Hear me out here before you call me insane, but if you have any inclination to buy a Fox body Ford, skip the pony. The car for you is a 1983-1988 Thunderbird or Cougar.
The Thunderbirds and Cougars in this time frame are based on the same Fox chassis as the Mustang, and many other Ford cars from this era. The result is that performance and suspension parts for Mustangs are compatible with these, and obviously very easy to get your hands on. Also, most of these cars are bone stock. Many are owned by older folks who never abused them. No worrying about a thrashed and twisted chassis like a lot of 5.0 Mustangs are now.
Fox body Mustangs are shooting up in value. Where you could buy some of these for next to nothing 15 years ago, the prices are steadily climbing. However, the same cannot be said for its siblings, (with the exception of the more desirable Turbo Coupe, and the 20th Anniversary edition Cougar). Just last summer I purchased a 1987 Cougar with a 5.0 V8, 123,000 original kilometers, and a rust free body for only $800.00. It did need some trim work, but a quick trip to Pick n’ Pull solved those issues for me. A RWD Fox body car for less than $1000.00. Look at this example in New York on Craigslist! That’s a rust belt car and its still in great condition. $2200 is a bargain.
Now there are some downsides to buying these. They are a little harder to find than the Mustang, some trim and body parts aren’t as easily available, and it can be argued that they are ugly and bloated in comparison. But the fact remains, if you want to get in on the Fox body fun and you don’t have deep enough pockets for the Mustang, get yourself one of these. You won’t regret it.