According to an early-August press release from PRNewswire, new 1965 to 1970 Ford Mustang fastbacks and convertibles will become available in 2025 as a limited-edition series in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Ford’s iconic pony car.
The restomod Mustangs will be built by Brand New Muscle Car in Tulsa, Oklahoma using new all-metal Ford-licensed body shells. The first new classic Mustang, number BNMC-01, will be built on the MotorTrend TV show Brand New Muscle Car in 2024, and then displayed at SEMA the following fall before being sold at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale in January 2025.
Brand New Muscle Car will only be building 60 examples. Customers have the choice of 1965 to 1970 Mustang model years in fastback or convertible. Drivetrain options range from the 427-cid. Windsor, a 428-cid. FE engine, a 5.0-liter Coyote, the monstrous 7.3-liter Godzilla engine, or a reVolt electric system known for providing power to Teslas. Supercharged or twin-turbo boosts are also available. The choice between a five or six-speed manual transmission or a paddle-shift automatic sends power to the rear wheels.
Depending on pocketbook depth and the level of need for speed, drivetrains will offer 450 to 1,000 horsepower. All models will be equipped with independent front suspension, adjustable coilover shocks, four-wheel disc brakes, electronic fuel injection, and power everything. Buyers will have a list of other options including premium wheels, sound system, upgraded upholstery, and even an option for right-hand drive.
The Ford Mustang’s path from affordable coupe to performance icon has taken many twists and turns in its nearly 60-year history. Built on a platform similar to that of Ford’s econo-oriented Falcon when it was first introduced as a mid-year model in 1964, the Mustang pulled much of its styling inspiration from the Allegro concept that had appeared the year before, and its formula of small car plus V-8 engine would set the tone for the next six decades of its existence.
At least, that’s what happened in our timeline. The alternate history of the Ford Mustang—the one that never came to be—shot off in all sorts of weird and wonderful directions, buffeted by the winds of market change, the addled dreams of designers chasing the latest trends, and the vagaries of engineers dazzled by the latest technologies.
Check out these Mustangs that might have been, but never were.
4-door Mustang sedan concept. Ford
Two early “what if” branches of the family tree illustrated what the Mustang lineup could have looked like had it expanded into a more complete portfolio of cars. Instead, it aimed at satisfying performance fans later and those seeking an inexpensive commuter early on.
While the four-door Mustang sedan concept, built in 1965, never made it anywhere past the designer’s studio, a two-door wagon (or shooting brake) version of the car had much longer legs. The fevered dream of three Ford fans—including Robert Cumberford (designer), Barney Clark (Blue Oval ad exec), and Jim Licata (partner in crime)—the cargo-friendly Mustang was converted from a coupe that had been sent to Italy’s Costruzione Automobili Intermeccanica that same year.
Mustang wagon concept. Ford
When the finished product came back, the trio took it to Ford, Holman Moody, and even independent automotive production companies, all of whom passed on putting it into production. While the original is lost to the mists of time, a number of individuals and aftermarket companies have produced their own Mustang wagon replicas based on its design, giving us a glimpse back at a history that never happened for a car that never officially existed.
Mustang II: A bigger Maverick?
It’s interesting that the most lamented member of the Mustang fold was also the one that underwent such a far-ranging design process before being birthed into the world.
By the early ’70s it was clear that Ford would have to make some choices about the future of the coupe, given impending EPA regulations about fuel economy, the precarious world energy situation, and changing crash-test regulations. This meant a crossroads for the Mustang, and some incredibly out-there looks at what the next-generation Mustang II could be.
Initially, Ford tried to retain the car’s original platform and give it a much longer, personal-luxury type of design, but it became clear that wouldn’t work. A second swipe at the O.G. platform produced something that looked more like an enlarged Maverick than it did a Mustang.
