weight penalty was about 150 lbs. Having moved around both engines I would tend to agree with that number. It had been about 10 or 12 years since I had been playing with 2.3s and had been playing with 5.0s and our race car engines ( Renault 1.7 and 2.0) for several years. I started to fix up old Rangers to support my race car habit since I retired and have had to rebuild a couple of 2.3s. I was amazed ( forgotten ) how robust the 2.3s are. No wonder that they can handle way more boost than I have ever run on. ( 17 lbs most of the time)
    Not the smoothest engines around. But can handle tons of boost and abuse.

    Like 1
    • Lonnie Cavenee

      Wasn’t impressed by the 2.3 in our 79 Ghia but heard the turbo version was a real runner. My bro in law had an 87 T Bird Turbo Coupe with a 5 spd and that 2.3 made a believer out of me. It was smooth too with those hydraulic motor mounts. Ford can do it right when they want to.

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