By the 1980s, there was no shortage of anemic, stripe-and-trim “performance” cars rolling out of Detroit factories. But then Ford fired a shot that is widely acknowledged as bringing the second coming of the horsepower wars: Its 1982 Mustang GT 5.0L HO arrived with an ad campaign announcing that “The Boss Is Back.”
Another 1982 Mustang ad touted the new police-package Mustang, stating that “This Mustang Chases Porsches For A Living.” There was no question that Ford, after mothballing the GT designation for 13 years, had thrown down the gauntlet and was serious about resurrecting Mustang performance. It helped that oil prices took a well-timed tumble in the 1980s after years of economizing caused a global glut.
All the fans of these and the hot-rod Fox-body 5.0 cars that followed owe Ford a thanks.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared as part of the 25 Greatest Mustangs cover story in the July/August issue of Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. You can find the other entries here.]