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Clearly emulating the Grabber Orange available on a '70 Boss 302, the 2007 Ford Mustang GT Convertible we were given by the guys at Motor City Solutions attracted lots of attention everywhere it was parked. The color screamed for attention on its own, but when combined with the retro look, boomers were drawn to the car like kids to candy.
Being fortunate enough to have unseasonably warm weather for December, we had the chance to experience this car in its true element. With the top down and the heater blasting, after all, unseasonably warm in Michigan in December is still only 50 degrees; the car was an absolute blast.
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Read through after the jump for the full review.
The new Mustang was designed to stoke the emotional fire of the true Mustang enthusiast. The retro styling, both inside and out, takes strong cues from many of the early cars, namely the 64½ to 70 models. The exterior looks like a modernized interpretation of all that was good about these cars, with the three-bar taillights, grill mounted fog lights and stylized gas cap (although included here just for decoration). Interior bits, like the instrument cluster, seating material and patterns are again a great emulation of the old in the new, but that's where the old ends and the new really comes on strong.
The interior of the Mustang features seating for four, but the people in the back seat won't want to be there for long. This car defines the term "2+2". With a 6' driver or front passenger comfortably seated, the rear seatback leaves only about 4" between it and the lower rear seat cushion; barely enough room for a computer bag, never mind the legs of a human being. The front seats are very comfortable and are power adjustable for everything except seatback rake. They provide a decent amount of lateral support without being intrusive to us manly men. The shifter falls readily to hand and has plenty of room to be shifted aggressively without concerns of punching the dash or smashing an elbow. This means a lot to those of us who have suffered stitches to our right hands after power-shifting an older 5.0!
The 4.6-liter 3-valve V8 makes the kind of power that American musclecar drivers like to feel. The engine is very flexible and makes great torque down low and pulls strong all the way to its 6,250 rpm redline, where we found ourselves running into the very abrupt rev limiter on more than one occasion. The Tremec 3650 5-speed manual transmission is a little notchy when rowing through the gears, but not bad considering the short and definitive movements of the shifter. This particular car also featured an upgraded 3.55 axle ratio, up from the standard 3.31, which helped swing the tach needle in the MYCOLOR adjustable "pony-style" instrument cluster just a tick quicker.
The chassis does a reasonably good job at keeping that retro feel going, albeit with modern damping and progressive spring rates providing a much more confidence inspiring experience behind the wheel. Like most Mustangs before it, this car will understeer when pushed to maintain the peace among those who shouldn't be driving that fast. For those of us who can, the tail of the pony can easily be provoked into fun with just a little more throttle, but be sure you turn off the traction control before attempting any shenanigans, as it will shut them down quite quickly. Breakaway is relatively progressive and very easy to control with either the throttle (most fun) or the steering wheel (still entertaining).
The most notable downside of the convertible body style is the very noticeable cowl shake with the top up or down. With the top down, it is easy to watch through the rear view mirror as the cowl and windshield shake in one direction and the spoiler on the decklid goes the other. The Mustang had actually been getting better in this area, but the most current version seems to have taken a step backward. The first trip we would make if we owned this car would be to a shop for a set of subframe connectors to substantially stiffen up the structure of the car. As good and predictable as the car feels, this one modification would make a substantial improvement in both ride and handling.
That said, this really is a fun car and would be at near top of our list of reasonably priced automotive entertainment. With 300 horsepower, a manual transmission and the top down on a sunny day, there aren't any other cars under $40K that deliver like the Mustang. The original pony car DNA still remains and is as enticing to enthusiasts of all ages as it has been for over 40 years.
Here are links to our previous Mustang reviews.
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