Customer Ride: 1987 Ford Mustang LX 2.3L

By Linda Decaro

1987-Mustang-LX
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.

1987-Mustang-LX-rear-view-
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.

1987-Mustang-LX-2.3L-engineOther 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.

1987-Mustang-LX-interior-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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