Buyer Tips

Buying a Salvage Mustang at Auction

By Mike Richards Updated: 12/27/2019 Posted: 12/16/2019

Ford Mustangs are icons of American design. Buying a salvage Mustang to repair is a way of getting one cheaper. But where can you buy one? And what else do you need to know about it? Explore all of this here.

The Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang was first unveiled in 1964, and his since been one of the most iconic vehicles in America’s history. This sporty, youthful vehicle proved popular among buyers looking for an attractive, affordable car, and drivers interested in a powerful engine.

The sheer number of Mustang variations has also played a role in boosting popularity. For example, if you like to drive with the top down, you can get the Mustang convertible. Buyers interested in a powerful engine at an affordable rate can get the Mustang GT.

The demand for the Ford Mustang in the early years of production gave rise to competition from other auto brands. The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro and the 1970 Dodge Challenger were among the first affordable muscle cars to compete with the Mustang.

To date, the Ford Mustang has remained popular with many Americans. The sales have continued to soar, with the 2015 model having the highest sales in recent times, at 122,349 units. When choosing a vehicle to buy, most buyers look at the vehicle’s appearance, reliability, performance, practicality, and price. The Mustang meets most, if not all, of a buyer’s expectations.

The Value

The Mustang retains at least 99.5% of its value after the first year on the road. Of all the cars in its class, the Mustang has the lowest depreciation rate. This has contributed significantly to its demand, both in the new and used car market.

The Mustang’s depreciation rate is highly dependent on the model and type. For instance, the 2007 model shed off about 0.68% of its value in the first year, while the 2012 model lost at least 15.26% of its value in the first year. When buying a used or salvage Ford Mustang, knowing a model’s depreciation rate will serve as a guide, especially when on a budget.

The value of classic Mustangs, on the other hand, appreciates. It is, however, challenging to determine the value of a classic Mustang because the price range may depend heavily on sentimental value. This is why owners of classic vehicles hardly ever think of selling, and if they do, they don’t easily budge on price. Sellers of classic cars can ask for as much as they want based on the condition of the vehicle, yet the same cannot be said of newer models.

Tips to Buying a Salvage Ford Mustang at Auction

Are You Looking for a Classic or the Newer Models?

The Mustang is one of the few cars on the market that caters to people with different interests. Before buying a salvage Mustang, you need to have an idea of what you are looking for in a car.

Understanding the features of the car you are interested in will make it easier to identify the best model to buy. For instance, the 1987 model was the first to have major changes in eight years. While the V6 engine was discontinued, consumers had a choice between the 5.0-liter V8 engine which now produced up to 225hp, and a new 2.3-liter engine.

The newer models offer better performance, and come fitted with most of the latest tech features found in most cars.

What is a Deal Breaker for You?

Since Mustangs come with a variety of features, you need to decide what you can live without, and what you can’t. For example, do you have any hang-ups about driving a convertible? Are you content driving an old model? If you are interested in the comfort and convenience of upgraded suspension and technological features, you should look for more recent models.

Which Generation do you Find Most Beneficial?

The Mustang has a rich history, and like other brands, some models were more popular than others. The current production is the 6th generation, which debuted in 2015. Over the years, several changes have been made to make this vehicle more efficient and appealing.

Each Mustang generation has its pros and cons. For instance, the first-generation Mustangs were highly customizable. You are, therefore, likely to find the same model of vehicles made between 1964 and 1973 with varying feature combinations. You are also possibly going to discover some of the standard features missing. Older Mustangs can also easily be upgraded. Like most classics, a Mustang in a pristine condition appreciates in value.

The Anticipated Cost of Repairs

When purchasing a salvage Mustang, it is essential to have a budget for repairs. This will serve as a guide when choosing a vehicle to repair since you’ll need to pick one you can afford to make roadworthy. If you don’t have experience buying a salvage Mustang, it is best to have a mechanic to guide you. It is easy to make mistakes, especially when estimating the cost of repairs. A $500 project can quickly leave you with a $3000 bill.

The Mustang’s Popularity

A vehicle’s popularity is an important factor, especially for a salvage vehicle buyer. A car’s popularity tells you how easy it will be to get spare parts, the potential price of the vehicle, and how easy it will be for you to find a salvage for sale of the model you are interested in.

