Never Stop Driving #71: Buy my Mustang

Cameron Neveu

Regular readers know that I am a serial owner of collector cars, so they will not be surprised to hear that the time has come for me to part with my 1986 Ford Mustang GT. I’m offering it without reserve on Hagerty Marketplace, and the highest online auction bidder will get the car. Kindly have a look and share the listing with anyone interested.

Naturally, my opinions about the Ford, as expressed in the listing description, are biased. That said, I’d gladly sell it to a friend, something conventional wisdom suggests not to do. My Mustang is a solid but imperfect driver-quality example of the so-called Fox-body generation. I bought it in 2021 because Sam, my youngest son, had a thing for loud V-8s. I’d looked at plenty of similar cars and most were modified or thrashed. This one had only two previous owners and the second one preferred to keep it in the garage rather than drive it: there were only 53,000 miles on the odometer.

1986 foxbody mustang
Sadly, I can’t keep them all. My 1986 Mustang GT is being auctioned on Hagerty Marketplace. Cameron Neveu

The car’s mechanical needs gave me and Sam something to do over the last winter. Parts are easy to find and relatively cheap, another reason to love Fox bodies. We yanked the transmission to replace the clutch and rear seal, bled the spongy brakes, changed the fluids, and installed new shocks. We did not fix the air conditioning, which is in place but not working. Since Sam’s main attraction was the V-8 rumble, we bought a Flowmaster exhaust system to amplify the sound.

Car projects are an excuse to engage with others and that certainly proved true with the GT. Wes Duenkel, a photographer and car writer who knows the Fox body’s peculiarities and wrote a book about later Stangs, was invaluable. When the car was running a bit warm, Duenkel told me to let the car cool and then squeeze the upper radiator hose. After a coolant change, that hose typically holds an air bubble that restricts coolant flow. Problem solved. Another lesson!

Cameron Neveu

In May 2022, Sam and I drove the freshly prepped Mustang from Michigan to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit the NASCAR museum and take in a race at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem. We naturally avoided highways and the GT’s handling surprised me on two-lane. It only weighs about 3000 pounds and it feels agile, a small car with a big engine. I handed the keys to Hagerty’s Cameron Neveu and he shared his experiences with the car here.

Since then, we’ve barely driven it. Sam’s moved on to other interests as I knew he would. He’s a kid and that’s his job—to go from one obsession to another. I’m grateful I seized the opportunity to share our car passion. We made our memories with the Mustang and now it’s time for someone else to make theirs.

Selling a car is always somewhat torturous for me because the process reveals how much money I devote to my hobby. A rough addition of my receipts for parts and services shows I spent about seven grand, including a big chunk to have the faded gray exterior trim painted black. I expect to “buy high and sell low” but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a tinge of regret sometimes, too. Fun costs money, however, and I have no complaints.

Cameron Neveu

I chose Hagerty’s marketplace not only because I work for the company but also because the platform verifies the buyers and sellers, handles the payment, and assists with the ownership transfer. There’s a level of security in the transaction that’s not included with other auction sites. The person in charge of our marketplace, Ken Ahn, spoke to these advantages here. You can ask questions about the car on the listing, and I’ll answer them there.

In the broader automotive world, the uncertainty over EVs and autonomous cars continues. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rolled back the U.K.’s EV-only mandate from 2030 to 2035. Ford CEO Jim Farley said the company will continue to invest in hybrids, a possible bridge between gas cars and pure EVs. Former Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has been saying the same thing for years: the rush to pure EVs should be tempered by a greater push for more cost-effective plug-in hybrids. Toyota, however, recently announced a major investment in solid-state battery technology that the company hopes will dramatically improve EV range and cost. Hydrogen as a fuel source remains in the picture. The FIA announced a hydrogen-powered race series to start in 2025. These are exciting times.

Last week, I revealed that I bought another Miata, my fifth. In case you’re wondering about my repeated love for Mazda’s charming roadster, Jason Cammisa just debuted a terrific explainer. Enjoy.

P.S.: Your feedback is very welcome. Comment below!

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    I’m right with you Larry. My mantra for buying and selling 62 vehicles (and homes, unfortunately) since getting my driver’s license in 1969 has always been “been buy high and sell low”! Always improving the vehicle before selling it, and enjoying the heck out of the drives along the way. “No Boring Cars” has worked for me.

    Larry, I completely understand. I too have a 1985 Mustang GT H.O. but after both my children put up an unexpected emotional plea for my wife and I to keep our original purchase from 1985, after purchasing a new 2017 GT/PP, we decided to oblige their wishes. Though I’ve had many offers to purchase my first ‘stang, and some offers were pretty high, I have made the decision to keep it. As an “A” Title, and a very babied vehicle, never seen snow and rarely seen rain, always garaged, I haven’t had to put the $$$ like you’ve had to, and driving it around particularly with the rise in Fox Platform interest, it garners lots of looks and comments. It’s bright red with the same interior that yours has, and 50,000 original miles on the clock also. I have a very small collection of cars, and I do try and use them regularly, less so in the winter months. My kids say that there are too many memories tied to the ’85, and thus we’ll keep our little time machine.

    Mark, my wife and I bought our 1984 20th Anniversary Mustang (our first new car) and after all these years and over 200,000 miles so many memories that we will never get rid of it. It is like the song it is like your favorite pair of jeans faded, rips, stains, and memories of a lifetime. Plus I still have the same wife, guess I hang on to things for a long time.

