Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 13, 2012
Photos By: Jim Smart

Of all the great Fox-body Mustangs built from '79 to '93, the SVO stands alone as a purpose-built, production-based road handler. In a time when fuel economy looked to overshadow the torque of V-8s, the SVO took advantage of turbocharged four-cylinder power with fuel-injection, four-wheel disc brakes (a first for Mustang), and unique styling with an off-set hood scoop for the intercooler and a bi-wing rear spoiler. Engineered by a small group at Ford SVO, it was the right performance car for the times.

However, the times weren't necessarily right for the SVO. Even though it was touted as the top-of-the-line Mustang for '84-'86, the bulk of Mustang performance buyers weren't ready to give up their V-8 torque, opting instead for the 5.0L-powered Mustang GT. In three years of production, Ford sold less than 10,000 SVOs.

Of course, that rarity adds to today's collectability and value, something not lost on Paul King, who jumped at the chance to buy this low-mileage '86 SVO from its original owner.

"The original owner was a car collector, and not just Fords," says Paul, who acquired the car in 2005. "He was an older gentleman who was in tune with what was going on in the collector car market and realized that the '86 SVO would be the last of the breed. I bought it because it was so clean and had just 1,010 miles at the time. It was too good to pass up."

In addition to its status as the last production year for the high-performance SVO, the '86 model is also desirable with its higher horsepower rating than the '84 and early '85 models. With turbocharger boost increased to 15 psi and other revisions, like an improved intake manifold and bigger injectors, the updated '85-1/2 SVO model boasted 205hp, 30 more than the original configuration. Due to lower fuel octane ratings, Ford dropped the horsepower for the last of the SVOs to 200.

When we photographed Paul's SVO in 2010, the odometer showed 1,034 miles. A year later, Paul has added just 10 more, all while loading and unloading the SVO at shows. He takes his duties as a conservator seriously, maintaining the SVO's showroom condition while also giving others a chance to check out this piece of Mustang history at AACA and Mustang Club of America shows. Traveling from his home in Taunton, Massachusetts, he trailered the SVO to four of the five MCA national shows in 2011, taking a Gold at each and moving into the Conservator class.

It's the perfect place for King's SVO.

At a Glance

'86 Mustang SVO
  • The '86 SVO was the final year of a three-year production run.
  • From '84-'86, Ford built 9,844 SVOs.
  • 3,382 SVOs were built in '86.
  • Horsepower dropped from 205 in '85-1/2 to 200 in '86 due to lower octane fuel ratings.
  • Many SVO features showed up on later Mustangs, including flush headlights, quad shocks, 16-inch wheels, and four-wheel disc brakes. The taillights were used on the '93 Cobra.
  • Ford had hoped for a series of cars from Special Vehicle Operations, but the SVO Mustang was the only one released to the public.
  • Visit the SVO Club of America's website,, for more information about the '84-'86 Mustang SVOs.

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