Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 1, 2009

Step By Step

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Mdmp_0908_16_z 1963_mustang_ii_concept_45_years Front_view
Another mod motor'd classic we spied was this in-progress '67 convertible being built by SVP Unlimited for a customer. Modular of choice for the build is an '03 Cobra supercharged Terminator engine. The '67 also sports a full Griggs suspension, Baer brakes, and more goodies. It even has an '05 transmission tunnel modded into it for a custom interior.
Mdmp_0908_17_z 1963_mustang_ii_concept_45_years Front_view
Steve Saleen's new venture, SMS, was on hand in the main vendor area. While we were hoping to see the new SMS Mustang on display we were instead treated to a who's who of rare and special Saleen Mustangs, including one of each anniversary edition, Saleen Rangers, and more. Steve was on hand to sign posters and memorabilia throughout the weekend.
Mdmp_0908_18_z 1963_mustang_ii_concept_45_years Front_view
TMI Upholstery hits all the major Mustang shows so that potential buyers can see its products firsthand. Often TMI also displays prototype products and new items fresh out of the factory, such as this complete Fox Mustang Mach 1 interior setup. We're glad to see the company out and about, promoting the hobby and giving custom car owners new ideas.

At the beginning of our trek, the car had a total of 51 miles on the clock (making the aforementioned mishap with the errant glob of rubber gave even greater umbrage). Ford kindly asked that we take it easy the first few hundred miles to allow for a proper break-in period. Abiding by its wishes was not difficult, as, even though the great state of Ohio has many smooth, flat roads on which to allow a spirited run, the law enforcement end is a bit stringent on not allowing performance-intended cars like Mustangs to stretch their proverbial legs. Therefore, we lumbered along. Neither FoMoCo nor Buckeye's finest needed to worry.

As if to be a favorable omen, we encountered three test Mustangs making their way south toward I-94 only a couple miles from our starting point at the grounds of Ford WHQ. The two GTs and Shelby GT 500 had larger tailpipes and other additions that made them certainly differ from normal production. No matter how many times we see things like this in the Detroit area, it's always a cool sight, as you begin wondering just what else is different that you're not seeing.

Our '10 featured the step up packaging in the Premium format. Lighted sills, part of the ambient lighting group, greeted all at dusk and the Sirius satellite radio always kept any boredom at bay. A five-speed, seldom seen in these parts of the country mounted to six-banger Mustangs, peeked through the console and was certainly a welcome sight.

Mountainous terrain and a factory-fresh vehicle undoubtedly muddied the overall mileage variable here; we gleaned just under 28 mpg overall for each main leg. We're confident those numbers could be bettered on the flatlands of America with a carefully seasoned motor. We also encountered eight hours worth of rain on the return run, further hampering better numbers.

With 12 hours and almost 750 miles one way from Dearborn, we were not fatigued one bit. Seating is firm yet comfortable. A center dash power port easily held an iPod, if the need was felt, and in-console plugs provided inputs for any other technological appendages (yes, GPS units are wonderful things).

Power could be notched up a bit here, something Ford seems headed for with the EcoBoost powertrains set to appear in the near future in many vehicles. A minimum of 250 hp would surely be received with open arms of the standard-guise, non-GT Mustang buyer.

Overall, Ford's designers had a tough act to follow with the wild success of the current generation. The '10 is a well-balanced statement that proves that, while there might now be competition in the Pony car field, Mustang defined the segment and remains the car to which everyone can relate. Want more proof? We talked to people at the 45th Anniversary who hailed from Belgium, France, Aruba, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, and Slovakia. The car for everyone is as true today as it was four-and-a-half decades ago.Chris Richardson