1970 Mustang II Early Design Proposal Maverick Elements original platform. Ford
Ghia’s nose jobs
Granada-style Mustang II Ford
By 1971, Ford was producing Mustang concepts at a startling rate. At first, the smaller Ghia-assisted prototypes still embodied the upright, premium coupe look that had been seen on the larger models, both with a shark-nosed element that was clearly European, and without, in a style that would be seen later on vehicles like the Granada.
Shark-nose Ghia Mustang II. Ford
Where things really got interesting was when the Ghia studio jumped well outside the box of the decade’s styling trends and offered a hatchback version of the Mustang II that, seen in hindsight, could easily have leapt forth from the production lines of a Japanese manufacturer like Datsun or Mitsubishi in the early ’80s. Arguably, this is a far cleaner design than the actual production Mustang II, but it’s difficult to project how a look that was so far ahead of its time would have been received by a market that was still staggering out of the muscle car era.
Early ’80s styling—almost Japanese—from Ghia in 1971. Ford
Mustang® racing has always been associated with legendary on-track performances from Daytona to Bathurst, Indianapolis, Pomona and Le Mans. Now, after five years, the Blue Oval returns to the Circuit de la Sarthe. It’s officially entering the global FIA GT3 category and racing in 2024 — with the Mustang GT3 race car — based on the brand-new 2024 Mustang Dark Horse™ model.
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Sales and service for this vehicle will be managed by Multimatic. Ownership inquiries may be directed to them below. Very limited availability. Inquiry does not guarantee ability to purchase.
Like watching an episode of Countryfile with incidental music by Motörhead, wrestling this 1970 Boss Mustang along sinuous roads against a bucolic English backdrop rankles a little.
It’s no fault of the car, a more perfect example of which would be hard to find.
The Mustang Boss 302 (left) and Mach 1 represent a golden era for Ford’s famous pony car
It’s more that the Boss 302’s headbanging soundtrack conjures memories of epic car movies – Bullitt, Gone in 60 Seconds (the ’74 original, of course) – or even Jim Morrison’s part-homage to his beloved GT500, HWY: An American Pastoral.
And none of those, as I recall, were set in North Yorkshire.
Then you start to acclimatise to this heavy-metal American.
A race car for the road, the Boss’ 302cu in V8 met the requirements for the Trans-Am road-racing series
Sure, there’s no vertiginous urban landscape to get it airborne, or a vast, arid vista to admire from its vinyl Hi-Back bucket seat as you spool through The Doors’ songbook in your head.
But its unruly appeal fast becomes infectious: just muscle the Hurst shifter into first, watch the Shaker bonnet-scoop snap to one side as you stab the throttle and then giggle inanely as the Boss unleashes a torrent of V8 mayhem down the road.
It’s no sophisticate, but my god is it engrossing
The Ford Mustang Boss 302’s V8 engine makes 290bhp and 290lb ft, and thrives on revs
For the observant among you, this Mustang – a 1969-built, 1970-model-year Boss 302 – matches neither McQueen’s 1968 390 GT nor ‘Toby’ Halicki’s 1974 Mach 1, which were produced before and after this 1969-’70-series car.
But to me they all speak of that magical era, shortly before Detroit’s V8s were finally neutered by regulation.
Talking of Mach 1s, we also have one joining the Boss today, equipped with a Cleveland 351cu in V8 and automatic transmission: the same series and basic design as the 302 but, as we’ll find out, a demonstrably different car to drive.
One the road, it’s clear that the Boss 302 was designed with racing in mind
Much of that contrast came from the Boss being a race-bred homologation special, versus the Mach 1 having a more user-friendly road set-up.
Following the initial furore around the original launch of the Mustang in 1964, Ford had started to lose ground to General Motors after it introduced the Chevrolet Camaro in 1967.
