At $2,200, Is This 1997 Mustang GT A Diamond That’s Rough?

Nice Price or No Dice: 1997 Ford Mustang
Photo: Craigslist

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mustang GT claims it to be the “Cheapest Running & Driving V8 Mustang on CL!!” As you might expect, it’s a bit rough around the edges, so we’ll just have to see if it’s cheap enough.

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The Corvette is America’s sports car. That’s a fact. It’s served that role for almost 70 years and as there have been few pretenders to the throne, more than a few of us take the ’Vette for granted. That wasn’t an issue with yesterday’s 1990 Corvette coupe, at least not at its $7,300 asking price. That earned the car a solid 78 percent Nice Price win, with only a few voices of dissent complaining about the worn seat upholstery to cloud the result.

If the ’Vette is America’s sports car, then Ford’s Mustang must be our great nation’s official pony car. The Mustang has been around for a decade less than Chevy’s sports car, and it competes in a different niche, but its name is no less sacred to enthusiasts and the general public alike.

Another thing in the Mustang’s favor is that it seems like Ford wants to build one for everyone. Aside from some exclusive special editions, the Blue Oval folks have strived to ensure that anyone who wanted a Mustang, could have a Mustang. All you need to do is pony up the cash.

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Photo: Craigslist

This 1997 Mustang GT (Note, the ad has been pulled, but we can still have our fun as we kept a copy) doesn’t require a lot of that said cash. It’s also an interesting mishmash of parts and patina that, taken all together, is presented by its seller as “the least expensive, clear title, accident-free, running and driving 94-04 Mustang GT for sale anywhere!!”

The base car is a GT convertible with Ford’s 4.6-liter “modular” V8 and a 4R70W four-speed automatic. Yes, most of you would prefer a Tremec behind your V8, but as we will see, this car is all about compromises.

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Photo: Craigslist

The first of those is that, while this car seems to be reasonably sound mechanically, its aesthetics leave something to be desired. The dull as dishwater paint is described in the ad as actually being Plasti Dip. That can be peeled off if you don’t like the look. Other visual offenses include a trunk lid that’s a couple of different colors, a plastic rear window in the convertible top that looks like it’s off a ghost ship, and mismatched wheels front and back. There are also some dents and dings along for the ride, but suffice to say those just add to the Mad Max meets Rubik’s Cube aesthetic the car is attempting to pull off.

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Photo: Craigslist

The interior maintains much the same theme with black sport buckets in an otherwise beige cabin. They match the anti-reflective cap on the dash so the car almost makes it work.

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There are some positives here too. The seller claims that the car has good bones and accident-free history. It also has new intake and exhaust hardware on the engine and a transmission that was rebuilt just 20,000 miles ago. That feeds a 3.27 ratio limited-slip differential out back. Other maintenance includes replacements for the motor mounts, battery, alternator and the typical hoses and wires. The engine bay looks surprisingly tidy and clean for so ratty a rod. Both the air-conditioning and heater are said to work, and the top goes up and down without issue.

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Photo: Craigslist
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On the downside, the seller says all the windows have slow motors and there is a Check Engine light for what the seller claims to be a “$35 transmission solenoid B sensor.” The door and trunk locks all need to be re-keyed to the new ignition lock which has two new chip-encoded keys. There’s also the issue of the $650 owed to the DMV for non-renewal of the registration in 2019 and 2020. Naughty, naughty.

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Photo: Craigslist
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You’ll have to add that amount to the $2,200 asking price, which you may recall is supposed to be the lowest price for any running SN-95 edition GT on the market. The seller claims that we need to “appreciate it for what it is” and warns that at this price, the Mustang is totally a project car.

Let’s see how many of us can get on board with that project. What do you say, is this “cheapest Mustang” worth that cheap $2,200 price? Or, does it just need too much to ask even that little?

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You decide!

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Los Angeles, California, Craigslist (pulled), or go here if the ad disappears (it has).

H/T to James T. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

vetracer
VetRacer

$35 part he didn’t replace even though its simple/cheap = Instant No Dice