Am I Being Too Ambitious?

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by andrewbr, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    I am new to the forums and the Mustang community in general. Though I am a die hard Ford guy, I have never had the opportunity to own a Mustang...until now. I've always loved the 80s Mustangs and have oft dreamed of getting one of my own, and all of a sudden I am presented with an opportunity to pick one up for a bargain.


    The vehicle is a 1983 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 hatchback with presumably 105,500 miles on it (it has ticked over such that it reads 05500, which I suppose could mean its possible it has either 205 or 305k on it as well but I'm being an optimist :p). It also has what I presume is a 5-speed manual transmission.


    The car appears a little rough from the outside, having a fair amount of missing or oxidized paint. The trim around the doors is dull and faded, as well as the bumpers. The rubber trim on the sides is warped and in need of replacement. However the car is fairly rust free and I didn't see any major areas where there was significant body damage, aside from a pretty crunched up area on the roof just in front of the hatch and some dings in the hood.


    With regards to the interior, most of the dash pieces are broken in some way and in need of replacement/repair. The seats are decent though dirty (nothing seat covers couldn't fix) and the carpet may need to be replaced. It is also missing a head liner.


    One of my buddies help me to get the car started, and it actually fired up relatively well for a car that had been sitting a while. Of course it put out a fair amount of white smoke but once it got going and idled down there was the occasional faint puff of white smoke out of each pipe (concern here?). It idled alright at around 500-600 RPM (indicated) and actually sounded pretty good when some throttle was applied. I did notice that the motor shook around a bit, wondering if this is a motor mount issue. I made sure to check the strut mast towers, and they looked to be in great shape. Apparently the carb that's on there is a fairly good one (so I'm told), it's a Holley 4 barrel (and I'll admit I don't know much about carbs, so I haven't the slightest clue with regards to more specs on it).

    Random other thoughts/issues:
    -Pretty cracked windshield
    -Older, mismatched tires
    -Door alignment/gaps are pretty messed up (easy enough to fix?)
    -Broken motor mounts?

    The thing is, this guy is probably willing to sell the car cheap. He basically got it for free and tends to have a lot of random vehicles sitting around and is always looking to get crap off his property. With decent bones and an apparently decent engine/drivetrain, it could be a good project. My two goals from posting this are the to figure out the following:

    1. Is this car too rough to bring back to decent condition as a hobbyist's project? Or will it require much more work than I realize and just become a huge pain? Basically, should I run away screaming?

    2. How little cash can I offer him without being insulting? I know the "what's it worth?" threads are frowned upon, but I promise this isn't a disguised attempt at getting my own car valued. I want to make a fair offer but I also have to be realistic in that I don't believe this car, in its current condition, is worth very much. But I need your thoughts.

    Thanks all, excited to hear your feedback and thoughts.
  2. The only major issue I see is the roof... Not sure it is repairable without getting a new skin for it. The rest is typical for a car that age, and can be fixed as you go as far as I see it. The price is hard to say, since you said the guy probably got it for close to free and probably wants it out of the way. Those two criteria will make it hard to say "you should offer him $$ and not $$$$" - my opinion at least.
  3. Its all relative.

    How much does it cost? Outward appearances,..this should be 500.00 or less to considered a bargain.

    How capable are you at doing what needs to be done?

    If you have to pay somebody to do any of it, will bleed you quick.
  4. Pass. Pre 86 cars are lacking in almost every dept and the money it would take to bring tat car back up to par would be more than double what its worth.
    Mustang5L5 and f8tlfiveo like this.
  5. Don't walk away, run away.
    f8tlfiveo likes this.
  6. Save your money for one in better shape. I personally wouldn't go below 1986 because of fuel injection and the 8.8 rear end

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Thanks for the speedy replies. It's better to know in advance that this may not be the car for me than to buy it and find out later. I am fairly handy with cars but this may exceed my level of time and experience to make it a nice car without spending serious cash.

    For the time being I will pass, but I don't see this car going anywhere soon. If I suddenly develop less sense I'm sure I can go make an offer on it later.

    Also, if you're talking going 86 or newer, what year do you think was best? I heard the 86 had its own issues because it was the first year the vehicle was fuel injected. Thoughts?
  8. Some 85's were injected. Mine is carbed and I have put well over 4k into it and she's got a way to go. I didn't buy with the intent to sell or ever get rid of though.
  9. what it really all boils down to, is what do you want out of it? the bones there are good enough to make a good roller for a full race car (since almost everything will get replaced by something better anyway, even with a better starting point), but as far as making a good resto project that's actually worth more than you paid for it, probably not really worth it, especially if it's likely to get put on the back burner for some time. that being said, almost everything there CAN be fixed/replaced/upgraded fairly easily, but its gonna start costing $$$.
    85rkyboby likes this.
  10. P A S S on that thing unless you've got a garage, mechanical ability, lots of time, and lots of money. There's much more suitable running driving inspected cars out there for not much more money.

    P A S S
  11. Agreed, unless you want one hell of a learning experience and pit to toss money. That's one good thing I can say is I know what must be every nut and bolt on the car. Ha-Ha.
  12. 89-93 were the best years with 92-3 IMHO the best of the Fox offerings.
  13. IMO look at 89 and newer. Advantages over 86 and older

    Mass Air vs SD on 87-88
    8.8 rear vs 7.5 in older 80's cars
    Better pistons 86 and older no notches and cannot use most aftermarket heads
    Better heads- 86 and older have even worse E6's than E7's
    Better brakes
    Better interior
    Larger front wheel wells for larger tires
    5sp manual vs early 80's 4sp
    EFI vs carb on 85 and older

    Essentially you would have to spend a lot of money and time on an 86 and older just to get it to 87 and newer performance IMO. There is really no price difference between the years and these cars are abundant and cheap. Shop around and my advice is to buy the cleanest, most complete rust free car you can find that has not been hacked or ragged on.
  14. If you really want a 4 eye the 86 isn't a bad platform. Quite a few have already been brought up to spec with their 87-93 counterparts. The biggest drawback there was the engine's flat top pistons and anemic cylinder heads.
  15. The body kit on that car gives me the creeps and the interior is shot. If it runs well and is rust free I would offer 1800.
  16. imagine what the gt seats had to look like to swap in those lx seats. Needs a real good interior cleaning and a proper gt front bumper. Find out more info regarding engine and driveline
  17. Aside from the butchered up body, if someone can't even bother to clean up the interior of the car they are trying to sell, that is a deal breaker for me. It goes to lack in pride of ownership. If the guy doesn't care enough to keep the car clean, he isn't taking care of things like maintenence. In addition those seats are so probably the ugliest ones I've seen in a long while.
  18. I agree that the car probably wasn't well cared for. Someone who doesn't think to list the mileage when listing a car obviously isn't too well in tune with cars. I agree the body kit is beyond awful and the interior needs help, but with a decent body and a potentially solid engine it might be a nice find. I'll get more info.