Welcome to The Collector Car Podcast. Today I am going to review the market trends of Fox Body Mustangs, see which ones have appreciated the most in the last three years, review the Dennis Collin’s collection and see if it was a better investment than the stock market. And I will recommend which ones you should buy now.
If you are more of a visual person, be sure to check out this podcast on our YouTube channel where you will see all of the charts, graphs and data I talk about during this Fox Body Mustang Market Moment. First off I’d like to thank Sports Car Market for providing a Platinum Database subscription. This gives me even more data to dig into which you will see momentarily. I will have our first ad for the podcast in SCM’s December issue so be sure to keep an eye out for it. As always, you can see all of the cool car places I visit while traveling across the US on Instagram at The CollectorCarPodcast. Be sure to click on the Instagram Stories as I have been posting more videos there and they are only available for 24 hours.
A transcript of this episode will be posted as a blog on www.TheCollectorCarPodcast.com with all of the hyperlinks activated so you can explore and read the websites and articles I mention. So now onto some cars!
I have a love for all things Mustang. You can see my taproot car by watching the Simpler Times Petrolicous video which features my 1966 Mustang I sold a little over a year ago. My taproot car is the 1966 fake GT convertible you can see in one of the pictures and next to it is a pic of me with my first car…a 1968 Mustang coupe.
While I was falling in love with the First Gen Mustangs, two buddies received new GTs when they graduated in 1989. One white and one black. Bret and Jason…I hated those guys😊 Just kidding…Bret still has his last I heard.
A 1986 Fox Body Mustang GT was the first Mustang and the first 5.0 Mustang I ever drove. This one is my taproot Fox Body Mustang. It was during college…Ken Rinaldi, RA at Cash Hall in Tallahassee Florida owned it. I drove it in the underground garage so the stock exhaust sounded more menacing that it really was…and I loved it. I don’t recall ever driving it again but it made an impression.
The Fox body Mustangs have two distinct sub-classes. The 1979-1986 quad headlight and the 1987-1993 square headlight mustangs. There are more differences to mention as well.
The Quad-Headlight cars had carburetors except for 1986 where fuel injection was introduced. They were powered by a variety of 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines which were all low on power. These cars are more difficult to restore as there is not a strong aftermarket parts supplier.
The square, or single headlight, Mustangs from 1987-1993 had less variation over the years and improvements were focused around increasing the horsepower of the 5.0 litre V8. These were hot-rodded like crazy and it is difficult to find an unmolested, original one today.
For the purposes of this evaluation, I am not including Capris, Roushes, McLarens, SSP, or other non-factory cars with the exception of Saleens. Why Saleens? Because enough of them are sold that we have data available to review them and their trends in the market are pretty strong so I wanted to be sure to review them.
Fox Body Mustangs are finally getting their due in the marketplace. Recent and very visible results include the collection of Fast and Loud’s Dennis Collin’s that were recently sold off at two different auctions. Dennis auctioned off five Fox Body cars in 2017 which averaged $54,340 and 18 cars in 2018 which averaged $29,752. These results were record breaking and made national headlines at the time. Expecially the 7-Up convertible that sold for over $80,000.
1.1993 Mustang LX Convertible with 340 miles sold for $53,900
1.1989 Mustang 5.0 LX Hatchback with 640 miles and never dealer prep sold for $71,500
I will review these more in depth in a moment. It may look like these have sold for a lot of money, and they did, but I’m going to dive into the numbers and see which one really was a good investment. To do this, let’s look at the market as a whole first.
My data is from Sports Car Market’s Platinum database. For the entire run of Fox Bodies, the Average Price by Auction Year went up 268.1% which sounds really amazing. However, the first year of record was 1993 and the average price was under $5,000. By 2019, the average price was $18,000. There are a lot of factors in this including more cars coming to auction, inflation and the growth of the auction industry.
If you break out the 1979-1986, quad car, Mustangs you see where most of this growth is coming from. The average went from less that $4,000 to around $14,000 which represented a 241.8% increase.
For the later cars, the growth is only 40% but that is against a much higher auction result price of $13,000 and it ended around $18,000. That means they depreciated less after the initial purchase so the gains were not has significant.
When we look at the values for particular models, the data gets even more interesting. Over its entire run, the base GT has increased it’s auction price from just over $10,000 to around $26,000 which is a 120.4% change.
The value of a base GT for quad cars is $16,000 and for square stangs it is $20,000. The Cobras are another story. The quad Cobras average value is $22,000 while for the square Cobras it is just over $50,000. The 1993 Cobra R is a real standout with its value for #1 condition being around $95,000. Cobra R #73 with only 589 miles sold for $132,000 in April of 2019.
Now let’s look at what has appreciated in the last three years. I am going to review these from the lowest to the highest increase in value. For a baseline, I picked my taproot car, a 1986 GT, which has not appreciated much at all at only 0.6%.
