V8 Fox Body: 1979 Ford Mustang Pace Car

The Fox body Mustang Pace Car gets a mixed reception among most enthusiasts. It wasn’t exactly the best pace care replica ever made, but it also wasn’t the worst. Still, it comes from that era in time when muscle car building wasn’t exactly at its peak, and the car suffers accordingly by association. Still, as far as replicas go, the 1979 Indy 500 Pace Car package offered Mustang enthusiasts some decent options that set the tribute model apart from the rest of the lineup. This car, despite having close to 80,000 original miles, remains in outstanding condition with a few choice tweaks to make it an even better offering. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $25,000 and the option to submit a best offer.

The Pace Car was equipped with some tasteful cosmetic upgrades, which is more than you can for some replicas. The stripe / decal kit is understated but also perfect for the era – the same goes for the rear window louvers, which are surprisingly lustrous and not warped, an outcome that’s fairly typical of cheap aftermarket louvers that get beat on by the sun. The rear lip spoiler integrates nicely with the rear deck lid and these, too, can suffer from the perils of neglect if one of the three sections goes missing. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the exterior are those flashy TRX wheels – or, should I say, TRX replicas. Turns out Late Model Restoration started making these wheels in a conventional 16×7 size that opens up a wide array of cheap tires that can be fitted while keeping the stock look.

The interior is in remarkable shape for 80,000 miles, although it may make fellow editor Scotty G. cringe just a bit. I sent Scotty on a wild goose chase to find some dilapidated Recaros out of a junked pace car sitting in a Minnesota salvage yard. Scotty retrived them on my behalf, and I had them shipped east just a few weeks ago. They’ll need total restoration, but the seat foam is still in excellent shape and reminds you just how comfortable these seats are. The slightly psychedelic houndstooth upholstery is straight out of the late 70s, and I’ll be keeping this look, just in the rarely seen “Caramel” color. The door panels, dash pad, center console, and carpets all appear to be in excellent shape, and certainly in a high state of preservation considering the Mustang doesn’t have garage queen mileage.

The Mustang Pace Car was offered with two engine choices: the venerable 5.0L V8 and the new kid on the block, the turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder. This model has the preferred combo of the 5.0L engine and four-speed manual gearbox, which was at least closer in spirt to the three vehicles built for actual Indy 500 pace car duties. Roush Industries actually breathed pretty heavily on the three cars designated for race day duty, so while this one isn’t nearly as sporting, there’s nothing stopping you from making some upgrades to the stock engine to dial up the performance closer to that of the actual pace cars. I’m not sure this is a $25,000 vehicle, but I could see an offer somewhere in the ballpark of the asking price being justified for a Mustang enthusiast looking for a preserved Pace Car they’re not afraid to drive.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I think these Pace Cars look good, with the pewter/black/orange theme. They offered eye-catching looks and decent performance for their day. This car looks to have been well-kept. It is very unusual to see the Recaro seats look this good at 77k miles. The 16″ wheel/tire upgrade keeps the look but makes the car use-able. It could use a good underhood detailing. Overall I’m seeing a nicely maintained car with some upgrades, but the asking price more fits a low-mileage example.

    Like 6
  2. Jerry Member

    I remember back then the 79 to 83 Mustang GTs had less hp. I was waiting for the 84s or 85s to come out because I remember word was they were bumping up the hp to over 200.

    Like 1
  3. Thomas Gallagher

    This car was out in UT with a known foxbody enthusiast. It sold to this seller in CT and was immediately relisted. New seller still using old sellers photos. Something weird here.

    Like 2
  4. CJinSD

    Were I to ever get a Mustang, the 16″ TRX-look wheels would be a must. Not only do they allow you to fit relatively inexpensive tires, they also allow you to take advantage of forty years of tire technology advancements.

    I don’t remember my friends’ early Fox Mustangs having redlines on their tachometers when I was in high school, but I also don’t think any of them had a 1979 with a 302. ’80 and ’81 models had a 120 hp 255 with an automatic as the top engine option, but most seemed to have 88 hp 2.3s and 4 speeds or 3.3 I6s and automatics. This car has an airfilter housing from a later car. The 140 hp 1979 302s had a single snorkel.

    Like 5
  5. Steve R

    Beware.

    This car was featured on this site November 17th. At that time the seller was located in Utah, now, with the same ad, the seller is located in Connecticut. Something is more than a little wrong here.

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • davew833

      Yep. I remember the first listing too.

    • William

      Why so accusatory? Maybe he moved. You should try to be more trusting. It would make you easier to love.

      Like 3
  6. Joseph Drew

    79 would have only had a standard 302, not a “5.0 H.O.” as shown in the photo, the H.O. was first introduced with the 82 GT.

  7. ronald simpson

    You gotta be ff.”nnnn kiddin’ me..$25K?

    Like 4
  8. JCA Member

    Wow. This guy just bought this car for $11,000 a few weeks ago. Now he’s trying to flip it for $25k lol

    Like 6

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