Cover Story - 2005 Ford Mustang

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Looking Like A Fast Machine: The 2005 Mustang is mighty fine, we think

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    By WES RAYNAL
    (16:01 Feb. 09, 2004)

    ON THE EVENING OF Jan. 5, 2003, the concept Mustang was unveiled to a media throng at the North American International Auto Show.

    The floor was already packed with memorable machinery, each one an attention grabber: The Cadillac Sixteen, Ford’s own 427, Aston Martin’s AMV8 Vantage, the Dodge Tomahawk and Rolls-Royce Phantom. And there glittered a shining silver Mustang GT concept. Bill Ford Jr. was presenting it like a proud father, with a spring in his step, the seminal song Mustang Sally blaring from massive speakers. And the Mustang gathered an enormous crowd all its own.

    That car was so good and so meaningful that it came away with our editors’ choice as the Most Significant vehicle at the show. We called it Detroit’s real show stopper, and we used all the buzzwords: Iconic... American pony car... design cues from the best Mustangs of the ’60s combined with the best 21st century technology.

    Clearly, we loved the concept. But that was the dream.

    Now comes reality—the 2005 production model that rolled out a year later at the 2004 Detroit show, with an even more ebullient Ford Jr. beaming beside it. It’s hype, sure, but he has reason to be excited.

    A car that has been part of our psyche for as long as has the Mustang (April 17 will mark its 40th anniversary)—well, there are bound to be winners and losers. Late-’60s Mustangs? Delicious. But a 1974 Mustang II? Utterly forgettable. This time we couldn’t ask for more in terms of a production car staying true to the concept on which it is based. Not from a styling standpoint, anyway: The long hood/short rear deck looks dimensionally appropriate, as do the side C-scoops and the ’60s-looking front end. It is low and planted to the ground, both all-Mustang cues and fresh to the eye. Just being around it makes us want to fire up the V8 and tear along San Francisco’s undulating streets, à la Steve McQueen.

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    We like it, we really like it: The ’05 Mustang is a nice mix of the old and the new. Maybe think of it as a late-’60s Mustang updated for 2005.

    Hau Thai-Tang is responsible for the concept, and for bringing the new Mustang to production. As a boy in South Vietnam, Thai-Tang didn’t think he’d ever get to own a Mustang, never mind build one.[/B] But his family moved to New York. He went on to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University, got a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and joined Ford in 1988. At Ford he has had a wide and varied engineering career, including stints with Ford Racing, where, as an engineer for the Newman-Haas CART team during the 1993 season, he was responsible for the development of race cars for Nigel Mansell and Mario Andretti. In racing, says Thai-Tang, you must be thorough but quick in what you do.

    “The Indy 500 starts Sunday at 11,” Thai-Tang is fond of saying. “If you’re not there, they start without you. Deadlines don’t move.”

    Thai-Tang also worked on the 2000 Lincoln LS program, and oversaw the 2001 Mustang GT, V6, Cobra and Bullitt models. But getting this new production Mustang job was his highest high.

    The task of shaping the production exterior fell to Larry Erickson, a Southern California hot rod designer who joined Ford in 1999. Surely you remember ZZ Top’s Cadzilla. That was Erickson’s. Ford sent Erickson to England and assigned him various small-car projects, and in 2001 called him back to start on the new Mustang. Erickson’s goal was to create a modern-looking car, but one that could not be mistaken for anything but a Mustang. To us it looks like a modern interpretation of the 1967-69 models—a good thing.

    “If we don’t get this right, we’ve got 8 million Mustang owners to answer to,” says group design vice president J Mays. The forward-leaning grille is meant to make the car look like it is moving when still. Out back, the three-element taillights are also reminiscent of late-’60s Mustangs, further driving the “essential Mustangness” point home.

    The production car has longer bumpers than the concept, otherwise the front-end styling is largely unchanged.

