V8 Survivor: 1990 Ford Mustang LX

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One of the challenges facing many enthusiasts is locating a genuine survivor that is rock-solid and has no urgent needs. Newer candidates are typically a better bet, but that isn’t always the case. However, this 1990 Ford Mustang LX Coupe ticks those boxes and is also very affordable. If you aren’t already tempted, the seller’s willingness to negotiate on the listed price could make it irresistible. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Matt H. for spotting a car that could offer an enjoyable driving experience and become an appreciating asset.

Ford introduced the Fox-Body Mustang in 1979 as its replacement for the Mustang II. Potential buyers welcomed the latest offering with open arms, viewing it as the moment when the badge returned to its roots. The company planned a relatively short production life, with its replacement scheduled for a 1987 release. Buyer backlash saw the company backtrack on that strategy, and the Fox-Body soldiered on until 1993. Our feature LX emerged from the factory in 1990, with its original owner ordering it in Code EP Vermilion. The seller has been its custodian since 2003 when they purchased it from the first owner. They claim the paint is original, suggesting it has never received repairs or restoration. The photos reveal the usual array of chips and marks on the front bumper, with both it and the rear showing slight deterioration. However, the paint shines impressively across the rest of the vehicle, with no evidence of fading or patchiness. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and the fact it has spent its entire life in California has allowed this Mustang to remain rust-free. Some exterior plastic trim shows age discoloring, but with replacement pieces readily available and affordable, addressing that shortcoming won’t pose many challenges. The glass is free from visible defects, and the original alloy wheels are in good condition for their age.

You can often learn much about the life a classic has led from the state of its interior. Abuse reveals itself via the presence of wear, stains, and broken plastic. There are very few of those issues inside this Mustang. The Charcoal cloth is in good order, with the back seat looking like it has received limited use. The carpet is clean and free from significant wear, while the dash and pad are excellent. The rear section of the console is missing, so it is unclear whether this car featured an armrest, or if it was a deleted item. Replacement genuine armrest assemblies typically retail for around $375, although a delete panel will only lighten the buyer’s wallet by $50. Otherwise, it appears to need little. The new owner receives air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, and an aftermarket CD player.

Detroit had rediscovered its performance mojo by 1990, and this Mustang demonstrates that. Its engine bay houses the company’s fuel-injected 5.0-liter “HO” V8, producing 225hp and 300 ft/lbs of torque. Shifting duties fall to a four-speed automatic transmission, while the buyer receives power assistance for the steering and brakes. Many enthusiasts focus on the Coupe version of the Fox-Body when the subject turns to outright performance. This is understandable, because not only does it offer better torsional rigidity than the Hatchback and Convertible, but is also lighter. This LX had a genuine 33,000 miles on the clock when the seller took delivery in 2003, with the odometer now showing 102,000 miles. It has only clocked around 300 miles since 2017, with most of those accumulated as the seller drove the car to and from their mechanic’s workshop for regular servicing. They describe it as a solid daily driver, making it a turnkey proposition for its new owner.

The seller listed this 1990 Mustang LX here on Craigslist in Crescent City, California. Their price of $12,000 looks competitive in the current classic market. However, their willingness to negotiate on that figure raises the possibility that someone could drive away in this survivor for a lower figure. Values of Fox-Body Mustangs are rising across the board, meaning this gem could be worth more in a few years than it is now. Hmm, a pleasurable ownership experience and an appreciating asset. I can’t think of a downside to that scenario, can you?

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  1. Steve R

    Nice find. Unmodified notchback 5.0 coupes are thin on the ground. This Fox body configuration will likely be the most sought after/valuable behind the 1993 Cobra. A 5spd would be nice. If it holds up to personal inspection it seems like a good deal. The cars biggest pitfall is it’s location, it’s hard to get to from most highly populated areas, San Francisco and Sacramento are roughly 6 1/2 hours, Portland is 5 1/2.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  2. Mike76

    If this was a manual, I’d be fighting the urge to drive up the coast. Seems like a reasonable price, even with the auto, assuming the car checks out upon inspection. Crazy what these notchbacks are selling for in today’s market. To think I paid $3500 for the ex-CHP 87 I bought in the late summer of 1995. Never, ever would’ve thought people would be paying up to tens times that thirty years down the road.

