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1987 Ford Mustang LX - Family Matters
A One Owner LX Coupe Goes From Daily Driven Drudgery, To Open Track Warrior To Family Heirloom, Without Leaving The Clan. That's Because In The End It's All About
If you walked by this at a car show, it would be a mistake. Not only does this 1987 Mustang LX still belong to the first guy ever to have put his name on the title, but it's also got a long and rich history in the hands of said individual. Owner Dick Minnick picks up the story. "When I first got this car I was working for Ford Motor Company and obtained it new on the management lease program. I remember the original sticker price was $12,513. During my time at Ford, I had a dozen Mustangs and also had some T-bird Super Coupes that I ran as company cars, but this LX, it was special. I bought it out in April '87 for the price of $10,471. I wanted something I could tinker with, as I couldn't do that with the company rides."
Minnick would end up keeping this car, but at first, he loaned it out to his son. "That was one of the primary reasons why I got a coupe, so he could put his tennis rackets in the trunk while in high school." His son later took the car to Illinois when he went to grad school. Eventually, in 1996 Minnick decided to buy it back and bring it home to Michigan. "By the time it came into my possession again, the LX had 45,000 miles on the clock. The years of daily driver duty had taken their toll. The headlights were yellow, the heater core leaked and it had been involved in one minor accident. However, I felt it was still too good to let go for a song, which was one reason why I bought it back."
At first, Dick's intention was to just fix it up a bit - freshen the LX, so to speak. "The plan was to make it nice enough again so it could be driven in good weather and to do quite a bit of the work myself. However, by the time I got the car back to Michigan, my list of 'jobs' had grown considerably. My wife was questioning just how many more years she'd have to park her car in the driveway, while garage space was taken up by this Mustang. I was still working on average 60 plus hours a week, so that didn't leave a lot of time for hobby activities."
However, there came a point where Minnick decided to just tackle all the major mechanical work in one fell swoop. "I put a plan together and contacted a number of different builders to get quotes." In the end he settled on D&D Performance in Wixom, MI. "Don Walsh Jr., was very helpful and has been since that first time I contacted him - he's put a lot of time in with this car. Over the winter of 1996-97, Donnie installed a Ford GT40 crate motor, T-56 six-speed transmission (one of the first batch of 10 to come in), Auburn differential and 3.73 gears, along with Cobra R brakes, suspension pieces and assorted other bolt-ons." In the end almost all the original 'moving' parts had been replaced and once the car got strapped to the rollers, Minnick's former lease plan Mustang cranked 300 horsepower to the tires. The upgrades sharpened the performance envelope, particularly in the steering and braking department, but Minnick not only wanted the car to perform well, he also wanted to make sure it looked the part too, so that meant investing in body repair. "Having been driven in winter salt all those years, the car was suffering from rust, even though it appeared to be only 'minor' corrosion." The biggest problem concerned the doors and rear decklid. "Although Dick had determined they were showing minor signs of oxidation, the original doors and trunk couldn't be repaired. "It turned out they were too far gone already, so I went down South, to Tennessee, Georgia and Florida - eventually scoring replacement doors and a new lid. I found each of the doors in a salvage yard - but the decklid, that was a tougher deal - I eventually ended up buying a new one, because it is really hard to find a Fox coupe/convertible decklid that hasn't been drilled for holes."