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V8 Survivor: 1989 Ford Mustang LX

If the Fox-Body Mustang has no other claim to fame, then the fact that it managed to survive for so long in a rapidly evolving new car market has to stand as a testament to just how popular these vehicles were when new. Today, a good Mustang of this era can still be highly-sought, especially if it packs a V8 in the engine bay. This 1989 Mustang LX would seem to fulfill those criteria, and until very recently, it had remained in the care of its original owner. A new home is beckoning, so the Ford has been listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and with bidding having reached $8,200, the reserve has been met.

From a styling standpoint, the Fox-Body Mustang is very much the “odd man out” in the badge’s history. If you look at the rest of the different iterations of the Mustang across all six generations to this point in time, almost without exception you can see styling cues that were derived from somewhere within the original 1st generation range. The Fox-Body was different because when you look at it with the benefit of hindsight, you can see none of that original Mustang DNA. Still, that doesn’t make these an ugly car, and their styling has actually aged quite well. This particular Mustang is a very nice car and finished in Dark Grey, it does have an aura of class about it. The original owner had treated the car with respect, but after 20-years or so, the vehicle was beginning to show its age with paint that had faded and trim that was tired. He chose to treat it to a fresh coat of paint, and this wasn’t a case of “slap the paint on and hope for the best.” Every piece of exterior molding, every badge, and every lens was replaced at the same time. The result is a Mustang that presents as well now as it did when it rolled out of the showroom in 1989. The panels are beautifully straight, the paint still holds a nice shine, there are no signs of rust problems, and the original alloy wheels have polished beautifully. Things look just as impressive below decks. The owner provides a good selection of photos of the Mustang’s underside, and it is as clean and solid as you could ever hope to want. The glass appears to be perfect, and there isn’t much not to like about this car.

If I had been able to walk into a Ford dealership in 1989 with enough money to buy a Mustang, the engine choice would have been a “no-brainer.” The 2.3-liter engine would have been great if the primary concern was economy, but nothing defines a Mustang better than a V8 under the hood. That’s what we get here, with the 5.0-liter V8 backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. With 225hp available under the right foot, the Mustang was certainly getting back to its roots by offering great performance in a relatively small and light package. Tipping the scales at a mere 3,088lbs, this was a pony that could gallop through the ¼ mile in 14.8 seconds. The engine bay of this Mustang presents as well as you could hope for in a survivor of this age. The owner doesn’t make any outrageous claims of low mileage, with 98,000 miles showing on the odometer. The engine runs really nicely, with the car driving very well. The transmission is said to be smooth, and the clutch bites very well. The Mustang has just received a full service, the antifreeze has been flushed and replaced, while the vehicle rolls on a new set of Z-Rated Kumho tires.

The interior of the Mustang also presents quite well, but there are definitely signs there that tell you that this is not a car that rolled off the showroom floor yesterday. The driver’s seat has some mild edge-wear on the outer bolster, but this is pretty common. It isn’t particularly bad, and the material hasn’t actually worn through in any spots. The rest of the upholstery looks quite nice, and there are no signs of any issues with the dash. Some of the plastic trim has begun to discolor, but it is the turning signal/wiper stalk that really jumps out when it comes to deterioration. This is looking particularly bad and does detract from the condition of the rest of the interior. I think that it is beyond a simple clean, and if I bought this car, I would probably invest the $95 for a replacement switch. The carpet is the other area that is showing its age, but I would be inclined to have this professionally cleaned before I considered replacing it. You never know, but the next owner might be lucky on that one. On the creature comfort front, this is a car that does quite well in a 1989 context. What the next owner will be getting is air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, rear defrost, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player.

The popularity of the Fox-Body Mustang when it was new encouraged Ford to keep the vehicle in production well beyond its “use by” date. That popularity continues to this day, and a large part of that is because, especially in V8 form, it offers pretty respectable levels of performance for significantly less money than you would expect to pay for an equivalent 1st generation car. They also offer owners a more refined level of ride and comfort, making them a very accomplished long-distance cruiser. This particular car seems to have struck a chord with potential buyers because 15 people have now submitted a total of 87 bids on the Mustang to this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are quite a few more bids made before this listing ends, so this is one that could be well worth watching. Of course, you might also choose to get in on the action, because you never know your luck.


  1. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    This happens often, but I believe it’s a GT. My personal views aside( yay),, today, there aren’t many choices to go fast. Rest assured, you will go fast with this. Stopping or turning could be another matter, and no FB Mustang post would be complete without the heater core thing. Changing one was so easy if it didn’t have A/C, but 99% of these did. They are fun cars.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo nycbjr Member

      says lx on the tail gate :-)

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Dusty Stalz

      GTs have a different front fascia, say GT on the door mouldings and don’t have an LX badge on the hatch.

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Dana Reynolds

      Unless a previous owner went through the trouble of changing out the nose, rear bumper, tail lights, and trim – among likely other things – this is indeed an LX 5.0.

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Superdessucke

      It’s very much an LX 5.0 Sport.

      Like 6
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      Thanks, you guys. Just shows to go ya’, never too old to learn something. I thought, a LX was a notchback and a GT was a fastback and that front air dam was just a corny GT option. Regardless, I didn’t think much of the car.

      Like 3
  2. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    This car, with the fresh dark gray paint offset by the black moldings with the red stripes and equipped with the basic phone-dial wheels, looks very clean and attractive. Sounds like there is some minor sorting-out to do, but the strong bidding illustrates the interest. The selling dealer may have even under-priced it a bit.