    Like 3
  3. Stan

    AOD w factory 3.27 gears. Be a real nice coastline cruiser ⛱️ or daily driver in traffic w the autoloader.

    Like 4
    • z28th1s

      There is no mention of this car having the optional 3.27 gears in the ad. There is also no picture of the door decal so you don’t know what gears are in it.

      The axle code on the door decal will be an ‘E’ if has the optional 3.27 gears or an ‘M’ if it has the standard 2.73 gears.

      This looks to be an unmolested example of 5.0 LX coupe with the highly desirable black cloth interior. I think it is fairly priced. If the car checks out in person, I don’t expect it to be on the market too long.

      Like 0
  4. HoA HoAMember

    Mine was gray, that’s all I’ll say, some folks may prefer it that way.

    Like 4
    • HoA HoAMember

      Except, of all the vehicles I had, of all configurations, this is one of the few cars I did not like, for a multitude of reasons there’s no sense rehashing everytime one comes up. You like the car, by all means, have fun, I hated it. If you take even a shred of my advice, stay clear except for 1/4 mile purposes only. Pray the heater core is intact, an expensive repair often overlooked in California. Mine was a beater, and me and ol’ trusty sawzall made short work of that job. The right way was to take the dash out. It was just a poorly designed car, and I sold it to a guy that was going to race it. My ’95 was a much, MUCH nicer car.

      Like 3
      • Big C

        You just couldn’t resist!

        Like 8
      • John EderMember

        Keep the comments coming, HoA! Most of us likely enjoy them and often learn a thing or two from them.

        Like 6
      • scrapyard john

        What modern vehicle doesn’t have the dash removed in order to get to the heater core? I had to remove the dash to get to the heater core in my 1998 Dodge truck. The last heater core replacement I did where I didn’t have to remove the dash was on a 1994 Silverado, but I think all that changed with GM in 1999 forward.

        Like 2
      • mustang melvin

        Every car with a/c has to have the dash removed. I guess HOA needs window units hanging out of his cars to please him.

        Like 2
    • Todd FitchStaff

      Only new car I ever bought for myself, the ’89 LX 5.0 hatchback I still have. It’s barely needed any parts for inspections, etc. Only mods are 3.73 gears in a ’93 Cobra rear axle so I have four-wheel discs. Just did a 1100 mile road-trip for the eclipse in April and it was a joy. A little harsh on the expansion joints around Buffalo NY, but that was with four people in the car and the (gulp) original front suspension. It’s covered 247,xxx miles with original clutch, headers, cats, and the engine has only needed one head gasket (after a 35th anniversary burnout). I’ve done the heater core job twice; the second one also sprung a leak after a burnout. That job is not bad after cutting an access panel as Howard suggested. I guess I’ll keep it around a while longer. It’s just never let me down or stopped putting a smile on my face. The interior is just about perfect. Thanks for the memories, Adam!

      Like 3
  5. C Force

    These are lighter than the GT model.just needs to be dragged through a speed parts catalog.They’re just not that fun to drive factory stock….

    Like 1
    • Matt H.Member

      Yep, Maximum Motorsports and Steeda to be exact.

      Like 0
  6. billy1

    Adam Clarke 1990 Mustangs did NOT come with the “missing” center console. Actually it was an armrest that had a flip up cover for storage items.

    There was a little block off plate(that’s missing on this car).

    Like 3
  7. fleyva

    Nice car – if I didnt just buy my high school grad car (an 88 camaro) i would swoop this up

    Like 0
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    The only problem you will have in owning the auto version of this car is if you ever drove the manual version. They are a hoot!

    Like 1
  9. Mark

    Nice looking car- the rides pretty good too! Maybe I’ll contact the owner and see what it takes to buy it.

    Like 0

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