Worse still, the Camaro Z/28 was beating the Mustang on track – an important marketing arena for both companies – including taking victory in the high-profile Trans-American Championship in 1968
Optional Sports Slats and a matt-black spoiler are clues this is no ordinary Mustang
So, coinciding with the introduction of the new 1969 Mustang, Ford offered up its own entrant for the Trans-Am road-racing series: the Boss 302.
Designed to meet Sports Car Club of America regulations that dictated an engine displacement of under 305cu in, like the Z/28, the Boss 302 needed to spawn a road version to comply.
What emerged from Ford’s Metuchen, New Jersey factory in 1969 was in effect a race car for the road.
The designation’s so widespread, it’s almost become gospel among Mustang enthusiasts and the collector car world in general. You’ll see 1964-1/2 as a model year in the titles of Mustang books, in prior Hemmings articles (nostra culpa), even on Ford’s own website. Except, officially, Ford never designated any Mustang as a 1964-1/2 model year car.
“All of the first production Mustangs built from February 10, 1964, through July 31, 1964, were titled as 1965 model year cars,” according to Robert Fria, an expert in pre-production and early production Mustangs who wrote the definitive book on the subject, “Mustang Genesis: The Creation of the Pony Car.” As Fria and many others have pointed out, just looking at the VIN of any early production Mustang should bear that out: All of them – whether the one Fria discovered with serial number 100002 or the one that Captain Stanley Tucker bought with serial number 100001 – start with the digit 5 for the 1965 model year.
Case closed, really short article, right? So then why did the 1964-1/2 “model year” become so widespread to the point where it gets its own entry in year-by-year Mustang reference books and where the Mustang Club of America reportedly considers 1964-1/2 as a separate model year?
Part of it comes down to the introduction of the Mustang in April 1964, well out of line with the traditional model year cycle: The rest of the 1965 Fords didn’t debut until that September. While unusual in comparison with prevailing trends through the rest of the industry, it was actually in line with Ford’s mid-year introductions of the Falcon Futura and Galaxy 500XL Sports Hardtop the year prior, as Brad Bowling pointed out in the “Standard Catalog of Mustang” (which, incidentally, has an entire section on the “1964-1/2” Mustang). Indeed, given the success of such introductions – the Mustang essentially had the field to itself when it came to new-car publicity that spring, and that introduction date may have even been key to the avalanche of first-year sales – one has to wonder why we haven’t seen many subsequent mid-year introductions. (Outside of unintentional ones like the 1970-1/2 Camaro, its introduction delayed by a strike.)
Speaking of sales, Ford reported a total of 680,989 first-year Mustang sales, though that total is comprised of the 121,538 early Mustangs sold prior to the traditional start of the 1965 model year and the 559,451 sold during the 1965 model year.
Part of it also arises from the many changes that Ford introduced to the Mustang around the start of traditional 1965 model year production, leading enthusiasts to start referring to the early Mustangs as “1964-1/2” cars simply to differentiate them from the regular production year cars. Those early cars, for instance, had a much different engine lineup, consisting of the U-code 101hp one-barrel 170-cu.in. six-cylinder, the F-code 164hp two-barrel 260-cu.in. V-8, the D-code 210hp four-barrel 289-cu.in. V-8, and the famed K-code 271hp four-barrel 289-cu.in. V-8. Once regular 1965 model year production started, only the K-code remained; the T-code 120hp 200-cu.in. six-cylinder replaced the U-code, the C-code 200hp two-barrel 289-cu.in. V-8 replaced the F-code, and the A-code 225hp four-barrel 289-cu.in. V-8 replaced the D-code. In addition, all early 1965 Mustangs had generators while all regular production year 1965 Mustangs came equipped with alternators.
