Turbo Survivor: 1985 Ford Mustang SVO

That the 1985 Ford Mustang SVO was not the sales success that Ford had hoped for could be attributed to numerous factors. One factor that wasn’t an issue was the car’s performance, because not only could the SVO keep pace with its GT brother in a straight line, but its lighter weight and more nimble handling meant that is easily outshone the GT when the going got twisty. This Mustang SVO is one of only 1,954 cars that were sold during the 1985 model year, and it appears to be in very nice condition. Located in Concord, North Carolina, you will find the Mustang listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN has been set at $15,000, but there is the option to make an offer.

I’ve always liked the styling of the Fox-body Mustang in hatchback form, and that means that I like the look of this car. The smooth front-end treatment of the car is distinctive and assisted the car’s overall aerodynamic efficiency. The spotless Black paint has a nice shine to it, with no signs of any significant dents or dings. The SVO was also the first Fox-body Mustang to wear 5-lug wheels, and the distinctive alloy wheels that are fitted to the car appear to be in good condition. Those wheels weren’t just about looks, because they were also designed to be aerodynamically efficient, and to improve brake cooling.

The SVO wasn’t the first Mustang to feature a turbocharged engine, but it was certainly the best and most successful to that point. The 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine featured electronic fuel injection, a Garrett T03 turbocharger, and an air-to-air intercooler. The result was an engine that in 1985 produced an impressive 205hp. That power was sent to the 7½” limited-slip rear end via a Tremec T-5 manual transmission. The SVO had the distinction of being the first Fox-body Mustang to wear 4-wheel disc brakes, with the rear items being sourced from the Lincoln Mk VII LSC parts bin. The SVO also featured plenty of Koni suspension technology, and with a significantly lighter weight than the Mustang GT (by about 150lbs), the SVO was very nimble in the corners. Straight-line performance was also pretty respectable, with a 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds, and a ¼ mile ET of 15.2 seconds. The engine in this car presents quite well, but how it performs is an open question. The owner appears to be a person of very few words, with the entire description of the car running to six words. What he does indicate in the listing is the fact that the car has only accumulated 45,000 miles since new, and its general condition would seem to indicate that this could be right.

Unfortunately, the owner of the SVO is not just a person of few words, but of few pictures as well. There is only one shot of the interior, and while it generally conveys the impression that the condition is quite good, it doesn’t really provide a lot of specifics. The grey upholstery on the seats looks like it is in decent condition, with only a bit of wrinkling on the outer seat edges. It appears that the outer edges of the seats have avoided the sort of wear that can be so common with heavily bolstered seats. The dash looks to be in good condition, as does the carpet. The leather-wrapped wheel on the SVO could be susceptible to deterioration under the hot sun as the leather could dry out. This one looks to be in very good condition.

This 1985 Mustang SVO looks to be in good condition, and if it goes as well as it looks, it would be an entertaining car to own and drive. With such a relatively low build number, they don’t come onto the market that often. When they do, prices can vary between $12,000 and $20,000, depending on the condition. If this one turns out to be as good upon personal inspection as it appears to be in the photos, then it could potentially be a pretty good buy.


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  1. Arthell64 Member

    Again this car is a lot cheaper than trying to fix some old rust bucket. Appears to be a nice car.

    Like 10
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I’ve always liked these. In some ways, a bit ahead of their time. They make for a solid collectible if you like Fox Body Mustangs.

    Sure wish the owner would spend a few minutes providing a description of the car, its strengths and weaknesses, etc.

    Like 7
  3. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Um, this has to be the most terse description for a car I have ever seen on eBay:

    “1985 Ford Mustang . Condition is Used. ”

    That’s it? Come on… The seller can’t be the owner. Look at the pro-style display data info poster seen in a show venue photo. Heck, this lister has NO feedback as a seller, after 2 and a half years with an account.

    Looks like a very nice car. A lot of fun for the $15K.

    Like 9
  4. Bear

    I firmly believe that the Seller’s original detailed description was simply, “Car.” :-P

    Like 11
  5. jerry z

    This is technically a 1985 1/2 SVO Mustang. Mid-year they made some engine mods and bumped up the horsepower to 200. Also changed to the aero headlights. I drove a few of these when I worked at a Ford dealership in 85-86. Slug till 3K RPM’s, then the fun begins!

    Like 8
    • Stangalang

      I agree with Jerry Z…( did yall catch that lol) the SVO and the XR4Ti had to be spun pretty hard..then you might want to hold on when the pressure hits you..I’ve had both cars and a lot of fun…also a few tickets

      Like 6
  6. CJinSD

    These are great cars to stick a built Windsor with aluminum heads into. You’d probably need to build up a good back axle or get one from a little Lincoln, but the finished car will weigh about the same and combine all the interior, suspension and brake upgrades with the engine these cars deserved in the first place. The turbo fours keep them cheaper than any GTs in remotely similar condition, making them an easy choice for a performance build. Just doing the bodywork and paint on a Fox that was used instead of stored will cost as much as a pristine SVO donor car. Preserving these bodies may have been turbocharging’s highest purpose.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      agreed, and you get a free boat anchor after the swap.

      Like 1
  7. Troy s

    Had things been different back in the eighties, like higher CAFE standards killing off anymore V8’s from both Ford and GM and more or less forcing turbo 4’s and possibly V6 engines as the top runners, maybe this might have been a better selling car. The idea of a hopped up 302 right down to the exhaust note was and still is just more appealing in American pony cars. Remember, these SVO Mustangs were pricey back when new, why bother? To this day, especially the new Stang, it’s the righteous growl out of the tailpipes practically by itself that brings grins ear to ear…even amongst the stuffiest of sports car guys who usually detested all muscle cars.

    Like 1

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