The Mustang recently celebrated its 45th anniversary in Birmingham, Alabama, bringing thousands of Mustang enthusiasts together to share in their passion for this iconic vehicle. Ford’s ponycar has the distinction, unlike its performance cousins the Camaro and Challenger, of not having to disappear in order to re-invent itself. During its rich history, the Mustang has evolved from a simple, Falcon based, “fun to own” car to a world class performance car. While still as affordable as the original in real dollars, the 2005 Mustang simply does everything better than any Mustang before it ever did.
Under the leadership of Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief engineer, the Mustang would become the first “retro” new car highlighting many styling queues from its past glory days. Never before did a car look so vintage, yet so exciting. When work first started on the new Mustang, the design team brought a 1967 Mustang into the studio to study its looks. It was the mission of Ford’s design chief, J Mays, to capture the essence of what made the Mustang so successful. Most would say that they more than succeeded in their quest.
Starting with the new S197 platform, the chassis architecture gave spirited handling. The combination of MacPherson-strut front suspension and a newly designed three-link solid rear axle with Panhard rod upped the ante on how a performance car should handle. Motor Trend tested a 2005 Mustang GT that showed the car could pull .84 g’s on the 200-foot skidpad, and the Mustang could be had at about half the price of a Corvette.
Visually the new Mustang was drop dead gorgeous. First available only as a coupe, the Mustang convertible arrived later in the year. Models included the base Mustang and Mustang GT. The car’s long hood with an aggressive front overhang appeared menacing to anyone looking into his or her rearview mirror. When ordering a GT, the grille-mounted foglamps added to the aggressive look. On the sides of the car, the quarter-panel feature line was reminiscent of a vintage Mustang. From the rear, the three-bar vertical taillamps were a continuation of the car’s heritage. From every angle, the Mustang spoke futuristic, yet retro.
The interior designers worked diligently to give the interior a retro look to match the exterior. With a six-inch longer wheelbase, the new Mustang offered more head and shoulder room. The twin-pod instrument cluster makes you feel as if you were sitting behind the wheel of a 1967 Mustang, only with much nicer appointments. As an industry-first, the customer could choose from 125 colors for background lighting of the cluster. An aluminum trim panel spanned the width of the instrument panel. Seat covers were available in either vinyl or leather and control locations and seating comfort were much improved over the previous year.
Two engines were available for 2005. Non-GT cars were given a totally new 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) V6 engine, which replaced the 3.8-liter pushrod engine. Horsepower and torque were improved over 2004 with the new V6 Mustang providing the same performance as many V8 powered cars. When a GT was ordered, the three-valve 4.6-liter all aluminum V8 gave incredible performance. With 300 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Mustang GT accelerated nearly as fast as the Corvette. Ford managed to give exhilarating performance to the car, yet it sipped only 87 octane fuel. Both the base Mustang and GT were available with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
By the end of the model year, over 160,000 Mustangs were sold including more than 42,000 convertibles. Of total production, nearly 62 percent were ordered with the V6 engine. Ford realized they had another hit on their hands.
The owner of our V6 convertible feature car has upgraded the engine with a K&N Cold Air kit, added a Magnaflow exhaust, and made many cosmetic touches to both the exterior and interior. This Mustang is a perfect example of the many aftermarket additions available for personalization – an option that most 2005-up owners exercise.
