By Linda Decaro
I purchased this 1987 Ford Mustang LX 2.3L from its original owner, literally a little old lady, who drove it for over 100K miles and then parked it for 16 years. Fortunately, her husband had some sense and kept it covered in a garage. It was the exact car I was looking for. The interior was mint, and the exterior was in very good condition with only minor dings on its original paint. The original convertible top was fully functional – as was everything else – except the air conditioning and cruise control.
I purchased the car with the intent purpose of using it as a daily driver. The automatic transmission fit the bill perfectly. But being a 2.3L 4 cylinder, the test drive was less than awe-inspiring – although it did do everything it was supposed to do.
Other than basic fuel and ignition upgrades and simple maintenance improvements, the motor will remain untouched. The less-than-robust fuel-injection system does not tolerate whiz-bang modifications without other upgrades, so I’ll be holding off on them right now. It's always good to have a future project!
Most people know that these cars do not have the grip of a trans am car, however, most people do not know the extent to which this car was ignored by the factory suspension specialists. It did not even come with a rear sway bar.
It now has larger front and rear bars from a 5.0L, front Bilstein struts from a 2003 Cobra, polyurethane bushings, 5.0L rear springs and improved shocks, and upgraded upper and lower rear control arms.
As its braking system was borderline at best, the wimpy 10" front rotors were upgraded to 11" versions from a 5.0L, and 73 mm stainless steel calipers from an SVO. It also has a much larger exhaust system with dual tips (Gives it that 5.0L look!)
Due to the inherent flex in a mid ’80's Fox body that is further compounded by its lack of rigidity due to the convertible top, I will embark upon some chassis stiffening using a G-Load brace and subframe connectors.
With its bulletproof, highly reliable 2.3L power plant and its newly rebuilt and improved A4LD 4-speed automatic transmission, this car will serve its purpose on many sunny days.
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By Linda Decaro