Jim Smart
June 1, 2002
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives
For 1989, the Mustang rolled off the Dearborn line without 25th Anniversary excitement. As you can see, changes were few for 1989-mostly internal.

1988
The Mustang changed very little for 1988. Most of the changes for 1988 were internal-a 75-amp alternator, 58-amp/hour battery, and mass-air flow sensing on California-delivered models with the 5.0L High Output V-8. Mustangs GTs and LXs with the 5.0L High Output V-8 delivered to the rest of the country continued with the speed-density system. Color choices changed, as did some options like the T-Roof, which was dropped after 1987.

1989-25 Years
Although it's impossible to believe today, Ford was seriously considering dropping the Mustang in 1989. Sales were sluggish. The nameplate just wasn't selling like it once did. In 1989, the Mustang was in one of the most stagnant periods in its history. Each new model year was a lackluster experience. The car simply didn't change much from year to year. Despite the Mustang's 25th Anniversary in 1989, Ford didn't do much to celebrate the occasion. More on this later.

Improvements for 1989 were subtle. The mass-air flow sensing system became standard equipment in 49 states, ushering in a new era of high-performance Mustanging. With mass-air sensing, it became possible to modify the 5.0 L High Output engine without the consequences associated with the speed-density system. A hotter camshaft, for example, wouldn't upset the balance of nature underhood.

Other improvements for 1989 included sports seats in LX models as standard equipment, making the low-buck ride high on comfort. Power windows, locks, and mirrors became standard on the convertible. That wimpy 0-85 mph speedometer grew to 0-140 mph on GT models for 1989. Also new for 1989 was the Mustang LX Sport Series with 5.0L High Output power. Call this one a GT package without the GT persona and price.

The 5.0L High Output engine continued virtually unchanged for 1989. Aside from a minor camshaft profile change, which can't be detected, this engine was a '88 carryover. Axle ratios and transmission choices were unchanged.

For 1989, mass-air sensing made it easier to modify a 5.OL High Output engine without the temperament of a fussy computer. The mass-air system was more user-friendly.

Earlier, we mentioned the Mustang's 25th Anniversary. This one caught Ford asleep at the switch. With a minimum of fuss, Ford fixed a 25th Anniversary Pony and tri-bar dash ornament to the Mustang's dashboard beginning in the spring of 1989. There was even a special window sticker commemorating 25 years. But April 1989 came and went without much fanfare. There never really was a 25th Anniversary Edition Mustang.

1990
The first model year since 1987 that you could see change at a glance was 1990. This was the first year the Mustang was equipped with an air bag system, accommodated by a vastly different steering wheel. With the air bag system came the loss of an important option-the adjustable tilt steering column. Call it trading comfort for increased safety.

Changes included value packages that made it easier to option out a nice Mustang without selling the farm. One nice option package was the Value Group that included air conditioning; cruise control; power windows, locks, and mirrors; clock; and Premium Sound. The 25th Anniversary dash emblem was carried over from 1989.

Widely recognized in 1990 are the 7UP Mustang convertibles that were Emerald Green and produced in limited numbers. These are the unofficial official Mustangs of the 25th anniversary. Despite this recognition by hobbyists, Ford has never confirmed these cars as 25th Anniversary models. We invite your feedback on this one.