It may be of interest to some collectors due to a low number of them being produced. It probably wasn't a bad performer for the typical automobiles that were produced in the mid 80's because performance levels were down compared to the late 60's and very early 70's muscle cars. Here's an interesting site on modifying an '85 SVO: http://www.projecthp.ford23.com/svo.html The performance of the '85 SVO was probably up to par with most of the mid 80's cars that were produced.
I have owned and driven an 85 5.0 Mustang and truthfully it was very scary to drive because of the extremely poor handling. The rear end is very loose when pushing it through corners and if you get it into an oversteer condition it didn't have enough power to feather your way out of it and you better not even think about light braking because as soon as you do the rear end of the car will come completely around . A few of the car magazines in '85 said it handled good (Ford spends a lot of money advertising it these mags) but strange as it seems Popular Mechanics had an article on the SVO's rear end set up and they really ripped its handling. IMHO all the early Mustangs didn't handle that great and I've driven a few nice ones such as my friends all original 4 speed Shelby Mustang and the same friends 69 428 Cobra Jet Mustang and these weren't great road handlers either.
It'll be a fun car but be careful pushing through the corners, you'll have an unusual car, that if I remember correctly, less than a couple thousand were made. Also let the turbo spool down a little before turning off the car that way the turbo will last a LOT longer.
the 2.3l turbo is a very reliable engine. was in the SVO mustang, Tbird Turbo Coupe, and Merkur XR4Ti.
it is very picky with ignition parts and seems to run best on motorcraft wire, plugs, cap and rotor. TFI ignition modules fail once in a while due to high heat, but it was a common problem on many eighties fords. the most common problem is the distributor gear sheering off against the auxiliary shaft gear due to the aux. shaft bearings wearing over time.
a 2.3T in good tune can run fantastically and get good gas mileage. SVO's had about 200hp and with 25-30mpg highway isn't to bad. I've seen other with highway mpg in the mid 30's.
some parts are getting hard to find but there are clubs and companies specific. turboford.org is a great site for info. forced4.com has SVO specific part both OEM and performance. also natomessageboard.com is specific to turbo coupes but as a 2.3t powered car more great info.
i have owned 4 Thunderbird Turbo Coupes and still have two, one which i have just about fully restored.they are they only car i have ever owned other then my lil ranger pick up.
i love the 2.3t and would take it over a 5.0l anyday.
Actually, the metric wheels were on the Pace Cars, it wasn't the bolt circle that was metric, it was the diameter and only ONE tire fit, a Michelin. The SVO Mustangs used a 16 inch rim with the 5 on 4 1/2 pattern, it was a glimpse of what was to come.