Mustang enthusiasts generally use engine codes and the presence of a generator to distinguish early from regular production 1965 cars, but a host of other changes took place in late summer 1964. Bowling notes a number of those changes, including the switch from C-clips for the interior door handles to Allen screws, slightly wider Mustang nameplates, and the switch from interior-color to chrome door lock buttons. Others have noted that regular production model year cars had an adjustable front passenger seat in place of the earlier fixed seat, that the early cars equipped with automatic transmissions had smaller shifter handles, and that the fuel-filler cap was given a tether to make it more theft-resistant. By far the most comprehensive accounting of the changes appears to be in Colin Date’s book, “Original Mustang, 1964-1/2 – 1966,” in which he points out, for instance, slight sheetmetal changes at the base of the windshield wipers, the switch from rubber to plastic trunk mats, color-keyed seat belt latches replacing chromed latches, different AM radios, and the brake light switch location moving off of the master cylinder. Even paint colors and codes changed quite a bit from early to regular production 1965 cars.
Two distinctly modern Shelby Mustangs, produced during parallel model years with a set of stripes and goosed-up V-8s. One was a Shelby-licensed Ford factory effort: a comprehensively engineered, 500-hp, supercharged, stick-axle snake that was, for a moment, the most powerful production muscle-car on the planet. The other is a true Shelby-modified ’Stang, marginally more than an aesthetic package with some quality bolt-ons.
Which would you expect to be more collectible? The 500-hp monster, right? Correct!
Well, kind of. Maybe. It’s complicated.
As you probably gleaned from the headline and that pretty pony in the lead image, these mystery Mustangs are the 2007–2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2007–2008 Shelby GT (SGT). And, if you determine collectability by which trades hands for more cash, then yes, the GT500 is the obvious winner with overall higher values across all conditions, according to the Hagerty Valuation Tool.
The money favors the big, beefy GT500, but something’s happening with the lesser-known Shelby GT. Both ’Stangs have increased their values since 2020, but the understudy SGT has outpaced the GT500 in appreciation.
Pause for a moment—here’s some context before we get nerdy with the numbers. In the mid-2000s, the Mustang brand was arguably the strongest it’d been in decades, with the newly-launched S197-generation Mustang (2005–2013) ushering a surge of sales from a horde of new and returning Mustang owners looking to mainline a fat dose of nostalgia with the S197’s neo-retro design.
The time was right for a Shelby resurgence. Despite a successful turn at hopping-up Omnis, Chargers, and Dakotas for Chrysler, Carroll Shelby’s surname hadn’t graced the decklid of a Mustang in any capacity since Shelby legally re-VIN’d 789 unsold 1969 GT500s as model year 1970. The S197 reawakened Shelby’s relationship with the Mustang, first with the rare 2005 CS6 and CS8 Mustang packages, and shortly thereafter with a 21st-century rekindling of his bonds with Ford and Hertz. The two corporate giants teamed up with the famed Mustang maestro for the 2006 Shelby GT-H, a limited 500-unit run of Shelby-fied black-and-gold Mustang GTs exclusively for Hertz’s rental fleets that recalled the original Shelby-Hertz partnership from 1966.
A year later, Ford and Shelby collaborated again on the 2007–2008 Shelby GT as a commercially-available production version of the former GT-H—which, by the way, returned to Hertz’s fleet for the 2007 model year configured only as a convertible. For SGT production, Ford followed in the spirit of the Shelby Mustangs of 1960s yore by shipping new Mustang GTs straight from the factory to Shelby’s facility in Las Vegas for the hop-up kit.
A new intake, ECU, and exhaust squeezed another 19 hp and 10 lb-ft of torque out of the GT’s 4.6-liter V-8 for a total of 319 hp and 330 lb-ft. Upgraded springs, dampers, and thicker sway bars from a Ford Performance suspension kit significantly improved handling. Aesthetically, the rear spoiler was deleted and a new retro-style hood scoop, chrome five-spoke American Racing-style wheels, a new grille, and rear diffuser were added. Inside, the requisite Shelby commemorative plaque sits on the dash above a classic cue-ball shifter.
