It felt like an eternity before the guy showed up with the 2005 Ford Mustang GT Convertible I had been waiting for. It's funny because he was actually early! Then I saw it. Holy retro Batman, that's one yellow car. Bright yellow, black top, and Thrust-style five spoke wheels lay before me. I slid down into the black leather interior. Egad! More retro assaults me in the interior. This much attention to style and design makes you wonder, is this going to be a boulevard cruiser or will it have real performance?
Actually, the car doesn?t look that bad at all. The color is a little loud, but I?ll see if it grows on me. The
interior seems to be very well made and the materials quality is on par with the Ford Freestyle I just finished up
with. I?ll investigate the interior and exterior in detail some other day.
So, this is one huge hunk of Americana. It?s like a Norman Rockwell painting of an apple pie, at least that?s what
you would think.
Actually, the Mustang was developed from the C1 platform, which is shared with the Mazda3,
Volvo S40/V50, and European Focus. Of course, this is no economy car, but the front suspension and even the rear
trailing arms all hail from that most flexible platform. Originally, Ford was set on developing the Mustang on
a version of its DEW98 platform, which is shared between the Ford Thunderbird, Lincoln LS, and Jaguar S-Type. That plan
proved to be too expensive, and most future plans for that particular platform seem to fade out. The DEW98 is a pretty
sophisticated architecture with its fully independent double wishbone suspension. [I edited the section about the C1
out. Basically, the Mustang is not based on the DEW98, despite many media reports to the contrary. It is more
productive for everyone to call the Mustang platform all new. Although it may share some components or be an evolution
of other platforms, it is essentially all new. With that in mind, I will personally vouch for the Mustang platform and
I hope to see it show up in other FoMoCo products.]
That?s not to say the new Mustang is unsophisticated, despite its solid rear axle. When you think that the previous generation Mustang can trace it?s lineage to the late seventies and the Fairmont, the new Mustang is a huge leap forward. After personally having a 2003 Mustang GT hard top, I can vouch for that.
What is funny is when I first dropped into the seat I didn?t like it at all. I had the same impression the first time I drove my previous ?stang. While it took me two days to warm up to the 2003, it took about five miles before I was singing the 2005?s praises. The charm of the older car was its V8 power, and the car did not really come alive unless you where really driving it hard. Otherwise, it felt really crude and unsophisticated. Coming out of a much quieter car, the Freestyle, the Mustang?s V8 growl was a little off-putting on startup. The rest of the package is well executed and vastly superior to the SN95 Mustang it replaces. The new car?s ride quality, ergonomics, performance are all superior to the last generation. Oh, and the V8 certainly does grow on you. I?m dreaming about it as I type this up.
Just this first day, the convertible seems to be a touch more rigid than my previous hardtop. Actually, it might be a little less, but that?s still saying quite a bit for a convertible. Based on the first day, I would say the Mustang is not quite as stiff as many of the popular sporty roadsters out there, but it?s much better than many other convertibles, like Ford?s other retro convertible the Thunderbird. It seems that is where the Mustang lies. It is not as sporty as the smaller and lighter roadsters in its price range, but it?s significantly more aggressive than anything else with four seats and a drop top. As the week progresses, I will have a better idea about whether this whole package is a good deal.