Miles Cook
December 1, 2002
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Before the '82 Mustang GT came along, the last Pony to really pique the interest of us enthusiasts was built nearly a full decade before. Of course, today, those big '73s-and all the ones before them-are the bread and butter of the Mustang hobby.

While most of these first 5.0s are seemingly long gone, Bob Richards has kept this '82 GT in his possession for 20 long years (is it that old already?) and, in the process, has only put 52,000 miles on the ticker. It's a true unrestored original that will become a more and more important piece of Fox-body Mustang history as time continues its never-ending passage.

To refresh on the basics of the first "5.0": these cars were equipped with a two-barrel-carbureted 302 rated at 157 hp (33 hp less than today's base V-6 Mustang), an SROD (single-rail overdrive) four-speed transmission, and a 7.5-inch rear axle with a 3.08:1 gear ratio. Although the trans was only a four-speed, its Fourth gear was, in fact, an Overdrive ratio, which made for good highway cruising. Used through the '84 models, these Mustangs also had the odd-sized wheels that will only accept a Michelin TRX tire in a 220/55R390 size-390 being the diameter of the wheel in millimeters, or just a bit more than 15 inches.

As for Bob's particular car, we'll let him tell us a few details. "I am the original owner and bought the car in August of 1982. I thought at the time I would keep the car for many years. At the time I had two sons growing up. The oldest one was 16 and in high school. I let him take the car to Florida for spring break in 1984. I remember him saying that everyone loved the car on the beach, and that he worried something would happen to the car all the time he was gone. He and his friends took good care of it while they were away.

"My youngest son is the one who accidentally damaged the car. One morning back in 1989, he backed the car out of the garage to go to school, went back to close the garage door, and the car rolled down the driveway with the driver door open. It caught on the basketball pole on the side of the driveway. The door had to be replaced. He hadn't set the emergency brake tight enough. He felt horrible about it, but I told him it could be fixed.

"Over the years, my sons and I fell in love with this car. It was a head-turner and was pretty quick in its day. Ford had done its homework before this car hit the market. They had cleaned up the engine compartment and even put aluminum valve covers on the engine. I had the car undercoated at the dealership and I told them if they got any of the undercoating in the engine compartment, I would be unhappy with them. They were careful and did a good job. The car has never had soap used on it, and has been washed only with clear water.

"My last assignment for Ford was in India so I was out of the country for almost three years. One of the only things my wife and I didn't get rid of before relocating to India was the Mustang. I put it in climate-controlled storage. When we returned to Maumee, Ohio, from India, I only worked for a few more months before retiring after 32 years with Ford. We decided we were going to build a home and relocate to Leesburg, Florida. I have since taken the Mustang to the Silver Springs show in the last two years and this year I also made it to the Pony Trail to Cedar Key. It was a great time, and I'll be there again next year enjoying the car as much as ever."

Sounds like a great way to enjoy a modern classic like the first-ever Mustang 5.0.