Read This: Auto critic calls out Corvette, Mustang and Cherokee faithful

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, SUV, Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Design/Style, Read This

2014 Chevy Corvette

Most automotive purists fear change, but not without reason. Change, after all, did kill big-block V8s, along with most station wagons and manual transmissions. But change has also brought with it far more performance, safety and fuel economy – not to mention ridding the world of shag carpet interiors, bias-ply tires and those horrible motorized seatbelts of the early ’90s.

By this time next year, the Chevy Corvette, Jeep Cherokee and next-generation Ford Mustang will all be on sale and will all, in some way, have angered or offended purists. To those critics, Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press is preemptively telling them to stop complaining – at least until they’ve all been driven. From the Corvette’s square taillights and the Cherokee’s radical nose to whatever pony car purists will harp on the 2015 Mustang for, Phelan’s column points out the positives of automotive evolution and the negatives of staying the course for too long. That’s fair enough, but do you think Phelan is on point, or all wet? Head on over to the Detroit Free Press to read his words, then have your say in Comments.

Auto critic calls out Corvette, Mustang and Cherokee faithful originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Introducing the 1965 Ford Mustang

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Etc., Ford

Put on your space suits and diving bell helmets, for it’s time to step into a time capsule. The 50th anniversary of a historic model, like, say, the Porsche 911 this year, is certain to bring flights of nostalgia. This historical trip with the 1965 Mustang, though – preliminary hype for next year’s anniversary, we know – is a swell museum exhibit for anyone who enjoys bygone days of the automobile.

Lee Iaccoca gave a speech to motoring journalists on April 1, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair to introduce a sporty car for younger drivers. His opening line: “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to one of the proudest moments of our lives.” The company was so excited by what it had made that the Mustang was Ford’s first “International Press Introduction,” being introduced to some 2,000 journos around the world on the same day in the US and 11 European cities. Even through its difficult points, no one at the time could have known how well the Mustang would acquit that pride.

After the intro, the press drove Mustangs 750 miles from New York to Dearborn, MI, reading press kits that touted features like the “vertical, three-sectional taillights/turn signals,” “170” six-cylinder engine with 101 horsepower and the available Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

Ford has put Iaccoca’s “remarks” from the “Mustang National News Conference” and the original press kit online, so grab a fountain soda and enjoy.

Introducing the 1965 Ford Mustang originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: How that awesome Mustang R/C car chase vid was made

Filed under: Coupe, Etc., Videos, Ford, Toys/Games

Mustang RC car chase video behind the scenes

We’ve reported on a few R/C car chase videos in the past. One in particular that stands out as a favorite is Zach King’s “The Cliché RC Action Chase.” It featured a pair of Ford Mustang coupes racing through a cardboard city, plowing into outdoor patios and busting through construction zones. It was wonderfully creative and fun to watch, yet we know there was more to its creation than a bunch of guys fooling around with a camera one afternoon.

Turns out we were right, as evidenced by this video produced by Ford that takes us behind the scenes of Zach’s creation. The young filmmaker explains why he chose the Mustang to star in his video, as well as how the cardboard sets were created, what equipment they used for shooting and what it was like when his video went viral. Ford found the young filmmaker and produced the followup as part of its Mustang Countdown video series, which will see a new video about the Mustang culture released every week until the original muscle car’s anniversary on April 17, 2014.

Want to make an RC chase video of your own? Yeah, we do too. Watch the behind-the-scenes video below (you can refresh yourself on the mini feature film, too) before you get started.

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How that awesome Mustang R/C car chase vid was made originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Quick Spin: 2014 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Ford, Quick Spins

2014 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

Up until now, it’s been some years since I managed to get behind the wheel of the hot Mustangs tuned by the folks at Roush Performance. My memories of those vehicles are fond, as the Roush up-fits usually make for better-driving examples of the iconic Ford pony, with better-tuned suspensions, excellent short-shift kits and, of course, huge additions of power. The wake-your-neighbors aural characteristics of these cars have been nothing short of outstanding, too.

But in the years since my last experience with the Roush formula, Ford’s own development team has churned out some pretty potent ‘Stangs. We currently live in a world where the Blue Oval will sell you a Mustang with 662 horsepower from the factory, and the recently departed Boss 302 remains one of the best Mustangs – and best sports coupes – the Autoblog crew has ever driven.

So with great-driving and hugely powerful Mustangs coming straight off the line at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, does the Roush package still offer that extra special something to make it stand out? I spent a week with a Stage 3 coupe to find out.