For example, the Mustang II, which was on the market between 1974 and 1978, was incredibly popular because it was one of the lightest and fuel-efficient Mustangs. However, it also received a lot of hate from those interested in a more powerful vehicle. This negativity overshadowed the 1975 Mustang, which had a V8 engine which would have substantially met the needs of those more interested in engine power, over fuel efficiency.

What are the Best Mustangs to buy at an Auction?

1969 Mustang Boss 429

If you are looking for a classic Mustang, the 1969 Mustang Boss 429 should be on your list. Only 900 units of these vehicles were made in 1969, and 500 in 1970. It is a rare car, but if you find it, you will have landed on a collector’s item that could be worth a fortune, should you decide to sell it.

Ford produced this car in the hope that it would make an impression at the intense NASCAR competition. It was fitted with a V8 engine which was said to produce 375hp. In recent years, this vehicle has been recreated with an output of 815hp, the suspected actual power output of the original Boss 429.

Mustang II 1974-1978

This generation of Mustang bore minimal resemblance to the first Mustang. This caught Mustang fans unawares and contributed to the negative publicity. Some of the changes made on this subcompact car include the availability of smaller engines in place of the 4.9-litre V8 engine, which was still available for those who wanted to retain the same powerful engine.

Buyers interested in better fuel efficiency had the option of a 2.8-liter V6 engine or a 2.3-liter inline 4. At the time of its production, Americans were looking forward to smaller vehicles, so Mustang II sold successfully. Motor Trends Car of the Year award went to the 1974 model.

Fox Body Mustang 1979 -1993

This generation of the Mustang had several changes, depending on the model. By 1992, the two-door notchback coupe, convertible styles, and hatchback were body type options available. The engine options were a 5.0-litre V8 engine and a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. The Cobra Hatchback was a limited edition of 5000 units released in 1993. The 1993 three-door hatchback had the highest sales at 62,077.

1994 – 2004 – Ford Mustang SN – 95

This is the fourth generation of the Mustang. The body of this Mustang had sharper lines when compared to the past generations. The base Mustang had a 3.8-litre V6 engine, with 5-speed manual transmission. An optional four-speed automatic transmission was available. The Mustang GT offered exceptional performance with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that takes 6 seconds, from 0-60 mph. The redesign and more powerful engine earned the 1994 Mustang GT Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award.

S197 and S197 II 2005-2014 Mustang

The body of the fifth-generation Mustang was retro. The exterior resembled the muscular look of the earlier models. The headlight placement and front grille were similar to the first models. The 2005-2009 models feature a 4.6-liter V8, 4.0-liter V6, or a 5.4-liter supercharged V8. The transmission options were five or 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmission.

The second half of this generation saw cosmetic changes on the exterior. The changes were mainly on the emblem and headlight placement. The six-speed automatic transmission was also introduced in these models. Additionally, a 5.8-liter V8 engine was also an addition for this half of the fifth generation.

S550 2015 – 2018 Mustang

This generation of the Mustang was quite different from the previous two generations. The significant differences include a futuristic design, whereas the past two generations were retro. This change was essential since Ford targeted an international market, and needed a model that could be identified by people of different cultures and interests.

The engine version available include a 2.3-liter Ecoboost Turbocharged inline-four that cranks out 310hp, a 3.7-liter Cyclone V6 with 300hp, a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 and 5.2-liter Voodoo V8. The Coyote and Voodoo engines both produced a whopping 435hp. The earlier models have the six-speed manual transmission as a standard feature and the automatic as an option. The 2018 model has the 10-speed automatic transmission as the standard transmission.

How do You Repair Mustang Cars?

Mustang owners have an unusual attachment to their cars. Even when you buy one at a salvage auction, chances are it was well looked after by past owners. However, this doesn’t mean you will get perfect cars. Depending on the vehicle you choose, you may still need to carry out some repairs.

The Mustang comes with an infinite array of configurations. You should expect some of the customized features to be problematic, especially if they were not done right. Some of the problems you should expect to see in a salvage Mustang for sale, above and beyond the obvious damage include:

 Squeaky Steering

This is normal in every car, especially those that have been driven hard. Mustang drivers enjoy testing how fast they can go with these powerful vehicles, and this is likely to affect the steering column. If the steering is squeaky, you should look out for worn shocks, damaged suspension bushings and tie rod ends. Many Mustang owners get so used to driving with this noise, that they move to the next Mustang without finding the cause of the noisy steering.

