I have owned 16 cars by my last count. Among them, there is only one that I have truly regretted selling.
Back around 2006 I was living in an apartment in Inkster, MI. I had a few years on my job and thanks to some automatic pay-increases, I was able to start having some fun with my money.
At this time, I had an ‘88 Pontiac Fiero back in Buffalo, NY which was very special to me. But due to the fact that it wasn’t running the best, I was in an apartment, and I was planning on an engine swap to be done in that car, it stayed in Buffalo.
This meant that I really didn’t have anything fun to drive or work on. That’s where a co-worker of mine comes in. He was a big Ford-enthusiast and owned a pristine ‘93 Cobra and was looking for his own project. I drove with him to check out a 85.5 SVO in Dayton, OH on one of our days-off. After looking it over, he decided to buy it and I was able to drive it around a bit.
I really enjoyed the car. It had much better handling and braking than the other Fox-Bodies of that time and I love the way the boostof the 2.3 turbo-4 hit! I really think the Ford 2.3 turbo of that era is an underrated and under-appreciated engine.
So, I began researching. I hit up the SVO-Owners Club of America website along with www.turboford.org. After doing plenty of research learning what to look for and then scouring classifieds and craigslist ads, I came across a 1986 SVO in black with ~80k miles. I contacted the seller and took a drive down to Columbus, OH to check it out. Sidenote: I don’t know why, but it seems like there are always nice SVO’s for sale in OH.
The car was not stock, but was in good shape. It had also been resprayed black. It had lowering springs, a manual boost-controller, a Volvo front-mount intercooler, 3” downpipe, roller cam, bigger exhaust manifold, and cold-air intake installed.
Most importantly to me, the car was pretty rust-free. The interior was rip and blemish-free. All-in-all, it was a driver, not a collector car, which is exactly what I was looking for.
After a bit of negotiation, we worked out a price and I drove my SVO home!
Driving this car was great. It drove nice and tight and while being far from fast, it was quick enough to put a smile on your face. It was also a 1980’s turbo car. That means when you floored it, you had the ‘Lag-Spool-BOOST’ that new turbo cars don’t seem to have.
The only issue I ever had with this car was that it blew the charge pipe off the turbo outlet a few times. It didn’t matter how tight the clamp was, it would happen eventually. I really should have had a couple of weld-beads put around that outlet to secure it on.
I owned this car for two Summers. At the end of that Summer, I took my Fiero to Sinister Performance to get it engine swap completed. This was a costly project and while I had the money for it, there were some mods and upgrades I wanted to get done. I also wanted to get some front and rear bumpers repainted.
This costs for all this started to add-up quickly. So the fiscally-conservative side of myself decided that selling the SVO would be a good way to fund the rest of the work. Plus I would be getting my Fiero back next Spring and would spend more time driving that so did I really need the SVO anymore? (Looking back, yes, I still needed the SVO.)
I put up a for-sale ad on Craigslist and a local car-forum. I got some interest from a 17-year-old from Adrian, MI who knew a lot about SVO’s. We met up a few days later and I let him drive the car. He loved it and the next day he shows up to my apartment with his father to buy the car.
I was sad to sell the car. But I am happy I sold it to the kid that I did. The next Fall, I was at Milan Dragway and ran into him and my old SVO! He had the turbo rebuilt and not much else done. But he was taking great care of it and he was racing it!
Through the years, I have looked up the buyer on FB and found that he now works at Ford a also purchased a Focus ST. So I am glad that my SVO went to an enthusiast and hopefully it helped him further his passion for cars.
But man, I really do miss that car. To this day I still scour craigslist looking for a good deal on an SVO. They really are cool, unique cars that I think are the best fox-body that was made.
I hope that one day soon I will be able to make another article about how I found another one....
I really suggest you at least read the Wikipedia on the SVO, and visit the SVO Owners Club of America to learn a bit more about them. They were one of the few real ‘high performance’ cars of the 80’s that America put out.