    The interior looks good too, in a vintage Mustang-new F-150 sort of way, if you can imagine such a thing. The dash is topped with “eyebrows,” reminiscent of a ’60s Mustang. Two large, chrome-ringed circles house the speedometer and tachometer with the digits for speed and rpm rendered in fonts resembling those on the classic Mustang. The steering wheel has three spokes and a black center hub, like a ’67 Mustang. The aluminum face on the dash is, yes, real aluminum. Yet its wide, solid-looking center console is as though it came directly from the latest F-150 truck—a vehicle whose interior is being lauded for its design execution. This interior treatment is becoming a Ford signature. Chrome rings around the air vents lend a modern look, and the instrument lighting background can be altered to suit your taste or mood, a task you will want to perform in the driveway rather than in motion, not least because you are choosing from among more than 125 different color schemes.

    The Mustang GT’s power comes from a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 300 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. A 4.0-liter 202-hp V6 pumping out 235 lb-ft of torque powers the base model. Ford says both engines use liquid-filled mounts to cut noise and vibration. The sohc 4.0-liter six has electronic throttle control, low-profile cylinder heads, a composite intake manifold and new exhaust manifolds.

    The aluminum 4.6-liter V8 (it is not the old 4.6, but a new one with a deep-skirt block and weighing 75 pounds less than the old model) has electronic throttle control, too. Its 300 hp is a first for a Mustang GT—that lofty horsepower figure used to be reserved for Mach 1s, Cobras and Boss Mustangs. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with both engines, while an optional five-speed automatic, developed for the Lincoln LS and Ford Thunderbird, is a Mustang first.

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    The car was created by former hot rod designer Larry Erickson. Erickson said he wanted a fresh look, but one that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a Mustang. We think he succeeded.

    The new car rides on what Ford officials call an all-new platform. Thai-Tang says Internet message boards and other publications are inaccurate in calling it a modified version of the DEW98 chassis that the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type use. “The chassis is all-new and the body structure is stiffened,” he says.

    This new car is 31 percent stiffer than the outgoing Mustang. Engineers claim a twisting force of 15,000 lb-ft would only deform the body by one degree. Thai-Tang says a typical coupe figure is in the 12,000-to-14,000-lb-ft range. “That’s [15,000-lb-ft figure] pretty much world-class,” he says. “To lengthen the wheelbase and still get 15,000 lb-ft is a big feat for us.”

    Suspension is MacPherson struts in front and a live axle with coil springs in the rear. Surely there will be many of you decrying Ford’s use of a live rear axle in the 21st century. Consider, though, that Mustang engineers went this route because they claim they can tune the suspension to be better than some independent setups, as well as because an axle gives the Mustang better drag-strip-launch characteristics than does an independent setup. (You must love that last qualifier of pony-car character.) It also helps that a live axle is cheaper, keeping the car’s MSRP down. “We saved $300 a car, and that’s just materials,” Thai-Tang said. “That doesn’t include design, engineering and development, prototyping and tooling.

    “This chassis does everything better—accelerate, turn, stop,” said Thai-Tang. “It isolates unwanted noise and makes the most of the powerful new engine.”

    The rear axle ratio is a more aggressive 3.55:1 for harder acceleration. Ford says the car should sprint to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, with the V6 model hitting 60 mph in around seven seconds.

    Ford put more than a million development miles on the chassis and engines around the United States, Canada and Sweden, where cold-weather testing was conducted. One thing Ford learned was the Mustang needed better stopping ability. These new four-wheel disc brakes use 15 percent bigger rotors compared to the outgoing GT’s and have four-channel ABS standard on the GT and optional on the V6-powered car. The ABS includes electronic brake distribution, automatically sending braking power to whichever wheels need it the most. The GT gets 17-inch wheels with W-rated Pirelli all-season tires standard. The W-rated tires are good to 165 mph, and the Mustang GT’s top speed will be electronically limited to 145 mph. Base models get 16-inch S-rated BFGoodrich tires.

    The Mustang’s front wheels are four inches farther forward than they were on the outgoing model, reducing the front overhang 4.6 inches. Overall the car is 4.4 inches longer (the wheelbase is six inches longer), 1.4 inches taller and almost an inch wider.

    Likewise, the interior is bigger than today’s Mustang.
    There is a half-inch more headroom, 1.8 inches more shoulder room in front, 1.1 inches more legroom and 1.2 inches more shoulder room for back-seat passengers.

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    Our drive time was limited to about two minutes at 40 mph on Ford’s test track, so we don’t have any driving impressions, good or bad. But the car looks terrific and the interior feels high quality. On paper, at least, the performance equipment is definitely there.

