2005 Ford Mustang

2005 Ford Mustang 2005 Ford Mustang

Brace yourself for some serious curbside arguments. Ford is reissuing the Mustang for 2005 styled with a dash of '67, a teaspoon of '69, and two full cups of '64 fastback baked into the body. Or is that a pinch of '66 and a dram of '68 served in a bouillabaisse of '69 Boss 302? You be the judge, and let the spit fly.

Those who recall the Mustang GT concept coupe and convertible from last year's Detroit and L.A. auto shows ( C/D, March 2003) know Ford has delivered what it promised, memories pressed in sheetmetal. Although not announced yet, the base sticker prices for the four-seat coupe and convertible should be close to 2004 pricing, says Ford: about $18,000 for a V-6 coupe to about $28,000 for a V-8 convertible. There will be a five-speed stick shift or a five-speed automatic available with both engines. There will also be a familiar suspension, with struts in front and a spruce log of a live axle in back.

Any way you see the new Mustang, you're not about to confuse it with an effete Black Forest bullet, not about to mistake it for a front-drive fadmobile from Fukuoka. This Mustang is 29 carats of painstakingly crafted Detroit nostalgia, a visual hit parade from the pony car's greatest days.

"We went back and looked at the significant [Mustangs], the ones that were really done right," says Ford chief designer Larry Erickson. Basically, he means the '65-'70 Mustangs, the Hi-Pos, Bosses, and Shelbys. They were all dumped into the styling stewpot along with a few progressive ideas.

"The surfaces have to be modern, or it really looks like you're doing what you did before," says Erickson. The early Mustang's nose-up, tail-tucked stance was reversed; the new Mustang starts low and wedges upward toward a big finish at the back. Instead of sharp razorback creases down the rear shoulders, the new Mustang's hindquarters roll upward and inward with subtle compound curves that play the light in diffuse directions.

Other features are shamelessly retro: the fish gills in the nose (shielded behind clear plastic headlight lenses), the moon-size driving lamps on the GT's grille, and the chrome medallion on the rump. Buy the V-6 model, and the 16-inch alloys can be fitted with optional three-eared chrome center spinners.

Inside, the original Mustang's squared-off, double-cowl dashboard theme returns. Chrome rings circle the large gauges, and an optional dress-up package adds textured, aluminized trim. The wispy-thin gauge numbers will be familiar to vintage Ford owners, and all Mustangs will feature driver-selectable backlight colors. Shelby white, Oil Filter orange, Air Filter blue, and Country Squire green (our names, not Ford's) are among the 60 colors that can be mixed up using the digital dash display.