Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ford Mustang- A Legend

The Ford Mustang is an automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company, originally based on the Ford Falcon compact. The first production Mustang rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964, and was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair on April 17, 1964, via all three American television networks on April 19, and made an appearance in the James Bond film Goldfinger in September of 1964. It was one of the most successful product launches in automotive history. The Mustang sold over one million units in its first 18 months on the market. The Mustang created a new "pony car" class of cars by adapting the "long hood, short deck" look of sports cars to compact sedans. It spawned many competitors such as the Camaro, and inspired smaller import coupes such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri. The Mustang has remained in continuous production to present day after many decades and numerous revisions.

The 1967 model year would see the first of the Mustang's many major redesigns with the installation of big-block V8 engines in mind. The overall size was increased, as was the cargo space. Exterior trim changes included concave taillights, side scoop (1967) and chrome (1968) side ornamentation, square rear-view mirrors, along with the usual yearly wheel and gas cap changes. The high-performance 289 option now took a supporting role on the option sheet behind a massive 320 hp (239 kW) 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE engine from the Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. Stock 390 with 4-speed manual Mustangs of the day were recording quarter mile times of mid 13-seconds, with trap speeds of over 105 mph (169 km/h). During the middle of the 1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in (7 L) Cobra Jet engine that was officially rated at 335 hp (250 kW).

The interior was more spacious due to an increase in the overall size of the vehicle. The 1967 and 1968 models did away with the "Pony Interior" in favor of a new deluxe interior package, which included special color options, brushed stainless steel (1967) or woodgrain (1968) trim, seat buttons, a tilt steering wheel, and special interior paneling. The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique center and overhead consoles were options. The fastback version had a fold down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows.

The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby and was sold only in the Western states. Its sister, the High Country Special was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available in coupe form, the High Country Special was available in a fastback and convertible version in 1967 and only as a coupe in 1968.

The 1968 Mustang fastback gained pop culture status when it was used to great effect in the crime thriller Bullitt. Lt. Frank Bullitt, played by legendary actor Steve McQueen, drove a modified Mustang GT-390 fastback, chasing two hitmen in a Dodge Charger in the film's famous car chase through the streets of San Francisco.

The much larger 1973 Mustang was a far different car than the original 1964 model. Ford was deluged with mail from fans of the original car who demanded that the Mustang be returned to its original size and concept. Upon taking over the presidency of Ford Motor Company in December, 1970, Lee Iacocca ordered the development of a smaller Mustang for 1974 introduction with initial plans calling for the downsized Mustang to be based on the compact Ford Maverick, which was similar in size and power to the Falcon upon which the original Mustang had been based. Those plans were later scrapped in favor of an even smaller Mustang based on the subcompact Ford Pinto. Such a car could better compete with smaller sporty import coupes such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri, then built by Ford of Germany and Britain, and sold in the U.S. by Mercury as a "captive import".

Dubbed "Little Jewel" by Lee Iacocca himself, the Mustang II was a project spearheaded by the Mustang's original creator. Iacocca believed that the Mustang had strayed too far from its original concept, so a completely redesigned Mustang was in order for 1974. Like the car that preceded it, the Mustang II had its roots in another compact, the Ford Pinto (though less so than the original car was based on the Falcon). The car sold well, with sales of more than 400,000 units the first year. It is worth noting that four of the five years of the Mustang II are on the top-ten list of most-sold Mustangs. The Mustang II featured innovations such as rack-and-pinion steering and a separate engine sub-frame that greatly decreased noise, vibration, and harshness.

The Arab oil embargo, skyrocketing insurance rates, and United States emissions and safety standards destroyed the straight-line performance of virtually every car of the period. In 1974, Chrysler ended production of the Barracuda and its stable mate, the Dodge Challenger. American Motors also discontinued the Javelin at the end of the 1974 model year. GM nearly discontinued the Camaro and Firebird after 1972.

