An American Revolution…… Ford Style

29 Oct

1970 was the last year that Ford built a Mustang worth taking a second glance at…. in my opinion of course.  It was only a few years later that the rest of the muscle car segment followed suit and dove head long into an era of soggy drivetrains, lack luster style, and cost cutting atrocities that lasted more the three decades.  While it wasn’t just American cars that suffered from the quarter century of dark ages they have taken the longest to recover.

While the Ford Mustang had an extensive overhaul in 2005 that brought a beautiful retro design that payed homage to the mustangs of the 60’s it’s engine and chassis were still archaic and struggled to keep up with fellow competitors from Japan and Germany like the Nissan 350Z.  The 4.6L V8 that powered the GT did well enough but by 2010 it had been in use for well over 10 years and was quickly falling behind new hi-tech competitors.  The base Mustang’s 4.0L V6 could be described as nothing better than dinosaur that would have served better as an anchor than an engine and produced an anemic 210 horsepower for car that wasn’t exactly lightweight.

2011 5.0 Mustang

2010 brought yet another freshening for the Mustangs styling but the real news is what 2011 brought under the hood.  Both V6 and V8 Mustangs got new hi-tech engines that made the outgoing models look like ancient artifacts with huge gains in power and fuel efficiency.  The V6 Mustang for example gets a new 3.7L V6 with an aluminum block, twin independent variable cam timing, four valves per cylinder and a whopping 305 horsepower that will send the Mustang from 0-60 MPH sizzling 5.1 seconds.  Not to mention all those goodies and power still bring an estimated 19/31 MPG and for just over $22,995.  In case you were wondering this years V6 Mustang nearly outperforms last years V8.

5.0 V8

The Mustang GT for 2011 gets a new hi-tech 5.0L V8 that pumps out a healthy 412 horsepower.  From a standstill the GT can reach 60 MPH in 4.4 seconds and trip the lights at the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds; that’s BMW M3 territory, a car that costs twice what the mustang will run you.  Thanks to the use of variable valve timing and other techno goodies you can still achieve a best in class 17/26 MPG when compared to the new Camaro SS and Dodge Challenger SRT8, which by the way are two other cars which have busted out of the dark ages in big ways as well.  For 2011 however the Mustangs both V6 and V8 are my pick for best American muscle car.  They have come so far from their dark pasts of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s and rather than playing second fiddle to other muscle cars the Mustang now leads the pack.

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