    We all know you need the money for that Italian girlfriend you bought a little while back. Hope the Mustang goes to a good home and the Dino/Ferrari is on the road soon and that you and the kids get to make many memories with it. Parting with cars is a very difficult thing to do.

    in 1989 I leased a ’90 5.0 LX hatchback through my company’s lease program. I drove it for two years putting about 75k miles on it. I had to replace a couple of alternators but amazingly, the Goodyear Gatorbacks survived due to lots and lots of highway miles. It really was a great car, and I can appreciate how you feel about selling.
    These days my ‘fun car’ is only one year newer than my Mustang but it’s at the opposite end of the horsepower spectrum. My 91 Rover Mini Cooper Sportspack might get around corners as well as the 5.0 but the straightaways would be problematic for the Mini.
    Good luck with your auction, Larry.

    When the article already encapsulates (in the next sentence or two) anything I might of added to the comments all I can say is well done!

    Akio Toyoda is absolutely correct about the timeframe on EVs and even his timeline is most likely too optimistic. Having owned many cars that I generally paid too much for and sold for too little, I can relate to you selling the Mustang. I just traded in a Porsche Cayman GTS for a Mazda MX-5 Miata RF GS. While the Cayman was an outstanding driving car, the interior quality issues, maintenance and repair costs are way too expensive. I’m thoroughly enjoying the Miata. Driving a slow car fast is great fun.

    As a car nut living in Canada, where it can get cold in winter (lol), I wonder how an EV will work f
    during a snow storm when you are stranded on a highway with many other cars, in both directions.
    How does one survive a cold dead battery and all others around you are in the same situation. Of course, the ones with gas engines are going to be ok. Their heaters will work as long a the had hold out. But with no way to get a service vehicle to you it’s going to be tough going with no heater because your EV battery just caved in.

    I wonder this because, I have experienced being stranded on a highway for well over 4 hours and my only source of heat was thanks to my gasoline engine.

    Great columns, very entertaining and informative. Thanks.

    Sorry about the grammar & spelling errors, I’m using my phone (small keyboard) and the 76 yo fingers aren’t what they used to be. lol

    Larry, ( I like to think we are on first name basis),
    I enjoy your columns much, probably more as I did many years ago when I looked forward to Tom MCahill’s articles and tests, or more recently Sam Smith’s.
    As a car guy of almost eighty, I have had a series of cars that I fell in love with, one I still have from 54 years ago, my Alfa 1750 GTV. The ‘94 “Turbo Supra” I bought new and kept ( in modified but pristine condition) for 27 years when tragically but heroically it saved my life. What a car. The story is too long for this rant.
    Anyway, not that my opinion matters, but it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I read your stuff.
    Thank you,
    Gary Hooper

    Although primarily a Chevy man, I’ve owned two of these. The first was a repurposed 4cyl that someone had stuffed a 5.0 and 5-speed in. I loved that car because it was completely plain-Jane from the outside, and I surprised a few folks when the light turned green. The second had all of the toys from the FoMoCo performance catalog under the hood and was a rocket. Even though they had a bad reputation for wrapping themselves around telephone poles, I found that both handled remarkably well. They do not stand up as well to testosterone-fuelled young adult thrashing as a SBC though

    I’ll probably track the auction, but my stable is full and there are at least three people that want to sell me cars that I have been turning down 🙁

    I must say, of all the things I expected, the advertorial call coming from inside the house is a little surprising, especially from you Larry. Must have been a slow week for you if the best use of this space is a mediocre ad for a rather mediocre car.

    Sometimes the negativity that comes out in the comment section here on Hagerty makes me wonder if these folks are even car-people at all.

    Randy, Randy while I understand the Mustangs of that era may not be your thing, they were very popular in the time for their affordability and performance. I grew up in the muscle car era of the late 60’s/early 70’s, a mile from a dragstrip. There were those that only loved Fords, or Chevys, or Mopars, and heaven forbid you tried drag race a “foreign” car. There would always someone who would insult other folks cars. I figured by now we would evolve from that mindset in the hobby. Keep in mind Larry’s Mustang is 37 years old and his is unmodified, which is actually rare with Fox body Mustangs. As Rodney King from the LA riots once said, “Can’t, can’t we all just get along”. By the way, what do you drive and cherish?

    Randy, Randy, while the Mustangs of this era may not be of interest to you, they were very popular due to affordability and performance. Many at that time were modified and as the saying goes driven hard and put away wet. To find one that is 37 years old relatively low mileage and not modified is fairly rare.

    I grew up during the late 60’s/early 70’s muscle car time and a mile from a dragstrip. There were guys that only loved Fords, Chevys, Mopars, etc.. and heaven forbid you drag raced a “foreign” car. They would hurl insults about other makes of cars. I would have thought by now we would have evolved in the hobby and respect all cars and the people that own them. As Rodney King once said during the LA Riots, “Can’t, can’t we all get along”.

    I would be interested to see your response to what vehicles you cherish or drive. Or perhaps you could enlighten us on those that are worthy of discussion.

    When my wife and I got married and bought a house in 1993, one of the neighbor kids bought a clapped out ’83 Mustang GT. He was 15 and had no idea how to to work on cars, and this car had been hacked up. It was rust free, but someone had sprayed the whole car in gray primer for some reason, and installed a 302 roller motor that was very tired. I helped him pull the engine out and rebuild it, and we installed Edelbrock carb, intake and cam. A few years later we moved and he stopped by and asked me if I wanted the Mustang. He bought a new car and no longer wanted to mess with it. I bought it from him, fixed it up a bit and sold it to my brother-in-law. He tuned it up and took it to the dragstrip and ran mid 13’s with it.

    cool car, i had a 94 LX 5.0 and loved it. thanks for shareing your journey with all of us, GLWA.
    i’m watching and we’ll see if it falls into my budget:>)

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