The 1985 SVO only had a few minor changes during its lifetime. It started the 1985 model year with the previous year’s air-to-air intercooled, turbocharged, 175 hp, 2.3 liter inline 4-cylinder. Mid year this changed to a 205 hp version by incorporating some of the GT improvements as well as reworked turbo elements.
Visually the only change to the exterior was a switch from black to charcoal grey trim. The 1985 SVO continued to have the charcoal front and rear bumper moldings, double split rear spoiler, single hole grille, and single offset integrated hood scoop. Finally a Competition Prep package was offered as an option. This deleted such standard features as the power windows, radio and air conditioning to save weight.
Transmission and rear axle ratios were changed to 3.73 to better exploit the potential of the turbo engine. Rear spring rates were increased and the rack and pinion ratio was dropped to 15.0:1 ratio to quicken the steering up more. To help quell engine vibration new fluid filled engine mounts were used in place of the traditional rubber mounts.
The 1985 SVO still had the modified suspension and Koni shocks, 4 wheel disc brakes and 16×7 inch aluminum wheels, a functional hood scoop and a dual plane rear spoiler as well as a strong 5-speed manual transmission. Gear changes were made via a short-throw Hurst shifter. A trick suspension and powerful braking system are nothing without proper tire grip. The SVO sat on meaty 225/50VR16 Goodyear NCT tires that were mounted on unique 16×7 inch five bolt pattern aluminum wheels.
The real excitement came half way through 1985. All SVO’s built after April of 1985 received a host of changes and were therefore designated as 1985.5 mid-year models. After a year and a half wait the SVO finally received the flush composite aerodynamic headlamps that it had been designed for. This greatly improved the visual appeal of the SVO.
But it was in the engine compartment where the greatest improvements the SVO lay. A new intake manifold was installed and the turbocharger was now water-cooled to improved long term durability and the turbine was revised to allow quicker spool up (including dropping the A/R ratio on the turbo from .63 to .48) in order to reduce turbo lag. Boost pressure was increased to 15-psi and higher volume fuel injectors (bumped from 30lbs to 35lbs) were installed. A hotter camshaft was installed along with a revised exhaust system with dual mufflers and tailpipes improved exhaust flow. These changes combined with a recalibrated EEC-VI microprocessor pushed horsepower up to 205-horsepower and 240-pound-foot of torque.
The Mustang SVO was an epic performer in just about every aspect. Journalists heaped praise on the car glorifying it as a viable competitor against sports coupes from Japan and Europe. Comparisons were even made with Chevrolet’s more expensive and upscale Corvette. Through a corner the Mustang SVO not only had better grip than any Mustang before, it also possessed many qualities not normally associated with an American car such as crisp and responsive turn-in into a corner and communicative steering with excellent road feel. The large four-wheel disc brakes demonstrated short fade free stops that could never be achieved in the standard Mustang.
Only 1,515 SVO’s were produced in the first half of 1985 while 439 of the mid-year 1985.5 SVO’s were produced.
Specifications & Performance
Detroit, Michigan, USA
$15 500 USD
Turbocharged & Intercooled
Bosch/Ford Fuel Injection
2300 cc / 140.4 in³
96 mm / 3.78 in
79.4 mm / 3.13 in
152.9 kw / 205 bhp @ 5000 rpm
89.13 bhp per litre
148.23 bhp per tonne
336.24 nm / 248.0 ft lbs @ 3000 rpm
body / frame
RWD w/Limited Slip
Vented Discs w/Vacuum Assist
f brake size
x 277 mm / x 10.9 in
Vented Discs w/Vacuum Assist
r brake size
x 287 mm / x 11.3 in
F 40.6 x 17.8 cm / 16.0 x 7.0 in
R 40.6 x 17.8 cm / 16.0 x 7.0 in
Rack & Pinion w/Power Assist
MacPherson Struts w/Lower A-Arms, Coil Springs, Koni Adjustable Tube Shocks, Anti-Roll bar