Junkyard Gem: 1987 Ford Mustang LX Hatchback


With the introduction of the new Fox-platform Mustang for the 1979 model year, the Pinto-derived Mustang II was shown the door and a new era of Mustang performance began. Mustangs with ever-more-powerful V8s and turbocharged four-bangers hit the streets, rappers sang their praises and hot-rodded Ford ponies took over the drag strips. The thing is, we often forget that the Mustang also remained faithful to its origins as a sporty-looking yet economical commuter car during the Fox era, which means that plenty were sold with gas-sipping base engines and penny-pinching price tags. Here’s one of those cars, found in a North Carolina self-service knacker’s yard recently.

08 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

In 1987, the Mustang was available as a notchback two-door sedan, as a convertible and as a three-door hatchback. Except for 1979 and 1980, the hatchback always outsold the notchback during the 1979-1993 Fox era (in which more than 2.5 million Mustangs were sold).

15 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

The base engine in the 1987 Mustang LX was the 2.3-liter “Pinto” four-cylinder, rated at 90 horsepower and 130 pound-feet, and that’s what we have here.

18 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

The 1987 Mustang GT came with a 5.0-liter V8 making 225 horses and 300 pound-feet. Those wishing to get a lightweight sleeper Mustang that year could buy the LX notchback and order it with the V8 and affiliated components, which added $1,885 ($5,294 in 2024 dollars) to the car’s $8,043 sticker price ($22,591 after inflation).

25 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

The LX hatchback cost a bit more than the trunk-equipped ’87 Mustang, with an MSRP of $8,474 ($23,801 in today’s money). But this car has some costly options that pushed the price quite a bit higher, as we’ll see.

27 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

First, there’s the four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, which added $515 to the out-the-door cost ($1,447 now). There’s also air conditioning, which added between $788 and $1,028 depending on the package ($2,213 to $2,887 today). 

06 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

This car also has the nice cast aluminum wheels, which came with the V8 engine package and don’t seem to have been a factory option for 2.3-equipped cars. We can assume that these were swapped on after purchase.

33 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

The center caps were inside.

04 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

It’s in reasonably good condition for a 37-year-old car, much better than the majority of Fox Mustangs I find during my junkyard travels. Stuffing a Windsor V8 and manual transmission into one of these cars is an easy and relatively cheap project, but nobody intercepted this car during its route to the crusher. I think a hot-rodded Fox LTD or Cougar would be more fun, personally.

39 1987 Ford Mustang in North Carolina junkyard photo by Murilee Martin

1987 was the model year for the Fox Mustang’s big facelift, which got rid of the old sealed-beam “four-eyes” headlights and added a grille much like the ones on Tauruses and Thunderbirds. The final year for the Fox Mustang was 1993, unless you consider the Fox-derived 1994-2004 SN95 Mustangs to be genuine Foxes.

Ford didn’t bother to make many TV commercials pitching the Mustang LX, instead focusing on the flashier GT. I was a broke college student in 1987 and a new Mustang was far out of my reach, but at least I owned a sporty Ford fastback with Windsor V8 and screaming Competition Orange paint at the time.



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