1986 would mark the last year of the SVO’s three-year run and a somewhat sad farewell to what was a solid performance car. 1986 was the first year of the third brake light on Mustangs. No other major happenings for this year unfortunately.
The old base Mustang “L” was no more and instead we got the LX and the GT. The LX was available in coupe and hatchback versions and convertibles. The GT as always was still available in every style you could want as long as you didn’t want a 2 door version.
The 1986 Mustang was again one of minor exterior change. The most notable exterior change is a Center High-Mounted Stop Light which was a safety measure. The only significant change to the interior was one for the 1986 Mustang GT enthusiasts, who now had the option of two colors if they ordered the optional leather seats.
The list of available engine options changed slightly, but the engines themselves, in the case of the V8’s were the big news. The standard 2.3 liter inline 43 cylinder remained at 88 horsepower, and the 3.8 liter V6 was 120 hp. The 2.3 SVO engine lost 5 horsepower and dropped to 200.
The V-8 switched to fuel injection in 1986. The addition of sequential electronic fuel injection was added to the 5.0L H.O V8 engine and made a big difference. Horsepower dropped by 10 hp to 200 hp, but most pundits agree it was a better engine all around. Changes to the engine block were made for strength and durability. This year real dual exhaust was introduced and now there were two catalytic converters so each engine bank featured its own exhaust right to the tail pipes.
Other mechanical changes included having the rear axle converted to the stronger 8.8″ from the 7.5″ previously used. Clutch size was increased by half an inch. V8 models of the LX and GT additionally receive nitrogen-charged gas struts and shocks and a heavier duty rear axle.
The Mustang SVO era concluded partially because of the 5.0L, which already offered V8 performance at a lower price but with these 1986 upgrades was clearly the better car all around. Even though the SVOs are only available from 1984 to 1986, 9,844 are made.
Special Edition Models & Variants
In 1986, the Mustang GT saw an updated drivetrain including a new 10.5″ (from 10″) clutch. The 7.5″ rear-end was eliminated in V8 models in favor of the stronger 8.8″ rear-end, with the 7.5″ relegated to the 2.3L (SVO included) and 3.8L applications. The federally-mandated center high-mounted brake light was mounted on the now-standard rear spoiler for hatchbacks, inside the bottom of the rear window of the notchback and on the rear edge the standard luggage rack on convertibles.
The 1986 Mustang SVO came with the later 1985 model year 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder engine, now rated at 200 hp. The exterior style remained the same with the offset hood scoop, hood design that extended into the grille area, 10 slot wheel covers, color-keyed bodyside molding with charcoal front and rear bumper molding, and double rear spoiler. 1986 was the last year for the SVO Turbo Mustang and despite its great performance it just never had the sales success to go with the kudos.
A total of 224,410 Mustangs were sold in 1986, a big jump from prior year. The base hardtop became the strongest seller with 37% of total sales, with the base hatchback in second place with almost 33% of sales volume. To dive into the model and body splits as well as see charts and percentages, check out our 1985 Ford Mustang Production & Sales Numbers deep dive.
% of Total
2 Door - Hardtop
2 Door - Convertible LX
2 Door - Convertible GT
3 Door - Hatchback LX
3 Door - Hatchback GT
3 Door - Hatchback SVO
Options and Pricing
Base sticker price for 1986 coupe was $7,420 while the base hatchback was $7,974. The convertible continued to be priced at premium price point of $13,214 in base form. For more detailed options and pricing, please check out our 1986 pricing and options research.
2 Door Hardtop
2 Door Hatchback
2 Door Convertible
Exterior & Interior Colors
A total of 13 colors were available for the 1986 Mustang model year. For detailed colors, color palettes, codes and interior colors please check out our in depth 1986 colors information post.
Dimensions & Weight
The 1986 Mustang had similar dimensions and weight as the prior year model.