That 5.0 L engine was a great engine, but not Ford's best work IMHO. The 1980s were also more or less a lost era for American made passenger cars, as some of the newer technologies that are common place today were in their infancy then, and a lot of bugs had to be ironed out. Also, the inovation of unibody construction was very new to American car makers during the 80s, so a lot of mistakes were made. A friend of mine had one of the very first Ford Escourts, and just from normal commuting to work every day, that car got pushed out of alighnment, so it was actualy going down the road cock-eyed. It also pulled very hard to the left, making it a nightmare to drive. That Crysler "K" car was also a real &%$# box. The engine and drive trane was rightious enough, but the body wasn't worth the powder to blow it up. Both of my brothers had Plymouth Volaries. Engines in both cars ran great, both transmissions went for over 80 thousend miles. Both bodies completely rusted out, however, leaving gaping holes in the floors of both cars, and again, the unibodies of both cars were bent up to the point that they were almost un driveable.
I pretty much stuck with older cars, and then pick up trucks through out the 80s, and I got to prefer them over passenger cars, so I drove a full sized pick-up until the Fall of 05. The very best engine I ever had in any vehicle for good old fashioned dependability and a good 'work horse' was that in line 6 cylender that came in my 1991 Ford F-150. ?That truck was only a 2 wheel drive, but I drove it for 0ver 90 thousand miles before I traded it for a 1998 F 150 4 wheel drive. That truck had a highly improved version of the 5l L V 8, but in terms of torque and jusy plain hauling power, it was no match for the I 6. It was a great 4 wheeler, though.