Jim Smart
April 1, 2000
Contributers: Jeff Ford Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

In April 1965 Ford introduced a package that had the potential to change the face of the Mustang from that of a well-mannered saddle horse to one of bucking fury with beastly attitude. That package was the GT, or Grand Touring. This Grand Touring package was one that gave the driver a better-handling, better-performing car in one neat package. Prior to April, the buyer could have gotten the stuff, but it was scattered in an options list the size of Texas. Now it was easy to go to the dealer and ask for a filly equipped with the rock-n-roll 4V 289 or-if you dared-the 4V 289 High Performance V-8. This began a legend that has prospered and grown into almost mythical proportions. The GTs-especially the early ones-have gained a place most cars packing a small displacement V-8 only dream about. Why?

There is a mystique about these cars that seems to transcend big power and sports car handling. The early GTs were no great shakes at the drags. Sad but true. In 1965 Car Life reported a hardtop powered by the 225 Challenger V-8 as clocking a sleepy 16.80 with a C4. Admittedly, these guys were not hot shoes at the drags because the car should be faster...or should it? Even the 271hp 289 managed to pull only a 15.90 at the drags under the tutelage of the guys at Motor Trend. Still, these cars command some of the best prices and most "oohs" and "aahs" from the Mustang faithful.

The hottest engine you could get in 1965 or 1966-the 289 Hi-Po.

The respect is such that in 1982 Ford revived the GT moniker and slapped it on the 164hp 2V 5.0 V-8 Mustang, and even mixed its metaphors by saying "The Boss is back."

What follows is a short list of the major components and items that seem to buzz the hobby about these cars. We also took the liberty of giving you a crash course in the GT package year by year.

'65 GT Package
Body: Side tape stripe, special GT badging on the fenders, chrome exhaust trumpets, and foglights mounted in the grille.

Interior: Standard interior with special five-dial cluster, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 289 4V (standard), 289 4V High Performance (optional).

Transmission: three-speed (standard on the 4V), four-speed (standard on the Hi-Po), or C4 automatic.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, front disc brakes, and 16:1 steering gear) and wheel covers with spinners (standard).

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential except for the 289 Hi-Po, which carried the 9-inch.

Quick Facts: It has been rumored that some export GTs with the 289 High Performance received the C4 automatic. Another interesting fact is that the 289 Hi-Po was not available with air conditioning.

All the options that could be had on the regular-production Mustang were available on the GT. Color choices also were limited only by the buyer's budget and whim. The only limiting factor for GT buyers was the stripe package, which was available in black, white, blue, and red.

'66 GT PackageBody: Side tape stripe, special GT badging on the fenders, chrome exhaust trumpets, foglights mounted in the grille, and special GT gas cap.

Interior: Standard interior, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 289 4V (standard), 289 4V High Performance.

Transmission: three-speed (standard on 4V), four-speed (standard on Hi-Po), or C4 automatic.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, front disc brakes, and 16:1 steering gear) and standard wheel covers with spinners.

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential except for the 289 Hi-Po, which carried the 9-inch.

Quick Facts: The 289 Hi-Po-powered GT was now available in the United States with the C4 automatic. Though there are no firm numbers to support the actual production of this combination, there weren't many built since most buyers went for the four-speed.

The Deluxe interior option was available on both the '65 and '66 GT.

All the options that could be had on the regular-production Mustang were available on the GT. Color choices also were limited only by the buyer's budget and whim. The only limiting factor for GT buyers was the stripe package, which was available in black, white, blue, and red.

'67 GT Package
Body: Side tape stripe, special GT badging (GTA on automatics) on the fenders, chrome quad exhaust tips on 4V cars, foglights mounted in the grille, and special pop-open GT gas cap.

Interior: Standard interior, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 289 2V (standard), 289 4V, 289 4V High Performance, 390 4V.

Transmission: three-speed (standard), four-speed (standard on the Hi-Po) or C4 automatic (small-block), C6 automatic (big-block).

