Ford Mustang 1979

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Ford Mustang

4, 6 and 8 Cylinder
2300cc - 5000cc
85- 134 bhp
Manual and Automatic
Number Built:
1 star
Ford Mustang
1979 saw the debut of the new Mustang (the "II" was dropped) based on the new Fox platform. Compared to the 1978 Mustang II, the new Mustang was 4.1 inches longer, with a 4.2 inch longer wheelbase, yet weighed nearly 200 lbs. less.

The Mustang was available in either two door coupe or three door hatchback models, as well as an upgraded trim and appearance Ghia trim.

Three suspension setups were available with the top of the line Special Suspension package including retuned shock absorber valving, front and rear springs, and front and rear stabilizer bars along with metric sized cast-aluminum wheels and, for the first time on a Mustang, non-US tires (Michelin TRX performance radial tires).

Lessor Mustangs had to make do with other radial or bias-ply tires. Despite the improved suspension, handling still suffered from the 60/40% weight distribution when equiped with the heavy 302 V8.

A total of six engines were available, from the carryover 2.3 liter I4 now producing a mere 88 bhp up, a new 200 cubic inch (3.3 liter) 85 bhp I6 to the now 10 year old carryover 302 V8.

A new turbo-charged 2.3 liter I4 was introduced which was rated at 143 bhp and its lighter weight gave the Mustang better weight balance than the heavy 302 V8. But the turbo was a mixed blessing.

It generated more horsepower than the old tech V8, but there was substantial turbo lag which hurt driveability and performance. The Turbo engines also suffered from oil lubrication problems that caused some turbos to fail and others to ignite(!) Clearly, the Turbo Charged engine was not quite perfected yet.

A Cobra package was available which included the Turbo Charged I4, TRX tires and wheels, and additional trim items. Also available was a new "flip-up, open-air roof" which was the closest thing to a convertible available in 1979. The Mustang was picked to pace the Indy 500 race for 1979, and Ford celebrated by producing about 11,000 Indy Pace Car Replicas which featured outlandish decals and functional Recaro reclining bucket seats.

1979 Ford Mustang
2.3 liter Inline 4 cylinder - 88 bhp
2.3 liter Inline 4 cylinder Turbo - 143 bhp

2.8 liter V6 - 119 bhp @ 5200 rpm

3.3 liter Inline 6 cylinder - 85 bhp
302 V8 - 134 bhp @ 3600 rpm, 247 lb-ft @ 1800
0-60 in 9.1 seconds (2.3 L4 Turbo)
1/4 mile in 17.4 seconds @ 82 mph (2.3 L4 Turbo)
0-60 in 8.3 seconds (302 V8)
1/4 mile in 17.0 seconds @ 84.8 mph (302 V8)

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Also see:

Ford Mustang Identification
Ford Mustang Prototype
Ford Mustang Engines
The Ford Mustang Story
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