Over the past few years, friends and family will often ask me to help them find or sell cars. For me this is a fun activity as I get to deal with a variety of cars (and trucks) that are built for different purposes. Usually there’s a budget constraint, so the goal is the find the nicest example at a reasonable price. The majority of the cars I’ve had to find or sell for people have been German cars, namely because that’s what I’m most familiar with. Recently I was asked to help sell my friend’s grandmother’s car. Like most grandma-mobiles, it was a white 1980’s Ford with “period-correct” styling that is certainly an acquired taste. Little did I know that posting up a late night listing on Craigslist would cause a hurricane of phone calls and e-mails. Apparently a small badge on the fender means a lot to some people: Five-Point-Oh.
The Fox body mustang holds an interesting place in my livelihood. Growing up my uncle had several of them. When I was a little boy, I was afraid of them because of how loud they tended to be. As time went on, I would get my driver’s license and begin my search for fun, affordable cars. Unfortunately for myself, I caught the e30 virus which I have never quite recovered from (some say the only cure is to continue buying other old BMWs). The Fox body however was never forgotten. My friend and I would occasionally drive his grandma’s Vanilla Ice Mobile (yup…it was white), but I could never get over the poor handling and lackluster performance. Sure, there’s the aftermarket which will propel the car well past the 300 horsepower mark, but the advent of the later Terminator Cobra and Coyote powered cars have really pushed the original 5.0 into a car for nostalgic purposes.
So here I am trying to sell a car that’s right around the corner from 30 years old, and the demand is unbelievable. Perhaps because this example is completely stock and lower mileage, it makes for a hot commodity, but the automatic transmission and higher listing price isn’t exactly desirable in my books. In fairness, an unmolested example is a rare sight these days, and they’re a versatile platform for whatever plan you might one might have brewing. The aftermarket is extremely strong, and these days there’s nothing you can do to one that hasn’t been done before, which makes for a very knowledgeable enthusiast base. Within the last year I got to see Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire’s wide body monster, and it was certainly menacing to look at with an array of parts from all the right manufacturers. I certainly liked it, but I can’t say that I’d want to drive one daily.
Within 24 hours, the car was tentatively sold. A man in his 30’s came and sized up the car, but ultimately paid full price for it. I discussed this sale with my uncle, and his comments were that the people who drove these cars in high school are entering the midlife crisis age range. This means it’s time to get their high school car back, even if it means paying a premium. This trend is similar 60’s muscle car craze of the 2000’s, but there’s far more Foxes and IROCs than original Hemi cars built, so the former may never command as high of prices unless it’s something extra special ( e.g. 93’ Cobra R).
With all of this being said, I’m still confused why I never caught the bug like so many other people. It has all the right ingredients: it’s old enough, cheap enough, and can be made plenty fast enough. Maybe it’s the interior that bothers me, or how long the nose of the car is combined with a less than stellar turning radius. When I see a clean one, it’s definitely a treat, but rarely is it an old guy who simply took care of the car. Surprisingly enough, I see a lot of young kids still driving these cars. You’d think they’d be too old, but apparently that’s not the case. I suppose it’s because it’s not the car I associate my youth with. That spot belongs to 4 round headlights and a kidney grill. If one thing is certain though, old Foxes still have a VERY strong following. Lesson learned: If you find a stock and straight Fox body Mustang, snag it as they’re only becoming more and more collectible.