March 1, 2004

While the upcoming '05 Mustang retains many of the original Mustang's styling cues-like the long hood, short rear deck, and sculptured sides-the two cars are separated about as far as the earth and moon. Technology has advanced tremendously over the past 40 years, with carburetion giving way to multiport electronic fuel injection, points and condenser ignition replaced by coil-on-plug, and manual drum brakes ditched in favor of four-wheel power discs. As a result, today's modern Mustang is faster, safer, more fuel efficient, and more comfortable; plus it's loaded with equipment, like a CD changer and mix-and-match instrument cluster lighting, that was never even dreamed about 40 years ago. Yet the Mustang still retains its image as a sporty, fun vehicle.

  ’641¼2 ’05 {{{GT}}}
Displacement 260ci V-8 4.6L V-8
Compression ratio 8.8:1 9.8:1
Cylinder heads Inline 2-valve Windsor 3-valve SOHC
Induction 2V carburetor Multiport fuel injection
Intake manifold Cast-iron Composite w/charge motion control valves
Ignition Distributor w/coil Coil-on-plug
Exhaust Cast-iron manifold w/ Tubular headers w/dual
single muffler mufflers
Crankcase capacity 5 qt 6 qt
Horsepower {{{164}}} (net) @ 4,000 rpm {{{300}}} @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft (net) @ 2,{{{200}}} rpm 315 lb-ft @ 4,500
Manual 3-speed or 4-speed 5-speed Tremec
Automatic C4 3-speed 5R55S 5-speed
Type Unibody Modified DEW
Steering Manual recirculating ball Power rack & pinion
Steering ratio 16:1 15.7:1
Front suspension A-arm with shocks McPherson strut
Rear suspension Solid axle with leaf springs Solid axle with coil springs
Rear axle 8-inch 8.8-inch
Rear-axle ratio 3.00:1 3.55:1 (manual)
  3.31:1 (auto)
Front 10-in drum Disc w/12.4-in rotor
Rear 10-in drum Disc w/11.8-in rotor
Wheelbase 108 in 107.1 in
Track, front 56 in 62.3 in
Track, rear 56 in 62.5 in
Overall length 181.6 in 187.6 in
Overall width 68.2 in 73.9 in
Overall height 51.1 in 54.5 in
Weight 3,150 lbs 3,450 lbs (manual)

The 50-year-old Corvette may have dibs as America's sports car, but we'll lay claim to the Mustang as America's fun car. For the past 40 years, ever since legions of buyers stormed Ford dealer showrooms at the Mustang's unveiling on April 17, 1964, the Mustang has been a source of fun and frivolity. Just throw the top back and stomp into the V-8's throttle. And there's room for the kids and luggage.

In early April 1964, some two weeks before the Mustang's official introduction day, Captain Stanley Tucker managed to convince a salesman at George Parsons Ford in St. Johns, Newfoundland, to sell him the white Mustang convertible on the showroom floor. Neither Tucker nor the salesman realized, or maybe understood, the Mustang carried serial number 5F08F100001, meaning it held significant historical value to Ford as the first production Mustang. Ford managed to get the car back two years later, after some wrangling with Tucker, and tucked it away at the Henry Ford Museum for the next 18 years, when it finally went on display. In early 2003, volunteers at the museum, now called The Henry Ford, refurbished the car to running condition for the Ford 100th anniversary.

Like the first production Mustang, the new '05 Mustang was designed for fun. With a new 300hp engine, the GT comes with the most power ever for a mainstream Mustang. And when the convertible debuts next year, the top-down fun will be back as well.

From driving excitement to restoration enjoyment to show-winning joy, the Mustang has given us 40 years of fun. And may we have many more.