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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like the title says what would you prefer to buy a very clean original 4 cylinder be it coupe or hatch over a trashed beat up original 5.0 car?

A lot of 4cyl cars have already been converted but they’re are some nice original examples left just waiting for a 302. most decent price OG 5.0 cars are usually completely trashed and beat up with the nice clean oneS fetching well over 20k now.

Opinions?
 

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If it were a choice between a clean body I4 with a questionable motor and a clean body 5.0 with a bad motor, it would be the 5.0. The 5.0 has many upgrades that the I4 cars would need IMHO. I can do motors and suspension, brakes, trans and gears. I'm not a body or interior guy. In my own experience getting the body good and straight with a decent paint job and interior pieces to match is a deep, black money hole that I cannot nor want to do myself. For me, condition of body and interior would be the primary decision path.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If it were a choice between a clean body I4 with a questionable motor and a clean body 5.0 with a bad motor, it would be the 5.0. The 5.0 has many upgrades that the I4 cars would need IMHO. I can do motors and suspension, brakes, trans and gears. I'm not a body or interior guy. In my own experience getting the body good and straight with a decent paint job and interior pieces to match is a deep, black money hole that I cannot nor want to do myself. For me, condition of body and interior would be the primary decision path.
No I mean the 5.0 is totally trashed you see a lot of beat up 5.0 with bonds all over the place different body panels interior all mixed panels all beat up etc.

obviously just bad motor the 5.0 all day every day but I’ve seen 4 cylinders with much better body’s interior etc than OG 5.0 cars due to how abused they were over the decades.
 

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Buy the nicest one you can find. I have done a entire swap before it a ton of work and you need a parts car. I will not do another one unless the body is PERFECT!

Really depends on what you are more comfortable working on. Shop labor is high either way.
 
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Here’s my opinion as I’ve owned lots of Fox Mustangs, including some conversions.

Your question is no different than someone who wants a Terminator drivetrain in a SN95 that didn’t come with it as built. With that said, any such conversion is only as good as the person or shop who did it - meaning, was it done right.

A 4cyl to 5.0 swap is an easy swap - it can be done numerous ways with regards to parts used from the 5.0 donor or parts retained with the 2.3 body harnesses, etc. Some people throw a junkyard 5.0 into a 2.3 and just butcher the **** out of wiring harnesses.

My 2.3 to 5.0 Mustangs were always done proper - meaning the 2.3 was literally gutted and the 5.0 donor wasn’t just an engine - it was complete body harnesses, laid in proper just as they would have been from the factory IF it were an original 5.0. Everything that was R&R’d from the swap was done correctly, no corners cut and nothing overlooked. If someone saw my “conversion”, the only way they would know it was a 2.3 would be by the VIN only, because everything else would be visually just as the factory would have built it IF it were a true 5.0.

So, yes, I would buy a 2.3 to 5.0 swap Mustang IF it was clean and done right - not some hacked or butchered up Mustang that someone expects to get “clean 5.0 money” for it.

Years ago during the era these Mustangs were new or semi new, the 2.3 to 5.0 swap was the thing to do, not for a clean body shell, but folks were skirting insurance costs because the car was insured by the 2.3 VIN. The only bad thing was (and still is), if the car is a total loss claim, you’re going to get 2.3 money, period. The Ins, Co. isn’t going to give a **** how much $$$ you have wrapped up into your sweet 2.3 to 5.0 converted Mustang. They’re not going to care you may have a few thousand in mods done to it, OR that you paid a premium for it... Your total loss will be just that - not from just a wrecked vehicle perspective, but from a monetary perspective too. The only way to avoid this today would be to get an Agreed Value policy, but even so it may be tough to convince any Insurance Co. to insure a 2.3 VIN in the $20k or even $30k+ range. It’s possible, but the other issue is future resale too; don’t expect a 5.0 Collector or Buyer to pay you premium 5.0 monies for a 2.3 VIN’d body, regardless of how well it looks, performs or what $$ is tied up in it with mods or restoration

The value in a 79-93 Fox Mustang today is having a true 5.0 VIN - regardless if it’s in need of restoration, is pristine or is in decent shape with mods. That 5.0 (V8) VIN is the ticket that helps with future monetary appreciation of the vehicle value AND future resale.

