Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
May 11, 2015

Enthusiasts world wide have been excited about the 6th Generation Mustang. Ford delivered the goods with a solid-performing base model, a 310-horse EcoBoost Stang and a 435 hp Mustang GT. And soon the top-shelf 500-plus hp Shelby GT350 will hit the street and track. The Mustang always evolves—but it also relies on its heritage—so for 2016, Ford announced it will bring back the iconic California Special Package and Pony Package, both which debuted in the 1960s and were also popular options on the versions of the previous generation, S197 Mustang.

Ford recognizes the importance of pony personalization, so owners can select from a variety of wheels, stripes and option packages. Some of these options include hood vent-integrated turn signals, as standard equipment for owners of the 2016 Mustang GT. This made its debut on the 1967 Mustang.

“Mustang enthusiasts are not shy about telling us what they want,” said Melanie Banker, Mustang marketing manager, “and we’re constantly exploring ideas together with our engineering team to develop new features we know our customers will love. These new hood vent indicators for the GT model are a perfect example of us communicating customer feedback to Mustang engineers and the team responding with an exclusive new feature for owners of the 2016 Mustang GT.”

She also stated the several new packages and options will be available for 2016 Mustang GT and Mustang EcoBoost on the 2016 models, which hit dealership floors later this year. One option we predict will be a hot one is the over-the-top, Le Mans-style racing stripes, which will be a factory option. They will be available in black or silver and can be ordered with most color and trim packages. Ford is also offering a painted black roof option, which was formerly available on the Boss 302, but is now available on EcoBoost and 5.0 GT Mustangs.

Formerly available on the V6, Ecoboost Premium owners can now option their Mustang with the exclusive newly designed Pony Package. This features unique 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, tri-bar pony logo on the grille, side stripe and chrome window surround.

Mustang GT owners looking to roll on the sly should consider the Black Accent Package, which makes it’s debut this fall. Offered on the Fastback and convertible, this package includes special 19-inch black-painted, 10-spoke alloy wheels, black decklid spoiler, dark tail lamp trim, and 5.0 and pony logos in black.

In 2007, Ford built GT/CS, or California Special as a tribute to the 1968 GT/CS. There were roughly 4,118 units GT/CS Mustang built in 1968, and sold on the West coast. Those Mustangs were actually built by Carroll Shelby and modified with fog lamps, twist-type hood pins, a race-style gas fill cap, 1965 T-Bird taillights, GT/CS side striping, and deck-lid spoiler.

The S197 models simulated the style of the 1968 with two-tone seats, GT/CS stripes, side scoops, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, rolled exhaust tips, “California Special” faux gas cap, and a unique front fascia with a lowered spoiler. The rear fascia was also unique and had a faux diffuser.

Ford is offering the 2016 GT/SC package on Mustang GT Premium models, and with a host of features, which are listed below.

California Special options

• 19-inch ebony-painted machined aluminum wheels
• Ebony leather/Miko suede seat inserts with red contrast stitching and embossed logo
• Unique door panel inserts and premium carpet featuring red contrast stitching
• Unique aluminum dashboard finish with California Special badge
• Hood and side stripes
• Black pedestal spoiler
• Unique faux gas cap
• Strut tower brace with unique California Special badging
• Dark taillamp accents
• Black-painted mirrors, hood vents
• Performance front splitter
• Unique grille with tri-bar pony logo

Convertible a hot performer

New for 2016, Mustang GT convertible owners selecting the MT-82 manual transmission can get improved handling and acceleration with the popular Performance Package. “Ford Mustang GT fastback with Performance Package has been very popular,” said Banker. “Customer feedback indicated a strong desire for the package on the convertible model as well, and the 2016 Mustang GT delivers.” Improved performance will come by way of structural bracing, revised suspension components, enhanced brakes, and better wheels and tires. Here’s what you get.

Performance pack options

• Unique chassis tuning, with strut tower brace and K-brace
• Larger radiator
• Revised suspension with upsized rear sway bar, heavy-duty front springs
• Six-piston Brembo front brake calipers
• 19x9-inch front, 19x9.5-inch rear ebony-painted aluminum wheels with summer tires
• Unique tuning for stability control, ABS and electric power-assisted steering
• Torsen limited-slip differential with 3.73 axle ratio
• Engine-turned aluminum instrument panel with auxiliary gauges
• More aggressive front splitter; rear spoiler delete

Better connectivity with SYNC 3

Today’s vehicle owners expect a high level of connectivity and Ford delivers with the SYNC 3, Ford’s next-generation communications and entertainment system. Mustangs equipped with Premium Package for 2016 will now feature a system that is faster, more intuitive, offers enhanced interface, and improved voice command and AppLink functionality. SYNC 3 now features the ability to update system software via any unlocked Wi-Fi network.

The Mustang has truly become more than just a tidy 2+2 sports car with mighty grunt and so-so handling. With the 6th Generation Mustang, all models feature the improved balance and tight corning with the IRS and double-ball joint front suspension. It’s wide, lower, there are amazing brake options and four engines to take you from 300-to-500-plus horsepower. And if you’re not satisfied with that, dial up your favorite aftermarket manufacturer.