The GT interior could be as plain as any standard model or as nice as this Deluxe model with the Deluxe wheel.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, power front disc brakes, and 16:1 steering gear) and standard wheel covers.

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential accept for the 289 Hi-Po and 390 4V, which carried the 9-inch.

Quick Facts: Many folks assume that GT means 4V, but this is not true. For the first time, the GT was available with a 2V carbureted 289 in 1967.

With the advent of the 390, the sales of the 289 High Performance fell off sharply. In total production, there were 489 289 Hi-Pos built, compared to 29,457 390 GTs and GTAs.

The GT continued to share the options list for the standard Mustang. Reflective tape stripes were made available for the first time in 1967. Available colors were red, white, and blue. The other standard colors remained from the previous year.

The 289 Hi-Po was seeing its last days in 1967. The 302 would be replacing it for 1968.

'68 GT PackageBody: Side tape stripe (commonly referred to as a "C" stripe), special GT badging on the fenders, chrome quad exhaust tips on 4V cars, foglights mounted in the grille, and special pop-open GT gas cap.

Interior: Standard interior, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 302 2V (standard), 302 4V, 390 2V, 390 4V, and 428 Cobra Jet (April 1, 1968). Chrome engine components on the 390 and 428 were valve covers, air cleaner lid, dipstick handle, and master cylinder cover.

Transmission: three-speed (standard), four-speed (standard on the 428 Cobra Jet) or C4 automatic (small-block), C6 automatic (big-block).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front, and 16:1 steering gear) and 12-slot Styled Steel wheels. The 390 4V and 428 Cobra Jet required front disc brakes as a mandatory option.

Rear Gear: 3.00, 3.25, 3.50. Note that all engines were backed with an 8-inch differential except for the 390 4V and 428, which carried the 9-inch. Available in conventional and limited-slip.

Quick Facts: Just as in 1967, the GT was available with a 2V carb on the 302. The 289, however, was not an option.

When you ordered the 428 CJ you got ram air-a first in the regular-production Mustang.

Gone were the disc brakes but, hey, you got spiffy wheels in place of them as standard items.

Fastback styling lost nothing in the transition from 1966 to 1967.

Standard stripe colors remained from the previous year but Ford added gold. The reflective group was back for 1968 and included the stripes and wheels that reflected as well. This was probably not a real popular option with the street racers or moonshine runners.

'69 GT Package
Body: Side tape stripe (once again on the rocker like the original), special GT badging on the standard Styled Steel wheels, chrome quad exhaust tips on 4V cars, foglights mounted in the grille, and special pop-open GT gas cap.

Interior: Standard interior, Deluxe interior (optional).

Engine: 351 2V (standard), 351 4V, 390 4V, and 428 Cobra Jet. Chrome engine components on the 390 and 428 were valve covers, air cleaner lid, and dipstick handle. Midyear 428s received finned aluminum valve covers.

Transmission: Three-speed (standard), four-speed (small-block or big-block) or C4 automatic (small-block), C6 automatic (big-block).

The top engine for 1967 was the 390 4V. Although it lacked the desired power, it sold quite well.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, 71/48-inch sway bar up front), 12-slot Styled Steel wheels. The 390 4V and 428 Cobra Jet required front disc brakes as a mandatory option.

Rear Gear: 2.75, 3.00, 3.25, 3.50 3.91, and 4.30. Note that all engines were backed with a 9-inch differential. Available in conventional and the new-for-'69 Traction-Lok differential.

Quick Facts: Just as in the previous two years, the GT was available with a 2V carb on the base engine, though now that engine was a 351.

Disc brakes were still an option-and a mandatory one on the 390 and 428. The spiffy wheels were still around and you also received hood click pins.

When you ordered the 428 CJ, you would get the new shaker ram air-once again an industry first and a first in the regular-production Mustang. The ram-air 428 also came with the blacked-out hood when ordered.

Standard stripe colors remained from the previous year, but Ford deleted the reflective group. For a time, this was to be the last GT. Ford didn't seem to want or need it around to sell high performance, what with the Boss cars, Mach 1s, and Shelbys. It was obvious how Ford felt, too. Barely one third of the third to the last page in the sales brochure was taken up with GT stuff. Compare that to the '68 brochure, which packed a lot of info into a full page and eight photos.

'82 GT Package
Body Style: Hatchback

Body: Foglamps (in the bumper), rear spoiler, nonfunctional hoodscoop, chrome dual-tip single exhaust that exited on the driver side. The GT was available only in Medium Red, Red, Black, and Silver.

Interior: Standard interior available only in red or black with blacked-out gauge panel. Optional Recaro bucket seats. Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: 2V 5.0 H.O. V-8

Transmission: Four-speed (standard)

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger sway bar up front as well as a rear sway bar), TRX 390mm wheels that used special Michelin 190/65R 390TRX tires.

Rear Gear: 3.08. All engines were backed with a 7.5-inch differential. Available in conventional (standard) and Traction-Lok differential.

The big news was the April 1st introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet.

Quick Facts: In 1982 the GT was back in force. Now the car sported the optional 5.0 H.O., and had 157 horses beating on the hood. With this entry, Ford showed a marked commitment to performance, and generated the excitement necessary to catapult the Mustang into a new performance era.

Ford also attacked the market with a mixed metaphor in the "Boss is back" campaign. Of course, the 1982 version of the Boss is a GT and, at least in '82 trim, couldn't catch a Boss 302 in anything but a handling battle. Many of the old-line Mustang faithful pooh-poohed this and shook their heads collectively at Ford's idea of a Boss. However, things were destined to change in the coming years.

'83 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

Body: Foglamps (in bumper), rear spoiler (except on convertible), nonfunctional hoodscoop, chrome dual-tip single exhaust that exited on the driver side, blackout applied to the hood over the scoop, GT badging in the blackout, and GT badging in the body side moldings and on the decklid. The GT was available only in Medium Red, Bright Red, Black, Silver, Polar White, and Medium Charcoal.

Interior: Standard interior available in black or red with blacked-out gauge panel. Optional Ford Sport seats that would, in one version or another, stay with the GT until 1993. Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: 4V 5.0 H.O. V-8, 2.3 Turbo inline four.

Transmission: four-speed, five-speed as of December 1982.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, large 1.125-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.79-inch rear sway bar), TRX 390mm wheels that used special Michelin 190/65R 390TRX tires.

Rear Gear: 3.08. All engines were backed with a 7.5-inch differential. Traction-Lok differential standard.

Though Ford was about to do away with the GT, the Mustang still had "the look," especially when dressed out in convertible form.

Quick Facts: The '83 GT was simply-in some respects-an updated and refinement of the GT in 1982. Ford incorporated its Boss moniker in the '83 sales brochure and gave the GT two pages of the booklet. Ford also slapped on a 4V Holley carburetor for the first time in 12 years. This and some exhaust refinements brought the numbers up to 175 base horsepower.

The T5 five-speed became available in December 1982, and Ford ditched the SROD (single rail overdrive) four-speed-finally! Power and therefore performance began to climb with the advent of the four-barrel carb. Although the GT couldn't whip up on the legends yet, it was well on its way.

Ford hung on to the TRX suspension with a death grip. Although it was a good idea, the recommended TRX tires were expensive and available only from Michelin. Folks grumbled about the cost and the idea of being forced to buy a specific tire.

'84 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

Body: Foglamps (in bumper), rear spoilers (except on convertible, and slightly revised from the '83), chrome dual-tip single exhaust that exited on the driver side. Blackout applied to the hood, GT badging in the blackout. GT badging in the body side moldings and on the decklid. Available only in Medium Red, Bright Red, Black, Silver, Oxford White, and Medium Charcoal. New colors for the '83 were Medium Canyon Red Glow, Light Desert Tan, and Copper Glow.

Interior: Standard interior available in black, red, or tan with blacked-out gauge panel. Optional Ford Sport seats that would, in one version or another, stay with the GT until 1993. Split rear fold-down seat became standard. Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: 4V 5.0 H.O. V-8, 2.3 Turbo inline four.

The GT got all the goodies that the Mach 1 carried, but in a more subtle style-even the 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air was available.

Transmission: Five-speed (short throw shifter), Automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger sway bar up front as well as a rear sway bar-see the '83) and TRX 390mm wheels that used special Michelin 190/65R 390TRX tires.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard), 3.08 (optional), 3.27 on AOD-equipped cars. All engines were still backed with a 7.5-inch differential. This began to show its weakness as power was applied.

Quick Facts: The '84 was quickly moving into the modern GT that we know today. In some respects, though, it seems that Ford was taking a breather just before the introduction of the main event. Most of the things that go to make the '84 GT were refinements of the two previous years.

The biggest addition was the automatic overdrive that was loosely based on the C6. This slush box would become the only available automatic in the Mustang from this year to 1994 when the 4R70W became available.

The thing we noticed that was rather cool was the 3.27 Traction-Lok that you could order behind the five-speed. Interestingly, this configuration went on hiatus after 1984 and was not seen again until the '99 model.

'85 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

New things were afoot for the Mustang in 1982.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper), rear spoiler (except on convertible), stainless steel dual exhaust (well, not really-it was dualed after the catalytic converter). Blackout applied to the hood, GT badging in the blackout. GT badging in the body side moldings and on the decklid. Available only in Medium Red, Bright Red, Black, Silver, Oxford White, and Medium Charcoal. Light Regatta Blue was a new color.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Colors were gray or beige with red piping, while red with gray piping became available in late 1985.Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: 4V 5.0 H.O. V-8, CFI 5.0 H.O. V-8 (AOD only, 180 hp).

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), 10-hole 15x7-inch wheel.

Rear Gear: 3.08, 3.27 on AOD-equipped cars. All engines were backed with a 7.5-inch differential.

Back to a double spread in the brochure, Ford seemed to be more committed to the GT than when it left off in 1969.

Quick Facts: All the previous years were warm-ups to the '85. The car now sported a roller cam (a first) and headers (also a first). There were now 210 ponies under the hood, and for the first time, those faithful to the original cars were getting worried. In its April '85 issue, Mustang Monthly tested the five-speed 4V 5.0. It was pitted against the best small-blocks Ford had built in the heyday-the Boss 302 and a 289 Hi-Po-powered fastback. The times were stunningly close. The '85 posted a strong 15.62 compared to the '66 Hi-Po at 15.49 and the Boss 302 at 15.33.

Even so, this car was for many the true beginning of the performance revolution of the '90s. The '85 marks the turning point in true GT power as well as the beginning of a range war between the vintage Mustang performance cars and the late-models. It also sparked the battle between Chevrolet and Ford again. The Z28 and the Mustang GT were suddenly back at each other's throats.

'86 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

Back with a passion. The convertible returns after a 10-year hiatus.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper), rear spoiler (except on convertible), dual exhaust with stainless steel tips (finally!). Blackout applied to the hood, GT badging in the blackout and in the body side molding. Available only in Medium Red, Bright Red, Black, Silver, Oxford White, Medium Charcoal, and Light Regatta Blue. Third brake light was added to the car.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Colors were gray or beige with red piping, and red with gray piping. Politically correct 85-mph speedo.

Engine: SEFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), 10-hole 15x7-inch wheel.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 3.27 on AOD-equipped cars. All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch differential.

On the cover of the brochure, the GT gets some respect-and a 4V carb.