I’m not in any way downplaying a 2.3 to 5.0 swap at all - just giving you a REAL genuine factual perspective to think about.
 

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By the time you factor in the cost of a swap or repairing a clapped out ride you're better off buying a nicer example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here’s my opinion as I’ve owned lots of Fox Mustangs, including some conversions.

Your question is no different than someone who wants a Terminator drivetrain in a SN95 that didn’t come with it as built. With that said, any such conversion is only as good as the person or shop who did it - meaning, was it done right.

A 4cyl to 5.0 swap is an easy swap - it can be done numerous ways with regards to parts used from the 5.0 donor or parts retained with the 2.3 body harnesses, etc. Some people throw a junkyard 5.0 into a 2.3 and just butcher the **** out of wiring harnesses.

My 2.3 to 5.0 Mustangs were always done proper - meaning the 2.3 was literally gutted and the 5.0 donor wasn’t just an engine - it was complete body harnesses, laid in proper just as they would have been from the factory IF it were an original 5.0. Everything that was R&R’d from the swap was done correctly, no corners cut and nothing overlooked. If someone saw my “conversion”, the only way they would know it was a 2.3 would be by the VIN only, because everything else would be visually just as the factory would have built it IF it were a true 5.0.

So, yes, I would buy a 2.3 to 5.0 swap Mustang IF it was clean and done right - not some hacked or butchered up Mustang that someone expects to get “clean 5.0 money” for it.

Years ago during the era these Mustangs were new or semi new, the 2.3 to 5.0 swap was the thing to do, not for a clean body shell, but folks were skirting insurance costs because the car was insured by the 2.3 VIN. The only bad thing was (and still is), if the car is a total loss claim, you’re going to get 2.3 money, period. The Ins, Co. isn’t going to give a **** how much $$$ you have wrapped up into your sweet 2.3 to 5.0 converted Mustang. They’re not going to care you may have a few thousand in mods done to it, OR that you paid a premium for it... Your total loss will be just that - not from just a wrecked vehicle perspective, but from a monetary perspective too. The only way to avoid this today would be to get an Agreed Value policy, but even so it may be tough to convince any Insurance Co. to insure a 2.3 VIN in the $20k or even $30k+ range. It’s possible, but the other issue is future resale too; don’t expect a 5.0 Collector or Buyer to pay you premium 5.0 monies for a 2.3 VIN’d body, regardless of how well it looks, performs or what $$ is tied up in it with mods or restoration

The value in a 79-93 Fox Mustang today is having a true 5.0 VIN - regardless if it’s in need of restoration, is pristine or is in decent shape with mods. That 5.0 (V8) VIN is the ticket that helps with future monetary appreciation of the vehicle value AND future resale.

I’m not in any way downplaying a 2.3 to 5.0 swap at all - just giving you a REAL genuine factual perspective to think about.
Agree 100% on VIN 5.0 value I’ve had my all original 90 coupe 5.0 for 15 years now and doubt it I’ll ever let it go. I like the lx hatchbacks but around here 5.0 cars are trashed and the few that aren’t are going for top dollar but I want a car I can drive have the looks and not be worried about taking out that’s why I’m considering going the 2.3 route since I’ve found a few that are real nice original and clean just waiting for a 5.0 to go in. I like my foxes more stock looking than custom.

Around here most 5.0 cars are Frankenstein cars yet folks are asking crazy money for them because they are 5.0 cars but you’ll end up putting a good chunk of change to get to nice clean specs.
Around here most 5.0 cars are Frankenstein cars yet folks are asking crazy money for them because they are 5.0 cars but you’ll end up putting a good chunk of change to get to nice clean specs.
 

