The year 1979 ushered in the third generation of the iconic Ford Mustang. By this time, the Mustang had already established itself firmly in the history records of the automobile industry. The new 1979 Ford Mustang was underpinned by a new “Fox platform”. Unlike the second generation it was replacing, the new Mustang was taller and longer but around 200 pounds lighter. This model was powered by 2.3 L, 4-cylinder engine and a 2.3 L, turbocharged engine.
For higher trims, the drive-trains available were a 2.8 liter V-6, a 3.3 liter inline-6 and a 5.0 liter V-8. However, many enthusiasts did not like the automaker’s decision to customize the model mostly for the European market by ‘watering down” its traditional styling cues.
The third generation Mustang through the years
1980 Ford Mustang:
This year saw Ford drop the 302-cubic inch 5.0 L, V-8 engine. It was replaced by a 255-cubic inch 4.2 L, V-8 which was rated at 119 hp in the endeavor to create an economical and sporty car. The 2.8 L, V-6 mill was replaced by a 3.3 L, V-6 mill.
1981 Ford Mustang:
In ’81, new fuel emission regulations came into effect necessitating the automaker to yet again make changes on the Mustang’s engine lineup. The automaker discontinued the 2.3 L, turbocharged engine while the 255-cubic inch V-8 was revised to produce 115 hp up from 119 horses. At 115 hp, the model could not claim to offer any significant sportiness as the automaker claimed.
1982 Ford Mustang:
In ’82, Ford had to add significant power to the model to keep enthusiasts happy. The GT returned and the 5.0 L, V-8 returned. The V-8 engine was capable of 157 horses, which was a huge improvement. In addition, the automaker added a revised exhaust system and an improved intake system which transformed the model to become among the fastest American-made cars. The T-top trim was also re-introduced but as an option.
1983 Ford Mustang:
Once again, Ford returned the convertible Mustang to the fold. The 5.0 L, V-8 engine on Mustang GT’s was revised to produce 175 hp. During this year, the California Highway Patrol purchased 400 Mustangs for high-speed street chases indicating the how popular the model had become.
1984 Ford Mustang:
’84 was a year of Special Edition Mustangs. The Mustang got its first SVO model made by the Special Vehicle Operations. The Mustang SVO was motivated by a 2.3 L, 4-cylinder engine rated at 175 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. Despite the model’s high price of $15,585, the Mustang was very popular. A GT model to celebrate Mustang’s 20th Anniversary was also launched. The GT was offered in a Canyon Red interior and an Oxford White exterior.
1985 Ford Mustang:
In ’85, Ford continued to upgrade the Mustang’s engine lineup. The automaker introduced a 5.0 L, HO (High Output) engine which was capable of 210 hp. The SVO was also offered for the 1985 model year.
1986 Ford Mustang:
In ’86, Ford debuted a sequential multi-port fuel injection system on the V-8 engine which replaced the carburetor. The new engine produced 225 horses. The SVO was also offered; however, its power was slightly reduced to 200 hp from 205 hp. The SVO’s exterior was hooked up with an additional brake light on the rear spoiler.
1987 Ford Mustang:
In 1987, the Mustang received a comprehensive redesign. Ford added more aerodynamics to its exterior profile. This was the most significant redesign since the third-generation’s debut. The 5.0 L, mill was improved to offer 225 horses and the V-6 was discontinued. A new 2.3 L, 4-cylinder mill was introduced. The automaker’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) produced a special SVT Cobra which was powered by a 302-cubic inch V-8 mill which was good for 235 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.
1988 Ford Mustang:
In ’88, only little changes were made to the Mustang. In this year alone, Ford sold 68,468 units of the Mustang. The California Mustang GT was hooked up with a mass airflow sensor in place of the speed density system.
1989 Ford Mustang:
The mass airflow system was introduced to all Mustang models and a Mustang Pony with the inscription “25 years” was placed on the dashboard of all Mustangs produced between 17th April 1989 and 17th April 1990 to mark the model’s 25th anniversary.
1990 Ford Mustang:
Ford released 2,000 limited edition models which were meant to continue the 25th anniversary celebrations. Driver’s side airbag was also offered as standard equipment for the first time on the Mustang.
1991 Ford Mustang:
This year saw an increase in the base Mustang’s power output. The 2.3 L engine produced 105 horses. 5-spoke 16X7 cast aluminum wheels were offered for V-8 powered Mustangs.
1992 Ford Mustang:
’92 was not a good year for the Mustang as sales were on a downward trend. To boost the Mustang’s image, Ford produced a limited-edition Mustang convertible. The convertible featured among other things a rear spoiler.
1993 Ford Mustang:
In ’93, the automaker’s Special Vehicle Team released a limited-production SVT Mustang Cobra. The Team also released a Cobra R version. The Cobra R was specifically produced for racing purposes; as such, it lacked a stereo system and air conditioning. The model was so popular that it sold out before its production commenced. This marked the end of the third-generation Ford Mustang production run.