In 1955 through 1957, Ford made what may be considered the most iconic two-seater American sports cars ever built. The 1955-1957 Thunderbirds have been seen on countless television shows and movies, not to mention being pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. In the 1975 movie American Graffiti, Suzanne Somers plays the role of a blonde mystery girl who is spotted driving around town in a white 1956 “T-Bird.”
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The 2014 Chicago Auto Show was opened to the press today, and on Saturday will be open to the public at the impressive McCormick Place in frigid Chicago. There are tons of great new cars worth seeing, but this vintage Ford Mustang caught our attention right away. It’s billed as the first Ford Mustang Convertible ever sold. You’ll see the all-new 2015 Mustang right next to it as well.
The wait is finally over. Ford has revealed the all-new 2015 Mustang which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic nameplate. Ford had achieved great success with the current version of the Mustang with its retro design, so the bar was set very high with this new redesign. Opinions will likely vary, especially among purists who are very hard to please. In many ways this design is more evolutionary and incremental as opposed to something radical. It looks like the current body style was simply modified to look more modern and more like the rest of the current Ford lineup. Still, it’s unmistakably a Mustang, and that should please many fans.
The front view of the vehicle offers the most noticeable design change with the more modern looking headlamps. The front facia still looks like a Mustang, but now we’re seeing something more like the uninspired looks of the car from the 1990s. Meanwhile, the fastback rear end seems like the most aggressive part of the new vehicle and may save the overall design.
Some on the fan message boards are deriding the new design as looking like an Accord Coupe, but there was no way Ford was going to get a more modern design without getting some of this negative criticism. The retro Mustang was a massive hit, but it had lost its sales lead to the new, retro Camaro. Ford had to move on and the 50th anniversary offered the ideal opportunity.
The design provides a lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height and wider rear fender. The return of Mustang fastback with a sleeker profile enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass.
Ford sees the new Mustang as a world car, so they will be aggressive about marketing this American icon overseas. Also, there are plenty of improvements to the vehicle as well that will please consumers.
The Mustang will now be available with three engines – a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. With the emphasis these days on gas mileage that should help the vehicle appeal to a broader audience. The robust 5.0-liter V8 available in the Mustang GT will feature an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard 3.7-liter V6 will have at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to provide both power and projected segment-leading fuel efficiency. Output is projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be interesting to see the sales breakdown and how these engines feel in terms of power.
Ford is emphasizing that the new Mustang will be more nimble with better handling. The goal was to surpass the handling dynamics achieved in the recent Boss 302. Ford explains that the new Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride. At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension which might not please some of the purists. The vihicle has been modified and tuned for this high-performance application.
This new Mustang will generate considerable buzz and we’ll see how fans react when it goes on sale next year.