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4 cyl car with Coyote conversion. Drop the mic.... Lol. Seriously, it’s about your plans. If you are a collector, then only an original 5.0 will do. If you are an enthusiast, then buy the cleanest car you can and build it. That’s half the fun of the hobby anyway. Truthfully, I wouldn’t even consider owning a stock 5.0 Fox as a driver anyway. They sucked when they were new. As far as someone posting about insurance paying less for a 4 cyl car, that’s easily overcome. You just have to insure the car for ACV, with reciepts, and/or appraisals to prove it. The rider on your policy will cost you extra, you can’t expect to get 5.0 coverage for 2.3 prices lol.
 

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Depends.

I couldn't care less about the "power" of a 5.0. A trashed 5.0 or a really clean 2.3? I'd take the 2.3 any day of the week, especially if it's a 5 speed. And I'd drive the wheels off of it.

Something many don't think about.....yes the 5.0 value is higher, however once you put 10 grand into it you're back at a zero net gain, in other words put 10 grand into it and it's worth 10 grand when you are done. Secondly, when is the last time you saw a really nice clean bone stock 2.3 fox body? They're RARE. VERY few people have a use for one. I do, and I own one (93 coupe stock 2.3). Cheap daily driver.
 

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If I was starting from absolutely nothing? I'd take a clean 4cyl as a base. Sure, I could find a clean 5.0, but the extra funds I spend to get that car would be wasted the minute I start stripping it down to do a coyote or terminator swap. All the 5.0 goodies are coming off. New k-member, new brakes, possible IRS, new trans, etc etc. So, if all of that stuff is getting removed, why not just start with a nice clean 4 cyl?

I'm going to lose money on the conversion anyway (but that's not why we enjoy these cars right) so who not get the cleanest car I can find for the cheapest? Hell, I would even pay good money for a clean roller. There was a roller that sold on Ebay not too long ago for $10K, but it was freshly painted with the maximum motorsports catalog thrown at it and a bunch of nice goodies on top.

In going through my own car recently to restore it, pretty much 95% of the original 5.0 parts were removed and replaced with either aftermarket parts, or new, fresh parts.
 

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Gotta have that E in the VIN, If you may even ever think of selling it. If it's with you for life then it doesn't matter.
 

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You know there are a few fox 2.3 cars that are worth some pretty good pennies, I myself started with a 2.3 carb turbo car, blew that up, did an svo swap, got tired of that and now 75% done with a 4.6 swap. At times I wish I would've just left the carb turbo engine in its place and call it a day.
 

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Gotta have that E in the VIN, If you may even ever think of selling it. If it's with you for life then it doesn't matter.
Not really true. Hell, I sold a converted 4 cyl body coupe body over 10 years ago for $4500, and it would bring even more than that now. No drivetrain, no wheels and tires, no rearend, no front or rear suspension, no fuel tank, and no seats, lol. I look at Foxbodies like I look at 67-69 Camaro. There was a time I could buy a 67-69 Camaro dirt cheap. Nowadays, even a 6 cyl body is going to cost you.
 

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Man I have a factory v8 4 speed couple with no drivetrain that I can't get rid of.... I mean I'm not giving it away but with the title it has to be worth something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Not really true. Hell, I sold a converted 4 cyl body coupe body over 10 years ago for $4500, and it would bring even more than that now. No drivetrain, no wheels and tires, no rearend, no front or rear suspension, no fuel tank, and no seats, lol. I look at Foxbodies like I look at 67-69 Camaro. There was a time I could buy a 67-69 Camaro dirt cheap. Nowadays, even a 6 cyl body is going to cost you.
I couldn’t agree more around here 4 cyl converted 5.0 are bringing in some money and like you said there was a time you can pick up a 6 cylinder Camaro for cheap now you’re paying big bucks for one I see the same with these fox bodies well maybe except for the verts. Lol
 

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I couldn’t agree more around here 4 cyl converted 5.0 are bringing in some money and like you said there was a time you can pick up a 6 cylinder Camaro for cheap now you’re paying big bucks for one I see the same with these fox bodies well maybe except for the verts. Lol
You got $4,500 for your fox body as a non roller? I wouldn't pay that
 
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