Automobile

How Many Ponies Are Left In This 1987 Ford Mustang GT 5.0?

Readers of a certain age will always pair the image of a white Fox Body Mustang Convertible with rapper Vanilla Ice. It’s thanks to his 1991 hit single “Rollin’ In My 5.0” that was prominently featured on the album artwork and, of course, the music video. If you have the time to listen (or re-listen) to it, you’ll hear that Mr. Ice is rather proud of his ragtop pony car.

Time hasn’t been so kind to the rapper and occasional actor’s career. On the other hand, the Fox Body has cemented its legacy. It may not be the prettiest or the fastest ‘Stang, but its stock has been rising for the last couple of years. The thing is, can Mustangs of this vintage still offer a strong kick? That’s what the folks from Late Model Restoration (LMR) wanted to find out.

For this test, they bagged a white 1987 Mustang GT 5.0 Convertible, much like what Vanilla Ice from back in the day. It’s a mint one, low-mileage example with just under 80,000 miles (128,748 kilometers) on the clock. You could say it’s pretty fresh given the age  of this car. This particular car has the four-speed AOD instead of the five-speed manual.

Stats? When it was new, the 1987 Mustang GT 5.0 made 225 horsepower (168 kilowatts) and 300 pound-feet (407 Newton meters) of torque. The figures may sound rather pedestrian these days, but anything with over 200 horsepower (149 kilowatts) was pretty much considered powerful back then. However, 34 years have passed since it rolled off the assembly line. How much of that power is still left?

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Before we answer that, there are a few things you need to remember. Wheel horsepower is different from crank horsepower. Whatever number that pops up from the dyno will definitely be lower than the advertised power. In the case of rear-wheel drive vehicles, we’re looking at about 20-25 percent power loss.

So how did this particular pony fare? According to the dyno, it pulled 184.4 horsepower (137.5 kilowatts) and 259.5 pound-feet (351.8 Newton meters) of torque. It may look low but if you consider the age and drivetrain loss, the numbers are still pretty respectable. If anything, it’s also proof that care and maintenance go a long way. This is a very healthy horse indeed.

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