Driving Notes

  • Within the Stage 3 model range, there are three different “phases” of engine tune that can be had. Our test car, in Phase 1 spec, adds a supercharger to the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V8, the end result being 575 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque. Plenty powerful, for sure, but if that’s not enough to get your motor running (pun totally intended), the Phase 2 kit will net you 625 horsepower and the Phase 3 option packs 675 horsepower. Take that, GT500.
  • One of the most notable characteristics of any Roush package is the exhaust treatment, and as you’d expect, it’s loud. Sorry – loud. Like, tough-to-hold-a-conversation-with-your-copilot loud. There’s a huge roar on startup, and the harder you mash the throttle in every gear, the more robust the noise. We love a tough-sounding Mustang, and in terms of getting noticed and letting folks know that this isn’t your ordinary factory Ford, the Roush treatment is a hilarious thrill. The sound does have a tendency to drone at highway speeds, but it’s a sweet note. Besides, the Mustang’s stock Shaker stereo is pretty horrible at higher volumes, anyway.
  • The big disappointment with the Roush package is the interior, where it feels like a few steps were missed in the customization process. The optional leather Roush-specific seats are nice and decently comfortable, but seriously lack lateral bolstering. Considering you can now get Recaro chairs on every engine configuration of the stock Mustang, these are a must-have for the more hardcore Roush tune. Our car featured the optional rear seat delete, replaced by a functional cross-brace, but that aside, it’s base Mustang GT spec in here. No upgraded stereo and no fussy MyFord Touch, though both can be had for an additional cost. We just miss any big feeling of exclusivity from the cabin.
  • Outside, it’s a different story. The Roush looks fantastic. We dig the visual enhancements like the hood scoop and vents, as well as the revised lower front fascia with pronounced foglamp housings. The added trim along the rocker panels is a nice touch, and while the side window louvers wreck visibility, they look nifty. The upgraded 20-inch wheels look good, too, wrapped in sticky Cooper RS3 275/35R20 tires.
  • With 575 hp and 505 lb-ft of twist on hand, there’s no denying that this Stage 3 Mustang is quick. Roush estimates that hitting 60 miles per hour will take just four seconds, and from behind the wheel, it feels every bit of that. However, even with supercharged thrust, power delivery is very linear, and the Roush is pretty easy to drive at slower speeds around town.
  • Roush has given the Stage 3 a full suite of suspension tuning, and the end result is something that’s far better able to put down all that power than, say, a GT500. But here, too, the car feels many steps away from being an all-out monster. The steering is still sort of vague, and the action of the six-speed manual shifter is rough when trying to quickly row between the gears. The cue ball shifter is cool, yes, but having a proper short-shift kit here would help things tremendously.
  • Larger StopTech brakes with red-painted calipers provide plenty of stopping power, and again, the upgraded suspension is welcome with the added thrust from the 5.0-liter V8, but in a sort of old-school fast-Mustang way – the on-road action still has all the precision of trying to cut tissue paper with a chainsaw. It’s vicious and fun, but it’s not even close to matching what the Boss can throw down.
  • And really, that’s how the Stage 3 Mustang left me feeling after my week behind the wheel: not as good as the Boss 302. The latter remains one of Ford’s best performance creations, and it will indeed be missed. But that’s not all bad for the Roush. Fact is, it’s better to drive than a GT500, even with a reduction of nearly 100 horsepower. (When do you actually need 662 hp, let alone 575, anyway?)
  • As-tested, however, the Stage 3 sits just above the $65,000 mark, which is over $10,000 more than the aforementioned GT500. (That’s $17,000 for the Roush package, over $10,000 in optional extras, and the $38,000 Mustang GT Premium donor car.) If you aren’t just power-hungry, the added cost can be justified by the added exclusivity of the Roush treatment, with a more ferocious exhaust note and unique styling, and the better suspension geometry that results in a more composed on-road demeanor, as well. Of course, there’s the added value of Roush being a full-on OEM, not just an aftermarket tuner bolting accessories onto Mustangs – everything found on this car was specifically designed for it. Really, the Stage 3 kit is just as awesome as it ever was. But these days, it’s just tough to beat what’s coming out of Ford’s own factory.

2014 Roush Stage 3 Mustang originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Quick Spin: Ford Mustang GT Bi-Fuel CNG

Filed under: Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Ford, Quick Spins

2013 Ford Mustang GT Bi-Fuel - front three-quarter view
Highly intrigued, we recently visited a Southern California Gas Company office to check out several hybrid vehicles promising something new. Unlike more commonplace gasoline-electric hybrids, we were there to evaluate innovative gasoline-compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrids – yes, they run on unleaded gasoline and compressed natural gas. According to the experts on hand, this arrangement delivers extended range and reduced emissions while chipping in with lower operating costs than pure-gasoline vehicles. There are advantages over its gasoline-electric counterparts, as well.

