Miles Cook
July 1, 2003
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Now that David Bruno's survivor-status '85 GT is almost 20 years old, it will soon qualify as a vintage Mustang-in spirit at least. With less than 53,000 miles on the clock, if it's not vintage, it sure is original. In any case, the car is certainly a beautifully preserved example of what "square-light" Fox-body 5.0s looked like when they were rolling off the showroom floor during the me-decade of the '80s.

Originally into vintage cars, David got started with late-models by way of the '8511/42 SVO he still owns. A youngish 24, David chuckles about a question he's often asked on the show field. "When I'm at car shows," he tells us, "I always get asked if I'm the original owner of the '85 GT. In some ways I find that funny, considering that in 1985 I was six years old! I guess I haven't aged well, but at least I still have my hair."

One thing that does help David hang on to his younger years is the car's healthy drivetrain. With such low mileage, the GT runs and drives as new-something not too common for Fox-body Mustangs these days. Of course, the mechanicals are well known for this machine, and they include a significant "first" and "last" for the Fox 5.0's powerplant. The first includes a roller cam and lifters, while the last is a carburetor-a Holley 600-cfm unit, in fact-in the year before the '86 introduction of fuel injection for the 5.0. It was also the last year for the 5.0's less sturdy 7.5-inch rearend (with 2.73 gears in the case of this car) before getting the 8.8 for 1986. Also standard fare in David's cream puff is a venerable T-5 five-speed transmission.

Only the third owner, David reports a few minor updates and subtle custom touches on this Jalapeno Red GT, including an Edelbrock Performer intake, a K&N air filter, Monroe Formula GP shocks/struts, a DynoMax exhaust system, Ford Racing subframe connectors and springs, and pinstriped taillights that mimic those on SVO Mustangs. Factory options include a rear-window defroster, A/C, tinted glass, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo.

Also notable is David's record with the car on the show field. Showing it every year at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals from 1997 to 2001, he's driven back home to Pittsburgh with nothing less than a Third Place award in the '79-'86 Pure Stock Class in three of the five years. The other two years resulted in First Place showings. In addition, at five other Pennsylvania MCA regional judged shows, the car has also won an impressive string of First and Second Place awards over the past six years.

Having owned the GT for the better part of a decade, David still has reason to prefer the clean classic look of a square-light 5.0. "I like '85s for several specific reasons," he says, "such as the '85-'86 bumpers and interior materials. It's the first year for 15-inch wheels and 225/60R15 tires, and it's the last year for a carbureted Mustang. And considering it's now 18 years old, one of these days it might be considered a vintage Mustang-a vintage late-model."We think it already is.