Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
Best Mustangs of 1994-2004: Revamped Fox
Enthusiasts save the day and a new type of Fox leads to some of the finest and fastest Mustangs ever
John Coletti had moved on from Team Mustang to head up SVT, but he wasn’t done with Mustang concepts. SVT’s Super Stallion boasted an independent rear suspension, a wild paint job, and a supercharged 5.4-liter engine that ran on gasoline, alcohol, or a combination of the two. “This is the ultimate street Mustang,” said Coletti. “You wouldn’t want anything else ’cause there’s really nothing else to want.”
Ford Division president Jim O’Connor and Mustang chief program engineer Janine Bay were proud to introduce the ’99 Mustang’s styling make-over with sharper body lines, more pronounced fender flares, and wrap-around headlights/parking lights. Ford called it “New Edge,” and it gave the Mustang a new look as the old Fox platform entered its 20th year of production.
Thirty-five Years Young
By 1999, Ford was keenly aware of the Mustang’s iconic status and commemorated the model’s 35th anniversary with a special limited edition GT offered in Performance Red, black, silver, and white. As the hero card stated, “Thirty-five years young, and still leading the herd!”
After successful runs with ’93 and ’95 models, SVT saved the best R for last with the ’00 Cobra R. This time, the R-model got its own engine, a 5.4-liter DOHC tweaked to 385 horsepower, making it the fastest R of all. Side exhaust and a unique rear wing provided the ’00 Cobra R with its “boy racer” look.
Art of the Mustang
Perhaps no other chief engineer did more for the Mustang than Art Hyde. During his time at Team Mustang, Hyde was involved with the creation of the ’01 Bullitt and ’03-’04 Mach 1 while overseeing the development of the next-generation S197 Mustang at the same time. A true “car guy,” Hyde gave back to the Mustang community by serving on the Mustang Club of America’s board of directors. He was later inducted into the MCA’s Mustang Hall of Fame.
Return of Bullitt
Playing off the continuing popularity of Steve McQueen’s 1968 movie “Bullitt” and its starring ’68 Mustang fastback, Team Mustang developed a Bullitt GT special edition for the ’01 model year and brought in McQueen’s son, Chad, for the promotional photos on the hills of San Francisco. Although offered in three colors, most were painted Highland Green like McQueen’s movie fastback.
SVT closed out the Fox-body generation with the best Cobra yet. Nicknamed “The Terminator,” the ’03-’04 Cobra added supercharging to the 4.6-liter DOHC powerplant for 390 horsepower, once again a high-water mark for a production Mustang.
Shaker, Rattle, and Roll
Like the ’01 Bullitt, Team Mustang once again looked to the past to create its latest special edition as the Fox-body era came to a close. Realizing that the Shaker hood scoop from ’69-’70 had been one of the Mustang’s most iconic options, Team Mustang’s customization engineer Scott Hoag adapted a functional reproduction of the original scoop to the naturally-aspirated 4.6-liter DOHC, which gave credence to the new model’s old name—Mach 1.
A new Mystichrome Appearance Package made news for the ’04 Cobra. Using DuPont’s color-shifting paint, the Mystichrome Cobra was green from one angle, blue from another, or a purplish mixture of both. The new paint technology even found its way to the seats.
Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s 40
Ford commemorated four decades of Mustang with a 40th Anniversary special edition for ’04. Gold stripes on three different colors, including a unique Crimson Red, set it apart from other Mustang GTs.
Ford closed out two chapters of Mustang history when the final ’04 rolled off of the Dearborn assembly line on May 10, 2004. Since 1964, Mustangs had been built in the old Dearborn Assembly Plant, but the venerable old facility was scheduled for renovation to build F-series trucks, with Mustang production moving to the modern AutoAlliance Assembly Plant (now simply called the Flat Rock Assembly Plant) in nearby Flat Rock, Michigan.
With Coletti in charge, SVT continued to take the Cobra to new levels of performance. Horsepower for the New Edge ’99 Cobra increased from 305 to 320, but the real boost came from the new independent rear suspension, a first for Mustang and something to quiet the auto magazine writers who had been criticizing the Mustang’s solid rear axle for years. The IRS not only provided better handling, it gave the Cobra a smoother, less jittery ride, once again setting a new standard for a performance Mustang.