This redesign also saw the release of two separate Special Edition Mustangs. In 2001, the Special Edition Bullitt was released to the public. Available as a hardtop only, the Bullitt was a mildly upgraded version of the standard GT. Designed to be a handling-based vehicle as opposed to an all-out bruiser, the car was factory upgraded with a lowered suspension (3/4 inch), subframe connectors from the convertible models, new Tokico shocks, and brakes from the Cobra (13 in front, 11.7 in rear). The car also received an upgraded exhaust, a re-designed intake, and underdrive pullies. These power upgrades led to a factory rating of 265 hp (198 kW), a gain of five horespower over the standard GT. On the exterior, the car received unique Torq-Thrust style wheels, removal of the fog lights and rear deck spoiler, as well as new trim accents. It was available in three colors: Dark Highland Green, True Blue, and Black.

The success of the 2001 Bullitt led to the production of a second special edition, the 2003 to 2004 Mach 1. The Mach 1 was equipped with a unique R-Code 4.6 L DOHC engine based on the DOHC engine available in the 1999 and 2001 Mustang Cobras, with new cylinder heads from the 2003 to 2004 Cobra (see below) and camshafts from the 5.4 L Triton engine. The engine was rated at 305 hp (227 kW) and raised to 310 hp (231 kW) in 2004 (Hot Rod magazine actually dyno-tested a 2003 Mach 1 and found it to produce approximately 325 hp). The interior of the car was given a retro theme with seats made to look like the "comfort-weave" seats available in the 1960s-era Mach 1s. It also featured retro themed gauges and a unique aluminum shifter ball. On the vehicle's exterior, a Mach 1 package was applied, as well as a functional Shaker scoop, a unique 3-tier hood, decals set on the hood, rocker/door panels, a special chin spoiler, a flat black-rear-spoiler, Magnum-500 style wheels, and a redesigned C-pillar. The car also received the same suspension upgrades as the Bullitt did with the exception of the front and rear stabilizer bars (the Bullit had a larger front, but a smaller rear). The Mach 1 was available in a range of colors including: Azure Blue (a Mach 1 only color), Torch Red, Zinc Yellow (2003 only), Dark Shadow Grey, Black, Oxford White, and two just for 2004 colors, Competition Orange and Screaming Yellow.

In 2003, Ford updated the Fox-based Cobra for the last time. Internally known during its development as the "Terminator," this Cobra, under the direction of Special Vehicle Program Director, O. John Coletti, featured a 4.6 L V8 similar to the older Cobra. Though not often given credit, Coletti was also responsible for saving the Mustang line, which Ford had planned to replace with the Probe. However, it was a radical change with the addition of an Eaton supercharger and an air to water intercooler resulting in 390 horsepower (291 kW) and 390 ft·lbf (529 Nm) of torque. Cast iron engine blocks replaced the aluminum blocks used in Cobras from '96-'01. To cope with increased power, Ford replaced the 5-speed Tremec T-45 transmission with the heavier-duty 6-speed Tremec T-56, which was also found in the Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette, and the now discontinued Camaro Z28. Engineers improved handling by using an independent rear suspension and fitting more aggressive tires, achieving 0.90 g on the skidpad. Unlike the 1999 SVT Cobra, these cars produced significantly more power than the official Ford claims. Most stock 2003 to 2004 Cobras were dynamometer-tested between 410 and 420 hp (313 kW). From the factory, the 2003 to 2004 Cobras ran 1/4 miles in the mid to upper 12s with trap speeds over 110 mph (180 km/h).

