Thursday, February 15, 2007

An American Legend

The familiar horse symbol on the Mustang GT grill.

The Ford Mustang is one of America's favorite cars with a long history over 40 years. Since it's debut in 1964, it has become Ford's best selling model and still remains in production till today.

The Mustang has been such a popular car to modify over the years, many companies have based their business around it, the models that they produced have become legends themselves. These include the Roush and Shelby Mustangs.

Ford faced a crisis in the mid 1980s. Mustang sales were slumping and the company assumed that the Mustang had lost its place in the market. They responded by announcing that they would replace the rear-wheel drive Mustang with a Japanese derived front-wheel drive version. It was a big mistake. Mustang fans quickly responded and sent Ford hundreds of thousands of angry letters, asking them to save the rear-wheel drive Mustang. Ford relented and kept the rear drive car alive. The front-wheel drive version was called the Probe.

1995 Mustang discarded the boxy lines of the previous generation and adopted a more curvy aerodynamic shape. This year saw the introduction of the Mustang GTS and the limited-edition Cobra R. The Mustang GTS was designed to be a lightweight, "barebones" car with the power of a GT. On the other hand, the later followed the success of the 1993 Cobra R but included a much larger 5.8 liters engine, which produced an amazing 300 horsepower. Only 250 Cobra Rs were made and you can understand why they are such great demand today. Would definitely love to get my hands on a Cobra R.

The latest generation of the Mustang was unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. With a completely redesigned exterior by Sid Ramnarace, the new Mustang (code named "S-197") drew inspiration from the 1960s Mustangs and had an brand new D2C platform.

The evolution continues and one of the latest revisions, the Shelby GT500 is the most powerful factory-built Mustang ever. It was designed by the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) in collaboration with legendary performance guru Carroll Shelby. This car has a supercharged and intercooled 32-valve 5.4L V-8 engine pumping out 500 horsepower.

Whew!Would love to see what Ford has in store for us in the future.

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