 Oil Leaks

This is a common problem in Mustangs, especially those that have been on the road for some time. The 2015 – 2017 models were recalled because the oil cooler hoses were coming off. This is one of the things you must check when repairing your salvage Mustang. Otherwise you risk losing the engine. Hot oil pouring all over a hot engine may also cause a fire.

Paint Bubbles

Mustangs, especially earlier models, have had issues with paint peeling. This has been attributed to paint corrosion of the metal underneath the paint. When buying a salvage Mustang, you need to look at the hood critically since this can be an expensive repair that will involve more than repainting. Once the metal starts eroding, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the car gets affected. If the hood is showing signs of corrosion, you should check the engine to confirm the parts are rust-free.

Door Hinge Problems

Mustangs have large doors, and over time, the hinge weakens due to the constant opening and closing. Hinge wear is typical in cars so you should look out for creaks and popping sounds when opening the doors, hood, and trunk. Fortunately, you can easily replace the hinges.

Ford Mustang

Can You Insure Salvage Title Mustang?

Yes, but it will be a challenge finding an insurer. Many insurance companies don’t offer policies against salvage vehicles because of the risk involved. A car with a rebuilt title carries a higher risk than one with a clean title. This is why companies that insure Mustang salvage cars usually only offer a basic coverage, such as liability insurance.

If you have a classic Mustang, you’ll equally have a hard time getting insurance because it is difficult to place a value on a classic vehicle. The value attached to a classic car is more often sentimental than factual. For example, if you find a 1969 Boss 429 at a salvage auction and buy it for $1000, and another person buys it at an auction at $600,000, what value does the insurance company use?

Before buying a Mustang, it would help if you asked your insurer if they can make an exception, especially if you have insured other properties with the company. Large insurance companies tend to be more flexible because they can afford to take the risk.

You should also find out from specialty insurance companies if they can provide you with coverage. Some of these companies have policies for vehicles like Mustangs, because of their popularity and sentimental value. Most Mustang owners properly maintain their vehicles, especially those whose values appreciate.

Are Salvage Auctions Good for Cheap Mustang Parts?

Salvage auctions are good places to find cheap parts for any vehicle. This is especially so for rare vehicles, like the early Mustang models. Some of the salvage vehicles are so damaged, they can’t be repaired. A damaged Ford Mustang for sale is a cheap source of parts. Most of the dealers selling parts get them from salvage auctions. When you go for the parts directly from the salvage auction, you save the extra money you would have paid as profit to the dealer.

You will also get more parts you may need later should you need to repair the vehicle. Having the parts at hand should you need them will give you peace of mind, and you can keep making changes to your car as you need to without worrying about the availability of the parts.

Should You Buy a Crashed Ford Mustang?

Mustangs were initially designed for the race track. This is why they have hard and heavy bodies. A crashed Mustang for sale is unlikely to have extensive damage, especially if the impact wasn’t enough to cause more than cosmetic damage.

Before buying a Mustang, it is best to find out how close the damage is to the engine. Some models have the engine in the middle, while others have the engine at the front. If the loss was only on the body, you should buy the damaged Mustang. If the damage is extensive, you should look for another salvage Mustang.

Your decision should also be dependent on your budget. If you can’t afford to repair the damage on a Mustang, then stay away from wrecked Mustangs for sale. You should consider the possibility that a crashed Mustang may be cheaper to repair than a Mustang with flood damage.

How to Find a Salvage Mustang Near You?

Although the Mustang is a trendy car, it is also rare. This is because Mustang owners, especially those of the earlier models, have an attachment to their vehicles. Even when they choose to sell these cars, they always hope the car will end up with someone who will care for it almost as much as they did. Most Mustang fans look for these cars at auctions, and sellers use the same platform to find buyers.

Since these cars are a gem of sorts, you won’t easily find Ford Mustangs for sale at a public auction. Dealer-only auctions, on the other hand, may have an extensive inventory of Mustangs of all ages. To gain access to these auctions, you need to use a dealer, like Auto Auction Mall, as a proxy. You not only get to see all the Mustangs on sale, but you also get to buy it at a price offered to dealers. On top of that, you get to buy your Ford Mustang online, without having to leave the comfort of your home.

How To Get Started Buying a Salvage Ford Mustang

Take a look at some of our current auctions here:

Salvage Ford Mustang Auctions

Use the menu on the left to create an advanced search by filtering condition, model and location.

Example Mustang Salvage Auctions

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