5k: Turbocharged Classic: 1986 Ford Mustang SVO

While strolling the carpeted floors of the Los Angeles Auto Show this week (Press days were Nov 18-20, open to the public Nov 21-28) I happened upon the Ford booth and get to take a look at the new 2015 Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost.  The new 310 horsepower 2.3 liter inline-4 puts turbocharged power back into the Mustang for the first time since 1986, but spending 25 to 30 large on a new car seems imprudent when you consider that it’ll be worth half that in 3-5 years.  For that much coin you could pick up a classic fastback and still have money left over for a 1986 Ford Mustang SVO like this one here on eBay, currently bidding for $5,100 reserve-not-met with 1 day to go, located in Lititz, PA.

When the Fox Mustang was released in 1979 Ford enthusiasts were thrilled
with the re-emergence of a properly proportioned Mustang with a renewed
focus on V8 performance.  Few expected that a Special Vehicles Team
version would appear in 1984 with a turbocharged 4-banger that was
faster (maybe?), more expensive (definitely), and cooler (oh yeah!) than the V8.

The SVO shunned traditional “no replacement for displacement” mantra
with a turbocharged and intercooled Ford Pinto derived 2.3 liter SOHC inline-4,
good for 200 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque in 1986.  Power is not
overwhelming in the SVO, but it is peppy enough to push the stock
Koni-adjustable shock equipped chassis around with some gusto.

A quick look inside this SVO really brings back some memories for this author — I had an 86 SVO for a few years and it was identical in color combo to this one.  Those grey leather seats don’t last long before they look destroyed and the carpet gets easily stained.  The gauge surround is made from some kind of organic material that resembles the back of an old clipboard or a pie crust.   One of the cool show-off features on the SVO was the fuel select button that allowed you to run on low or high octane fuel — IIRC it retards the timing when put in the regular fuel position, but all it did on my SVO was cause mild pinging in the high octane setting regardless of fuel that was in the tank.  (The pinging was probably due to California’s heavily ethanol diluted 91 octane versus the 93 you can get elsewhere.)

Sure, this SVO won’t be as fast as a new Mustang EcoBoost, but which one has a better hood scoop or bi-plane wing? See another turbocharged classic–send it here: tips@dailyturismo.com