The fourth-generation Ford Mustang suffers a bit from middle-child syndrome. It debuted 23 years ago and spanned a full decade of model years (1994–2004), but it has yet to gain the same regard as other generations of America’s pony car. Wedged between the charming blandness of Fox-body Mustangs and the retro styling of fifth-generation models, fourth-gen Mustangs aren’t at the top of many dream car lists.
Even so, Ford (and in-house skunkworks SVT) produced some memorable Mustangs over those years, and they offer V-8 power, rear-wheel drive, and muscle-car feel with relatively modern reliability—at a generally affordable price.
Those low prices are ready to go up, however. For the most part, special versions of fourth-gen Mustangs seem to have stopped depreciating, and some are now seeing significant value growth. In fact, buyer interest (measured by the number of insurance quotes through Hagerty) has grown by 130 percent in the past five years and 15 percent in the last 12 months. Quote values have also bottomed out. Among those who show interest in fourth-gen Mustangs, 38 percent are Gen-Xers and 19 percent are Millennials; both numbers are considerably higher than average.
In terms of collectibility, it’s the rarer, higher-performance models that are leading the way. Here are five fourth-gen Mustangs that are making the transition from used car to collector car.