Junkyard Find: 1986 Ford Mustang LX Hatchback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 ford mustang lx hatchback
Because the 1979-1993 Fox Mustang remains so popular with enthusiasts, I don’t find so many non– crashed examples in the big self-service car graveyards I frequent. In fact, these days I see more 1974–1978 Mustang IIs than I do Fox Mustangs (unless you consider the 1994-2004 SN95 Mustang to be a true Fox). Last week, I found this very solid ’86 Mustang LX hatchback in a Denver yard, and my camera was ready for it.
The LX was the entry-level Mustang for 1986, and you could buy it in notchback, hatchback, or convertible form. The notchback was the cheapest, with MSRP starting at $7,189 ($17,910 today), while the more popular hatchback cost $7,744 ($19,290 in 2021 bucks).
For that price, you got the base engine: the 2.3-liter “Pinto” four-banger, rated at 88 horsepower. That’s what’s in this car. The 3.8-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 were available (120 and 200 horsepower, respectively) in the LX at extra cost.
A three-speed automatic transmission in the 1986 LX ran the buyer an extra $510, a painful $1,270 when figured in 2021 dollars; the four-speed overdrive slushbox went for a staggering $746 ($1,858 today). If you wanted the five-speed manual instead of the base four-on-the-floor, that added $124 ($309 now). This car has the five-speed.
Air conditioning was optional on every 1986 Mustang except for the high-zoot SVO, and it tacked on $762 to the bottom line (nearly $1,900 today). What the heck, once you’ve paid the extra for the additional transmission gear, might as well have refrigerated air.
The original build sheets, exposed when some junkyard shopper bought the carpets, remain stuck to the floor. I doubt anyone would ever restore a Pinto-powered Fox Mustang to its original condition (had this car stayed on the outside, a V8 swap would have been a near-certainty), so this isn’t as cool as finding the sheet for a Cyclone Spoiler.
It wouldn’t have been at all quick, but it was a good deal on a sporty-looking commuter that sipped gas… and now it faces the cold steel jaws of The Crusher.
The sheer thrill of driving a four-cylinder LX wouldn’t have been particularly vivid, though it was better than what you got with an Escort Pony.
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  • El scotto El scotto on Aug 23, 2021

    I sweat every Hertz mustang convertible was a 4-banger. I'm gonna be rude about this. Fox body Mustang GTs are old enough and cheap enough just about anyone should be able to afford one. Just the drop the dime and budget for Crest white strips. You'll be smiling all the time. Former red Mustang GT convertible mustang owner here. Rag-top down, 5.0!

  • 6250Claimer 6250Claimer on Aug 24, 2021

    That shift boot is a molded piece of rubber and is ALWAYS in that exact same state of appearance - every crease, fold etc is 100% static and stays in the same form permanently. SO cheesy.

  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.