Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5k: T-Top Gun: 1987 Ford Mustang LX

The T-Top (or British T-Bar) is one of those automotive features that elicits an instantly polarized reaction from car folks.  Some will rave about the configurable nature of its small roof panels, and others will bemoan the resulting squeaks/creaks from the resulting wet noodle chassis stiffness.  It is a discussion that has almost become moot because nobody sells cars with T-Tops anymore...but who buys new cars anyway?  Buying new is a suckers game, anybody around here will tell you pickup some old used pile of parts and keep your change --and the T-Tops.  Like this 1987 Ford Mustang LX offered here on eBay currently bidding for $7,669 with 1 day to go located in Belmont, OH.

Ford's Fox body Mustang is one of the legendary cars from the 80s that everyone should drive at least once in his/her life.  Even with the V8 and a set of grippy tires, the car won't be much faster than a modern econobox, but the 80s vibe will destroy all challengers.  Turn up Duran Duran, Talking Heads, or Prince (from back when he wasn't a total wack job) and live the dream.

Under the hood is Ford's legendary 5.0 HO (five point oh, aitch-oh) that pushes  out 225 horsepower into a Borg Warner T-5 manual gearbox.  Here the 5.0 is in its natural environment-- where it belongs, not in some Volvo wagon, Shelby Fauxbra kit car, or a Suzuki Samurai. 

This Mustang is being offered as a survivor example, that is 100% stock and it would probably make a decent fun car...but...would it be more fun with a few modifications under the hood?  Original condition cars are hard to find since the 5.0 V8 is so easily modified for more power...see where I'm going.

See another T-Top equipped late model for a decent price? Send it here:


  1. I've always had a bit of fondness for these, but I have never understood how almost all of them have the original seats. They were/are's like they were sourced from an Aerostar. Forget any under the hood mods, I truly think the first mod I would make to one of these would be a nice set of Recaros.

  2. Remember when 200 hp was a lot. Nice to see one that isn't totally hacked up. I'd do the seats like FTB says and add some discrete engine enhancements, but otherwise leave it looking stock.

  3. Still love these cars. Had an '86 GT converted to mass air w/ full Ford Motorsport GT-40 engine kit (from the stock short block up)... then an '87 GT with a Paxton supercharger, then an '90 LX 5.0 (trunk model) with all sorts of shizzle, aluminum heads, long tube exhaust, intake, etc, etc. All of them were bullet proof and had a ball with them. Actually got my '86 GT in Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine in the early '90s.

    Talk about an awesome first car. Unmolested, low miles and TONS of cheap aftermarket parts available. Heck, a fun car for anyone really.

  4. I'm a no-T-top guy, but I know bodyshops that could replace the roof on this thing...

    I didn't know there were any stock 5.0 Foxes left, but since my idea of the Ideal Fox involves throwing out pretty much everything but the tub, I'd probably just look for a clean, rust-free 2.3...without T-tops.

  5. Wait - a 5.0 doesn't belong in a Samurai? Wonder if I can still cancel that winning bid....

    1. Yeah, find a stock one and put an LS3 in there instead.

  6. So I'm curious - why don't they make T-tops anymore? Is it just a consumer factor (don't want them) or a government factor (can't have them)?

    1. The T-top was a reaction to the potential extinction of the convertible, since automakers decided the government wasn't going to squeeze the convertible out of existence and because most T-top conversions turned out to be leaky and squeaky, the T-top died off.

      Toyota bought in to the removable-roof crap seriously enough to ensure I'll probably never own an SW20 MR2 Turbo or a MkIV Supra Turbo.

  7. Half the money, needs a paint job, but doesn't need a new roof welded in:

  8. As the "new" current owner of this very car I can offer a small reality check on a few erroneous forgone conclusions. The test drive for this car was from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Belmont, OH. After the Purchase, it was a near non stop 2,500+ mile drive back home. The T-tops didn't leak a drop trough the unreal down pour rains of Missouri. (and over a year later, they still don't leak) Nebraska's & Wyoming's speed limit of 80MPH got me 26MPG outta the 5.0 in fifth gear, as I never went, um, 90mph or more....
    I down shifted many a time to fourth or third and blasted past any number of corvettes & two door rice burners....guess they preferred to forgo using their vehicle performance to get out of a vehicle cluster clot. (I will say the guy in the hellcat Charger was insane ....11:00PM, new moon and flew past me doing at least 100MPH outside of Salt Lake....too bad it wasn't in daylight) After Reno, the car grabbed the road like I remembered it could from another I owned almost 20yrs before. Once I hit the familiar mountain roads of home, doing 65+MPH on tight mountain road turns was no problem, and the car did not squeak or creak. The ad was correct. This old girl was and still IS all stock and she shall remain so. Despite the Chevy contribution, it was the iconic 1987 Foxbody Mustang that marked the rebirth of interest in American Muscle to the new dealership showrooms. 300FT LBS of tork w/225HP at higher RPM's & top speed of 149MPH off the shelf, all with the reliability of a, well, an American Mustang Horse....she stays stock...except for the included original cassette ate my 30 yr old Billy Idol tape. .....and eventually, yes, the seats perhaps... the originals are the pits


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