Jim Smart
April 5, 2010

It's hard to believe that the "all-new" '79 Mustang turns 31 years old in 2010, which makes it a contemporary Mustang classic and the beginning of a new generation of Mustangs that arrived during the disco era. With the '79 Mustang came new features we'd never seen on a Mustang before-McPherson struts, four-link coil spring rear suspension, horn button in the turn signal lever, serpentine beltdrive, turbocharger, LED advisory lights, and a host of other features that made these cars fun to drive. In time, Ford would weave performance back into the Mustang with a return to powerful V-8s and hot turbo fours.

Although the '79-'86 Mustangs haven't proven as collectible as the first generation classics, they continue to have a loyal following committed to saving and restoring them, not to mention having bunches of fun with them. Among the more desirable Fox-body derivatives is the '85 Mustang GT, not only the last carbureted high-performance Mustang but also the first with roller tappets and fast-burn combustion chambers for improved performance and reduced emissions. It was also the first with the Quadra-Shock rear suspension, borrowed from Mustang SVO for improved traction. Although mild by today's standards, the '85 Mustang GT was a significant step toward the hot Mustangs we enjoy today.

We're working with a 100,000-mile '85 Mustang GT hatchback, a Southern California freeway cruiser suffering from the rigors of desert climate and a different kind of deterioration from Mustangs east of the Rockies. In the east, Mustangs tend to rust into oblivion. In the desert Southwest, they turn into dust from an extremely dry, sun-bleached climate.

Our '85 GT's interior shows the effects of 25 years of desert Los Angeles operation. We're going to reupholster the side-bolster bucket seats, replace carpeting, and fit the Fox-body with a new dashpad. Where possible, we'll seek out new-old-stock interior pieces to complement the reproduction parts available from Latemodel Restoration Supply.

We contacted Latemodel Restoration Supply to see what was available for those of us who appreciate the Mustang's second big wave of performance. They graciously provided us with everything available for an '85-'86 Mustang GT with Charcoal cloth interior. We're going to begin our renaissance with the dashpad replacement.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery