|Ford and SEMA Members Celebrate the Mustang's 40th
-Fifteen of the performance industry's best ideas for all-new 2005 Ford Mustangs will be revealed at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, including the latest designs by Saleen, Steeda and Roush Performance
-Mustang leads the performance parts business with annual sales over $800 million, fueled by owners who spend an average of $1,500 every year
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2004 – A new era in Ford Mustang's 40-year performance history begins in Las Vegas at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, Nov. 2-5, with the reveal of 15 all-new 2005 Mustangs honed by the industry's leading high-performance tuners and specialty manufacturers.
"In 1964, Mustang became a hit because it was great looking and affordable. But street performance and racing victories made the car an icon," said Greg Smith, Ford Motor Company executive vice president and president, The Americas. "That's why SEMA is the absolute right place to be to cap Mustang's 40th anniversary celebration."
Since the launch of the first true high performance Mustang – the 1965 Shelby GT-350 – the business of making Mustangs faster has grown into an $800 million-plus annual business fueled by customers who spend an average of $1,500 every year on performance parts, according to Ford estimates. The Mustang has a larger share of this market than any other nameplate – almost 10 percent.
That figure includes everything from power-boosting superchargers ($2,000-$5,000) to handling kits ($200-$1000) and high performance wheels and tires ($500-$5000).
In fact, the 2005 Mustang was recognized by SEMA as the most accessory friendly new vehicle at last week's California International Auto Show in Anaheim, Calif., where it captured the first of three SEMA Vehicle Design Awards. Those included in the Vehicle Design Awards selection process were SEMA member companies who regularly participate in technology sharing programs; the Mustang received 33 percent of the votes.
The $800 million figure does not include sales of Mustangs built by specialty manufacturers like Saleen Inc., Steeda Autosports, Roush Performance and Ford's own Special Vehicle Team (SVT).
These fully engineered, super high-performance Mustangs can deliver Ferrari-like acceleration for only a fraction of the cost. One of the best and wildest examples – the 2000 SVT Cobra R – was built by Ford itself using parts developed by the industry's leading performance names.
Each of the 300 Cobra R models built featured a 385-horsepower, 32-valve 5.4-liter DOHC V-8, Brembo disc brakes, Borla side exhaust pipes, Recaro racing seats, a 6-speed Tremec T-56 manual transmission and a racing-style Fuel Safe fuel cell. Top speed was in excess of 170 mph and it accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and covered a quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds in a Car & Driver magazine road test. List price was just over $50,000. Work continues on an SVT Cobra version of the all-new Mustang, which is now hitting the market.
Who's Who of Mustang Street Performance
The all-new 2005 Mustang, with its unmistakable design, all-new chassis and 300-horsepower three-valve 4.6-liter SOHC V-8, has poured white gas on an already hot performance aftermarket. The result: 15 unique visions of the ultimate new Mustang, all of which are on display at the SEMA show .
SEMA also is providing the occasion for Ford's Greg Smith to give special recognition to five of the most prominent names in Mustang performance: Carroll Shelby, Steve Saleen, Dario Orlando, Jack Roush and Parnelli Jones.
Carroll Shelby – Carroll Shelby, whose name is synonymous with Ford performance, was totally immersed in building and racing the legendary Cobra roadsters and Ferrari-beating Ford GT-40s when Ford's Lee Iacocca persuaded him to build a Corvette-killer. That car, the 1965 Shelby GT-350, began life as a fastback Mustang coupe powered by a 289-cubic inch V-8 "Cobra-tuned" to deliver 306 horsepower.
Shelby also fitted Koni adjustable shocks, 6-inch x 15-inch cast alloy wheels, 7.75-inch x 15-inch Goodyear Blue Dot performance tires, upgraded brakes, suspension components and a fiberglass hood with functional air scoop. Later Shelby Mustangs included the race-ready GT-350R, the GT-350H (which were specially built Hertz rental cars) and the GT-500 and GT-500KR.
Shelby Mustangs were successfully campaigned in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events throughout the 1960s by legendary drivers including Jerry Titus, Dick Thompson and Dan Gurney. Today, Shelby Automobiles offers an extensive line of Mustang performance and restoration parts and Carroll Shelby continues to lend his expertise to Ford in the development of high-performance cars, including the Ford GT and Shelby Cobra Coupe concept. A new concept, called the Ford Shelby GR-1 was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August. 2004.
Steve Saleen – "Power in the Hands of a Few" is the mantra of business school graduate turned race car driver and entrepreneur Steve Saleen, founder of Saleen Inc. Since Saleen's company was established in 1983, it has produced more than 9000 high-performance Mustangs, including the street-legal 2004 S281 Extreme, which is powered by a supercharged 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 that delivers 445 horsepower and 450 lbs.-ft. of torque. Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine tested the Extreme last year and recorded a best quarter-mile acceleration time of 12.1 seconds with a trap speed of nearly115 mph. On the racetrack, Saleen Mustangs have delivered six GT Manufacturers' Championship road racing titles.
Jack Roush – Jack Roush began his professional career in 1964 as an engineer for Ford. He eventually left to pursue his interest in engine development and motorsports. Roush Racing, which was established in 1988, has fielded cars in NASCAR, SCCA Trans-Am, IMSA road racing and IRL oval racing – and achieved success in every series. Roush-prepared Mustangs and driver Tommy Kendall dominated Trans Am in the mid-1990s.
Jack Roush's personal preference for hot street Mustangs (he owns more than a dozen) provided the inspiration for Roush Performance (www.roushperf.com) which he founded in 1995 to design, engineer and manufacture high-performance Mustangs. The latest Roush Mustang – the 400-horsepower 440A – commemorates Mustang's 40th Anniversary. The 40-car limited edition includes a supercharged 4.6-liter SOHC V-8, 18-inch chrome wheels, Alcon brakes and the Roush Level 3 suspension.
Dario Orlando – Steeda Autosports (www.steeda.com) was founded in 1988 when Dario Orlando decided to put his (then) 15 years experience repairing and racing cars to work turning the Mustang into a world-class sports car. Today, Florida-based Steeda's business spans the full spectrum of Ford vehicle performance upgrades, from professional and amateur racing to new turnkey vehicle packages.
One particularly potent example of the breed is the 2003 Mustang GT-based Steeda Q400 (for 400 horsepower), which was tested by Motor Trend magazine in its December 2002 issue. The car's 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 was fitted with a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger, a K&N Filter Charger, a Ford Racing Performance Parts 80-mm Mass Air Meter with 70-mm throttle body, Steeda-spec Borla 2.5-inch stainless exhaust and other upgrades. Zero to 60-mph acceleration was estimated at 4.9 seconds and the quarter-mile time was estimated at 12.7 seconds at 111.7 mph.
Parnelli Jones – Parnelli Jones, the first man to go faster than 150 miles per hour at the Brickyard, cemented his place in Mustang history behind the wheel of a Bud Moore-prepared Boss 302 Mustang Trans-Am car. In 1970, Jones claimed five victories in a season where Chevrolet, AMC, Dodge and Plymouth all fielded racing versions of "pony" cars whose names are now lost to history. Jones earned the driver's championship, Ford won its third manufacturer's championship and the Boss 302 helped inspire Ford's Mustang GT-R concept, which was unveiled at the 2004 New York Auto Show. That concept, in turn inspired the creation of Ford Racing's Mustang Boy Racer, which will return Mustang to sports car racing beginning in the 2005 season.
The specially tuned SEMA Mustangs enjoy the strong bloodlines of the 2005 Ford Mustang that was introduced in January as the first Mustang ever with its own dedicated platform. The new platform is six inches longer, 30 percent stiffer and features a sophisticated solid rear axle.
Working on a clean sheet of paper, Mustang's engineering team could have selected any type of setup at the rear, including an independent suspension. So why choose a solid rear axle? The answer lies in Mustang's position as America's muscle car.
"We talked to a lot of Mustang owners and racers when we were developing this program," says Thai-Tang. "They are a very passionate group, and a lot of them told us – very strongly – that the all-new Mustang must have a solid rear axle because of its combination of performance and modification flexibility."
The new-from-the-ground-up chassis and careful attention to vehicle dynamics give the all-new Mustang world-class ride and handling. With this ultra-rigid structure, Mustang engineers could tune spring, damping and bushing rates to a finer degree than ever possible.
This unrivaled driving excitement will continue to come at an attainable price. The 2005 Mustang V-6 Coupe remains the lowest-priced rear-wheel drive sports car in the industry, starting at $19,410 for the Deluxe model and $19,995 for the Premium coupe, including destination and delivery. The Mustang GT Coupe is the most affordable 300-horsepower sports car, starting at $24,995 (including destination and delivery) for the V-8 model.
Ford and legions of worldwide fans celebrated Mustang's 40th anniversary April 17, 2004, in Nashville, Tenn., at a birthday party hosted by the Mustang Club of America. The demand for the all-new model grew to a fever pitch during the summer and fall leading up to showroom introduction in early October. The new Mustang is being built at the AutoAlliance International assembly facility in Flat Rock, Mich., just miles from its former home at the Dearborn Assembly Plant on the Rouge River.