There was something notably absent from the wild, six-city media extravaganza Ford staged on Thursday for the preview of the 50th anniversary Mustang: a ragtop.
Long-time fans will recall that the convertible was launched right from the start when former Ford Pres. Lee Iacocca unveiled the original pony car at the New York Auto Show on April 13, 1964. And there’s been a ragtop version of every generation since then. So, shouldn’t Mustang fans expect another one once the 2015 screeches into showrooms?
Absolutely, and Ford gave a first hint of what’s to come when it included this terse mention in its press release for the 2015 Mustang, noting, “Mustang convertible drivers will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car a more upscale appearance and a quieter cabin. The new top lowers twice as fast as before, and has a sleeker profile when folded for open-air motoring.”
We’re expecting to see the convertible in the sheet metal sometime early next year, perhaps during the New York Auto Show which comes a lot closer to the official Mustang 50th anniversary celebration. But if that seems far too long in the future, don’t fret. Ford’s Scott Monty issued an unexpected tweet today, the Mustang Convertible briefly sitting in where the coupe model was later revealed to the world.
What can we tell from this teaser image – and another that was, curiously, leaked by Ford’s UK operations today?
(Taking on the design of the new 2015 Mustang was a plum assignment – but a risky one. Click Here to check out an exclusive conversation with Ford design chief J Mays.
The good news is that the cabriolet seems to maintain the basic lines of the hardtop version, something that sadly doesn’t always happen when engineers get done fitting a folding top.
Still more images unexpectedly leaked out from Australia, of all places, where a video prepared from the 2015 Mustang’s debut shows a Convertible with top both up and down. The new foldaway roof appears to be much more taut than past generations, without the ribbed, “hungry horse” look that has plagued so many convertibles over the years.
(Ford’s new 2015 Mustang a blend of new and old. Click Here for the full story.)
There are a number of unanswered questions, notably including the sort of mechanism Ford plans to use for the 2015 Mustang Convertible. The current model’s folding top is an anachronism, an awkward design that is slow to operate and requires a motorist to mechanically release or re-clasp two latches. By comparison, other makers have generally turned to more sophisticated designs that can be operated with a single button and which can open or close in anywhere from 11 to 35 seconds. Many can even be operated while the car is in motion, albeit at speeds of under 30 mph or so.
Our friends at Autoblog are speculating that the new Mustang Convertible will also adopt a fully electrical system, though they also question that assumption based on what can be seen in the Australian images. So, it seems, we’re likely going to have to wait awhile before getting a clear answer.
But the most important one is that the new Mustang coupe will have a ragtop relative. Whether it will make its appearance in autumn 2014, along with the hardtop is another mystery yet to solve.
(There’ve been plenty of potentially radical alternative Mustang designs over the last 50 years. Click Here to check some of the most odd and interesting ones.)