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Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

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  • Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

    As the former editor of a few broad-reach, old-school car magazines, 5.0 Mustangs have been somewhat of a conundrum to me. On one hand they represent the most affordable, easy-to-modify, V-8, rear-drive car you can buy and race. On the other hand, fans of 5.0s seem to be clique-orirnted, not really mingling with the crowd that enjoys older musclecars.

    As a magazine editor, I rarely covered 5.0 stuff because there were so many magazines and message boards dedicated just to Mustangs that I figured that we could not do it better, and I thought that no one would come to us for info on those cars. At the same time, it always bothered me that 5.0s represent such great performance potential for such low bucks and yet we old-school street-machine guys don't seem to modify them.

    A few months ago I bought my first 5.0, a '91 five-speed LX for $1300. Dirt cheap, decent shape.

    So my question is this: do you care at all about having fun with 5.0s, or about reading about modifying them or having adventures with them? Or are they just too common and too boring? Are you also a first-timer who might buy a cheap 5.0 to fiddle with, or would you never have one no matter what?

    Tell me your opinion on 5.0s as they relate to your personal interests.

  • #2
    Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

    I was thinking about this a couple weeks ago and came to the conclusion that I never had an issue with the cars themselves, it just so happened that most of the people I knew in highschool who had them were jackasses. So, for me it was always an association thing.
    On the other hand, my brother-in-law had one (an LX convertible with the 5.0) and I drove that a few times. That car was a blast to drive.
    They're also amoung the easiest things to buy parts for, right up there with sbc's, so it would only make sense to use one as a test platform.
    I'd like to see what you do with it.

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    • #3
      Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

      Originally posted by Freiburger
      Or are they just too common and too boring?
      Never stopped the SBC group :P

      I've see the EFI'ed 5.0's in a handful of early mustangs as well as falcons (which is a swap I'd do if I were to own one) and agree with the Clique-oriented comment. I don't see many on the forums running 5.0's but at the same time I see a broad aftermarket support for them in catalogs as well as the dedicated Ford magazine covers. Not sure what can be done to them to make them more interesting than any other engine combination. Best I could offer is throw one in a 3rd gen Camaro for the hell of it and see how it runs....
      Escaped on a technicality.

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      • #4
        Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

        The Mustang unibody is a relatively flimsy rattle trap.The 5.0 has amazing aftermarket support and really is the entry level ticket for the limited budget crowd.I would rather see a 5.0 Fairmont wagon built for autocross or Silver State Challenge shenanigans.

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        • #5
          Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

          The first car I rented was a 6 cyl fairmont (that story takes place in early 1984 in the Poconos)....and for some bizarre reason 5.0 mustangs always remind me of 6 cyl Fairmonts. Must be the shape of the windshield.

          I don't mind mustangs, although they're kind of common and boring. The only 80s mustangs I ever worked on were SVOs, which are not quite so common and boring, but did reveal Ford's clever 1980s corporate strategy of only making about 200 hp, whatever the cubic inches required to do so.

          My fabulous web page

          "If it don't go, chrome it!" --Stroker McGurk

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          • #6
            Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

            Great drag racing platform, especially when a BBC is stuffed into it. ;D

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            • #7
              Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

              I actually think they overrule red Camaros. Fairmont, LTD, T-bird...plenty of other Foxes to tweak. I'm not discounting the Mustang at all, it's a fun car, but as far as an interesting project...
              The former Remy-Z

              "Remy-Z, you've outdone yourself again, I thought a Mirada was the icing on the cake of rodding, but this Imperial is the spread of little 99-cent candy letters spelling out "EAT ME" on top of that cake."

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              • #8
                Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                Almost bought an '87 new, but Ford ran out of engines that year. Dealer offered me an '88 when they came out, only about a thousand dollars more, and my trade was worht about $600 less. I told hom to stuff it. Checked them out again in '89 & 91, just never clicked.
                They are decent, cheap, quick cars. Though the cheap thing is a double edged sword. Could be a lot of fun. I can see why they are popular.
                Getting harder to find a decent used one now, they are either cut up, rusted out, or beat to death, at least up here. The decent ones are climbing in price north of the border. I think there are more intesting ways to spend the money now. Probably a different situation in So Cal.

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                • #9
                  Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                  Dave,

                  The 5.0 has merit, although it is in the same league as every other ‘70’s Camaro with headers, cam, gear and cherrybombs. The only difference is the 5.0 has FlowMasters.

                  The Phord does have an advantage over it the earlier GM stuff. It most likely it is 500 to 1000 pound lighter. The 8.8 is a good rearend, far better than GM 7.5.

                  If I were going to do something between old and new skool, I would build a LSx single turbo’ed, carb’ed blow-thru with E-85. Get a GMPP dizzy adapter and drop an HEI in it and have fun. No computer, old skool with a sprinkle the modern go fast.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                    Getting opinions about what to do with a car is cool but the things some come up with are crazy.

                    As for what i think of the 5.0 Mustang. Well having grown up in Dearborn, MI I can say they were like belly buttons. I found most 5.0 guys to be mentally defunct of any knowlegde of what a true street brawler was. 5.0's are peppy, easy to look at, could easily be made faster and take it. None of these I will deny. Would I want one to build, do bears poop in the woods?

                    With that said, 5.0 guys that thought thier Mustangs were the baddest things to pound the ground bar none, were affectionatly known as Pilots. They usually had the best excuses why they lost. I think they were the test platform for the modern day ricers. best one to date I heard was "My computer is not working right." :

                    But if someone knew what they were doing, they were a force to be reconed with.

                    Just my thoughts

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                    • #11
                      Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                      I like Mustangs.... especially the 1973-1978 models!

                      Ron
                      It's really no different than trying to glue them back on after she has her way.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                        Originally posted by Pro-duster

                        But if someone knew what they were doing, they were a force to be reconed with.

                        Just my thoughts
                        Case in point: Adam Esterland of Audubon, NJ. In August of 2006, Adam won the brutal NMCA True Street category at the toughest venue on the tour, Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, PA. Adam posted a 3-lap average of 8.619 after a 30-mile cruise. As per class rules, competitors are not allowed to open their hoods between the time the cruise commences and they make their final pass. Esterland accomplished this feat with a N2O assisted small block Chevy under the hood. Now THAT is how you make a tin can haul ass!

                        Ron
                        It's really no different than trying to glue them back on after she has her way.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                          Originally posted by NMCA_Ron
                          I like Mustangs.... especially the 1973-1978 models!

                          Ron
                          cough ;D

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                          • #14
                            Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                            I think the 5.0 is a great engine for earlier car swaps. There are a lot of guys doing that, and because of its popularity it can lead to interesting coverage by a mag. I'm doing one now that I hope to have done for Power Tour, a '90 Lincoln LSC 5.0 HO into a 66 Mustang with all the smog gear, to see how much performance I can get while keeping it clean and getting decent mileage.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Your Opinion on 5.0 Mustangs

                              ditto most the comments here... First car I'd recommend to someone looking to start playing with Drag racing...

                              Personally... it's to easy... and the car is small and rather average...

                              K

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