Jim Smart
September 1, 2002
Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

The Inner WorldAt first glance, the '99 Mustang's interior differed little from 1994-'98. Most apparent was the absence of the dash "wart" with the digital clock mid-dash. The digital clock took up a new residence within the AM/FM stereo unit. A big plus was the 1-inch longer seat track, giving us more leg room in front. Not good news for those in the back seat. A new, optional six-way power driver's seat improved driving comfort. Of course, new fabric, sew patterns, and heavier seat back foam. Ford moved the front seat-belt attachment buckles to the seats themselves for ease of use and comfort.

An All-New SVT CobraThe '99 Mustang SVT Cobra didn't debut until midyear, reaching dealers in the spring. Without a doubt, the '99 Mustang Cobra was a significant step beyond the Cobra Ford introduced in 1996 with 4.6L DOHC V-8 power. The most significant change wasn't so much the updated engine, but fully independent suspension. It was a quantum leap in Mustang suspension technology. For road racers and canyon blasters, the independent suspension was a blessing. For drag racers, the IRS was a curse because axle shafts were vulnerable to failure in drag racing conditions.

The SVT Cobra has been something of an image car for Ford Motor Company. Despite the wide availability of tuner aftermarket Mustangs out there, the SVT Cobra has always been the most respected factory performance Mustang. Respected because the Cobra has always been a conservative ride on the surface. No big fiberglass appointments and graphics. Call it a tasteful factory musclecar that doesn't need to brag. It was a stealthy Dearborn street stormer. Today, it remains a highly respected factory ride that only gets more powerful with time. Call it a very aggressive factory Mustang.

Virtual SamenessThe Mustang hasn't changed much since Ford introduced the redesigned steed for 1999. Aside from color changes, and minor changes in options and standard equipment, the '99-'02 Mustang is a virtual repeat year after year. The SVT Cobra has experienced positive changes in power output, with a supercharging coming for 2003. In fact, it is expected to be a 12-second quarter-mile pocket rocket. We have enjoyed the exciting introduction of the '01 Bullitt edition Mustang. Soon-the '03 Mustang Mach 1. Without any doubt, Team Mustang continues to press ahead with exciting ideas for new car buyers. As they materialize, you will read about them in Mustang Monthly.

Inquiring minds want to know what's coming from Dearborn in 2004-2005. Although it has been widely rumored an all-new Mustang is coming for model year 2004, word is the redesign may get pushed off to 2005, which would still make it a 40th anniversary special. Stay tuned.

She's GoneThe last thing he ever wanted to do was upset her. She was once his pride and joy, light of his life. But somehow with all the things that had gone on in the intervening years they'd lost touch. That visceral feeling of power and strength he'd felt with her was now a memory-faded and stained. In fact she was now just a shell of her former self, a cracked and faded cask that needed something he could not muster up to provide.

When the call came he knew that the jig was up. "They" had spied her and now it was only a matter of time before the government stepped in and took her from him. He looked at her lying there and choked up. She was his baby.

Funny how serendipity works, this fellow had been bugging him about her. For some reason he'd taken it upon himself to rescue her and finally, the owner just couldn't say no any longer. Mostly because "They" were out there waiting like wolves. There had been others but this time he knew he should let her go. He hoped that she'd somehow forgive him, see that he was not just throwing her away but was in fact giving her a new life, a fresh start.

At that moment the truck pulled up with the car carrier. As he looked out he knew it was the right choice.