Modified Mustangs & Fords
1985 Ford Mustang GT - Finders Keepers
After A Fruitless Search For The Right LX Coupe, Jarret Ralton Hit Pay Dirt When He Came Across This Tasty '85 GT.
When I arrived at the house, it was as if time had stopped and it was still the late '80s. Steve, the owner, was an older guy and when he took the cover off the car, viola! ... a set of silver BBS mesh wheels befell me. In the year 2000, not too many performance cars were still sporting rims like these, especially 15-inchers. Upon opening the hood, I was expecting to see the signature dual snorkel intake, specific to the 1982-85 Mustang 5.0s. Instead there was a 13-inch Ford Motorsport chrome air cleaner in its place, with the snorkels having being cut off at both fenders. Underneath the air cleaner, there was a Holley 650 double pumper, sitting on top of an aluminum intake which seemed to have a higher rise than a stock manifold. A chromed fuel line with a Summit pressure gauge was plumbed to the carb. There were a pair of JBA chrome shorty headers that looked shiny and overall, the entire engine looked extremely clean. It turned out, that the original owner did all this work early on, so I was a little suspicious about the abuse this thing might've endured over the years. It also had an aftermarket cam made by a California based company called Madden. I'd never heard of this camshaft and the cam card revealed mild specs which were almost stock numbers. Other documentation showed that the car had received FRPP 1.6 roller rockers, a stock 2.25-inch catted H-pipe and Borla mufflers. The Motorsport rear disc conversion was already done but the original 10-inch rotors and calipers were still sitting up front. The rare components - engine wise, were a pair of J302 heads. I could see these were aluminum and I assumed they were Ford Motorsport GT40's until later, when somebody pointed out the diagonal bolt pattern on the exhaust ports. These heads are seldom seen anymore and historically, have proven to make good power.
While I was looking over the car, a neighbor named Larry walked up the driveway. This guy was the original owner and was responsible for the majority of the work performed early on. Steve impulsively bought the car from Larry a couple of years prior. Fortunately, I was able to talk extensively about the car with these two. There was a large folder, documenting the maintenance and modifications. Most of the work dated back to the late '80s through the early '90s. Many of the receipts showed the mileage of when the work was actually performed. I have to confesses that I was almost sold at this point but wanted to maintain a good poker face for negotiation time and of course, had to drive the car first.
Yeah, yeah, enough small talk, let's go for a ride! Even though I'd had a 5.0 before, this car took off with just a moderate push of the pedal. The original owner had put in a 8.8 rear with 3:73 Motorsport gears. After taking a couple of hard turns and bumps, I realized it wasn't the stock suspension as it felt tight. This car absorbed bumps well and unlike my old Capri, it didn't sound like the dashboard was going to fall apart. There were Koni red adjustable shocks and FRPP sub frame connectors installed but still, the car sported factory stock springs.