Jim Smart
April 1, 2000
Contributers: Jeff Ford Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives
Back to a double spread in the brochure, Ford seemed to be more committed to the GT than when it left off in 1969.

Quick Facts: All the previous years were warm-ups to the '85. The car now sported a roller cam (a first) and headers (also a first). There were now 210 ponies under the hood, and for the first time, those faithful to the original cars were getting worried. In its April '85 issue, Mustang Monthly tested the five-speed 4V 5.0. It was pitted against the best small-blocks Ford had built in the heyday-the Boss 302 and a 289 Hi-Po-powered fastback. The times were stunningly close. The '85 posted a strong 15.62 compared to the '66 Hi-Po at 15.49 and the Boss 302 at 15.33.

Even so, this car was for many the true beginning of the performance revolution of the '90s. The '85 marks the turning point in true GT power as well as the beginning of a range war between the vintage Mustang performance cars and the late-models. It also sparked the battle between Chevrolet and Ford again. The Z28 and the Mustang GT were suddenly back at each other's throats.

'86 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

Back with a passion. The convertible returns after a 10-year hiatus.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper), rear spoiler (except on convertible), dual exhaust with stainless steel tips (finally!). Blackout applied to the hood, GT badging in the blackout and in the body side molding. Available only in Medium Red, Bright Red, Black, Silver, Oxford White, Medium Charcoal, and Light Regatta Blue. Third brake light was added to the car.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Colors were gray or beige with red piping, and red with gray piping. Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: SEFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), 10-hole 15x7-inch wheel.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 3.27 on AOD-equipped cars. All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch differential.

On the cover of the brochure, the GT gets some respect-and a 4V carb.

Quick Facts: The '86 GT lost some ground to the Camaro and some respect when the EFI and the high-swirl heads cost the car 10 hp. Now back down to 200, Mustang Monthly couldn't wait to take a whack at the new horse again. But the new pony rose to the occasion and whipped Carroll Shelby's GT350 convertible three runs to zero, and almost squeaked by the Boss 302 with a best of 15.05. Times they were a-changing.

The biggest news was the electronic fuel injection. Ford had stepped into the new technology and was moving forward. After the '86 model, it would never look back. The '87 would have a new body style and a new 225hp engine that would be the meat and potatoes for the next six years.

'87-'88 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

The GT convertible proved to be an attractive car for many.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique rear spoiler (except on convertible), side skirts with GT badging, unique taillights and rear bumper cover, dual exhaust with turn-downs behind the bumper. Available only in Black, Silver, Oxford White, Medium Charcoal, Light Gray, Scarlet Red, Medium Cabernet Red, Medium Shadow Blue Metallic, and Dark Shadow Blue Metallic. The last two colors are possibly the longest names in the Ford color chart. Lower titanium paint was available and added a titanium finish to the flanks of the GT from the beltline on down. The third brake light is still-and will be 'til Mustangs are built no more-on the car.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Available colors were red and gray. Also now available in gray or white leather as of 1987. Still politically correct with 85-mph speedo.

Engine: EFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), turbine 15x7-inch wheel.