ENGINE - Engine runs best on 5W30 fully synthetic, changed every 10,000 miles. Beware spark plugs on early V8s – they’re in two parts and when loosened can snap, especially when cold. There’s a special tool to extract the remaining part.
TRANSMISSION - Check for oil leak from rear axle pinion seal. It’s a £5 part but a day’s labour to fix.On manual cars, check if second gear crunches on selection when cold.
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - The brakes get worse as they get hotter, so make new discs and pads (by StopTech, for example) a priority. Rear lower control arms and its end bushes are the same grade regardless of engine, so replace with superior BMR Suspension parts. Same goes for springs and dampers.
BODYWORK - Check for rust on the underside of the bonnet’s leading edge. It’s in two layers and condensation can form between them. Failed door seals let water into the front footwells where, on the passenger side, it can short- circuit the junction board. Check plastic spacer and metal bracket between grille and radiator for crash damage. Check windows drop a fraction when the door is opened.
ELECTRICS - Inexpert brake light and rear indicator mods for the IVA test can cause electrical issues. Check cruise control works – bodgers cut the brake light wire the system relies on. Check if LED brake light bulbs have been replaced with ordinary bulbs.
INTERIOR - Trim looks and feels plasticky but should stay anchored.
Also worth knowing:
If the car is more than four years old, ask for a copy of its C386 customs form that shows import taxes and duties were paid. Cheap cars may owe duty (10%) and VAT (20%). Former US service cars are especially risky.
How much to spend:
Below £14,995 - assortment of cars, most manuals, as low as £9000. Includes early 4.0 V6s, some with over 200k miles, such as one 2008-reg 4.0 V6 with 225k.
£15,000-£19,995 - Mix of 07- to 14-reg 3.7 V6s, 4.6 V8s, 5.0 V8 coupés and convertibles with 35-70k miles. Includes a 2001 5.0 V8 GT with 35k miles for £19,995.
£20,000-£24,995 - Low-mileage 4.6s, and average- mileage, late-plate 5.0 V8s. Next-gen 2.3 Ecoboost from around £26,000.
One we found:
FORD MUSTANG 4.6 V8 GT FASTBACK AUTO, 2007, 55k MILES, £15,995 - Recently shipped in by a specialist claiming to have dealt with all import requirements. Has the Premium pack (switchable traction control, leather trim) and full history, and is ‘rust free’. Loads of Shelby extras including GT Classic apron and grille and louvres.