The program is part of a three-way collaboration between The Carlab, a Southern California-based automotive consulting firm, Landi Renzo USA, a company specializing in alternative fuel solutions, and America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a group that promotes CNG. Long story short, the team has engineered a way to allow a modified internal combustion vehicle to seamlessly switch between two fuels (gasoline and CNG) with no driver intervention. In theory, and if it works as well as promised, it’s a win-win for the vehicle owner and the environment.

Parked at the Gas Company office were six different gasoline-CNG hybrid vehicles. To demonstrate the technology’s versatility (just about any gasoline vehicle may be modified) Carlab brought a varied assortment of bodystyles, each from a different automaker. After taking a quick glance at the half-dozen in the parking lot, we made a beeline for the performance-oriented Ford Mustang GT – a 2012 model – with the six-speed manual gearbox.

Driving Notes:

  • The conversion to bi-fuel requires the installation of a four-gallon composite CNG tank (3,600 psi) beneath the rear trunk liner, CNG bi-fuel port injectors, a special fuel controller, integrated dash display and some other hardware. With the exception of the blue “CNG” diamond on the rear of the trunk, the exterior of this Mustang hybrid offers little clue to what type of fuel it consumes. The interior of the cabin is equally discreet, but a closer look at the digital panel on the instrument cluster reveals an OEM-like four-bar “GGE” gauge with the tank level. Peering under the hood, the only obvious changes are the new injectors (the CNG tank is filled through a nipple located behind the OEM fuel filler door). The conversion adds about 150 pounds to the coupe’s curb weight.
  • From a driver’s standpoint, vehicle operation is unchanged. A sophisticated controller determines which fuel is best for the job (or a mix of both), so gasoline is often used for the cold start. However, after a few moments of operation, the vehicle will seamlessly switch to more efficient CNG operation for partial throttle and during cruising. A firm press on the accelerator immediately delivers gasoline into the combustion chamber, bringing the Mustang’s full 420 horsepower on tap. During our drive of the manual transmission coupe, we noticed a very slight delay – almost a hiccup – at about 3,000 rpm during the bi-fuel transition (we later drove a BMW X3 automatic, and the changeover from CNG to gasoline was unnoticeable). Once it made it over this hurdle, power delivery was smooth and strong.
  • In addition to the improved efficiency and lack of power compromise, the CNG tank provides a bonus boost in vehicle range. The tank is good for about 55 extra miles, so it adds upwards of 20 percent to the Mustang’s cruising distance. That’s a nice plus.
  • Carlab is touting the gasoline-CNG bi-fuel model as an alternative to plug-in hybrids. Instead of heavy battery packs requiring nightly charging, they envision a world where owners would have a home CNG refill station that would make fueling effortless and bring prices down to about $.80/gallon – a fraction of the price of gasoline.
  • The cost of conversion to the typical passenger vehicle is slightly less than $3,000 (assuming a production rate of 20,000 annual units), meaning the average owner would earn back the cost after about 2.2 years – that’s quicker that the return on investment for a Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt or Toyota Prius, says Carlab.
  • While we were impressed after our first experience with the hybrid gasoline-CNG vehicles, natural gas still has a mountain of hurdles to overcome. Even if one assumes that the non-renewable resource may be easily obtained, the refueling infrastructure will take many years to build.

Ford Mustang GT Bi-Fuel CNG originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford Australia to kill off FPV by 2014 in advance of Mustang return

Filed under: Performance, Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Ford, Australia

Ford Falcon XR8 - front three-quarter view, black

Ford seems to be having a good time yanking our friends in Australia about. First, there was the news that after 90 years, the Blue Oval would be ending Australian production, effectively killing the legendary Falcon sedan. Then, yesterday came the announcement that Oz would be getting the next-generation, global Ford Mustang in 2016. And now, we have news regarding Ford’s Australian tuning partner, FPV.

The group responsible for hot Falcons will be disbanded in 2014, according to Aussie newspaper The Age. FPV’s most recent creation, the GT Falcon, will be discontinued. This news isn’t a tremendous shock, as FPV was recently taken in-house by Ford. The tuning house’s death will not lead to any job loss.

Ford will reportedly continue building Falcons with the GT’s mechanicals, though. That means its 449-horsepower, supercharged V8 will live to fight another Holden. Along with the GT’s upgraded suspension and brakes, the new model will wear the unused XR8 badge, allowing Ford to continue building cars for enthusiasts without spending extra on the pricey styling bits of the GT Falcon.

The XR8 Falcon’s days will still be numbered, though. Falcon production is still on track to end, at which point the Mustang will look to take over the XR8’s performance reins. The Falcon will well and truly die when the Mustang takes over for it in the V8 Supercars series, and the US-built Taurus arrives to handle the sedan’s more domestic duties.