The 1984 MUSTANG G.T. 350 grew 4.5%
Celebrating 20 years of the Mustang brought about another limited edition that payed tribute to the classic Mustang G.T. 350 of 1964. These cars, which were all based off of a standard 1984 Mustang (Hatchback or Convertible), were built in just 35 days and featured an Oxford White exterior with red trim and a red interior. Of the 5,260 anniversary Mustangs made available, only 104 Turbo GT350 convertible models were created, each featuring the 2.3L turbocharged engine option. In all, it’s been reported that only 350 of the cars, both hatchback and convertible, featured the turbo engine.
The 1979 INDIANAPOLIS 500 PACE CAR grew 10.3%
For the first time since 1964, the Mustang had been selected to pace the Indianapolis 500 and it did it wearing a special themed livery and an assortment of exclusive parts. The popularity of the car sparked the creation of a limited run of replicas that mimicked the three original examples.Available with exclusive options like Recaro buckets and the metric sized TRX wheels this rare fox was highly desirable and saw a total production of 10,478 examples in the 1979 model year
The 1986 SVO grew 16.3%
Of most interest to collectors is the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) version of the turbocharged four-cylinder, which squeezed 175–205 horsepower out of the 2.3-liter mill from 1985–86. The Mustang SVO also came with a more aggressive suspension setup, a limited-slip rear differential, four-wheel disc brakes, and unique rims, a special hood, and a blocked-off grille..
The 1985 GT Convertible grew 19.5%...last of the carburetor cars.
The 1992 5.0 Convertible grew 23.9% which I put in here because of two special edition variants.
The 1993 Saleen SC Convertible grew 28.7%...only five made…two convertibles and three coupes.
The 1993 Cobra grew 29.8%.
The 1993 Cobra R grew 30.5%. This is a souped up Cobra with a stronger suspension, bigger wheels and tires and brake upgrades. With just a little more horsepower. It had no fog lights as these were removed so more air could funnel into the engine and only 107 were built. They also lack creature comforts as the A/C was deleted as well as the rear seat and all power options which saved over 400 pounds.
Additional ones to watch out for…
1985-86 SAGE GREEN SVO "4E"
There were only 47 SVO Mustangs with Sage Green paint, between 1985 and 86, and of those 20 were made and marketed as Hertz rental cars.
1980-81 MUSTANG COBRA because it had an optional 2.3 Turbo in 1980 this car made 132 hp and 142 lb-ft of torque all while sporting a wild graphics package complete with a blazing Cobra on the hood. This car was a part of Ford’s push to try and make their smaller displacement engines a driving force in the industry, but the 302 inevitably returned in 1982.
Now let’s talk about Dennis’ collection. When you crunch the numbers, the record-breaking prices were a losing proposition. Let me preface this by saying, I don’t know how or when he bought them. The data I’m about to review, compares investing money in a new Mustang verse putting it in the stock market. For example, if you invested $1 in the stock market in 1983 it would be worth $8.74. The original list price for a 1983 Mustang GT was $9,328. So if instead of buying a new 1983 Mustang and squirreling it away as an investment hoping to sell it one day at a huge profit, you invested the $9,328 in the stock market, in 2019, it would have grown to $81,489.13. In this example, Dennis’ Mustang sold for $33,000 which seems like a win until you realize that you would have $48,000 more if you invested in the stock market. And this doesn’t factor in car insurance or the cost to store it for so many years.
So how did Dennis fair? If he bought all of these new, he invested $310,789. After the dust settled from both auctions, he netted out $834,200 not counting auction fees which we are not going to worry about for this example. That means his initial investment had a 168.4% return which sounds great right? Wrong! If he had invested the same amount of money in the stock market, he would have netted out $1,708,521.47 which would have been a 449.7% return! The only car that came close to making a better return was the record-breaking-unrepeatable 7-UP convertible that sold for $82,900. Even in this example, the stock market would have given you $101.33.
What’s the message here? Don’t be a speculator! Buy what you love and drive the heck out of it!!
So what would I recommend to buy now? Buy the Turbos! As more and more of today’s cars become turbo powered, enthusiast will want the original turbos for their collection. It will be about the technology and not the power. Buy up the SVOs, ’84 GT350s and Cobra Turbos wherever you can find them. And this is not limited to Mustangs. Check out the trend on the turbo models of the BMW 2002, Toyota Supra and Porsche 944 and you will see where the Mustang trends will be going.
The Cobra Rs and Saleen SCs will always be worth a lot so do not expect them to decline. Even as the currently market is declining, I think these will hold their value as the generation that love these is aging and acquiring more disposable income. And buy your Tap Root Mustang! I will always be on the look out for a red 1986 GT.
That is all for this week’s market moment! Agree, disagree or need to correct me on an errant fact? Respond to my blog, comment on Instagram or DM me directly…I will respond! As always, keep your foot on the gas and the tires pointed straight. I’ll talk to all of you next week.
The Hagerty valuation team has been predicting it for years. So when a 1990 7Up Edition Mustang 5.0 LX (albeit one with 15 miles on it) sold for $82,500 at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale this past January, it was pretty clear that the car had arrived as a genuine collectible.
Greg draws, talks, vlogs, blogs, writes, evaluates, judges, appraises, video tapes and consumes all things automotive. He even regurgitates useless car facts, stories, pictures and shares cool car places he's visited recently if you give him a chance.