1987 Ford Mustang: A Turning Point in Muscle Car History

Reviving a Legend, Redefining Performance. A Turning Point in Muscle Car History

Updated November 24, 2023


The 1987 Ford Mustang marks a significant milestone in the car’s history. As the first major redesign of the iconic pony car since its introduction in 1964, the 1987 Mustang brought forth a new era of performance, style, and technological advancements. In this article, we’ll delve into the significance of this model year, explore its design and styling, and examine its impact on the automotive industry.

1987 ford mustang

Brief History of the 1987 Ford Mustang

The 1986 Mustang underwent a major facelift, with the new design debuting for the 1987 model year. The car’s overall length increased by nearly 3 inches, while its width remained unchanged. This updated look introduced a more aggressive stance, characterized by a sloping hood, flared fenders, and revised taillights.

Significance of the 1987 Ford Mustang Model Year

The ‘87 Mustang played a crucial role in revitalizing the pony car’s image, which had become stale in the preceding years. By incorporating modern design elements, improved performance, and advanced safety features, Ford breathed new life into the iconic brand. The ‘87 Mustang also marked a significant departure from the previous generation’s boxy shape, adopting a more aerodynamic profile that would influence future designs.

Design and Styling of 1987 Ford Musta

The 1987 Mustang boasted a bold, angular design language, with creases and lines accentuating its muscular appearance. The car’s front end featured a prominent grille, flanked by rectangular headlights and a prominent air dam. A distinctive “powerdome” hood scoop added a touch of sportiness to the overall aesthetic.

Color Options and Trim Levels

The 1987 Mustang was offered in a range of colors:

  • Base: White, Black, Red, Blue, and Silver
  • GT: White, Black, Red, and Blue
  • LX: White, Black, and Silver
  • Special Editions: Candy Apple Red, Wimbledon White, and Targa Red

Trim levels included:

  • Base: Entry-level model with a basic feature set
  • LX: Mid-range trim with added amenities like power windows and locks
  • GT: Performance-oriented variant with sport-tuned suspension and distinctive badging

Performance and Specifications

The 1987 Mustang offered several engine options, including:

  • 2.3L inline-four (115 horsepower)
  • 3.8L V6 (140 horsepower)
  • 5.0L V8 (157-225 horsepower)

Transmission choices consisted of:

  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual

Engine Options for the 1987 Ford Mustang

The ‘87 Mustang’s engine lineup featured a mix of fuel-efficient and performance-oriented options:

  • 2.3L inline-four: A more economical choice, producing 115 horsepower at 4500 RPM.
  • 3.8L V6: A mid-range option delivering 140 horsepower at 4000 RPM.
  • 5.0L V8: The most powerful engine, yielding 157 horsepower at 4000 RPM (with the GT Equipment Package) or 225 horsepower at 4200 RPM (with the GT-Limited Package).

Horsepower and Torque Ratings for the 1987 Ford Mustang

Engine Horsepower Torque
2.3L inline-four 115 hp @ 4500 RPM 135 lb-ft @ 2500 RPM
3.8L V6 140 hp @ 4000 RPM 195 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM
5.0L V8 (GT) 157 hp @ 4000 RPM 240 lb-ft @ 3200 RPM
5.0L V8 (GT-Limited) 225 hp @ 4200 RPM 260 lb-ft @ 3400 RPM

Transmission Options

  • 4-speed automatic: A smooth-shifting transmission suitable for everyday driving.
  • 5-speed manual: A driver-oriented option providing more control and engagement.

1987 ford mustang

Variants and Special Editions

The ‘87 Mustang featured several variants and special editions:

  • GT Equipment Package: Added performance features, including sport-tuned suspension, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and a unique grille.
  • GT-Limited Package: A high-performance variant with improved engine output, stiffer suspension, and distinct badging.
  • Cobra: A limited-edition model with a distinctive hood scoop, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a performance-oriented suspension.

Fastback, Convertible, and Coupe Body Styles

The 1987 Mustang was available in three body styles:

  • Fastback: A sporty, two-door coupe with a sloping rear deck.
  • Convertible: A soft-top convertible offering open-air driving pleasure.
  • Coupe: A traditional, fixed-roof two-door coupe.

GT Equipment Package

The GT Equipment Package added a range of performance-oriented features to the Mustang:

  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • 15-inch aluminum wheels
  • Unique grille
  • Badging on the sides and rear deck
  • Optional: sport seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and limited-slip differential

Impact on the Automotive Industry

The ‘87 Mustang’s redesign had a significant impact on the automotive industry:

  • Muscle car resurgence: The updated Mustang helped revitalize the muscle car segment, inspiring other manufacturers to revisit their own performance offerings.
  • Performance-oriented design: The ‘87 Mustang’s aggressive styling cues influenced future designs, particularly in the pony car and sports car segments.

Sales Figures and Popularity

The 1987 Ford Mustang enjoyed moderate success:

  • Sales figures: Around 112,000 units sold worldwide (approximately 83,000 in the United States).
  • Popularity: The ‘87 Mustang ranked among the top 10 best-selling pony cars of its era.

Influence on Competitor Models

The ‘87 Mustang’s design and performance characteristics influenced rival models:

  • Chevrolet Camaro: The Camaro’s 1988 redesign borrowed from the Mustang’s aggressive styling cues.
  • Dodge Challenger: The second-generation Challenger, introduced in 1979, incorporated similar design elements to the ‘87 Mustang.

Collectibility and Value of 1987 Ford Mustang

The ‘87 Mustang has become a sought-after collector’s item:

  • Common models: Base and LX models with moderate mileage and wear are relatively affordable (around $5,000-$10,000).
  • GT and high-performance variants: More rare and desirable models, such as the GT-Limited or Cobra, command higher prices (up to $30,000 or more).

Current Market Value for Various Conditions and Variants

Condition/Variant Price Range
Base, low mileage, good condition $5,000-$10,000
LX, moderate mileage, average condition $8,000-$15,000
GT, high mileage, fair condition $12,000-$20,000
GT-Limited, low mileage, excellent condition $20,000-$30,000
Cobra, rare, high-performance variant $25,000-$40,000

Buying Guide

When purchasing a 1987 Ford Mustang:

  • Research: Learn about the car’s history, condition, and market value.
  • Inspect: Look for signs of wear, damage, or neglect. Check the engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes.
  • Test drive: Take the car for a spin to ensure it handles smoothly and without major issues.

In conclusion, the 1987 Ford Mustang represents a pivotal moment in the car’s history, blending modern design with performance-oriented capabilities. As a collector’s item or daily driver, this iconic pony car remains a beloved classic among enthusiasts.

1987 ford mustang