1985 Ford Mustang SVO

Published on
June 26, 2011
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

The Ford Motor company unleashed the Mustang SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) in 1984, continuing the marque through 1986. The goal was to produce a sporty and fast Mustang while delivering relatively good gas mileage for the era. Powered by a 2.3 Litre 4 cylinder “Lima” engine originally found under the hood of Pintos, Ford put their money where their claims were. The little Lima was given its muscle (205 HP) with the help of an intercooled turbo-charger; other interesting goodies found on the SVO were a Hurst shifted close ratio 5-speed gear box, Koni designed and supplied suspension, Recaro seats and a bi-plane rear wing unique to the little Mustang that could and did.

The Kit:

Our subject kit from Revell comes packaged in their ‘Street Burner Edition” packaging. This kit has been around for a long while; originally released in the 80’s I believe, we haven’t seen this kit on shelves in a long while. The kit is cleanly molded but is definitely old style engineering. There were a couple of things that caused assembly issues, but not enough to warrant a bad or questionable review. I did build the original release eon’s ago and was eager to build it again. This kit for me has roots in my personal history as I purchased a new ’85 Mustang LX in the day with the same 2.3 Lima motor (sans turbo) and 4-speed with a pop up and removable “Moon Roof”. We lovingly named her “Fireball” (probably not named for the reason you may be thinking).

The Build:

As readers of my past reviews know, I like painting the car bodies first. I prefer to use factory correct paint (lacquer or enamel) on my cars, so the first order of business was to look on-line at the SVO Club of America’s website for possible color choices. I didn’t like most of the choices; however the dark red car on the box looked nice. A trip to Pep-Boys resulted in a purchase of a spray can of Dupli-Color 344 Ford Toreador Red, a deep burgundy metallic. After a coat of light grey Plasticote primer was applied and allowed to gas out, the color coat paint was then laid down and then left to gas-out for about a week. Gassing-out means that you allow time for the volitile elements of the paint to escape from the paint during the curing process which after time forms a hard surface. After the gassing-out period, the body, hood and front cover were wet sanded and polished using Micro-Mesh sanding cloths, and finished off with Bob’s Paints “Snap” and “Pop” followed by Mike’s Scale Speed Shop “Slik ‘N’ Smooth” treatment.

During the gassing-out period I painted and assembled the motor. The engine is molded in two halves resulting in a seam down the middle of the oil pan (totally old school); however the rest of the engine is really nicely done as the photos reveal. Credit should be given to Revell’s ongoing effort of product improvement; they have added a very nice decal sheet that contains numerous under the hood, interior and exterior decorating choices including decals to make your model car a Sports Car Club of America SOLO event car. The chassis while somewhat primative compared to today’s kits came off pretty well as picture shows. The somewhat primitive by modern standard interior tub was done in Tamiya light grey with a darker contrasting grey for the instument panel and passenger side dash coves. The side door engraving on the tub is rather non-descript and lacking detail. However on the plus side, decals are now packaged for the instruments, but the speedo and tach are the only decals that you can read; I painted the other 4 instrument faces gloss black and called it a day.

The front and rear cover trim and the bi-wing spoiler were painted using Testor’s “Aircraft Interior Black” #4767 as the actual trim was charcoal in color. Some of the chrome plated parts were stripped in Castrol Super Clean; those parts included the wheels, engine timing chain cover and outside RV mirrors. The wheels were then painted with Testor’s buffable Aluminum spray and then hand buffed; the rest of the parts were painted in shades of black.

Now we get to the assembly issues mentioned earlier. The new for 1985 Halogen modular head lamps are supposed to be glued to the front cover (bumper) and then that assembly is to be glued to the front of the body. This is the last thing I did to the car during the assembly stage; I didn’t like the vague placement and alignment idea of mounting the headlights to the cover and then hoping that it would then allow the headlights to properly fit in the fenders and the cover lining up to the body. After much thought and angst, I reversed the assembly steps by attaching the headlights to the front fenders and then thankfully the front cover aligned with the front fenders. Revell may not put any more $$ into this kit but improvement in this area would be helpful. Second, the bi-wing part of the rear spoiler did not fit and line up that well to the molded-in rear spoiler. Minor details sure, but improvement would be welcome.


Revell has given us a welcome and endearing Mustang from the post Muscle Car era. Except for the fit and design issues mentioned above, this kit brings home the bacon for us Mustang lovers. I truly enjoyed the build as it brought back memories of Fireball. My little LX was my first of 3 Mustangs and a fun car, but she leaked oil out of the rear main seal since day one and of course over time coated the underside of the car with an oily buildup, especially over the catalytic converter. On the way home after a professional detailing and engine cleaning the engine missed badly due to water on the ignition wires causing backfiring…. We were a block from home when my wife in the follow-up car honked her horn and flashed her lights repeatedly and furiously. It was then that I noticed an orange glow coming from under my car; sure enough the cat had caught fire just as the village firemen came to put it out. My kids aptly named her Fireball from that day forward.

Thanks to Revell for supplying this review kit, IPMS/USA and John Noack for allowing me to review it for you.


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