Jim Smart
December 1, 2008
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives
When you look at the redesigned '87 Mustang, you're looking at a whole generation of Mustangs. Not much changed from '87 to '93, aside from minor mechanical upgrades and 16-inch five-spoke wheels for '91.

Ignorance of the breed is a part of it because the SVO was such a brief chapter in Mustang history. These facts make SVO a terrific bargain depending upon condition and seller. The best way to buy an SVO is in factory original condition with all of the paperwork. Then go out and enjoy one of the greatest Mustang fun cars of all time.

'87-'93: More Power, Good Looks
The Fox Mustang's first significant redesign happened in 1987. Although sheetmetal didn't change, the Mustang got a new fascia, composite headlamps, fresh ground effects, new taillamps, and a redesigned interior with an all-new dashboard/console combo. It also got more horsepower, up to 225 in the updated Mustang GT. These cars were well received and sold quite well, launching a new performance revolution on the street because they were so easy to modify.

What hurt the '87-'93 Mustang was Ford's complacency; it didn't change much from year to year aside from color and some minor mechanical differences. In 1991, Ford fitted the GT with 16-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels. In 1993, Ford put the Cobra name back on Mustang with an exciting, limited-production car from SVT. The '93 SVT Cobra, available in three colors, was the ultimate evolution for '79-'93. If you can find one in showroom condition with its original paperwork, they're an excellent value.

The redesigned '94 Mustang was introduced in October 1993 in a 125-city tour that allowed everyone to see the car before its December 26 introduction. Here's a '94 GT coupe with a '95 Cobra R in the background. Don't expect to find a Cobra R bargain out there because so few were produced.

SN-95: What It Was And More
Mustang sales reached an all-time low of 79,280 in 1992, making the Mustang nearly extinct because Ford had no future plans for the car line. Ford executive John Coletti rescued the Mustang when he sold Ford management on saving the name and making it successful with virtually no redesign budget. It became known as the SN-95 project. Coletti and his Team Mustang set up shop in an old Montgomery-Ward service center building to create an all-new Mustang for 1994.

The '94 Mustang was a refreshing change with plenty of nostalgia in its execution-a mouthy fascia, a galloping horse, three-element taillights, a twin-pod instrument panel, and a throaty dual exhaust system for GT and Cobra. A stiffer Fox-4 platform eliminated a lot of shortcomings, yielding a smoother ride and better handling. With a stiffer platform came a weight penalty, making the car feel underpowered. In its first two years, the SN-95 Mustang had the carryover 3.8L V-6 and the proven 5.0L High Output for GT models.

For '96, Ford fitted the Mustang with more traditional three-element taillights and 4.6L Overhead Cam Modular V-8 power in the GT and Cobra.

In '96, Ford put the 4.6L SOHC and DOHC V-8s into the Mustang GT and Cobra, respectively. This improvement, coupled with more true-to-mark three-element taillights, gave the car a whole new demeanor. It became the most advanced Mustang ever, with a smoothness the car had never had before. On the downside, Mustang GT had less low-end torque than it had with the 5.0L engine. On the up-side, the 4.6L Modular V-8 was smoother with improved high-rpm performance.

Ford reskinned the SN-95 Mustang for '99 with New Edge styling. Fresh styling, coupled with minor platform improvements, put Mustang back on the map. In the years spanning '99-'04, there were several Mustang models worthy of comment. The '01 limited-edition Bullitt Mustang GT has a great following along with value. In '03-'04, Team Mustang brought us the Mach 1 with 32-valve DOHC power and a Shaker hoodscoop. In '03, Ford produced a limited number of 100th Anniversary Mustang GTs. A year later, in '04, all Mustangs had 40th Anniversary badging as well as a limited-edition model celebrating the Mustang's 40th.

Should you buy an SN-95 Mustang? Limited-edition models such as the Bullitt, Mach 1, and anniversary cars will always hold their value if maintained in factory original condition. As with other '79-'04 Mustangs mentioned, you're better off buying a low-mileage, well-cared-for original you can enjoy right away. True value comes from a purchase with a well-documented history that's in showroom condition or something that needs only minor cosmetic work.