The Eighties was an awful period for muscle cars as stringent US emissions regulations robbed the big block V8s of serious horsepower but Ford found a way of keeping performance at respectable levels — and that too by using half the number of cylinders.
The four-pot had been introduced in the 1974 Mustang II and truth be told it was totally gutless, but when the third gen Fox body was launched, it was — for the first time in the models history — turbocharged. However, the downsized 2.3-litre had reliability issues and was dropped but then in ‘84 Special Vehicle Operations got involved and the power came back with a bang in the Mustang SVO.
The blown four produced as many horses as the 5.0-litre V8 and was more efficient and this time, trouble free; the turbocharged and intercooled engine (mated to a five-speed manual) featured fuel injection and with 14 pounds of boost and 175 horsepower at 4,400rpm it was one of the most powerful cars on the road. SVO also gave it a whole new suspension with Koni adjustable shocks, front and rear anti-roll bars, a quick ratio steering rack and four-wheel disc brakes hiding behind 16in wheels wrapped around fat Goodyear 225/50 tyres. It boasted impressive handling to match its straight-line acceleration and was the best Mustang in years. The interior got SVO-exclusive seats (with suede trim), power windows, a premium sound system and full instrumentation while the functional cold-air induction bonnet (with an offset scoop), biplane rear spoiler and subtle body kit differentiated it from other Mustang variants.
Only 4,500 units were built in ‘84 and you’ll need at least Dh100,000 for a clean, low mile example but Dh40,000 gets you the classic with some wear and tear.