V8/4-Speed: 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Car Edition

Being selected to supply the Pace Car for the annual Indianapolis 500 carries prestige. Despite its enormous sales success, it is an honor bestowed on Ford’s Mustang a mere three times. The second of those occasions was in 1979, and the company elected to leverage the achievement by releasing 10,478 Pace Car Replicas. Buyers could select two different engines, but only 2,402 combined the V8 option with a four-speed manual transmission. Our feature car is one of those vehicles, and its presentation is hard to fault. It has led a sheltered life, but the seller feels the time is right for it to find a new home. Therefore they have listed it here on eBay in Miami, Florida. Their BIN is $30,900, although there is the option to make an offer.

For 1979, Ford offered the Pace Car Edition in a single color combination of Pewter Metallic and Black. They added a distinctive set of stripes, while buyers could elect whether or not they applied the vinyl signage and graphics included with their new purchase. The original owner decided to do so, and the graphics look crisp and free from checking and shrinkage. The paint shines superbly, coating panels that are flawless. The gaps are tight and consistent, rating as some of the best I’ve seen on a Mustang of this vintage. The seller indicates the car has been garage-kept throughout its life, helping to explain its rust-free status and lack of visible UV damage. Life on warm days would be pleasant with the glass sunroof open, while the rear window louver is an excellent period touch. The Mustang wears its original distinctive alloy wheels free from stain and damage. They say it garners plenty of attention when displayed at a Cars & Coffee, and I find that claim easy to believe.

The 1979 Pace Car’s interior possessed the “wow” factor when new, which remains striking today. The seller indicates the seats received a retrim in their correct material, and they appear faultless. The heavily-bolstered outer front seat edges show no wear, which is a significant positive since that area is one of the more prone. The carpet is spotless, the dash is immaculate, and there are no signs of crumbling plastic. A cursory glance suggests no aftermarket additions, but this isn’t accurate. Somebody has swapped aftermarket gauges into the factory gauge cluster. While they don’t look out of place, I’m probably not alone wishing the original items were intact. There are no further changes, with the car retaining its original radio/cassette player and leather-wrapped sports wheel. If the fresh air provided by the sunroof doesn’t provide enough cooling on hot days, the original owner’s decision to order the car with air conditioning is a welcome one.

While Ford offered three drivetrain combinations for the 1979 Pace Car Edition, the most desirable was the V8/four-speed. That is what the original owner selected, with this car being 1-of-2,402 so equipped. When this Mustang was new, Ford hadn’t begun delving into the world of fuel injection or electronic engine management systems, so its 5.0-liter V8 pumps out a modest 140hp. However, with a total weight of a mere 2,850lbs, the Pace Car should cover the ¼ mile in 16.5 seconds. It wouldn’t take long for the Mustang to produce power that would blow that figure ten feet in the air, but there was nothing wrong with that ET in 1979. The addition of aftermarket headers and a complete dual exhaust on this car may have boosted power slightly, offering a more rewarding driving experience. The engine bay presentation is as excellent as the rest of the vehicle, and it doesn’t flatter to deceive. The seller states the car drives exceptionally well, and this YouTube video confirms that V8 sounds as strong as an ox.

While the 1979 Mustang Pace Car Edition was not particularly rare, this car possesses the most desirable drivetrain combination Ford offered. Apart from the aftermarket gauges and exhaust headers, it remains an unmolested classic that presents superbly. However, is its overall condition good enough to justify the BIN price? Admittedly, it does sit at the top end of the market, but it appears to need nothing. Even if the price proves more than many people might initially be willing to pay, it is worth considering this Mustang as a long-term investment prospect. Like most Fox-Bodies, values are growing faster than the classic market average. Even if the price seems steep, the next owner could quickly find themselves with an appreciating asset. Until that happens, they will be able to slip behind the wheel of a car that offers a rewarding driving experience and one that could still turn head on the street or at a Cars & Coffee. I’m not sure whether the seller will achieve their price, but with ninety people watching the listing, I think it is possible.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Thanks for the thorough write-up Adam. It’s really nice, but I too would prefer the original gauges (though the aftermarket ones do look good) and the original TRX wheels (or the repro 16″ versions). These Pace Cars are not particularly hard to find, as opposed to the 1979 Cobra which is rarely seen. The 302 4-speed is the preferred powertrain. I’m not sure the prices are at the ask yet.

    Like 10
  2. markp

    The later model wheels don’t look bad. I think they would look great painted to match the body which would be interpreted as a period correct customization.

    Like 6
  3. John Niessen

    Those are not the original TRX wheels/tires. If someone wants a truly original (except for a repaint) version of the V8/4 speed, I have one for less than that available.

    Like 7
    • Ike Onick

      Then you should pay Barn Finds for an ad and sell it the right way.

      Like 13
  4. Aaron

    It has obviously had a re paint, as the good scoop should not be a gloss black. Had one back when I was 16, however it was the turbo 4.

    Like 5
  5. Todd Zuercher

    As others noted, those aren’t the “original distinctive alloy wheels”, they’re from an ‘87-newer GT.

    Like 8

    79 was a good year for Ford and the start of something to correct the Mustang II. The Fox was born. I like the later GT wheels on this. The original TRX wheels although OEM look mighty dated. I think the EFI versions in 87 were a game changer. Pretty cool but with anything domestic never buy the first year anything.

    Like 6
    • Don

      Technically, the 79 Mustang is a second-year Fox platform, having been debuted with the Fairmont. I owned a barebones 79 notchback, 2.3 / 4 spd, and that lightweight combination used to get 34 mpg on freeway trips.

      Like 1
  7. Mds47588

    Beautiful car, but for another unicorn try to find one of the Ford Indy 500 wreckers that coincided with this featured car.

    Like 4
  8. Harry Mudd

    I would buy it and paint it orange. I love orange. Everything else would stay the same.

    Like 1
  9. karl

    Dint all these pace cars have the lettering on the sides ? I dont think I;ve ever seen one without it

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Decals provided. Owner’s choice to apply them.

      Like 7
  10. Roger h

    Those are not the original rims it came with trx rims and special Michelin tires

    Like 4
  11. Ike Onick

    Glad to see another clown trying to sell his car here without paying for a proper ad was gassed, I will repeat hear for any potential clowns- I sold a car here 4 years ago. The ad fee was cheap for the help BF provided and the exposure my ad got.

    Like 3
  12. Ike Onick

    I commented too soon.The clown is still on here touting his car for sale while skipping the ad fee:

    “If someone wants a truly original (except for a repaint) version of the V8/4 speed, I have one for less than that available.”

    Man up and pay the fee.

    Like 1
  13. Bruce Turk

    My friend had the same car in high school. It was short lived. Trashed it in two, maybe three years. It was a fun car while it lasted.

    Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    A nice looking car ruined by the “upgrades” and the asking price.

    Like 1
  15. Carl Fredricksen

    30K??? Bwahahahah!

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.