Quick Facts: The '86 GT lost some ground to the Camaro and some respect when the EFI and the high-swirl heads cost the car 10 hp. Now back down to 200, Mustang Monthly couldn't wait to take a whack at the new horse again. But the new pony rose to the occasion and whipped Carroll Shelby's GT350 convertible three runs to zero, and almost squeaked by the Boss 302 with a best of 15.05. Times they were a-changing.

The biggest news was the electronic fuel injection. Ford had stepped into the new technology and was moving forward. After the '86 model, it would never look back. The '87 would have a new body style and a new 225hp engine that would be the meat and potatoes for the next six years.

'87-'88 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

The GT convertible proved to be an attractive car for many.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique rear spoiler (except on convertible), side skirts with GT badging, unique taillights and rear bumper cover, dual exhaust with turn-downs behind the bumper. Available only in Black, Silver, Oxford White, Medium Charcoal, Light Gray, Scarlet Red, Medium Cabernet Red, Medium Shadow Blue Metallic, and Dark Shadow Blue Metallic. The last two colors are possibly the longest names in the Ford color chart. Lower titanium paint was available and added a titanium finish to the flanks of the GT from the beltline on down. The third brake light is still-and will be 'til Mustangs are built no more-on the car.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Available colors were red and gray. Also now available in gray or white leather as of 1987. Still politically correct with 85-mph speedo.

Engine: EFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), turbine 15x7-inch wheel.

The '86 GT changed little outwardly from the '85 model.

Rear Gear: The '87 had 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 2.73 standard on AOD-equipped cars, and 3.08 (optional on AOD-equipped cars). The '88 had 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 2.73 standard on AOD-equipped cars, and 3.27 (optional on AOD-equipped cars). All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch differential.

Quick Facts: The new-for-'87 GT was a definite departure from the previous years, but the car was basically the same. Most of the underpinnings were still the tried-and-true Fox chassis items.

The SEFI that Ford started with-the speed density system-was now showing its limitations on the racetrack and the street as the GT came into its own as a powerhouse. The '88 model year would be the last one before Ford switched over to the mass airflow air delivery system. Mass air was available only in California in 1988.

By the '87-'88 model year, the GT and 5.0 were coming into their own. The market showed this, and parts became more prevalent. The GT was almost there.

'89-'93 GT Package
Body Styles: Hatchback, convertible

The head that would hurt the heart. Ford thought it was a better idea. It wasn't.

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique rear spoiler (except on convertible) side skirts with GT badging, unique taillights and rear bumper cover, dual exhaust with turn-downs behind the bumper. Available only in Black, Silver, Oxford White, Medium Charcoal, Light Gray, Bright Red, Medium Cabernet Red, Medium Shadow Blue Metallic, and Dark Shadow Blue Metallic. Lower titanium paint was available, and added a titanium finish to the flanks of the GT from the beltline on down.

Interior: Standard Ford Sport seats. Available colors were red and gray. In 1990 Ford added black to the list and briefly removed the center armrest from all the Mustangs. Gray and white leather seats were still optional and Ford added black to its leather list in 1990. In 1990 the first Mustang to pack a 140-mph speedo in quite a while was seen.

Engine: SEFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

All 5.0s were now injected. A mere shade of things to come.

Transmission: Five-speed, automatic overdrive (AOD).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), turbine 15x7-inch wheel up to 1991. Ford then switched to the star-pattern 16x7 aluminum wheel.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 2.73 standard on AOD-equipped cars, 3.27 (optional on AOD-equipped cars). All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch Traction-Lok differential.

Quick Facts: Let's face the facts. The GT was basically the same from 1989 to 1993. With that being said, it was still drawing a cult following that saw a burgeoning marketplace for parts to make it faster than stink and handle better than any 10-year-old chassis had a right to. During this time, the Mustang with its 5.0 H.O. had become a classic-not because of its looks, but because of its potential.