At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Ford introduced a completely redesigned Mustang which was codenamed "S-197" and based on an all-new D2C platform for the 2005 model year. Developed under the direction of Chief Engineer Hau Thai-Tang and exterior styling designer Sid Ramnarace, the fifth generation Mustang draws inspiration from Mustangs of the 1960s, notably the 1967-68 models. It was this redesigned aesthetic that inspired Ford's Senior Vice President of Design, J Mays, to call it "retro-futurism." The 2005 Mustang's unique retro coupe styling complements its muscle car status with an approximate weight to power ratio of 11.5:1. The current Mustangs are manufactured at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. The base Mustang, equipped with a 5-speed Tremec T-5 manual transmission, is powered by a cast iron block 210 hp (156 kW) 4.0 L SOHC Ford Cologne V6 engine, replacing the 3.8 L pushrod V6. The Mustang GT features a more rugged Tremec TR-3650 transmission with an aluminum 300 hp (224 kW) 4.6 L 3-valve Modular V8 with variable camshaft timing. 2007's Shelby GT, based on the standard GT model, is modified by Carroll Shelby International to produce 319 hp (238 kW) by means of a Ford Racing air intake, performance tune, and upgraded exhaust system. The 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 is equipped with the Tremec TR-6060 transmission, sporting a durable cast iron block generating 500 hp (373 kW) from a supercharged 5.4 L DOHC 32-valve V8 engine.
2006 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H
2006 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H

The 2005 Mustang GT is capable of performing a quarter-mile test in 13.5 seconds, with acceleration from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Added to the rear suspension is a three-linked system which controls the vertical and lateral movements of the axle. All model years of the current Mustang retain a live axle rear suspension providing the benefits of reduced cost and weight over a heavier, more expensive and complicated independent rear suspension, at the expense of handling. Ford has drawn heavy criticism from the motoring journalism community for the decision to equip the current Mustang with the live axle system, due to the poor handling that results. At a press conference, Ford stated that to include a modern suspension system would have added $5,000 to the showroom price of the car. The current Mustang GT also comes equipped with a limited slip differential complete with the same carbon-fiber clutch discs used in the 2003 to 2004 SVT Cobra and the 2007 Shelby GT500. The differential is designed for the 31-spline axles and the 8.8-inch (220 mm) ring gear. The basic V6 model (without the Pony Package), unlike the V8 GT model, lacks a rear anti-sway bar to prevent severe oversteer on hard cornering.[12] The 2007 Mustang V6 and GT chassis, suspension, and body shares many of the same construction designs as the GT500. Thicker sheetmetal support and extra welds can be found on the 2007 chassis. Re-designed strut towers on the 2007 Mustang accommodate the wider 5.4 L 32-valve V8 engine in the GT500. The rear diffuser on the 2007 GT California Special package (GT/CS) is also found on the Shelby GT and GT500.

The Pony Package for the V6 Mustang became available starting in 2006. This option includes upgraded suspension, Bullitt-style wheels (originally only available on the GT), wider tires, a unique grille design with fog lamps, a rear deck spoiler, and unique door striping and emblems. Unlike previous V6-powered Mustangs, the current V6 Mustang has drawn a large aftermarket following. A notable example is Shelby Automobile's Shelby CS6 package for the V6 Mustang, specifically the Paxton supercharger, which increases the power of the V6 up to 350 hp (261 kW).

The Mustang sports additional optional features including: MyColor (a color-configurable instrument cluster available as part of the Interior Upgrade Package), Shaker 500 (500 watts peak output) CD/MP3 6-disc audio system, Shaker 1000 (1,000 watts peak output) CD/MP3 6-disc audio system, and brushed aluminum panels (also part of the Interior Upgrade Package). In 2007, even more options were offered including a DVD-based GPS navigation system made by Pioneer (late availability), power passenger seats, heated seats, revised interior colors, and Sirius satellite radio. The GT Appearance Package made its debut in 2007 as well. This package adds a non-functional hood scoop, bright rolled exhaust tips and an engine cover featuring the pony emblem.

Ford announced in July 2007 that all 2008 Mustangs would have seats containing material derived from soy beans, harking back to some of Henry Ford's ideals.

On December 12, 2007, Ford announced a new option for the 2009 Mustang to be unveiled at the 2008 North American International Auto Show called the glass roof. This $1995 is in effect a full roof sunroof that splits the difference in price and purpose of the coupe and convertible models.

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