The 1987 Ford Mustang was a car that received major changes in
styling and a huge increase in horsepower. Ford was now in a new
muscle car war with the General Motors Camaro, Pontiac Firebird
and a few turbo Chrysler products.
The 302 cid, or 5.0 liter, high output motor powering the Mustang
GT is a cornerstone of small block Ford engine production. The 1987
engine is mostly a carryover from the 1986 version of the 5.0 HO
with the addition of better heads and better flowing intake system.
During 1987 the engine features forged pistons with valve relief's,
roller camshaft with 260 degrees of duration, tuned sequential fuel
injection with one injector for each intake port, and tubular exhaust
The heads on the high output motor originally came from the truck
production line and are noted with the part prefix E7TE. These heads
were ideal for creating torque and low lift flow.
When matched with a hot camshaft, bigger intake system featuring
60mm throttle body the result was a 25 horsepower increase of the
1986 model. Total power was 225hp and an honest 300 foot pounds
of torque. The high torque engine was controlled by the newly designed
EEC-IV electronic system.
The suspension on the 1987 Mustang GT showed minor improvements
over years past as the front end received larger 10.84 inch brakes
and the use of new spindles and struts to improve the geometry.
All GT's featured large sway bars front and rear and were reported
to handle adequately compared to their competition. Interestingly,
buyers who opted for a V-8 in the LX model also received the GT
Exterior treatments were quite different in 1987. A new front end
featuring flush mounted headlamps and round fog lights was standard
on the GT version. GT's also featured a ground effects package which
included a rear wing, rocker panel moldings, and a front chin spoiler.
Also, GT's came with newly designed turbine style four bolt rims
in size 15 by 7 inch and louvered taillights. LX models did not
have ground effects and included standard tail lamps and carryover
10 hole aluminum wheels from the 1986 model. This was also the final
year for T-tops to be available on the Mustang.
The interior of the 1987 Mustang was all new from previous models.
The dash was entirely new and featured a large 7000rpm tach, large
speedometer, and four other small gauges. Newly styled push pull
switches for headlamps, window defrosters, and hazard lights were
installed. The HVAC controls were also new designs featuring a modern
large dial design. For the first time buyers were able to purchase
a premium sound system featuring graphic equalizer. The pedals were
redesigned for heel-toe shifting and a footrest was installed for
the shifting leg on the floorboard. Interior colors were red, beige,
or medium gray.
Performance in the new Mustang was very good overall. Despite much
criticism of poor braking and the need for a more rigid rear suspension
the car handled respectably on the track delivering 0.85g's and
64mph in a 700ft slalom. Where the car really showed strength was
in acceleration. Bone stock mustangs achieved easy 14 second quarter
mile times at 97+mph. Once Mustangs received better gearing and
sticky tires they ran 13 second quarter mile times. In fact, many
racers achieved 12 second quarter mile times while using completely
stock engines. The success of this car was related to it's incredible
torque and the ability to respond to simple bolt on performance
The 1987 Mustang GT truly
was the cornerstone of the third generation Mustang. To many Ford
enthusiasts this Mustang was responsible for revitalizing the pony
car image as well as spawning the "bolt-on" era. Within
a few years thousands of readily and inexpensive bolt on performance
parts were available for the Mustang.
Models: GT, LX, convertible