Countdown to the Mustang 50th: "The Boss is Back!" - the 1982-1986 Mustang

1982 Mustang GT Ad: "The Boss is Back!"

Ford's 1986 Performance trio, from front to rear: LX 5.0, GT and SVO.


Yes - Ford woke up and smelled the coffee - what they really smelled was that performance sells cars!

1982 through 1986 are the years when Mustang became re-defined back to its roots as a performance Pony Car. The choice by Ford to "hop up" the 302 and put it back into the Mustang may the most pivotal decision made by a car builder in the 1980s. Lots of the changes were made in that period, including the installation of direct port fuel injection in 1986.

"The Boss is Back!" declared 1982 Ford ads. The biggest news of the year was the return of the 302 cu. in. (5.0-liter) V-8, coupled with the disappearance of the turbo four. Mustangs were now available with a "high-output 302 V8" with four-speed manual overdrive transmission, a combo not offered since 1979. (The famous "5.0" badge also made its appearance on the 302 equipped GTs).

The 1982 302 V-8 had a 356 CFM two-barrel carburetor, larger-diameter and freer-flowing exhaust system (still single pipe), and low-restriction air cleaner with dual inlets. The new setup delivered better acceleration than the old 1979 version. It was able to hit 60 MPH in less than 8 seconds, which for that year, pretty quick.

A restyled nose and rear end improved Mustang's aerodynamics, but the model was otherwise essentially a carryover for 1983. The high output 302 V-8 utilized a new hood scoop design. Most noteworthy, though, was the return of the convertible as part of the GLX series.

The high-output 302 V-8 with four-speed manual transmission received a four-barrel carburetor replacing the former two-barrel. Horsepower jumped to 175 from 157. The 302 also got an aluminum intake manifold and less restrictive exhaust system.

Performance-oriented Mustang buyers had a new temptation this year - the new SVO Mustang.
(See the companion article on the SVO page 3 or click HERE for the whole deal).


  The convertible was a new model for 1983, only available in the GLX series. Pictured is a 5.0 HO equipped model with the TR handling package.

  For '84, the convertible was now available in the GT line as well.

  The 1985 GT is considered one of the best looking Fox bodies due to its uncluttered lines.