Jim Smart
August 1, 2008

That said, what is your core reason for wanting a Mustang? If it's investment-motivated, buy real estate. But if your core reason is the rush of owning and enjoying a Mustang, get in the groove by purchasing a Mustang fun car. Classic Mustangs have long been the industry standard. However, '79-'98 Mustangs are becoming classics right before our eyes. If you want top-down wind through your hair, consider an '87-'98 Mustang GT convertible. These rate among the best Mustang values because Ford built so many of them. There are thousands of potential parts cars out there with four-cylinder and V-6 engines. Buy one cheap to get the parts you need, sell the parts you don't need, and call a salvage yard for the rest because steel has become a precious commodity.

Classic Mustang hardtops are still out there for the taking. Here's a '67 hardtop we found in San Diego for chump change. It's rough around the edges, but a great value nonetheless. Look at what you can do with a car that was once rough around the edges. Bob Harris turned his once humble hardtop into a freeway traffic stopper.

If you think the '79-'93 Mustang isn't a good investment, consider this: You can pick up a '94 Mustang GT convertible for well under $5,000. John DaLuz recently picked up a pristine '94 Mustang GT coupe with 85,000 miles for $2,500. He gutted the car and sold all the parts, including engine and driveline, for more than $2,500. He then built himself a race car for the American Iron Series. Basically, John got the car free.

Stock Or Modified?
We've already discussed the cars to modify and the ones to leave alone. Now it's up to you. Stock or modified depends on what you prefer. Find comfort in having a combination of stock and modified. Safety should be your first priority, which calls for constructive modifications. Opt for front disc brakes and rebuild the suspension with the best parts. Forget bias-belted tires and install radials. Add three-point restraints. These are stealthy improvements to enhance safety and your quality of life.