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Interesting article, but good luck finding any of these models in "good condition." Unfortunately, the affordable purchase prices makes them easy targets for 16 year olds who beat the crap out of them.
The Fox-bodied Mustang (1979-1993) brought the Mustang name back from the brink of irrelevance after production ended on the Pinto-based Mustang II (which is much more deserving of the "red-headed stepchild of the Mustang family" designation).
Ford was about to attach the Mustang name to the front-drive, Mazda 626 based car that eventually was named the Probe, but input from Mustang enthusiasts led them to keep the rear-drive, optionally V8-powered, long hood with short rear deck ponycar alive, rather than to just slap a revered name on a car that is nothing like the original (a la Chevy Nova in the mid 80s).
The 1987 redesign of the Fox body Mustang improved looks, aerodynamics, handling, and performance, and the cars sold in large numbers. The 5.0 was a legend in its day, and was one of the quickest affordable cars available at the time (the 225-hp rating of the 1987-1992 models was quite conservative) and is in every way a true Mustang.
The power of the "5.0" name can be seen even today, as Ford has reintroduced the "5.0" designation and badges for the late model Mustang GTs. Hardly what one would expect from a "red-headed stepchild."
The 8v GTI is a great pick, but good luck finding one that has not completely clapped out. Fun car and easy to work on, yes, but there are probably a couple of other cars out there that are more deserving of this list. Wouldn't be my choice for a track car if I was given $10k.
personally like how the picture of the nissan 240sx is really a 1989-1994 model while he mentions 1995-1998 specifically.
as a young man I do dream of nearly all of these vehicles and then some.
Last November I picked up an early 1985 model Porsche 944 non-turbo in great condition with just 75,000 miles on it. These cars require more maintenance than most on the list, however, they are generally better built and are fantastic on a winding road. Got mine for $4,700 and then gave it a complete servicing including timing belts, gaskets, seals, radiator and changed the A/C from R12 to R134a, all for around $2,000 and it runs and drives like new. These cars are easy to work on, parts are plentiful and not too expensive either. It's all of 150 hp and although it only has a top speed of 137 mph, but you can use higher speeds in corners because of the car's perfect balance. The simpler dash design (from the 924) is driver centric and lends a classic sports car appeal to the 944. It also doesn't cost as much to insure. I pay about $600 a year for full-coverage with zero deductible. The 944 was an off-shoot of the 924 racing Carrera. The 944 was Porsche engined and ready to take to the track right from the dealership. It was as fast as some Ferraris of the day and could eat Corvettes for breakfast. There were only 85,000 944's of various models sold in the US during it's 9 year run and many are in sad shape (kids, lack of maintenance) but, if you locate one with maintenance records like I did, it's a keeper!