Modified Mustangs & Fords
1984 Mustang SVO Hatchback - Full-Blown Horse
Saved From Neglect, Matt Heimer's '84 SVO Has Done Show Duty, Been A Daily Driver, And Is Now Taking On The Track In Style
However, an incident in December 2007 saw a change in plans. Dazey was rear-ended while Matt was sitting at a traffic light. Pushed into a truck with a nice fascia-ripping tow hitch, the front and rear of the car were a mess, as was the windshield header panel. But despite the carnage, Dazey's skeleton remained structurally intact. "I limped the car home and waited for the insurance adjuster to come by," says Matt. "I saved all the receipts for the work done to the car. The adjuster had already filled out the paperwork, and because the car was an '84 model, was all set to write it off. Then he saw it." At that instant, the adjuster cleared the form off his laptop and both he and Matt ended up settling for enough to put the car back together and not much more. Since then, Matt has made a policy of adding collectible insurance to all his Mustangs.
With a second rebuild in progress, Matt has decided that if Dazey is wrecked again, it better be doing something more interesting than just sitting at a stoplight. To that end, he's making the Mustang into a track terror. "She's now got a front-mounted intercooler, the fenders rolled, a fiberglass hatch installed, a bigger hybrid turbo, and exhaust among other things." By the time you read this, Matt will have already taken her out for a shakedown on the road course at Moroso Motorsports Park and, hopefully, made it back to pit road in one piece.
The '84 Mustang SVO
In Mustang circles, the short-lived SVO hatchback stands out as something special. Its arrival, in the fall of 1983 as an '84 model, witnessed the start of a new era at Ford Motor Company-a second golden age, if you will. Here was a car that combined the best of the firm's American and European engineering expertise, resulting in a true driver's machine. With pedals set up for heel and toe shifting, a standard Hurst shifter, massive (for the time) 16x7-inch alloy wheels mounted on Goodyear NCT high-performance tires, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, multiple adjustable sport bucket seats (in either leather or cloth), full instrumentation, unique styling, a European-style nose, side spats ahead of the rear wheels to direct airflow, and a biplane rear spoiler, it looked the part, both outside and in. However, with four-wheel disc brakes (the only factory Fox Mustang of the '80s to get them), specially tuned suspension with adjustable Koni shocks, and a worked version of the 2.3L Pinto 'Lima' four-cylinder with a Garrett T3 turbo and intercooler that generated 175 hp and 210 lb-ft, it was a mover, though it required a bit of patience (for the turbo to spool up) to fully realize the car's potential.
Out on the backroads and racing circuits, the SVO could hold its own with much more expensive machinery, but its steep price and lack of lazy low-end torque hurt sales, as did dealers that showed little interest in promoting the car. It would last two more seasons, gaining a number of improvements midway through 1985. Advertising claimed, "The machine speaks for itself." Clearly, it didn't speak loud enough on the dealer showroom floor, as just 9,844 were built during the entire run. It's a shame because the SVO ranks up there as one of the best cars ever built for the pure driver-period.