Everyone wants a car that's different from the other cars, and for late-model Mustang fans, there's a lot to choose from. There are Indy Pace Cars, SVOs, Anniversary cars, Special Service Vehicles (SSVs), Saleens, Cobras, R-codes (428 CJs), Steedas, Roushes, and more. Yet, while all of these cars are nice in their own right, it's still neat to see a Mustang owner that manages to make his car stand out from the crowd, while not spending a lot of money. Olivier "Scooter" Raoust Jr. of Virginia Beach, Virginia, has managed that feat as this pristine '87 LX plainly shows.
"I had a four-cylinder Mustang that I'd received for graduation, but it was rear-ended by a 90-year-old man," Scooter recounted. "So I took the insurance money and bought a 5.0 that was a plain Charcoal Gray LX with 10-hole rims. Everything I did to the car was bit by bit, and the car looked better by the day. Although it's still basically a stock Mustang, it doesn't look like one to me."
Much of that can be seen by the attention to detail shown throughout the car. At the time, Scooter was working as a painter's helper at a body shop, so he took the car off the road for four months and tore it down completely. Although the car was basically rust-free, there was some cancer around the hatch. Since LX-model hatches are left with holes once you remove the spoiler, Scooter switched to a junk yard GT hatch, which was fitted with a Saleen wing and a third brake light kit. After stripping the body down to the metal, Scooter had Brian Teachman shoot the body and Cervini hood in PPG purple hues with a blue pearl to give the car a custom "wet" look. Creature comforts were enhanced by new carpeting, '92 model seats, Auto Meter gauges, and a killer sound system.
With the car now looking buff, Scooter did some subtle undercar mods by switching to Lakewood 50/50 struts on the front and 70/30s on the rear with oversized 16-inch Center Line rims and tires. A World Class T5, an SVO aluminum driveshaft, and 3.73 gears upgraded the drivetrain.
While the engine compartment is the focus for many car buffs, Scooter showed how you could do it right without spending big bucks. A lot of time was spent on prepping the upper intake and valve covers so they could be painted to match the car's exterior color. Careful attention was paid to the engine compartment with lots of detailing, cleaning, and polishing. Needless to say, the results speak for themselves.
Although the 5.0L engine remains completely stock, Scooter helped its performance by adding a Crane aftermarket ignition with Accel wires to help light the fuel mixture. Scavenging of the exhaust ports is optimized with a set of FlowTech equal-length headers, a Hedman H-pipe, and Flowmaster mufflers. Even though the car is almost entirely stock, it still has run as quick as 13.28 seconds in the quarter-mile at 102 mph.
Scooter said he learned everything he did through hands-on experience, which should offer owners of low-buck Mustangs an example of what a little bit of money, hard work, and elbow grease can do. Not only can such an effort deliver you from a maxed out credit card, but also from a run-of-the-mill car!