But by the end of 1993 it was over as far as new car sales were concerned. Why buy a brand-new GT when you could get essentially the same car that was a couple years older (read: cheaper), and had all the same parts and the same 225 horse engine? Apparently, a lot of buyers thought the same thing and sales in the last year of the Fox chassis were dismal on the whole at 98,640 units. GT sales were sliding as well. As they say, "Out with the old, in with the new.

The entire picture changed in 1987 when Ford gave us ground effects and special taillights.

'94-'95 GT Package
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique pedestal-mount rear spoiler and GT badging, and dual exhaust with polished stainless exhaust tips. Once again-like the original-the car was available in the full Mustang color line.

Interior: New Ford Sport seats. Available colors were tan, black, and gray. Leather continued to be an upscale order item for the Mustang, but color choices were trimmed back to tan and black.

Engine: SEFI 5.0 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, new electronically controlled automatic over-drive (AODE).

The interior was all new for 1987 as well, though it would look practically the same from here on out. Note the 85-mph speedo.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), 16x7-inch soft star wheel or optional 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 2.73 standard on AODE-equipped cars, 3.27 (optional on AOD-equipped cars). All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch Traction-Lok differential.

Quick Facts: The '94-'95 GTs were something of a disappointment to the performance-buying public. Ford had delivered a product that looked good, but its performance was off due to a squished intake. To the average Joe on the streets, this was an unwelcome step backward to 215 horses-especially since buyers were hungry for the 5.0 to go to at least 230. Of course, Ford had some tricks left in the bag that would be unveiled in 1996. But that did little to slake the thirst of the power-hungry 5.0 owner.

One advantage to the new SN-95 chassis was the new stiffer convertible. The car no longer felt as though it was going to come apart at the A-pillar. Instead, it felt tight-giving the driver added confidence. One disadvantage was the added weight that the stiffer chassis brought with it. Couple that with the lower performance figures and the car was now slower than its older siblings.

The '90 GT convertible resembles the '87 convertible, with the exception of the short headrest.

'96-'98 GT Package
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique pedestal mount rear spoiler and GT badging, dual exhaust with polished stainless exhaust tips. These model years were available in the full Mustang color line.

Interior: Ford Sport seats. Available colors were tan, black, and gray. Leather continued to be an upscale order item for the Mustang. Color choices were tan and black.

Engine: SEFI 4.6 H.O. V-8.

The place where the revolution started.

Transmission: Five-speed, wide-ratio automatic overdrive (4R70W).

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 1.3-inch sway bar up front as well as a 0.83-inch rear sway bar), 16x7-inch soft star wheel or optional 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.

Rear Gear: 2.73 (standard on five-speed), 3.08 (optional on five-speed), 2.73 standard on 4R70W-equipped cars, 3.27 (optional on 4R70W- equipped cars). All engines were backed with an 8.8-inch Traction-Lok differential.

Quick Facts: The jury is still out on the 4.6 but Ford has to always look to the future. The 4.6, or a derivative of it, is just that. The midyears are some of the best for the GT-4.6 or not.

Oh, look, new wheels. This also brought out new front fenders-not that you could tell.

Unlike those of us who are rabid performance fanatics, most buyers didn't (and don't) care about the lack of tunablility, or that the 4.6 is not what the 5.0 was. They liked the added boost of the V-8 and were little concerned with the facts as the performance faithful saw them. So we guess that it falls back to the GT mystique again.

"Soft" is the most often heard phrase surrounding the '96-'98 GTs performance. Sales started to soften up as well. Obviously, Ford knew that the '96-'98 body style was getting tired and that it would have to do something. Better things were on the way, and in 1999 Ford would pump up the volume with a revised 4.6.

'99-2000 GT Package
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible

Body: Foglamps (in bumper/air dam), unique pedestal mount rear spoiler, and GT badging, dual exhaust with polished stainless exhaust tips. Once again-like the original car-these model years were available in the full Mustang color line.

