A Coke bottle, a swoosh, the hula hoop – all are instantly recognizable shapes in American pop culture. So too is the unmistakable silhouette of the all-American pony car, the Ford Mustang.
That silhouette is taking on a striking new definition with the introduction of the Mustang GT coupe and convertible concept cars. The new concepts give a strong indication of the design direction of the next-generation Mustang, due to debut in 2004.
With its signature long hood and short rear deck, Mustang’s design has endured for 39 years. Adorning the legendary shape are classic design cues that define Mustang: C-scoops in the sides, three-element tail lamps and the galloping pony in the center of the grille.
Presented as a two-seat fastback coupe and convertible, the Mustang GT concepts are strong indicators of the next-generation Mustang’s design direction. They emerge as a bold testament to the timeless value that automotive enthusiasts hold for the original American pony car.
The designs are modern, crisp and reveal the true character of what Mustang means to so many people. The original 1964½ Mustang actually evolved from the racing-inspired, two-seat concept car called the Mustang 1. After reviewing archived files, Mustang’s modern-day crafters were struck by how the original design embraced the same inspirational cues that communicate performance. The design team looked beyond production models to the Mustang 1 concept for modern inspiration. Much like the Mustang 1 and the later Mustang Mach 1 show car in 1968, the Mustang GT concepts are rare, radical designs that will appeal to everyone.
The Mustang GT concepts are instantly recognizable as Mustangs, yet they stretch the design far into the future with a distinctly modern look. Like the Mustang 1 concept, the GT concepts are two-place sportscars: one a coupe and the other a convertible. Both cars started out with a significantly modified Ford Thunderbird rear-wheel-drive architecture. The platform was sectioned to achieve the proper proportion. The front-end geometry is all original – customized to accommodate the signature Mustang MOD 4.6-liter V-8.
In concert with plans for the all-new Mustang, due in 2004, the exterior and interior designs of the Mustang GT concepts were penned by designers in Ford’s Living Legends Studio in Dearborn, Mich., and Ford’s California Design Center in Southern California. The concept design execution was done exclusively at the California Design Center. The coupe conjures images of 1967 and 1968 Fastbacks while the convertible brings back cues of the early Shelby Mustangs, especially in its “show bar” and wide-element tail lamps.
Inside, there’s no mistaking the no-holds-barred Mustang classic cues. The cockpit is dramatic for the driver and passenger with lush red and charcoal leather accented by billet-aluminum hardware. They’re reminiscent of another era yet, inside and out, the Mustang GT concepts are thoroughly modern.
Drivetrain layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine type 90-degree MOD V-8, cast-iron block, aluminum heads, belt-driven supercharger with liquid-to-air intercooler
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore/stroke, in/mm 3.55 x 3.54/90.2 x 90
Displacement, in/mm 280.8 / 4,601
Compression ratio 8.5:1
Horsepower @ 6,000 RPM: 400 (estimated)
Torque @ 3,500 RPM: 390
Redline: 6,500 RPM
6-speed manual (coupe)
5-speed automatic (convertible)
Axle ratio 3.55:1
Final-drive ratio 2.24:1
Brakes & Wheels
Brembo 13.8-in vented disc
Front Wheels – 20 in x 8.5 in aluminum
Rear Wheels – 20 in x 9.5 in aluminum
Front Tires – 245/40ZR20 BFGoodrich G-Force T/A
Rear Tires – 275/35ZR20 BFGoodrich G-Force T/A
Body style: 2-door coupe and convertible
Seating Capacity: 2
Legroom: 44 in.
Shoulder room: 57.6 in.
Hip room: 54.9 in.
Headroom: 37 in.
Length: 182 in.
Width: 74.7 in.
Height: 50.8 in.
Fuel Capacity: 18 gallons