Because the 1979-1993 Fox Mustang remains so popular with enthusiasts, I don’t find so many non–crashed examples in the big self-service car graveyards I frequent. In fact, these days I see more 1974–1978 Mustang IIs than I do Fox Mustangs (unless you consider the 1994-2004 SN95 Mustang to be a true Fox). Last week, I found this very solid ’86 Mustang LX hatchback in a Denver yard, and my camera was ready for it.
The LX was the entry-level Mustang for 1986, and you could buy it in notchback, hatchback, or convertible form. The notchback was the cheapest, with MSRP starting at $7,189 ($17,910 today), while the more popular hatchback cost $7,744 ($19,290 in 2021 bucks).
For that price, you got the base engine: the 2.3-liter “Pinto” four-banger, rated at 88 horsepower. That’s what’s in this car. The 3.8-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 were available (120 and 200 horsepower, respectively) in the LX at extra cost.
A three-speed automatic transmission in the 1986 LX ran the buyer an extra $510, a painful $1,270 when figured in 2021 dollars; the four-speed overdrive slushbox went for a staggering $746 ($1,858 today). If you wanted the five-speed manual instead of the base four-on-the-floor, that added $124 ($309 now). This car has the five-speed.
Air conditioning was optional on every 1986 Mustang except for the high-zoot SVO, and it tacked on $762 to the bottom line (nearly $1,900 today). What the heck, once you’ve paid the extra for the additional transmission gear, might as well have refrigerated air.
The original build sheets, exposed when some junkyard shopper bought the carpets, remain stuck to the floor. I doubt anyone would ever restore a Pinto-powered Fox Mustang to its original condition (had this car stayed on the outside, a V8 swap would have been a near-certainty), so this isn’t as cool as finding the sheet for a Cyclone Spoiler.
It wouldn’t have been at all quick, but it was a good deal on a sporty-looking commuter that sipped gas… and now it faces the cold steel jaws of The Crusher.
The sheer thrill of driving a four-cylinder LX wouldn’t have been particularly vivid, though it was better than what you got with an Escort Pony.
So much future!
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