Ford Mustang Timeline: The Good, The Bad, and The Muscly Page 4

March 10, 2010
The 1980s Mustang: A New Wave

1980: The new Mustang's got a ways to go for power. There's a four-cylinder engine, with a V-8 option--but the V-8 makes just 119 horsepower, about what today's base Kia Soul can muster. On the upside, Ford's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) opens its door to produce limited-edition performance cars.

1981: A turbo four-cylinder joins the family, while the V-8 backslides to 115 hp.

1982: The 5.0 returns! For the second time, that is. The 302-cubic-inch V08 puts out 157 hp in the Mustang GT, which also gets T-tops as an option. (Remember T-tops?)

1983: Unbeweaveable! The Mustang Convertible is back, giving the comb-over crowd second thoughts on their allegiance to Ford.

1984: The first truly interesting Mustang in years, the Mustang SVO hits the streets with a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine producing 175 horsepower. With sport seats, a distinct interior and a dual-wing spoiler influenced by the Merkur XR4Ti (!), the SVO is pitched as a GT alternative.

1985: The V-8 Mustang GT is up to 210 hp with manual gearbox. The struggling SVO Mustang...gets flush headlamps. Uh oh.

1986: Smooth operator: the Mustang gets electronic fuel injection.

1987: Ford futzes around with the Mustang. First it plans a front-drive replacement. Then it wakes up to the Mustang reality, and reskins the car with more "aero" lines. The almost-stillborn front-drive Mustang becomes...the 1989 Ford Probe. The SVO gets its walking papers.

1988: Half of all Mustangs sold are V-8s.

1989: The 25th anniversary of the Mustang is commemorated with badges. "Thanks, I guess," the Mustang might have said.

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