So, it’s best to consider the SGT a “Mustang GT-Plus” with Shelby bona fides. It never had its time at the top of the hierarchy however, as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 also landed on U.S. tarmac in 2007. Developed almost entirely in-house by Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) with only consultation and licensing from Shelby, the new GT500 was fully built by Ford at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant. Differences over its siblings were substantial: a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 ripped the rear tires with 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, bigger Brembo brakes, and an aggressive suspension with revised springs and dampers to manage the added heft and power. It also sported a vented hood, different front fascia, and rear spoiler, along with its own unique wheels and tires
There hasn’t been a new Fox Body Mustang in a Ford showroom for almost 30 years, but this third-generation pony car remains popular with enthusiasts and tuners for several reasons. The Fox Body Mustang runs from 1979-1993 model years. And, Mustang lovers appreciate that the Fox Body is:
With this in mind, let’s look at the history of the Fox Body Mustang and its origins. We’ll answer your “what is a Fox Body” questions on Ford’s longest-running generation of Mustang.
1976 Mustang Fox Body Concept Car
Let’s head back to the mid-1970s when the U.S. had just come off the first oil embargo that caused oil prices to increase by 300%. At the same time, the effects of the federal Clean Air Act were imposing stricter emission standards and limiting engine performance. The initial waves of the Japanese auto invasion also gained strength as consumers could choose from import sports cars like the Datsun 240Z.
Add in that the Pinto-based second-generation Mustang II was underwhelming consumers, and Ford executives were undoubtedly enjoying heartburn and sleepless nights. So, the need for a re-invigorated Mustang was paramount for the automaker to stay competitive. The race was on to develop the third-generation Mustang.
It began in 1975 when Ford veteran Jack Telnack was tasked to be the chief designer of the third-gen Mustang. Fresh from his company assignments in Europe and Australia, Telnack had visions of a completely new Mustang with design influences from the Old Continent. At the same time, company honcho Henry Ford II mandated specific body characteristics like a blunt front end from earlier Mustangs.
Fox Body Designs Conflict With Henry Ford II’s Instructions
“Thou shalt never do a slantback front end. Henry Ford II only wants vertical front end, and he’ll show us the door if we ever try anything like it.” Ford vice president of design Gene Bordinat was quoted saying in a 2013 Road & Track article. Further complicating Telnack’s task was the requirement that his new creation uses the new Fox Body platform that would first appear in 1978 with the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr.
Three separate design teams were formed to develop new looks for the Mustang. This included one group based out of the company’s Ghia design studios in Italy, which Ford had acquired in 1970. Design concepts ranged from a fastback coupe to a Mustang station wagon with “woody” body panels. Yes, there could have been a Mustang wagon.
In a HowStuffWorks story, Telnack recounts how he had to convince Henry Ford II of the proposed Mustang’s aero looks as a better choice than the boxy designs of old Mustangs. “I consider the ’79 Mustang a breakthrough car. It was the first project I worked on when I returned from Europe. It was such a departure from anything we were doing here.” Telnack would later go on to design the groundbreaking 1986 Ford Taurus and its jelly-bean body style.
Fox Body Mustang: Through The Years
The 1979 Mustang launched the Fox Body era for Ford’s pony car. We’ll take a year-by-year stroll through history as we explore Fox Body Mustang specs and other essential details. We’ll also point out many of the horsepower and torque numbers, but if you’re looking for more detail, check out our full breakdown of Fox Body Horsepower & Torque Numbers.
1979 Mustang: Details
Ford opened the third generation of the Mustang for the 1979 model year with a dizzying array of engine choices and a completely new car inside and out. Top power comes from the venerable Windsor 4.9L V-8, making 139 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque with a reported 8.3 second time for a 0-60 run. At launch, other powerplant choices include the Cologne 2.8L V-6 with 104 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque and a 2.3L I-4 with 89 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. A turbo version of the four-banger was offered, which produced 130 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque.
