God forbid you need to sell your fox Mustang but I figure the time is ripe for a good post on how to sell a car. I’ve been spending too much time looking at classifieds for 79-93 Mustangs and I see a pattern on how people try to sell their stuff. So I hope this will help out.
What condition is my Fox in?
First thing to do is really figure out what condition your car really is in – and the more honest you are here, the better it is for everyone. Is it high mile but extremely clean or low mile but needs work? Does it have rust and needs thousands of dollars of rust repair and paint? How are the frame rails, torque boxes, floors, etc? I’ve been burnt more than once, seller assures me it’s “mint” and yet when I get there, it’s not much better than a bucket of dust sitting on 4 dry-rotted tires. Let’s see, score your fox Mustang with the below questions, see what you get out of a 100?
Interior (25 points)
- Carpet is not stained, faded or worn out 
- Seats have no cig burns, faded, stains or broken 
- Door panels are not warped, no aftermarket speakers installed, not burnt or worn out 
- All the plastic parts are in place and not faded or cracked 
- Ashtray door and map light works 
Chassis (25 points)
- Frame rails are rust free (no bubbles, no surface rust) 
- Floor pans are rust free 
- Torque boxes or rust free and no cracks 
- Rad support is not rusted and is in one straight piece 
Paint/Exterior (25 points)
- Headlights are factory and not yellow 
- Paint is mint or near mint original  – or – Paint is not original but is well done (no overspray on trim) 
- No rust on the body, under the trunk lid or anywhere 
- Trim is not faded or broken anywhere, glass is all good 
- Taillights are stock and in good shape 
Drive (25 points)
- Engine has oil pressure and no knocking sounds, doesn’t overheat 
- No exhaust leaks, all SMOG in working order 
- Transmission works well 
- No serious issues with driving/handling/braking 
- Tires are not dry-rotted or worn out 
What’s your score out of a 100? The closer to 100 you get, the more you should ask for your car (within reason, if other cars in your area that score the same is going for 10 grand, start your price at around that mark, above or below is up to you). You’ll know when you ask too little when thousands of people respond to your ad within a day. Ask too much and no serious buyer is going to bother sending an offer.
Yes, a brand-new almost zero mile virgin fox sold at Barrett Jackson for 70 or even 80,000 dollars. Doesn’t mean your 200,000 mile fox with bolt-ons is worth the same or even close. Sadly… And it seems like there’s a lot of negative comments online about the sudden increase in a fox body Mustang’s worth. Well it is going up in value but I’d say only the super clean ones are going up – which I’d think is normal in this case. Once those are all out of the market, the less “well kept” ones will start to climb along side “restored” ones.
Once you know the honest condition, go out (physically) and check what’s out there in the same shape as yours and that will give you a ball park estimate of your Mustangs worth – If you’re in business, you know that you don’t set the price of your product – it’s outside forces, namely your competition, that dictate this.
Professional insurance appraisals aren’t the best in working on an asking price, if it reads that your fox is worth 20,000 dollars, it means it would cost that much to replace it not what the market would pay for it. But it should be noted and recognised, especially in the case of a restoration or resto-mod. But I’m generally talking about your normal fox Mustang – not a 100,000 dollar resto-mods, if that’s the case you probably have a USB stick full of images and documentation of the build – even better if it was done by a reputable custom hotrod shop.
Modifications and value?
It really depends on who the potential buyer is. You can find the person that only wants an “unmolested” original and another person that’s looking for a weekend 1/4 mile racer and doesn’t even care if it has an LS swap done to it. But, generally speaking, performance mods don’t add significant value. For some people it will decrease the value. If you have a $4000 supercharger in there, it won’t add $4000 to the price, take it off and sell it used for 2500 or 3000 bucks to get some money back for example. I would say mods that could add value are the basic “must do” mods to a fox such as:
- Sub frame connectors (welded, properly done)
- 3G alternator swap
- Fuel pump upgrade
- 5 lug swap with better brakes
Then again, doing this to an original none-PDI 200 mile fox would hurt its value by a lot. Things that can hurt value for most buyers (who aren’t into drag racing every weekend) are:
- Carburator swaps
- Roll cages
- Gutted interiors
I walk away when I see an original EFI fox with a carburetor swap because I don’t want to get involved in emissions testing and smog fines in my area.
The real trouble with modifications is we mod our cars to our tastes and the further we go from “stock” the more polarising the modification can be and then it becomes a very niche market. Not everyone wants to pay for 200 hours of polished intakes, brackets, valve covers and wire tuck. But a lot of people will pay more for clean and unmodified engine bays, simply because they aren’t expected to pay for your tastes which may or may not match theirs. Don’t get discouraged though, there’s an ass for every seat! Sometimes you just need patience!
I’m not entirely sure about 4 banger to V8 swaps. I know a real clean swap, that was professionally done – as the factory would have done it actually sells for less than a comparable factory V8 car. There’s no magic rule, you’d have to figure out what’s out there and adjust accordingly.
Lots of pictures
I can’t stress this enough, people will put their car up for sale say it’s “mint” and slap a blurry single picture of the car. All this does is invite a lot of low-ballers and questioning of the legitimacy of the ad. The more honest you are with the car on these ads, the less time you will waste answering questions. When I shop for a fox Mustang I NEED to see:
- Rad support
- Frame rails
- Torque boxes
- Floor pans
- Close up of the A-pillars (top corners)
- Trunk floor
- Engine bay
- Wide shot of the underside
- Front, sides, rear of the car
- Close up of bad areas in the paint
- Interior (good detailed pictures of the seats, cluster, carpet, etc…)
It would be worth it to find a place that would allow you to lift the car and take good underbody pictures. All pictures should be done in good lighting, maybe ask a buddy that knows how to take pictures.
Video helps a lot too. No need to narrate it or add music but a good “360 tour” of the car’s outside, inside and engine bay. As well as hearing the motor run, a few revs and a drive around town and a highway rip. It’s like a virtual test drive.
A solid description should include:
- Car’s history (been in a crash?)
- All problems you know about (if any)
- Modifications (5 lug, done how? Exhaust, what?, etc…)
- Recent history of maintenance work done (alternator, battery, fuel pump)
Getting ready for the useless response emails
It’s human nature, you will get a lot of low-ballers no matter what. It’s better to ignore the ones who are obviously not willing to deal with you. Keep in mind that if someone offers 4 grand for your 5,000 dollar fox, it may be workable but if someone emails you “hey I got $1000 CASH”… just delete it and move on to the next.
Well, I hope this at least encouraged you to take the time to make your ad informative and to do some “market research” before coming up with a price for you beloved fox Mustang.