Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 12, 2013
Photos By: The Manufacturers

When the Mustang was introduced in 1964, it contained few notable advancements in technology. It did share a "modular" platform with the Falcon, utilizing much of the old bird's drivetrain, steering, and suspension. It also provided two doors, four seats, and a power-to-weight ratio that would give you a tickle, thanks to the lightweight unibody design.

Fast-forward to 2013, and the evolution of the running horse is distinctly evident. Things like navigation, launch control, electronic power steering, and heated seats are now commonplace. Remember when power windows and door locks were merely an option? You can't even get crank windows anymore on a Mustang. Things are continuing to change, now at a rate faster than ever.

When the Mustang originally launched, rock ‘n' roll music was still in its infancy, and the U.S. was still mourning the loss of John F. Kennedy—over 49 years ago. As we approach the golden anniversary (50th) of the launch of our favorite ponycar, let's look at just how far it has come—not only with factory equipment, but also in the massive aftermarket.

Welcome To The Future

We are at a crossroads with automobiles. Technology has come so far as to allow a 662hp Mustang to roll off the assembly line and onto dealership floors. On that same car, you can set Launch Control, mat the gas, release the clutch, and it will help you achieve 11-second e.t.'s on the quarter-mile dragstrip. But at the same time, the federal government is handing down EPA mandates requiring much improved fuel economy across the board by 2020.

Why? Well, as technology has progressed to develop, manufacture, and safely operate powerful vehicles, so has the technology to develop safer, lighter, and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Is the '13-'14 SVT Shelby GT500 the pinnacle of performance for the Mustang? Probably not, but it may be the most robust and most powerful. Only time will tell.

What is a reality is that many of the new options on the S197 (especially '10-up) are a precursor to what is to come on the '15 model. Some of these options are actually pretty cool. Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) uses electricity to assist steering, freeing up horsepower and improving fuel economy. Heck, you can now even choose between standard, sport, or comfort selections on the fly! Other items, such as SYNC, TrackApps, rear-view camera, and HID/LED lamps, are now ordinary.

Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) was first introduced in 2011 as standard equipment. It uses electricity to provide power steering assist, therefore freeing up horsepower and improving fuel economy.

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TrackApps One of the newest factory advancements in Mustang technology is TrackApps. Designed for off-road use only, these in-dash gadgets are loads of fun. You can measure 0-60 and 0-100 time, eighth- and quarter-mile times, G’s, and more. And on the GT500, TrackApps even has launch control.

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Leading The Way

Ford Motor Company puts hundreds of millions of dollars (if not a billion-plus) into development of an all-new model. Let's just say, the company does its research. But sometimes, Ford leaves performance on the table—at least, in the eyes of the die-hard enthusiasts. That is where the aftermarket comes in.

There are so many Mustangs on the road, and so many owners trying to find a way to make theirs faster, cooler, or more unique, that an entire industry thrives because of them. And not just brand-new Stangs either. You can build an entire '67 Mustang fastback from scratch if you'd like—tomorrow—with parts available from the Mustang aftermarket.

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Not only are there reproduction pieces, high-performance parts, chrome knick-knacks, and carbon-fiber trinkets, but many also offer high-tech add-ons, upgrades, and services. Things like chassis dynos, aftermarket EFI, handheld tuners, data-logging, and intercooling are just a few tech advancements that Mustang owners have available at their fingertips.

But let's not forget the popular tech advancement that we all carry around in our pockets—the smartphone. These little things are faster than a Regan-era super-computer, yet fit in the palm of our hands. And after sending an invisible signal to space, we can download any of the thousands of automotive-related applications (apps) that can help us with our cars, relate to other enthusiasts, and sometimes even communicate with our car.

Okay, let's not forget ourselves. We are learning and growing every day. As natural to us as breathing in and out, we're always looking for a better way to do something. That is the essence of technology. And that's why technology continues to improve our lives.

iTech

Our world revolves around handheld technology. We can't function without our smartphones, tablets, or mp3 players. And in America, our world revolves around cars. So it stands to reason that there would be applications (apps) for our phones that relate to our cars. Below are a few that we like.

Ever glance down at your speedo and realize you're breaking the speed limit? Well, Trapster is your kind of app. This is a free speed-trap–sharing app for your smartphone, which alerts you to police speed traps, as well as other road hazards. It also warns you of any of those pesky red-light cameras.

Dynolicious is an interactive app that measures horsepower, 0-60 time, quarter-mile time, and more. It also has an entire community of other automotive enthusiasts, including profiles, photo galleries, and a how-to section. It costs $9.99 but is a boatload of fun.

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