Midway through 1979, the Cologne V-6 was swapped for a 3.3L straight-six with 89 hp and 143 lb-ft of torque. The Mustang was offered in both notchback and fastback body styles. Be sure to check out the Steeda article revolving around the Notchback vs Hatchback when it comes to Fox Body Mustangs.
Special editions for 1979 include the hatchback-only Cobra, which had the turbo-four under the hood, and the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replica. The first Mustang Indy pace car since 1964, buyers could choose from the V-8 or turbo-four.
1980 Mustang: Details
The second year of the Fox Body Mustang saw no significant changes other than saying goodbye to the Windsor V-8. This powerplant was replaced with a small-block 4.2L V-8 (a neutered version of the Windsor) that offered only 119 hp and 194 lb-ft of torque.
Special editions for 1980 included a tweaked Cobra that had elements from the ’79 Indy pace car: modified grille, hood treatment, and rear spoiler. Thanks to a $25,000 price tag, only five copies of the M81 MacLaren Mustang were sold. However, the M81 did serve as the foundation for Ford’s special vehicle options (SVO) unit
1981 Mustang: Details
For 1981, Mustang carried with no virtually unchanged other than the addition of a t-top roof option and that the turbo-four was entirely dropped from the engine lineup. Cobra power now comes only from the 4.2L V-8. Interestingly, hatchback sales have now exceeded notchback sales for the first time. The trend will continue for the remainder of the Fox Body generation.
1982 Mustang: Details
To the relief of enthusiasts, 1982 Mustang specs include the return of the Windsor V-8, now called the 5.0 H.O. (high output) engine. At the same time, the Mustang GT is relaunched. This legendary combination is one of the hallmarks of the Fox Body Mustang, although the 5.0 could be ordered as a stand-alone option. All things seemed right with the world as the new engine was rated for 157 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Ford reworked the Mustang’s trim levels with the base L available only in the notchback, while the upscale G.L. and GLX could be ordered in either body style. The 2.3L four-cylinder and the 3.3L straight-six carried on unchanged.
1983 Mustang: Details
1983 marks important updates to America’s favorite sports car. After a decade-long absence, a Mustang convertible is returned to the lineup, while a mid-cycle refresh included a new front end and updated taillights. Improvements continue for the Fox Body Mustang as the 5.0 engine now makes 175 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque. The Essex 3.8L V-6, with 112 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, becomes the sole six-cylinder engine for the Mustang.
Special editions include the Turbo GT, which saw the return of a boosted four-cylinder engine making 145 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to less power and a higher price than the 5.0, the Turbo GT never took off.
1984 Mustang: Details
There were no significant changes for 1984 among standard Mustangs. The base L model could now be ordered in either notchback or hatchback body style and the mid-tier G.L. and GLX models were blended into a single LX trim. In addition, the Essex V-6 became standard equipment for the convertible.
1984 is perhaps most memorable for special-edition Mustangs. Beyond the carryover Turbo GT, buyers could choose the memorable SVO Mustang (with a turbo four-cylinder making 175 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque) or the 20th Anniversary GT (with a choice of non-SVO turbo four or the 5.0L V-8).
We humans have an odd tendency to collect things: coins, stamps, shot glasses… When we find some object that appeals to us, we seem to want to multiply the joy it brings by finding more of that thing, and in whatever variations may exist. Chasing down those variations often becomes the continuing challenge that makes the collecting exciting — the thrill of the hunt and the conquest of capture.
Following that logic, if desirable items that bring joy and that come in many variations are the basis for a fulfilling collection, cars are a natural focus, and car collecting has been going on since the time the earliest automobiles were deemed “classics,” once they’d become old enough to be somewhat scarce. Traditionally, that has meant at least a few decades beyond manufacture, but a shift seemed to occur in the early 1980s as the muscle cars of the ’60s and early ’70s started to become sought by enthusiasts. In most cases, the favored models weren’t even 20 years old yet, but a couple things happened to hasten the movement: The muscle car era ended rather abruptly in the early ’70s, and the original buyers of those cars started to feel the tug of nostalgia.
