Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsNews & Views
My Take On Technology - Power Shiftin'
I'm old enough to have experienced carburetors, drum front brakes, and manual steering on my daily driver. While I don't miss any of that stuff, driving cars with antiquated equipment allowed me to greatly appreciate technology in today's vehicle components.
You have to turn the clock back pretty far to find "manual" anything (save for a transmission) on a new car, or even for systems that are not electronically controlled. Even the first Fox-body Mustangs came with power steering and power disc front brakes, and it's virtually impossible to find a new car with roll-up windows.
While antiquated, those basic vehicle systems were easy to work on and inexpensive to replace. Frankly, I prefer the improved driveability that we enjoy on modern cars and trucks. I don't miss sitting in cold weather, pumping the throttle, hoping your car would start—and then sitting there shivering while keeping the throttle cracked to get the engine warm enough so it wouldn't stall. I lived that scene many times—it's a long way from hitting a remote-start button and watching your windshield deforest from your living room.
Electronic fuel injection has made our lives easier—it's made our cars faster, too. Yes, carburetors still work and I'm glad I experienced the days of carburetors on the street, but I revel in the beauty of EFI. You just can't beat the driveability. But, like anything, some would argue that fact.
New cars are anything but simple and this is intimidating if you are new to the hobby or just like to use a screwdriver and some sockets. It's also more expensive to modify a new car.
On the plus side, today's cars are safer, more efficient, they handle better, and they are way more reliable. Engines last twice as long, if not longer than they used to. When I first started driving, it was customary to dump a car before it reached 100,000 miles. That mark was like a curse. Forget about modifying one, you'd never even buy a car once the odometer rolled over. Now, it's no big deal to get a Mustang with 125,000 on the clock and toss on a blower.
But it goes beyond the engine. EFI was once the most exotic thing on a new Mustang, now electronic systems control so much more. Electronic driver assists can be found in traction control, stability control, launch control, ABS braking, not to mention navigation, seat belts, airbags, transmissions, tire pressures, and so on.
Each new model brings more electronics and the 2015 Mustang will feature creature comforts, not to mention the upgrade in overall performance. Ford's goal is for the base GT to outperform the 2014 Boss 302, and that is a lofty goal. The 2014 Boss can scoot around a road course with race-car-like precision and darn near run 11s stock. If a GT can beat that, imagine one with a few mods!
On top of that, we hear rumors of SVT working on something special, and it's quite likely the Shelby GT350. We're banking on a sick 5.2L Coyote with a flat-plane crankshaft, revised heads, cams, and intake, that will be capable of over 520 naturally aspirated horsepower!
Its looks are said to be outrageous and we'd expect nothing less from the engineering group who most recently brought us the 662hp GT500 and the amazing Raptor. And with Ford announcing a 700-lb reduction in weight to the F-150, rumors are flying about a Lightning, but don't count on it. Clearly, by calling the next Shelby the GT350, Ford is leaving the door open for a Shelby GT500 and hope it's mind-blowing with compound boost or something equally as wild. EJS