1987 Ford Mustang GT Handling
The redesign that resulted in the 1987 Ford Mustang wasn't all about styling and power. For such a familiar and relatively simple chassis, the '87 GT earned unusual praise for its driver-pleasing road-carving ability.
"The Mustang is a hedonist's car," declared AutoWeek's Phil Berg, "one that makes you want to go somewhere -- anywhere -- alone. Somewhere out in the tules with little road-hogging traffic.... You look forward to cornering with a passionate grip on the steering wheel. You start to believe the only reason for the quick [V-8] is to keep you from wasting valuable time on straights so you can find more rewarding section of two-lane. It's a very personal thing."
Britisher Mel Nichols, testing a new GT for Automobile magazine, thought "the SVO did not come and go in vain…. At the front, caster changes reduce camber loss in the corners, and [there are SVO] plastic ball joints, retuned bushings, and better mounts for the antiroll bar…. The Special Vehicle Operations development of a new crossmember allowed different front suspension pickup points, which in turn permit the fitting of decently large P225/60VR15 Goodyear Gatorbacks running 35 psi for reduced rolling resistance."
Nichols described GT handling as "predictable and progressive, so effortless and enjoyable…. The car turned into the bends cleanly, with understeer never passing the point of pleasing stability, then nudged through a long period of neutrality into progressive oversteer, talking all the way. A nudge of opposite lock held the tail. A touch more power pushed it out farther, with a little more lock balancing that, too.
"From the outset, the Mustang felt like a car that could driven fast and safely and satisfyingly. It had all the right sporting attributes, yet there was also something quite nice about its character. It came down to one word: forgiving…. Even on the narrow stretches and where the bends were visibly off-camber, there was nothing intimidating about driving it hard and fast."
Motor Trend's Rick Titus did take Ford to task over brakes, at least for racing purposes. "Ford's designers chose to enlarge the front vented discs, but continued to use leftover Pinto drums on the rear…. It seems [rear disc brakes] died with the SVO. This is appalling, considering the Ford flies the tall flag of performance over the Mustang, yet doles its best brakes out to whiney little four-bangers and their luxo lines."
Nichols also decried the small rear drum brakes but approved a stronger axle, retuned rear suspension bushes, rear antiroll bar, and premium gas-pressurized shock absorbers all around.
The reviewers also felt the price was fair. Read what they had to say on the next page.
For even more on the Ford Mustang, check out the following links.
- Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
- When the going gets tough, the tough go racing in Mustang Country. Find out how a return to geniune performance brought solid sales and profits in 1982-1986 Ford Mustang.
- A stronger, sleeker, more agile new Mustang arrived in time for the icon's 30th anniversary. 1994-1998 Ford Mustang tells the story of the best Mustang in years.
- Ford muscle cars were among the top performers of the muscle car era. Check out profiles, photos, and specifications of some tough Ford muscle cars.