    Mustang goes on sale this fall and it will be part of the largest new-car introduction onslaught in company history. Bill Ford Jr. said the automaker will introduce five new cars and crossover vehicles in 2004, including the Freestyle, mid-engine GT, Five Hundred sedan and a facelifted Focus.

    Ford promises the V8 GT will start around $25,000 with base cars around $17,000, adding that it expects the V6 car to account for 70 percent of Mustang sales. Those sticker prices come with a healthy list of standard equipment, including power mirrors and locks, rear-window defrost, intermittent wipers, cruise control and fog lights (on the GT). Traction control is standard on the GT and optional with the V6.

    What about an SVT Cobra version of the new Mustang? Details are few, but we hear a Cobra edition (if it is called that in light of Carroll Shelby’s latest two-seater) will debut in calendar year 2005 as an ’06 model. That version will promise an independent rear suspension and at least 400 hp—a number that has Mustang going toe-to-toe with the 400-hp Corvette C6.

    We can’t wait to try them all.

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    2005 FORD MUSTANG GT
    ON SALE: Fall
    BASE PRICE: $25,000
    POWERTRAIN: 4.6-liter, 300-hp, 315-lb-ft V8; rwd, five-speed manual
    CURB WEIGHT: 3450 pounds
    0-60 MPH: 5.5 seconds

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  2. iZero

    iZero Guest

    It has a worse power to weight ratio than a 350Z. They better put in those short gears.
     
  3. JSHTROD

    JSHTROD New Member

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    Don't forget about torque.

    The current mustang GT runs similar times to the 350z, usually in the high 13's with a decent driver.

    This new ford mustang GT has 50 more HP! It'll be much quicker than the 350z, unless nissan changes the power output.

    :o
     
  4. Chris

    Chris New Member

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  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Interior quality looks better than the 350Z.
     
  6. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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  7. Fanatic-Indian

    Fanatic-Indian OT's Eye Doctor

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  8. Dr_Trac

    Dr_Trac doh!@

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    i'm not diggin it as much anymore...soon i'll hate it cuz of the millions of them on the road. :o
     
  9. Seifer

    Seifer Abort your Babies!

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    i will give the new mustang credit where credit is due..

    using real aluminum on the interior was a great idea.. me likes.. however that sterio looks like shit :o
     
  10. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

  11. Possum Stomper

    Possum Stomper The Great Bird of the Galaxy

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    i thought it had 3.31 rear gears?

    regardless of the gears, the damn thing needs a T56 :rant2:
     
  12. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

    Who's Thai-Tang? :o
     
  13. frinky23

    frinky23 Bangle Sackrider

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    Looks good.
     
  14. Toodles

    Toodles You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the w OT Supporter

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    Me too. It would've been much cooler as just a concept.

    IBpissedoff67mustangowners
     
  15. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The chief engineer.
     
  16. threeclaws

    threeclaws R.I.P.

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    $25k :eek:

    That's killer pricing for the GT.

    I want one, just don't trust the quality, oh well I'll wait and see how the first year goes.
     
  17. JoJoFine

    JoJoFine OT Supporter

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    god that is an ugly car

    people gotta quit living 30 years ago :rant:
     
  18. Nemesis_152

    Nemesis_152 I'm a delicate desert flower from Arizona.

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    design cues, not design from 30 years ago.
     
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'm not fond of retro either.
     
  20. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Check out the redesigned Ford F-150 for an example of current Ford quality. I don't think anyone has much to worry about, especially since a lot of the bits are shared with Lincoln and Jaguar.
     
  21. threeclaws

    threeclaws R.I.P.

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    I know I like the F150 too, but after my ranger and it's numerous 'small' problems, I won't buy another ford until they are solid from bumper-bumper.

    The saving grace for the Mustang in my eyes, is the LS, if the GT can in anyway match the LS i overall quality I'll buy one.
     
  22. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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  23. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

     
  24. nattycrew

    nattycrew .

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    :werd:

    and its ugly
     
  25. smell my finger

    smell my finger strive nonetheless towards beauty and truth,

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    IBTrisheildpostsanotherpreviewarticleabouthenewmustangorgto
     

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