We’ve been celebrating those same cars ever since, but what about the second coming of Detroit’s performance wars? That next wave of factory-built hot rods began right around the time the earlier muscle cars first began to climb in value thanks to enthusiast interest. Shouldn’t those later models have followed suit?
1992 SAAC MK1
The 1992 SAAC Mk 1 was a special edition produced to honor the efforts of Carroll Shelby during his Ford period while also yielding a Mustang that outperformed standard 5.0 models. Only 62 were produced, and this one has just 13 miles.
“A good friend is into ’40 Fords; he used to make fun of these cars,” Dave W. says, standing in the building that houses his gathering of Mustangs from Ford’s Fox era. That sort of sentiment was not unusual from traditional auto enthusiasts, who still tend to view cars of the ’80s as “late models” that don’t warrant collector interest. Perspective plays a role — some people may not recognize that an ’83 Mustang is about to turn 40. To others, these cars were produced in numbers too great to be considered “rare.” But to Dave, there’s a vast performance history to highlight from this period of Ford’s past. Plus, a whole new generation of fans are now getting nostalgic.
“I have such fond memories of these cars — that’s a big part of their appeal,” he explains, but we couldn’t help but wonder why a Mustang fan had nothing from the model’s earliest days. “I’m not as into the early cars because I didn’t grow up with them; I grew up with the Fox cars — those were the years I followed them.”
Dave started out on the path to the Blue Oval camp early. “My grandfather worked for Ford and took me to the Metuchen [New Jersey] plant a few times when I was young. They weren’t building Mustangs anymore — it was Ranger trucks then — but the Ford influence set in.” Like so many car-crazed kids, Dave saved up his money and was able to buy a 1985 Mustang GT in 1987, citing reasons beyond the Dearborn connection. “The 5-liters were accessible and affordable; the IROCs and Trans Ams seemed expensive.
From there, the hook was set. He bought an ’89 Mustang LX 5.0 later, but when he started a business, the fun cars had to go for a while. Once the business grew, he was able to get back into it. “At first, I focused on ’85s and ’86s, since those were the cars I got started with,” Dave says, but it was just the spark for what he would soon pursue. When a friend and fellow Mustang enthusiast showed him some of the extremely low-mileage examples of the same-era cars, Dave was fascinated by their “Day One” time-capsule quality. It changed the course of his own collecting.
“Then I said, I really want to have a great collection of the best cars of this era. I want people to be able to see what they were like when they were brand new. I often call these ‘no-mileage’ cars, because a ‘low-mileage’ car can have 15-20,000 miles in most people’s view. The cars I am interested in usually have less than 100.”
The precedent established by muscle car collecting helped to create some real gems among the cars that came later — enthusiasts were more aware of the collector appeal of examples that were hardly used, as opposed to those that had been restored to that state. But many of the cars now in Dave’s collection take the “it’s only original once” mantra to the extreme, presenting not simply as they might have been in the showroom, but as they were rolling off the transport truck. An early addition to this gathering exemplifies this and came from Dave’s friend — the one who’d first piqued his interest in essentially untouched cars.
“The ’90 LX notchback is one my friend bought years ago from a Ford dealer’s personal collection. The car had never been prepped and was still on MSO [Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin]. It was in their warehouse, and when the dealer finally decided to part with it, my friend got it — there are still only around 81 miles on it now,” Dave explains. Looking at this specimen will trigger a memory jog for anyone who ever paid attention to Fox Mustangs when they were new. The details of the factory paint surface quality, the single narrow pinstripe, the finish on the “10-hole” wheels, which have never had their center caps installed. It really is a trip, particularly on a model that was not typically saved on speculation of future value — these cars were bought to be driven, yet this one still has the factory crayon markings in the windows.
