If I had a dollar for every email and message I get from people wanting to buy a fox body Mustang, I would be typing this post from my private island. Not even close to kidding. When I (as the commander in chief of Foxcast Media) can't tell them where a clean coupe is for sale, they seem justifiably bewildered. In all fairness, if anyone should know, it should be me. Truth be told, I really don't know many times. I will get owners letting me know cars are for sale here and there, but they sell fast, and I can't keep up. There are a lot of super nice cars out there for sale, but you're timing has to be perfect, you better have a fistful of Benjamin's, and be ready to travel.
The articles and videos on how to buy a fox body Mustang are a dime a dozen, I've read and watched all of them over the years. While they all had their good points, telling me that the ashtray doors tend to fail is leaning toward Captain Obvious. Yes, they tend to rust on the hatch area near the blue oval, and yes of course the driver seat will get the "lean". Noted. Being a bit frustrated with what is out there, I decided it was high time I took the bull by the horns and tackled this subject, Foxcast Media style.
#1 Have a solid plan: When you go trotting off to buy anything, you have a specific purpose in mind, whether it's toilet paper or a lawnmower. You have to know what you want from the car. If you plan to build an all out race or show car, then you really don't need to worry about much other than the structural integrity of the car (i.e rust). Think about it: if the whole car is going to be gone through, who really cares that the rear main is gushing 5W30 faster than the Hoover dam. Your plan will tell you what matters and what doesn't. Not only that, but shortcomings in the car that don't matter to you, can also be used as negotiating tools to score a deal. Don't go divulging your evil plan until after the money has changed hands.
#2 If you are going to be picky, be ready to shell out the cash: True story, I was contacted by a "serious" buyer looking for a Reef Blue notch with black interior. Yeah, me too! I had actually been made aware of one in Kentucky that was possibly for sale, and I put him in contact with the owner. The car was mint, and stock other than a five lug conversion and Bullitt wheels. Later that week we spoke again and he had passed on the car because the owner was asking too much. Here's the thing: they aren't making any more of these, and with a car like that, it is a sellers market. Be ready to pay for it.
#3 Know your limitations: If you are not very mechanically inclined, don't go buying a car with a big turbo and Dart 363. Even if the ad says the car needs nothing, you WILL be working on it. There are two limiting factors you have to take into account; the first is your ability to work on the car, or ability to pay someone else to work on it. Getting in over your head will not make for an enjoyable ownership experience.
#4 Hunt, hunt, hunt: The trick to finding the right car is going to take some leg work. Be ready to pound the pavement and the keyboard for that perfect fox body Mustang. Ebay, Craigslist, Forums, Facebook, Autotrader, and others are good places to monitor daily. Car shows and cruises are ideal also, don't be afraid to inquire about a car, you never know if the owner is ready to move on.
#5 Know what you are looking at: If you have been in the game for a while, then you know what to look for. If you haven't, take someone with you to look at a car. There is no shame in admitting you don't want to lose your hard earned greenbacks because the current owner got over on you. Ask for receipts, test the owner's knowledge, ask for time slips, look at the fluids, etc. If the seller tells you it has a 5k paint job but it looks like they painted over the bugs on the front bumper; run. Engines are tough, as you can't see if the block was machined and it actually is a 347 stroker, and you have no way to tell if the heads have a thousand dollar port job. The right seller will have pictures, receipts, dyno numbers, time slips, etc. Trust but verify.
I will expand on this in future posts, but I hope this offers a solid basis for a good fox body Mustang buying experience. Have a plan for what you want to buy or build, know your limitations, search, and don't get screwed. Happy foxbody hunting! CR