New styling shot sales well beyond the 100,000 mark in 1994.

Interior: New Ford Sport seats. Available colors were tan, black, and gray. Leather continued to be an upscale order item for the Mustang. Color choices were tan and black.

Engine: SEFI 4.6 H.O. V-8.

Transmission: Five-speed, wide-ratio automatic overdrive 4R70W.

Chassis: Special handling package (heavy-duty springs and shocks, larger 28mm tubular sway bar up front as well as a 23mm solid rear sway bar), 16x7-inch soft star wheel or optional 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.

The new chassis brought better handling and Ford latched onto the heritage in a big way.

Rear Gear: 3.27 gear on everything. All engines are backed with an 8.8-inch Traction-Lok differential.

Quick Facts: With more power on tap-the most power of any of the late-model offerings-the GT is now poised to be the world beater that it should be. The 240 rear-wheel horses and tons of torque make the GT pull like a big-block, yet it is more frugal than any big-block Ford ever developed.

The New Edge styling is something that certain enthusiasts are not partial to, but the average buying public is not so jaded. Sales on the '99 seem to be ready to edge out the '98 model.

Rumor has it that Ford cut production of the GT by 18 percent to make room for more SUV sales. If this is true, then the '99 GT could be rare due to Ford's cuts.

Styling changes for 1996 were minimal, though the base GT wheel was now the 16-inch aluminum wheels shown on the cover of the brochure.

Fast Facts1996-1998 GT Package
Fastest GT: The '6811/42 428 Cobra Jet 13.56 at 106.6 mph

Slowest: The '65 289 4V with C4 automatic 16.80 at 86 mph

Best Vintage GT: The '65 fastback with the 289 Hi-Po and four-speed. Christmas is how far away again?

Best Late-Model GT: The '99 Anniversary convertible in Red. Christmas is how far away again?

Although popular, the 5.0 bid adieu at the end of 1995. Now the 4.6 modular V-8 powers the GT.

Worst Vintage GT: The '69-not because the car was bad, but because Ford did little to promote it above the rest.

Worst Late-Model: '94-'95. This is mostly due to the fact that the GT was actually worse off power-wise than the Fox-platform years.

GT Mystique!
Best Styling: The '65 GT convertible. Thousands of our readers can't be wrong, right?
Worst Styling: Many of you said the '99 GT. We aren't getting into that one.

GT Mystique!1996-1998 GT Package
Best Idle: The '65 GT 289 Hi-Po with trumpet exhaust.
Worst Idle: The '82 GT with the stock mufflers and tailpipes. Yawn...

The '99 GT is distinctive due to the 35th Anniversary badging that replaced the GT on its flanks.

Best Bang for the Buck: The '69 351 4V SportsRoof GT. The average person's response to the statement of its existence: "They made one of those?"
Worst Bang for the Buck: The '68 GT 428 convertible. Not many of them, and many people know what they are, and how much they are worth.

Coolest Option: Shaker. Right foot down, slight shake, tilt of the scoop through the hood, and the sound of the flapper slapping open-too cool. Why? Dunno. Why do you like blondes or brunettes-or redheads for that matter?

Finis?
1996-1998 GT Package
The GT continues to this day to be the bucking bronco it was. The big difference is that it is more powerful and better at its job. The '99 we tested had 240 ponies at the rear wheels-a bunch more than the GT of yore ever produced right out of the box.

2000 GTs are a bit easier to distinguish due to the GT badging being returned after 1999.

Truly, the GT has learned from the successes and failures of its forefathers. We can only hope that the powers that be in Ford keep the GT and its V-8 motivation alive.

Even though a 4.6 powers it and computers modeled it, the GT has the heart and soul that we all love-that of a Mustang.

Even with all the flash and splash that the 2000 GT can provide, there is something magical about the original. We guess this is because it is the original, and just like the original Coke, there is no substitute for the feelings it provokes, and the joy it brings to its fans.