Wednesday night’s reveal of the 2024 seventh-generation Ford Mustang kicked off the Detroit Auto Show in dramatic fashion. Not only did it introduce a new, sleek evolution of the iconic pony car in a festival setting at Hart Plaza, but it reset the standard for future vehicle introductions, particularly at the North American International Auto Show.
The lead up to the reveal was more than two weeks long, with the popular The Drive Home to The Mustang Stampede bringing at least one example of each of the six generations of Mustangs “home” to Detroit, along with a camouflaged seventh-generation prototype driven by the S650 Product Development Launch Leader Marty Mosakowski. Crossing more than 3,400 miles from its start in Tacoma, the tour invited Mustang enthusiasts from all across America to drive with the group for an hour, a day, or a week. Some diehard Mustang fanatics logged 1,000 miles or more to be a part of this historic event.
Mustangs from all eras filled the parking lot at Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, for a sprawling Mustang lovefest prior to a police-led procession downtown for the reveal. Per Ford’s suggestion, many owners showed up in period costume, with the Sixties and Seventies styles most popular.
Joining the fun was the Allen family from Kansas City, Missouri. Sean Allen had owned a 1996 Mustang in college, and had been following the coverage of The Drive Home here on Hemmings. At 11 a.m. the previous day, he and his wife Caroline decided to have an adventure, and loaded up their seven kids – Israel, Carrianna, Olivia, Emily, Deborah, Sophia, and young Jackson – into their “Bustang GT” Ford Transit van, determined to catch up to our group. They arrived at 1 a.m. in Auburn, Indiana, only to find one hotel room available, prompting Sean to sleep in the van overnight. Arriving more than 750 miles later in Dearborn with their Transit playfully painted-up, the photogenic family quickly became one of the media darlings of the event.
No road trip really becomes official until you have a few hours of driving under your belt. So while Tuesday night’s cruise-in kickoff at the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, was the official start of America’s Automotive Trust and the North American International Auto Show’s The Drive Home to The Mustang Stampede, it wasn’t until our 8 a.m. fire-drill start from Yakima that our trip began in earnest.
A contingent of Yakima-area Mustang owners had driven over the pass to the Tacoma launch party to escort us back to their home town. One of them was Captain Jeff Pfaff of the Yakima Fire Department in his white 2012 Boss 302. Captain Jeff left word with his colleagues at the Yakima Police Department, who put our hotel parking lot on their overnight patrol, allowing for a measure of comfort in our short sleep. Jeff is also a co-founder of Cars, Chrome and Coffee in Yakima, an inclusive event with emphasis on turning out young car enthusiasts. As we are finding out, passionate and helpful Mustang guys are all across this country.
Joining us on the trip is one representative of each of the six generations of Ford Mustangs, along with the yet-unreleased Gen 7 car, wearing a thick armor of skunk works camouflage vinyl and prosthetics. Designed with a fair amount of science involved, the wrap was tested at Ford’s wind tunnel at 150 mph. The mimicked porthole opera windows, a nod to the iconic 1955 Thunderbird, were just the S650 production team having some fun.
The interior of the car is cloaked as well, and none of us are allowed inside. We get it. Keeping secrets has been a problem on the Gen 7 rollout, Ford’s biggest and most anticipated in years. First, pictures of the gauge cluster and interior were caught by Dearborn paparazzi, and images of the front end hit the internet. Then, the reveal at the Detroit Auto Show as leaked. “We’ve fired five people over this,” said S650 Launch Leader Marty Mosakowski. “Three (breaches) were accidental. Some engineers had to pull over in a Kroger parking lot to gather analytics, and raised up the cloak on the dash, and pics were snapped by industry spies. Two other in-house guys purposely took photos of the front end, and were caught on camera at our facility. Two hundred and fifty engineers attended a mandatory ‘stand down’ meeting, where camouflage policy was discussed and disciplinary actions reinforced. Secrecy has been a top priority on this project.