Fuel For Thought
First year for new body style
Most retro looking mustang ever to be produced
All-aluminum V8 engine produces 300 hp from 280 cubic inches
Single overhead cam V6 replaces 3.8-liter pushrod V6
New color-configurable instrument cluster
Number built – 160,412 units total with 24,866 (V6 convertible w/automatic), 3,917 units (V6 convertible w/standard transmission)
Construction – Unibody
Engine – 4.0-liter single overhead cam V6, 4.6-liter, all aluminum three-valve V8
Power/Torque – 202/235 (V6), 300/315 (V8)
Transmission – 5-speed Tremec 3650 manual (V8-GT), 5-speed Tremec T-5 (V6), 5-speed automatic
Suspension front – MacPherson-strut with reverse “L” lower control arms, coil springs and antiroll bar
Suspension rear – Live axle with coil springs with three-link arms and tubular Panhard rod
Steering – Rack and pinion with power assist
Brakes – 12.4 inch front disc, 11.8 inch rear disc (GT), 11.8 inch front and rear disc (V6)
Length/width/height – 187.6/73.9/54.5
Wheelbase – 107.1 inches
Weight – 3,300 lbs (V6 with manual transmission)
0-60mph/quarter-mile – 6.6 seconds/15.0 seconds at 92 mph (V6) (ModernRacer.com archives), 5.1 seconds/13.6 seconds at 99.9 mph (V8) (Motor Trend, February 2005)
Top speed – 113 mph (V6), N/A (V8)
MPG – 19-28 mpg (V6)
Price – MSRP $23,940 (V6 convertible) Today – $ 15,000
Insurance cost is $340/year for a $15,000 2005 Mustang V6 convertible. This is based on 3,000 miles per year of pleasure driving.
*Based on a quote from Heacock Classic Car Insurance, www.heacockclassic.com
Engine – For 2005, a new 4.0 liter overhead cam V6 replaced the traditional 3.8 liter pushrod V6. Using advanced technologies the new V6 added 9 horsepower and 10 lb-ft of torque over the previous year. Road tests proved the V6 engine had a big performance advantage over the pushrod engine. The GT 4.6 liter single overhead cam, three-valve V8 produced well over one horsepower per cubic-inch and gave the Mustang exhilarating performance.
Handling – The 2005 Mustang handled with the best of the performance cars from that era. The traditional live rear axle didn’t radically affect handling and the drag racers loved the solid axle. The 2005 Mustang achieved an average of .84g on the 200-ft skidpad making it a car that sticks to the road like many higher priced performance cars.
Alternative - 2005 Pontiac GTO
Number built – 11,069
0-60/quarter-mile – 5.0 seconds/13.3 seconds at 107 mph
Top speed – N/A
Price – MSRP – $32,995 Today – $13,175 - $15,775
Alternative - 2005 Nissan 350 Z
Number built – 30,690 (2004 production, 2005 production N/A)
0-60/quarter-mile – 5.5 seconds/13.9 seconds at 102.23 mph
Top speed – N/A
Price – MSRP – $26,500 Today – $15,875 - $18,525
Great retro styling
Forty years of history
Hi-performance at a reasonable price
Many Mustang clubs offer fellowship for owners
Available aftermarket parts for personalization
Some people don’t like the retro look
V8 not available in base Mustang
Problems filling the fuel tank
Some early units had problems with front struts
Recall for restraint control module
The 2005 Mustang falls into the daily driver category. Even those who show their Mustangs at events tend to drive their cars on a regular basis. The Mustang is perhaps the most used performance car ever produced.
What to pay
2005 V6 MUSTANG
MSRP – $23,940
Low – $12,550
Average – $13,475
High – $15,000
*Based on prices from NADA Guides,
“Boss” style fiberglass hood $398.95
Rear bumper cover $214
Engine coil pack $269
Shelby CS66 series chrome wheel $444 each
Front bumper cover $199
Subframe connectors $319
Mustang 2005: A New Breed of Pony Car by Matt DeLorenzo
Mustang Forty Years by Randy Leffingwell
Mustang Dynasty by John Clor
Mustang Field Guide by Brad Bowling
The Complete Book of Mustang: Every Model since 1964 by Mike Mueller
The combination of great styling, improved performance and great handling made the 2005 Mustang a future classic. With styling features that brought back memories of Mustang heydays of the ’60s but with leading edge technology, the public demand was extraordinary and today the 2005 Mustang is considered a symbol of affordable performance.