Special Service Mustangs were based on the coupe or "notchback" body style, except for several 1982 hatchback models (there were at least four confirmed SSP hatchbacks) which were made for the California Highway Patrol's initial testing and evaluation in 1982. The 1982-1983 SSP Mustangs were built at either the "L" or "GL" trim level, depending on the ordering agencies' preferences. An easy way to spot the differences in trim levels in the early cars is to look at the front seats. The "L" trim cars, such as the 40 ordered by the Florida Highway Patrol in 1983, have high-back bucket seats without headrests. The "GL" cars, such as the 24 ordered by the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1983, have the regular seats with headrests, and the seats have vinyl on the bottoms and seatbacks, with cloth inserts. Ford changed up the trim levels in 1984, and all future SSP Mustangs were then based on the "LX" trim level ("L" or "LX" model for 1984, "LX" models for 1985-1993).

   All 1982 and some 1983 SSPs with a manual transmission received the SROD 4-speed. Ford starting offering the T-5 5-speed transmission in mid-year 1983 Mustangs, but it isn't clear if any '83 SSPs received any of the 5-speeds. 1982 was the last year for the 2-barrel Holley 2150 carburetors, and the '83-'85 cars received the Holley 4180s (with the choke mechanisms redesigned for the '85 cars). 1986 was the first year for fuel injection, but a CFI system was standard on any SSP Mustang from 1984-1985 ordered with an AOD (automatic transmission). 1982 through 1984 cars, and '85 cars with CFI, had 5.0 engines with the flat tappet camshaft (non-roller), and the '85 4V and '86 cars had the roller motors. Horsepower rating for the 2-barrel 1982 models were 157, 1983-1984 4V were 175, 1984 CFI were 165, early 1985 CFI (before November 19, 1984) were 165, mid 1985 CFI were 180, 1985 4V were 210, and 1986 were 200. Standard Mustang rear end ratios were available, although agencies could also choose optional ratios. Ford offered extra cooling features, such as the water-oil, sandwich-style oil coolers, the AOD transmission coolers, and heavy-duty silicone (blue) hoses (with "aircraft" hose clamps) starting with the 1986 model year.

   Single-key locking, where one key fits the doors, ignition, trunk, and glovebox was available starting in 1982. All 1982 CHP Mustangs were equipped with this feature, but it was optional and not required. A remote mounted decklid release, located in the glovebox in regular-production cars, was available (later became standard) and the release was relocated to the left or right of the steering wheel on the lower trim panel (agency-specified preference as to what side). Other interior features include a 140mph "Certified Calibration", calibrated speedometer. The normal-production speedometer was 85mph. 1982 Speedometers are probably the rarest, as the design changed for the 1983-1986 model years. Ford offered a radio delete option for these cars, just like regular-production Mustangs. Other options, such as power windows, locks, and cruise control, were also available as in regular-production cars. There were no factory-installed rollbars or spotlights, but agencies could add whatever equipment necessary.

   As for the electrical systems, Ford offered grounding straps on the cars, located at the hood and trunk hinges, engine to body, and exhaust. An optional RF suppression package was available, with additional protection for the extra radio equipment destined to be installed by the agenices. Higher output alternators weren't available until 1987.

   Ford provided the SSP cars with 14 inch steel wheels until 1985, when they were upgraded to 15 inch. A "dog-dish" hubcap was standard for '82-'84, but some agencies ordered optional full wheel covers. The '85 and '86 wheels were used with center caps (apparently originally sourced from the Mercury cougar, Part Number E5WY-1130-D). For 1985, the cars were equipped with argent finish caps, part number E6ZZ-1130-A. 1986 caps were chrome-finish, and the part number E5WY-1130-D. The part numbers for these indicate chrome for 1985; E5, and argent for 1986; E6. However, all of the in-service pics we've researched show the exact opposite to be the case. This discrepancy may also be explained due to the fact that these SSP-specific parts were not immediately a dealer-available replacement part (some SSP parts had to be special ordered directly from Dearborn Assembly Plant or DAP), and the engineering number seen on 1985 SSP build sheets for the center caps indicates a different engineering number for the same style of cap listed in Ford's system. This same issue can be seen with the part number for the wheels, which is an E6 number (indicating 1986, even though these wheels were available in 1985).All SSPs came with a full size spare, and the early cars used the regular-production spare tire board to cover these. Starting sometime around 1986-1987, Ford offered a smaller cover, designed to maximize trunk space by fitting just inside the lip of the spare tire. More info on SSP wheels can be found here

   Save for some of these features, designed for extra durability and convenience, the SSP cars were basically the same as their factory-stock counterparts. This is a testament to the toughness and reliability that the stock 5.0 Mustang offered.

This is an overview, and is certainly not an all-inclusive list of available standard features and options for Special Service Mustangs.