Budget Hero: The '87-'93 LX 5.0 Is One of the Greatest Mustangs Ever
In 1987 Ford introduced a car that would go on to become not just a sales hit, but a performance icon. I'm talking, of course, about the Mustang 5.0.
By '87 the Fox Body Mustang platform had already been around for a while. but a major refresh with new "aero" styling and some significant mechanical upgrades truly brought the Mustang into the modern era.
The big story with the car came under the hood, where the top of the line Mustang GT now came equipped with Ford's electronically fuel injected "5.0 HO" small block V8. It was an engine that had its roots in the 1960s but had been throughly updated for the modern era making 225 horsepower and 300 pound feet of torque.
These are paltry numbers by today's standards, but this was a very big deal in 1987, after more than a decade of American performance cars being choked down by emissions regulations and outdated technology.
The fully updated 5.0 Mustang was the most capable Mustang since the original muscle car era, and its new fuel injected small block would give birth to a new aftermarket and a start of a new era of American performance.
The Mustang GT was the most visible of the 5.0s with its higher price tag and more aggressive styling, but along with much-improved Mustang GT, the '87 lineup also included a 5.0 Mustang with even better performance and a cheaper price. That car was the Mustang LX 5.0.
The V8-powered Mustang LX had been around prior to this, but for ‘87 it became a masterpiece, combining all the mechanicals of the Mustang GT with the standard LX body and trimmings.
Not only did it come with the aforementioned 5.0 HO engine, it came with all of the other good stuff including a standard limited slip rear end and a standard five-speed manual or AOD automatic transmission.
Naturally, the LX 5.0 was priced cheaper than the GT, but that wasn’t the only reason it became popular among enthusiasts and weekend racers. With less equipment and body additions it was also lighter than the GT.
Most importantly, the LX was the only 5.0 Mustang available in the notchback body style. Not only was the notchback lighter than its hatchback counterpart, it also offered improved structural rigidity.
The LX also drew less attention on the street with only its subtle “5.0” badging, dual exhaust pipes and wider tires to distinguish it from the base four-cylinder Mustang.
In terms of history, the ‘87-‘93 period represented not only the last time you could get a V8 in a non-GT Mustang it was also the last time a fixed-roof Mustang was available in two different body styles.
Perhaps not surprisingly, in later years it was actually the LX 5.0 that would prove to be the more desirable choice among many enthusiasts thanks to its lighter weight and “cleaner” look. Like all Fox Body 5.0s, a clean and un-abused LX has become a rarity and they command a premium today.
With understated looks, fantastic performance and a low price the ‘87-‘93 Mustang LX 5.0 was a hit when it was new and will always be considered one of the most important performance Mustangs of all time. We expect the appreciation to only grow as the years go on.
And, while we have plenty of love for the Fox Body, let's not forget the under-appreciated SN95 Mustang that came next.