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice find and write-up, Adam! I have the black version of this car, an LX 5.0, the only new car I ever bought for myself, and it’s closing in on 250k miles now on the original 302. Hard to go wrong with these as a bulletproof fun-to-drive car, and it’s funny to think of them becoming collectible. Just did my second heater-core replacement (not fun). When new they were one of the fastest cars on the planet. That’s far from true today, but they’re still one of the easiest to modify. Thanks for the memories! https://barnfinds.com/road-legal-todds-one-owner-232k-1989-ford-mustang-lx-5-0/

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Mr. TKD

      Have you painted it yet?

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Todd Fitch Staff

        Hi Mr. TKD – Not yet. Just enjoying it! One of my gearhead buddies said he’d never paint it because the chunk of the red donor car with its junkyard markings is like instant man points. lol It will eventually be painted factory black with the red trim stripe. Maybe I’ll use paint to celebrate the quarter million mile mark.

        Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Dave Suton

    Looks like the original owner went all out on the refurbishing to high standards. But then puts cheap Asian brand kumho tires on it? WTH?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo steve

      Well, unfortunately there is a very limited selection available now in 225/60/15 size. At least they are not white letter! The gatorback is the only thing that belongs on a 10 hole in my book.

      Sweet car, the 1989 LX 5.0 is one of the best fox era Mustangs.

      Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Stevieg

    There are currently 12 tires listed in that size, 2 of which are Kumho brand tires. Both of them are discontinued.
    This is also not the factory tire size. After looking at the computer (slow day at work so far) it appears that the factory tire size, for the 15 inch rims, is extinct. There are still 4 tires available for the original tire size, which would be 195/75/R14.
    Thank you Barn Finds for giving me something to look up lol.
    The tires that are on the car, although not correct, have 10 others available besides the Kumho tires. Someone thought they were being cheap. There are better options for less money lol.

    Like 4
  6. Avatar photo DayDreamBeliever

    The auction information lists a “call and buy it now” no-haggle price of $8,700.

    Really, bidders… If I wanted the car, and was willing to venture $8,200, you can be darn sure that I wouldn’t take the chance of losing it to some snipe bidder over that last $500. Nutzy. Just pick up the phone and end the auction already!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo AS Member

      I did just that and I bought it for the buy it now price the morning I saw it on the 29th.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Jost

        Thats great AS. Enjoy that beautiful Mustang and good luck with it!

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo DayDreamBeliever

        Great minds think alike!
        Well done, AS, well and properly done.


        Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Jranders Member

    My mom’s last car was an 85 GT convertible, white w/black top, gray interior. Bought it over the LX because it had a nicer interior, lol. Got it the year she retired. Always garaged, when she passed away in 2012, had 85,000 miles, still looked brand new.

    Like 5
  8. Avatar photo marlon smith

    I had a grey 89 notch back 5.0 it was fun and raw. Good times .
    I now have an 08 black GT much faster and more refined

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Jost

    If you like fox bodies ( I do) this is a really nice find that someone can enjoy for many years. Of course it will need a little freshening and sorting but a stock f.b. is a rare find in this condition..just my opinion.

    Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Karl

    Very nice car! My experience was with a GT not sure what the difference is? But very respectable in the performance side of things and in hindsight they may have been the odd man out but they were the first very good performance Ford Mustang in a very long time! I have always liked these cars very much it just seems they have a really nice I am going to rip your face off kind of presence about them and the 302 has tremendous performance potential! Imo this is a darned fine automobile! Thumbs up to the new owner!!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jerry

      LXs were a little Faster than the GT….they weighed less.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo DayDreamBeliever

        I concur. Participated in a test for a magazine when these were new, and the LX was faster.

        Like 2
  11. Avatar photo lc

    My 90 Mustang LX, white on red interior, Nitto tires 255/40/17 front – 275/40/17 rear. Fat and crazy, but that’s how I bought it, and I like it. You can see the rub marks on the inside of the wheel well; however, they don’t rub with my driving style. The front rub marks were caused by a full left/right turn, but I have since put one inch spacers up front to avoid that from occurring even though a full left/right turn is rarely used by me. I have observed and have not heard the rears rub. The guy that used to own it who did the tire swap lived on a dirt road so maybe when transiting from the dirt to the paved road, or, moreover, I suspect from doing the round about thing at a higher rate of speed causing the piveting and rubbing to occur. But it is super close at one point in the rear like 3/4 inch! I’ve tried to use a 1/4 inch spacer on the rear, but there is not enough thread left for the nut to grip onto. The wheels are black SVEs. Car has tinted windows. But I just noticed after owning it for a couple of years that the driver side quarter window does not have tint. Strange, I guess the tinter either ran out of tint, or the tinter thought it was too hard tinting the passenger side quarter so passed on tinting the driver side quarter. lol.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo MrMustang

    Another slow fox body car, I know, the owner “knows what he has.” All those foxes are overpriced and are slow. I know it will hurt some of your feelings, but compared to any new 5.0 Mustang, they are slow. They have inadequate brakes and still have the antiquated drum brakes on the rear. They ride like crap and float at high speeds. Yawn…

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo lc

      When comparing old crap to new crap, it’s all the same. It all ends up in the rot can. So who cares? Well, some people do. You can care for it for what it is. As I do for my old 4 banger turbo charged slow Mustang. Your new Stang is fast. What is fast? I could only imagine that a jet pilot come this forum, and thrash all current fast cars to what he/she flies. That would be exactly what it would be. Of course he/she knows what fast is. So he /she flies faster than any fast car around and that exists ;)

      Like 3

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