We go to cruise nights in the Los Angeles area on a fairly regular basis. One of the more interesting cars we've recently come across is Ed Monson's '87 LX 5.0 hatchback. Many of the vintage Mustangs we feature are either restored or low-mileage originals, while the late-model 5.0s and 4.6s are modified to suit the owner's tastes. Ed's Fox 5.0 doesn't fit into any of these categories, which makes it a unique car.
While many Mustangs of both the vintage and late-model variety are interesting because of their low-mileage, Ed's car generates similar intrigue for the exact opposite reason: It has more than 240,000 miles on its clock. With the car still in remarkably original form, an odometer in the middle of its third trip around is impressive, as well as a testament to the durability of a Fox 5.0.
For starters, the engine and transmission have never been rebuilt. The valve covers on the original 5.0-liter engine have never been removed and the AOD transmission has never been out of the car. Other than customary fluid and filter changes, the drivetrain is untouched and original.
We asked Ed about various routine replacements, and his careful record-keeping revealed the car is on its fifth set of 225/60R15 tires and fourth set of spark plugs. Other items of note include the car's third water pump; third in-tank electric fuel pump; fifth serpentine engine-accessory drive belt; fourth catalytic converter H-pipe; and a third set of mufflers, including the originals, Dynomax, and current Magnaflows. The near quarter-million-mile engine's only moving replacement part of note is its second timing chain (still on the second). The car even has its original starter.
The one modification to the car during Ed's 18 years of driving happened around 1991, when the stock 2.73 gears were replaced with a set of 3.55s along with the speedometer-drive-cable's driven gear.
Featured in the book "Mustang: The Enduring Legend," by Nicky Wright, when the car was about 3 years old, the black paint is original except for the hood and front fascia. Ed says the original paint shines better than the repainted pieces. The suspension is original except for the rear shocks and front struts. Ed has replaced the driver's seat because the original's upholstery and seat-back structure simply wore out.
Since buying the car new with 16 miles on it at Metro Ford in the L.A. area, Ed says the 5.0 Mustang has been the most dependable car he's ever owned. Everything works with the exception of the map light mounted on the roof between the sun visors.
We were even more impressed when we took a ride with Ed to a couple of photo-shoot locations. The car rides and drives like new, with nary a squeak or rattle to be found anywhere, and the air conditioning still blows cold in the hot summer sun. All this adds up to a testament on how Mustangs can be like the Energizer Bunny: They just keep going, and going, and going ...