But you can still buy a beefed-up Mustang EcoBoost that’s an SVO without the badge

Although it existed for only two years, from 1984 until 1986, the SVO nameplate continues to spark emotions among Ford Mustang enthusiasts more than 30 years later. But despite massive interest from gearheads, the Blue Oval doesn’t want to revive the name now that all high-performance Fords are being engineered by the Ford Performance division.

The Mustang SVO won’t be back anytime soon

Ford Isn't Bringing Back the Mustang SVO Nameplate and There's Actually a Good Reason
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The SVO name can't be revived as long as high-performance Fords are handled by Ford Performance

If you’re hoping for a turbocharged Mustang with an "SVO" badge, it’s better to stick to a version of the EcoBoost. Ford isn’t planning on bringing the old nameplate back, simply because the current organization within the company doesn’t allow it. According to Ford Mustang director Jim Owens, the SVO name can’t be revived as long as all high-performance Fords are handled by the Ford Performance division.

“SVO was an engineering organization... SVE, SVO, SVT – those were all engineering entities that actually did the work,” he explained. In simpler terms, the SVO because the SVT group in the 1990s, which was eventually reorganized into Ford Performance in the 2010s. Owens added that Ford still owns the SVO trademark, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will use it on a production model.

The 2020 Mustang EcoBoost High-Performance Package is the SVO you want

New Performance Package Pushes the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost to 330 Horsepower
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Just like the original SVO, the EcoBoost High-Performance Package delivers outstanding performance without a V-8 engine

Although there’s no SVO to buy in 2019, there’s a certain Mustang that’s very similar to the original car from the 1980s. It’s based on the Mustang EcoBoost, and it’s offered as the High-Performance Package model. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, it comes with 330 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque on tap, which makes it the most powerful four-pot Mustang in history. But this car isn’t just about power. It also features a higher performance aero kit form the Mustang GT, the larger brakes of the V-8-powered GT, and enhanced suspension components.

Just like the original SVO, the EcoBoost High-Performance Package delivers outstanding performance without a V-8 engine under the hood. Granted, the old SVO outperformed its V-8 sibling, something that the EcoBoost High-Performance Package can’t do, but it’s a modern SVO sans the "SVO" badge. It was even developed in a similar fashion.

“The High-Performance Package was the base Mustang team working weekends at the Arizona Proving Grounds, taking the engine out of a Ford Focus RS and putting it into a Mustang,” Owens said, adding that development took less than ten months.

The Mustang SVO legacy

Ford Isn't Bringing Back the Mustang SVO Nameplate and There's Actually a Good Reason
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SVO opted to use a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder instead of a V-8

The Mustang SVO was a limited-production version of the third-generation Mustang that Ford produced from 1984 to 1986. This car was designed and developed by the Special Vehicle Operations Department, a division that Ford established in 1981. SVO was tasked with overseeing the company’s racing program as well as with developing street-legal models based on or using technology from race cars. SVO selected the Mustang as a base for a powerful car that would compete with both American and entry-level European sports cars of the day.

Although Ford had a 5.0-liter V-8 in the Mustang in the mid-1980s, SVO opted to use a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder instead. Originally used in the Pinto and second-gen Mustang, the four-banger was upgraded with a computer-controlled fuel injection system and an intercooled turbocharger. In this setup, the mill delivered 175 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, ten horses more than the V-8 GT. In 1985, the addition of a new cooling system and fine-tuning increased power to 205 horses and 248 pound-feet of twist.

Ford Isn't Bringing Back the Mustang SVO Nameplate and There's Actually a Good Reason
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The beefed-up engine was backed by a higher performance suspension system, a modified steering system, and a limited-slip differential. The SVO also featured ventilated disc brakes. Visuals that set it apart included unique front grille and hood, pinstriped taillights, leather interior trim, and a premium stereo system.

The SVT Successor

Ford Isn't Bringing Back the Mustang SVO Nameplate and There's Actually a Good Reason
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The short-lived SVO wasn’t followed by a spiritual successor until 1993 when Ford launched a higher performance version of the fourth-generation Mustang. This time around, it was called the SVT, a name that came from Ford’s Special Vehicle Team. But unlike the SVO, the SVT featured a V-8 engine, just like the Mustang GT. Ford released various versions of this car, including the SVT Cobra and the Cobra R. Production of the SVT lasted from 1994 until 2004 and output ranged from 235 horsepower and 280 pound-feet in the original model to 385 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of twist in the SVT Cobra R.

Further Reading

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

1964 - 2006 Ford Mustang History
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Get into touch with our history of the Ford Mustang from 1964 - 2006

Source: Muscle Cars and Trucks

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