Ford’s pony races past 9 million post
Ford’s Mustang has racked up an unbelievable nine million sales in 44 years, and is stepping high in 2008 with a range that includes the muscular and Shelby GT500KR pictured here. The KR is one of two new Shelby Mustangs for 2008 – the other is the Shelby GT, sold as a coupe or convertible. The Shelby GT’s 4.6-litre V8 engine is modified with Ford Racing Performance Parts and generates 319 horsepower. Coil springs drop the overall ride height by almost 40mm, and stiffer dampers and a front sway bar sharpen cornering feel and body control.
The 300-horsepower GT (though US magazine Motor Trend’s dyno test yielded only 262hp) has plenty of go. Motor Trend clocked its test car at 5.3 seconds for the sprint to 60mph (96kph), and through the standing quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 101.7mph.
That time was only 0.2 seconds slower than three tuned Mustangs the magazine tested in the same comparo, and the standard GT retailed for $US14,000 to $16,000 less. To mark the 40th Anniversary of the original King of the Road Mustang, 2008 sees the return of the Shelby GT500KR. It’s the most powerful production Mustang ever produced, developing an estimated 540-horsepower from its 5.4-litre supercharged V8. It has a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, short-throw shifter, and unique suspension tuning.
Its exterior design draws inspiration from the classic Shelby KR Mustangs and features a unique carbon composite bonnet, Shelby-designed 18-inch wheels, and special 40th Anniversary badging and unique striping. Also new for 2008 is a limited-edition Warriors in Pink Mustang – designed exclusively in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Produced for the Cure’s 25th anniversary, the Stang features unique pink exterior and interior design accents. Sales from the Warriors in Pink edition will help raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The 2008 standard Mustang range is built in coupe and convertible versions, in V6 Deluxe and V6 Premium, and GT Deluxe and GT Premium. Ford builds the standard range in Flat Rock, Michigan, with final assembly of the Shelby GT and GT500KR taking place at the Shelby Automobiles facility in Las Vegas.
Ford offers several upgrade packages for the Mustang. The Pony Package, available on V6s includes a GT handling package that includes a larger front stabiliser bar, the addition of a rear stabiliser bar and P235/55ZR17 tyres on painted cast-aluminium wheels. Also included are bright, machined rims and unique tri-bar Pony centre caps, foglights, Pony front fender badges, lower door tape stripe, carpeted front floor mats with special brushed chrome Mustang logos and a rear spoiler. The GT California Special includes 18-inch wheels, side scoops, unique tape stripes, rolled bright exhaust tips, black leather trimmed seats with unique Cal Special contrasting Dove or Parchment leather inserts, a larger air intake, a chin spoiler (about 40mm lower than the GT’s), and unique front and rear fascias. An appearance package is available for the Mustang GT featuring rolled exhaust tips, an engine cover with a Pony emblem and a bonnet scoop.
Buyers can order a Mustang with a MyColor colour-configurable instrument panel which mixes and matches lighting at the touch of a button to create more than 125 colour backgrounds to suit drivers’ personalities, moods, outfits or whims. Also available is an interior ambient lighting package which offers the option of illuminating the front and rear footwells and front cup-holders with any one of seven colours. The driver or front passenger can choose from red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow. Chrome-ringed air vents are aligned vertically across the dash, precisely in line with the gauges, and the steering wheel has three spokes with a center hub marked by the horse and tricolour bars logo, echoing the design of the 1967 Mustang. Standard features include power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry and power locks, a heated rear window, interval wipers, air conditioning, speed control and a CD player.
Engines and mechanical stuff
The Mustang’s 4.6-litre aluminium V8 has three valve heads and cranks out 300 horsepower. That’s more than 50 per cent more power than the small-block, 289-cubic-inch V8 found in the classic 1964.5 model. The standard engine – a 60-degree, 4.0-litre, single-overhead-cam V6 – produces 210 horsepower Both engines are paired with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.
Front suspension is by MacPherson struts with reverse L lower control arms. The three-link rear suspension has a lightweight, tubular Panhard rod that provides precise control of the solid rear axle. This technology stabilises the rear axle as the wheels move, particularly during hard cornering. The standard four-wheel disc brakes have the biggest rotors and stiffest calipers ever fitted to a mainstream Mustang. Twin-piston aluminum calipers clamp ventilated front brake discs on GT models.
A four-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS) with traction control is standard on GT models and available on V6s. It uses electronic sensors to constantly monitor road conditions and feed the information to a dedicated control computer that’s capable of determining within milliseconds whether the vehicle is on dry pavement or negotiating a slippery surface. When traction control isn’t desired, drivers can deactivate the system with a button on the instrument panel.