Ford Australia to kill off FPV by 2014 in advance of Mustang return originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford Mustang returning to Australia in 2016

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Coupe, Performance, Ford, Australia

Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper has reported that the next-generation Ford Mustang is heading Down Under in 2016, just as Ford is hanging the “Closed for Good” sign on its Australian manufacturing operations and sending the Falcon to its grave. Ford hasn’t offered any official word on the matter, but the paper says that Ford’s global VP of sales and marketing, Jim Farley, is flying to Australia to make the announcement himself.

While Ford converted Mustangs in the early 2000s from left-hand to right-hand drive for the Australian market and then sold them at high prices, it’s been almost five decades since Ford imported a dedicated right-hand-drive Mustang to Oz. The arrival of the global model specifically made for places like Australia and the UK means Ford will also be able to offer them at better prices than the converted models; the Herald Sun says the price is expected to be “close to $50,000.”

And that’s for one of the “V8 performance models,” which are the only ones Australia will get; Ford apparently won’t send the turbocharged four cylinder or the V6. The Aussies could find out in a month from now whether this rumor is true. We will all find out what this Mustang fuss is about when the car debuts at next year’s New York Auto Show.

Ford Mustang returning to Australia in 2016 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 11:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Hear the 2015 Mustang GT V8 roar for the first time

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ford

Our combined knowledge of the 2015 Ford Mustang continues to deepen, as spy shooters have begun to compile video and audio of the upcoming sixth-generation car.

Case in point is this latest series of video clips, which not only gives us a great vantage point of the Mustang in motion, but also allows us to hear the Ford V8 engine and exhaust. After perusing the aural delights of this short video, which, admittedly, doesn’t catch the Mustang GT at full song, we can at least say that the throaty exhaust isn’t disappointing.

Chances are good that the 2015 Mustang GT will debut with some version of the current (and excellent) Coyote 5.0-liter V8 engine, though we’re unclear as to whether or not the motor has been massaged for its next-gen debut, or what may have been done to exhaust plumbing. At this point, we’re just happy to hear the pony run. Scroll below to hear for yourself.

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Hear the 2015 Mustang GT V8 roar for the first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Next Shelby Mustang to wear GT350 nameplate

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Ford

2015 Ford Mustang spy shots

Earlier this month, rumors started to swirl ’round the web about the next-generation Ford SVT Mustang – the halo version of the all-new 2015 ‘Stang seen testing in the gallery above. Originally, we heard that the Shelby GT500 moniker would be dumped in favor of “a name you’re familiar with,” which some sources guessed could mean a return of the Cobra nameplate.

That might not be correct. According to Road & Track, citing a report from Mustangs Daily, the new range-topping Mustang will bring back the Shelby GT350 name – currently used on an aftermarket version of Ford’s Pony produced by Shelby American (take a look at our recent Quick Spin of that car). Expect the new GT350 to be quite a bit different than the current GT500 – it will be all motor, using a V8 that’s derived from the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote engine (though it will no doubt have a higher displacement). The GT350 will be a lot more powerful than the next Mustang GT, which is expected to offer something like 450 horsepower, but won’t be quite as absurd as the 662-horsepower GT500 we currently enjoy.

The Shelby GT350 will reportedly bow with the rest of the new Mustang range at the 2014 New York Auto Show, which coincides exactly with the original Mustang’s debut at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. If that seems far out, don’t worry, we’ll be seeing the rest of the 2015 Mustang range before then, but Road & Track reports that the 2014 Detroit Auto Show stage will be reserved for the reveal of the next Ford F-150 pickup.

Ford will offer the Shelby GT350 as a 2016 model, and Mustangs Daily reports that a new Mach 1 Mustang will be coming for that year, as well. For 2015, however, Ford will reportedly offer a 50th Anniversary package for the Mustang GT.

More and more Mustang reports will surely leak out over the coming months, so stay tuned. Have a glance at our most recent spy shots, above, and revisit our gallery of the current Shelby GT500 below to see what big shoes the GT350 will have to fill.

Next Shelby Mustang to wear GT350 nameplate originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: 2015 Ford Mustang spied on video for the first time

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Ford

2015 Ford Mustang prototype caught testing while disguised - video screencap

Not many cars will continue to hold our rapt attention quite like the upcoming redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang, codenamed S550 internally. Earlier this month, we brought you the first spy photos of a next-gen Mustang prototype out testing, and even though expertly placed cladding concealed the pony car’s new shape, we could tell that underneath was hiding an altogether new form inspired by the Evos Concept from 2011.

Today we give you some video of what looks to be the same Mustang prototype, which you can watch below, and while the budding director behind the camera wasn’t able to capture much in the way of the engine’s audio signature, we can see the car in motion for the first time and compare its relative size and shape to the S197 Mustang GT that’s on its tail.

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2015 Ford Mustang spied on video for the first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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