Weekly Treasure: Barn Find 1989 Ford Mustang LX 5.0

Car Culture / Comments

Wait until you find out how few miles it has.

For years, the third generation Ford Mustang was nothing particularly special, save for the few limited-edition variants that are now considered worthwhile collectibles. However, the original Fox-body Mustang has begun to receive new attention lately, partly because a certain amount of time has passed since its 1993 discontinuation, along with affordable prices on the used market. V8 power is still available on the cheap. Above all, the Fox-body Mustang was a survivor.

Introduced for the 1979 model year, the third-gen Mustang was built on Ford's Fox platform, which was first introduced the previous year for compact sedans. This architecture was utilized for a variety of configurations from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. The platform was good enough, in fact, for it to remain unchanged from its launch year until 1993. It was in 1994 when it received a substantial redesign that made it last through the 2004 model year.

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Beginning in the early to mid-1970s, Ford realized it had to downsize its vehicles due to troubling fuel economy data, which the US government intended to use to determine gas-guzzler taxes. A smaller and lighter platform was therefore required. The Fox-body first appeared on the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr sedans, the short wheelbase version arrived shortly thereafter on everyone's favorite muscle car. Compared to the sedans, its wheelbase was 4 inches shorter but still 6 inches longer than the ill-received Mustang II. What's more, the architecture could accommodate a range of engines, from a 2.3-liter four-cylinder with a mere 86 horsepower to a 5.0-liter small-block V8.

In 1987, the Fox-body Mustang received a facelift inside and out, which lasted through '93. With its more aerodynamic appearance, the Mustang's new look won over buyers who might have switched to the front-wheel-drive Ford Probe which, ironically, was initially intended to be the Mustang's replacement.

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The 302 cubic inch 4.9-liter V8, which everyone refers to as the "5.0," now produced a total of 225 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. For comparison's sake, today's Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost offers 310 hp and 350 lb-ft. It was during this time when Ford designers and engineers embarked on a serious re-work of the Fox-body for the fourth-generation Mustang.

As previously noted, that generation had a 10-year life span. In other words, the Fox-body itself was a part of Ford's lineup for 26 years. And like we said, some third-gen Fox-body Mustangs are proving to be more valuable than some might have originally thought. This 1993 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 convertible could be one of them. It's currently up for sale on eBay with a top bid of $22,000 as of this writing, though the reserve has not been met. Why is this particular '89 Mustang interesting? Because it has only 193 miles on its odometer.

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Despite its pristine condition inside and out, this Mustang is actually a barn find, according to the seller. It is finished in black with a black soft top over gray cloth upholstery and was sold through Corral Ford in San Diego, California. Its biggest downside is that it's equipped with an automatic transmission. The good news is it features a number of cool options, among them Articulated Sports Seats and a limited-slip rear differential. The original owner, obviously, barely drove it and his son later inherited it. Needless to say, he's not a car guy, hence the decision to sell.

If you're wondering about the car's potential investment value, consider that a 1990 model year Mustang LX convertible automatic with only 16 miles sold for $82,500 at a Barrett-Jackson auction. Another '93 LX automatic with 340 miles went for $53,900 while another similar example, this time with 7,350 miles, sold for $45,100. There was also the 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra R, sold last January at auction for $132,000.

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