Weekly Treasure: 1985 Ford Mustang SVO

Muscle Cars / Comments

Less than 10,000 examples exist.

Today's Ford Mustang EcoBoost isn't the first time the Blue Oval has dabbled in turbocharging its famed pony car. That honor goes to the Mustang SVO, built from 1984 until 1986. SVO stood for Special Vehicle Operations, a department that no longer exists. Ford Performance is the present-day division tasked with such projects.

Although SVO developed high-performance, street-legal vehicles, fuel economy was also a concern. The oil crisis that plagued the decade prior was still very much on automakers' minds and the traditional V8-powered, high horsepower muscle cars had since become impossible to build. The Pinto-based Mustang II was the result.

However, the third-generation Fox-body Mustang debuted for the 1979 model year and it was a notable improvement over the Mustang II. Not only were its overall dimensions better, but the design allowed for a greater range of engines, including more powerful V8s.

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The idea of a relatively fuel-efficient and decently powerful Mustang was still very appealing. While SVO considered using the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 available at the time, it opted to go with a turbocharged and intercooled version of the 2.3-liter inline-four from the Mustang II. How come?

For starters, the four-pot offered better weight distribution because it was installed perpendicular to and behind the front axle. The new computer-controlled fuel injection system was also a deciding factor. All told, output came to 175 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, though this later increased to an even 200 hp and 240 lb-ft thanks to a new water-cooling system. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Compared to non-SVO Mustangs, the team added a unique front grille and hood, a biplane spoiler, and pinstriped taillights.

The sole interior color offered was charcoal grey. Premium features (at the time) included standard air conditioning, power locks and windows, and upgraded stereo. An optional Competition Package deleted some of these features to cut back on weight. A cool Hurst shifter came as standard.

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Additional performance aids included a unique suspension with adjustable front struts and horizontal rear dampers. All told, 9,835 Mustangs SVOs were built in a three-year period, and now one of them is up for grabs on Bring A Trailer.

This 1985 Mustang SVO has only 45,000 miles and has never been in an accident. Despite some normal wear and tear, it's in remarkably good condition considering its age. It has received regular maintenance, the most recent being a new timing belt in 2018. However, there is some corrosion on the undercarriage. The sale includes some spare parts and the original window sticker from a dealership in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The original price: $15,180. As of this writing, the highest bid was only $2,500 and a few days remain until the auction ends.

There's been renewed interest in Fox-body Mustangs over the past year or two and we wouldn't at all be surprised to see Mustang SVOs increase in value in the near future.

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