Since 1964, the Ford Mustang has been one of a handful of symbols of American muscle. An old myth has it that the muscle car was created during a briefing between the Ford guys while having steak and beer. They’d allegedly been discussing how to craft a car for the young performance enthusiast, as well as economy buyers and the middle-aged affluent. Of course, the car was a hit, and now, 50 years later, it’s still thriving.
We had the chance to take the infamous muscle car for a full week and see what it has to offer. Being given the chance to experience the iconic stallion with the return of Ford’s 2011 5.0-Liter engine was jitter inducing.
The new and improved HO engine let out a heart stopping 420 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. And if you don’t remember, the HO engine is an aluminum block engine with cold-air induction and an 11:1 compression ratio. In other words, it’s an artistic piece of aspirated power, and delivers the adrenaline you want when you want it.
Driving this car around St. Petersburg was, well, amazing, to say the least. People hear the rumble and gurgle of the V8 and turn their heads. What’s better was there were still people stopping to take photos of the ingot metallic silver pony, even though the GT is one of the best selling, and so more commonly seen, sports cars.
The car featured performance pieces carried over from the Shelby big brother that, while didn’t make it truly comparable, improved the handling from last year. The electric power steering offered three options: Standard, Sport and Comfort. We of course left it on Sport and enjoyed ourselves.
Traction control with this car is important; while it’s on, the light flickers maniacally as though the Florida roads have turned to ice. When it’s off; I had to watch the position of my foot to ensure I didn’t turn sideways. The thrill of the 3,618 pound animal having the ability to whip its rear end around in an instant keeps your fingers gripping around the wheel for dear life.
The inside of the “stang” was much like the last few years, somewhat boxy but with better technology. Sporty muscle derived bucket seats and fine charcoal black leather make for a spacious but powerful feel while behind the wheel.
We were glad to have received the convertible, as a drive to Orlando demanded some extra fun. With the top down we could hear the loud rumbles of the engine, making every fellow driver aware of the presence of the classic muscle. The Mustang GT is everything an enthusiast can ask for, anything an affluent buyer can hope for, all for an affordable price. It’s hard to believe this idea likely came to be via some guys talking over steak and beer.