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First Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang

Re-imagining an icon.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Mustang GT maintains its basic design cues without looking retro.

“When you’re redoing an icon,” says Ford’s new CEO Mark Fields, you find yourself gripped by “a combination of a great honor and a great fear.” Just ask Dave Pericak, who was given the daunting job of redesigning one of those icons as the chief engineer for the 2015 Ford Mustang program.

It wasn’t just a new version of the classic pony car Pericak had to shepherd into production, but the creation of a vehicle worthy of being the 50th anniversary Mustang.  It had to be, as he is fond of saying, “the best Mustang ever.” No idle boast, but, after spending a few days watching a procession of automotive journalists get their first rides in the pony car, Pericak looked more than a bit relieved. As well he should.

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There are a few nits to pick, but they’re largely cosmetic, a few places Ford might have stretched a little further. But there’s little doubt that the coupe and convertible muscle cars Ford will be shipping to dealers around the world in the months ahead can far and away lay claim to being the best Mustang ever.

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First Drive: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

Is this the ultimate weapon in the Pony Car Wars?

by on Jun.18, 2012

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 does a 662-hp burnout.

Ever since Chevrolet brought back the Camaro, a few years back, the pony car wars have turned into a real firefight.  Anyone who thought that we’re long past the gold are of the American muscle car just has to spend a little time behind the wheel of one of the latest offerings from Chevy, Chrysler or Ford.

The latter maker pretty much had the class pony car segment all to itself for a number of years, but Mustang has had a tough time since Camaro’s return.  Who says competition isn’t a wonderful thing?  Both makers – and Chrysler, with the Challenger – have made some amazing improvements lately.  As we discovered getting behind the wheel of Ford’s latest spin on the Mustang, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500.

Ford’s ties to Shelby go back nearly half a century, the first Shelby Mustang proving that the little coupe approved by Lee Iacocca and company was more than just a sexy little poseur.  In recent years, we’ve seen the Shelby imprimatur on a series of impressive Mustangs, including one now coming out of the late Carroll Shelby’s own tuner shop near Las Vegas.

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Don’t confuse that customized Mustang with the one Ford is rolling off its own assembly line.  The Shelby American version is a low-volume offering that, for nearly as much as you’d pay for a Ferrari will get you a mind-boggling 950 horsepower – a reported 1,100 in track trim.  By comparison, the Ford Shelby GT500 will “only” churn out 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque.

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540 HP = No Waiting!

Spinning tires in the 2012 Roush RS3

by on Dec.23, 2011

Roush RS3 – it doesn’t stay stationary for long. All photos for this article by author Jason Sakurai.

We road test a lot of vehicles, and some are simply more inspiring than others. There are hybrids, econocars, family sedans, European luxury boats, and then there’s the 2012 Roush Stage 3 Mustang convertible.

Ford’s Mustang is a nice ride, no question about it, but when Jack Roush, of Roush-Fenway Racing fame, and one of the world’s leading automotive authorities, tweaks it, you get something positively evil, wicked, mean and nasty.

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The front engine/rear-wheel-drive configuration uses Ford’s 5.0L 4-valve DOHC TiVCT 412 HP Coyote engine. To that, Roush adds its R2300 supercharger with 10 PSI of boost.  What you wind up with is 540 readily available horses. Roush also includes a 3-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty for those prone to excessive applications of the go pedal.

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