The 1986 Mustang is one of our favorites – and we’re not alone. There are many well-deserved reasons for its popularity. 1986 is the last of the classic four-eyed Mustangs still adored by many. The 8.8” rear carrier with Traction-Lock became the envy of the bowtie boys. And maybe most important, sequential electronic fuel injection (SEFI) delivers horsepower/torque combinations that the 5.0 is known for.

Mustang Versus Camaro: 1986

Sales were up in 1986 for the Mustang. Ford wanted to keep that trend going – the General had other ideas. GM decided to borrow a 5.7L power plant from the Corvette to use in the IROC-Z to reclaim bragging rights and market share from Mustang. In the end, these power wars are always to our benefit. The Mustang held was a worthy contender for a Camaro that was produced in very minimum quantities, this quote is from a review from Car & Driver at the time.

Sometimes one can easily predict the relative performance of two cars by examining their vital statistics. For Example, the Camaro’s sleeker bodywork and higher power output strongly suggest that it will outrun the Mustang on the top end; and so it did in our tests, by a 10-mph margin over the Mustang’s 132-mph maximum. However, in acceleration, cornering, and braking, the Mustang’s lighter weight appears to be a tremendous advantage, partially offsetting the Camaro’s edge in both traction and power. In the end, the only way to find the better performer is to set aside the bench racing and conduct careful, head-to-head testing.


Car & Driver

Performance Statistics
1985 Horsepower Torque 0-60 1/4 Mile
2.3L 4 Cyl 88 @ 4,800 rpm 122 @ 2,800 rpm n/a n/a
3.8L V6 120 hp @ 3,600 rpm 205 @ 1,600 rpm n/a n/a
5.0L HO V-8 EFI 165 @ 3,800 rpm 245 @ 2,000 rpm 7.2* 15.9 @ 91 mph
5.0L EFI V-8 4-BBL 210 hp @ 4,600 rpm 265 @ 3,400 rpm 6.4** 14.9 @ 91 mph
2.3L 4 Cyl Turbo SVO 175 @ 4,400 rpm 210 @ 3,000 rpm n/a n/a
*Road & Track (9/85) **Car and Driver (1/85)

No Mistaking That Rumble of a 5.0

The true dual exhaust of the 1986 Mustang provided the unmistakable roar of the 5.0 we know today. Dual catalytic converters, a single muffler on each side, and a traditional Ford H-Pipe delivered the purr and the punch. The H-pipe connects both sides of the exhaust and balances the exhaust gases. This promotes improved scavenging, increased low-end torque, and gives us the signature sound.

Color options for the 1986 Mustang remain at 12 and Black was the highest quantity produced.