Since the introduction of the 2005 Ford Mustang
coupe and convertible models, the original pony car continues as a sales success story and retains its title of industry trendsetter.
Keeping the excitement alive through 2006 and into 2007, Ford
has been releasing a succession of special models and limited edition options.
For 2006, Mustang
can be ordered with the "Pony Package," which outfits the base V-6 exterior with the sexier GT design cues. These include a custom grille with fog lamps, a sporty rear spoiler, larger wheels and tires.
The Pony Package wears the classic red, white and blue tri-bar Pony emblems on front fenders and wheel center caps. Mustang
-badged front floor mats cover the cockpit carpeting, and anti-lock brake system with traction control and GT-inspired suspension is standard. Ford
has publicized that the Pony Package will return for the 2007 model year.
Earlier this spring, Ford
, Carroll Shelby and Hertz Corporation surprised the motor world with the announcement of the 325 horsepower Shelby GT-H Mustang
Available exclusively at selected rental car locations, the minimum rate for the Shelby GT-H is $150 a day.
That’s considerably more that the $17 a day and 17-cents a mile charged by Hertz forty years ago for the 1966 Shelby GT 350H Mustang
Due to the excitement generated by the Shelby GT-H, and because of dealer lobbying, Ford
executives announced on Aug. 13 that they were releasing the 2007 Shelby GT Mustang
as a retail version of the Hertz rental model.
To be sold at Ford
outlets, the Shelby GT will come with a 4.6-liter V-8 producing 325-horsepower, and limited to only 10,000 units, assuring the exclusivity of the car like all Shelby Mustang
Suggested retail price will be about $35,000, but because of being collectable, don’t expect to find one that cheap
But the hottest Mustang
news that has the auto buff publications and newspaper columns in a dizzy is the release of the 2007 Shelby Cobra GT 500.
This stock Mustang
generates 500 horsepower from the 5.4-liter supercharged V-8.
That ‘s correct, a Mustang
right off the showroom floor with 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, which happens to be more than any previous factory-built Mustang
Those are genuine numbers, obtained using the Society of Automotive Engineer's latest standard and having the procedure witnessed by an objective third party. Ford
has started selling the Shelby GT500 and auctioned the first one off the assembly line for $600,000, with the proceeds benefiting the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
Regular list price for the Shelby GT500 is $41,000 for the coupe and $45,755 for the ragtop, but again expect to pay a premium to have the honor of owning one.
Also coming this fall is the 2007 Mustang
GT California Special.
Though it reads ‘California,’ the model will be sold everywhere, and you will be able to recognizable it by unique front and rear fascias and GT/CS door stripes.
The original California Specials debuted in 1968 as a low volume offering from Ford
dealers in the Western Region of California. It featured Shelby rear end treatment, body striping, side scoops, louvered hood, and fog lights.
Another clever method Ford
is using for 2007 to kept showrooms busy with Mustang
buyers is offering special attention-calling exterior colors like Grabber Orange Clearcoat Metallic.
Historically, three Grabber colors were first offered in 1970 as part of an option referred to as “Grabber Special Value Package.” The choices were Grabber Orange, Grabber Blue and Grabber Green.
For the record, there was also a Maverick Grabber available during the same period.
Last month I test-drove a Grabber Orange 2007 Mustang
GT coupe for seven days and witnessed the overwhelming positive reaction to this bright hue.
People did double takes as the eye-catching beauty cruised by.
Most gave the car thumbs-up, and one DHL driver, who was piloting a bright yellow truck himself, yelled out, “That’s one hot-damn nice color.”
More exciting than the exterior is sliding behind the steering wheel of the GT, turning the key and awakening the gasoline-fed beast from within.
Performing that simple act erases years off the psyche of anyone over forty.
Stomp down on the gas pedal, and feel the rush from 300 horses and 315 pound-foot of torque as the rear wheels light up the pavement. You can’t help but smile as you reach 60 miles per hour in 5 seconds.
Shifting the Tremec five-speed gearbox is a pleasure due to the tranny’s short throws and easy tension clutch pedal.
Tooling through traffic, I love revving the engine to hear Mustang
’s ferocious roars echo off adjacent vehicles.
While I prize the vehicles performance, I quickly learned to appreciate the four-channel antilock braking that reined in the 3,356-pound stallion.
This system, with front and rear disc brakes, has the biggest rotors and stiffest calipers ever-offered on Mustang
Also, thank heaven for traction control, an amazing system that miraculously snaps the car back on course whenever the rear wheels try fishtailing.
A tip of my baseball cap to Ford
engineers for the chassis structure and greatly improved torsional stiffness built into every fifth generation Mustang
Those advancements give a road hugging, solid, non-jarring ride.
Handsome cockpit has increased room over previous models due to the six-inch longer wheelbase.
The design of the interior pays homage to early Mustang
s with twin hooded dash pad, and large, chrome-ringed gauges.
Bucket seats were very supported, allowing for fun-filled hours of putting the kicking pony car through its paces on a sanctioned road course. Mustang
GT has few competitors that combine American muscle car performance, responsive handling, with the latest technology wrapped in a handsome body and selling in the $25,000 to $30,000 price range.
Very few cars have achieve legendary status like the Mustang
, and it will remain an important element in Ford
Motor Company future plans
Perhaps Phil Martens, Group Vice President, Product Creation for Ford
best summed up what Mustang
means to his company when he said, "The Mustang
is the soul of Ford