Photos Courtesy of Ford and Huw Evans
1994 STIFFER, SMARTER
There were huge expectations for the 1994 Mustang. It was the first to be created by input from enthusiasts and the public. Three design proposals, dubbed Bruce Jenner, Rambo, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were viewed, with the latter chosen for production. This latest Mustang featured very aerodynamic, jellybean styling with a tall rear deck. It also adopted traditional Mustang cues, like side scallops and scoops on the quarter-panel, running Pony in the grille and traditional style taillights, albeit horizontal. Inside it also boasted a modern interpretation of the classic Mustang cabin with a twin cowl dash and styled door panels. A mini-disc player was offered as was a new premium sound system dubbed the Mach 460. The wheelbase was stretched to 101.0 inches and although the basic architecture was still Fox, extra bracing, new suspension pieces and four-wheel disc brakes with available ABS did wonders for stiffness, handling and stopping. Two models were offered, base Mustang and GT. Both were available as a coupe or convertible – no more hatchbacks. Base cars were powered by a reworked version of the old 3.8-liter V6, now with 145 hp and sequential fuel injection, plus a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission and 15-inch steel or alloy wheels. GT models were distinguished by standard front driving lights in the lower bumper, a rear deck spoiler and GT emblems on the front fenders, and standard 16-inch alloy wheels and Firestone tires (bigger 17-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle tires were available as an option). They were powered by an updated version of the 5.0-liter H.O., with a new intake manifold designed so it could fit under the new car’s lower hood line and a modified cylinder block. Rated at 215 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque it was more on paper than the ’93 edition, but even with the five-speed manual, the extra weight, some 300 pounds over the old LX, meant that it was notably slower. In the U. S. an updated Cobra model was also launched.
1995 LAST 5.0
Mustang was predictably changed for 1995, though on GTs, the standard four-way power driver’s seat was made optional and exterior colors were changed slightly (Chrome yellow replaced Canary Yellow). An interesting, but almost forgotten aspect, was Preferred Equipment Package 248A, that amounted to an updated version of the old LX, combining the base car’s body (no driving lights or rear spoiler) interior (cloth seats and minimal options), with the GT’s driveline and suspension. It was originally slated to be called GTS (even enthusiasts termed it that), but wasn’t highly promoted. It would last until 1998.
1996 NEW ENGINE
All Mustangs got new vertical three-bar taillights, while changes to the valvetrain, lubing system and ignition boosted power to 150 hp on the V6. GT models got a new engine, a development of the single overhead cam 4.6-liter V8 found in big Fords, Mercurys and Lincolns. It was teamed with either a new Borg-Warner T-45 manual gearbox, or Lincoln sourced four-speed automatic and although rated at the same 215 hp and 285 lb-ft as the old 5.0-liter it replaced; was nowhere near as gutsy and lacked low end torque. To make matters worse the price of the new GT was considerably higher than in 1995. On the outside new GT 4.6L badges were placed on the front fenders and the 17-inch wheels were redesigned and arguably more handsome. A new PATS (Passive Anti-Theft System), was optional and Cobra models also got a new engine and were now built for export too.
1997 MARKING TIME
Except for a new diamond cut finish on the V6 car’s optional 15-inch wheels and the GT’s 17-inch units, plus a few minor changes to the exterior color palette, that was about it this year, though the previously optional PATS (Passive Anti-Theft System) was made standard.
1998 ENGINE TWEAKS
Responding to criticism about the Mustang GT’s power, Ford made minor changes to the 4.6 engine, boosting power to 225 hp. Inside, the dash-mounted clock was eliminated, instead it was integrated into the center stack.
1999 MORE AGGRESSIVE
Ford decided to revamp the Mustang more extensively for 1999, with all-new sheetmetal that boasted sharper, more aggressive angles as part of Ford’s New Edge design. The new car boasted a wider rear track for improved stability, additional sound deadening and improved chassis bracing for convertibles. Wheel designs were updated and engines also improved. The V6 got a new intake manifold design and power was boosted to a respectable 190 hp. The 4.6-liter V8 got new cylinder heads, revised intake runners and more aggressive camshafts, boosting power to 260 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque. As before, the engine could be teamed with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. A new traction control feature debuted and standard ABS was fitted to GTs. As this was Mustang’s 35th year of continuous production all cars received special front fender plaques and Ford offered a special 35th anniversary package on GTs with a hoodscoop, unique quarter-panel scoops, specially finished 17-inch wheels, black hood stripe, unique rear valance and black leather interior with special silver accents.
2000 NEW MILLENIUM
At the dawn of a new millennium, Mustang saw relatively few changes. Child tether anchors were made a standard feature this year, as was an illuminated manual trunk release. A Spring Feature package was offered on GTs that included a hoodscoop with a pair of black stripes flanking it, polished 17-inch wheels, bigger quarter-scoops and Mustang lettering outlined in black on the rear bumper.
2001 MORE CONTENT
There were changes to equipment offerings this year, in an attempt to boost sales. Base Mustangs were divided into Standard, Deluxe, and Premium editions, the latter of which got a leather wrapped steering wheel, polished 16-inch alloy wheels and standard Mach 460 sound system. GT models were now available with Deluxe or Premium packages and like their V6 namesakes, got a new rear deck spoiler. In addition, all GTs now came with traction control as well as the hood and quarter-scoops, first seen on the 1999 35th anniversary package. They also got 17-inch wheels as standard, though a new 17-inch Bullitt design, from the limited edition special that debuted that year, was listed as an option and proved highly popular.
2002 PONY PACKAGE
Base Mustangs got standard 16-inch alloy wheels this year and a limited run Pony Package added polished rims, hood-scoop, rocker panel striping with the word Mustang, leather wrapped steering wheel and black Mustang lettering in the rear bumper. Otherwise, it was business as usual.
Ford Motor Company turned the grand old age of 100 in 2003 and to celebrate, Mustang GTs were available with a special Centennial package that, in tribute to the Model T, was available in any color you liked so long it was black. These cars also received special 100th anniversary emblems and specially trimmed leather seats with parchment inserts. Buyers even got a gift package that comprised a watch, key chain, black leather pouch and a copy of the book The Ford Century. There was a special $5 per day Centennial Lease offer, introduced for a limited time to U. S. customers. Improved safety features, including revised airbags, seatbelts, tethers, and headliner were also introduced this year.
2004 END OF AN ERA
The 1999-vintage design put in one appearance this year and with Mustang celebrating its 40th anniversary, another special package was offered on both V6 and GT Premium models that included special Crimson Red, Black, or Oxford White paint with Arizona Beige hood stripes and interior, Parchment colored convertible boot for ragtops, folding door mirrors, special anniversary emblems outside and in, plus on GTs, Bullitt rims with special Arizona beige wheel spokes. Other than that, regular Mustangs were little changed, though on May 10 that year, the very last Mustang to be built at the historic River Rouge factory in Detroit, rolled off the assembly line, marking the end of an era
My experience: Jesse Flynn, 2000 GT coupe
“I drove one of these cars back when my girlfriend (now wife) was attending college. It was a V6 coupe and it was sporty and fun to drive. It got totaled in an accident and I ended up getting a Nissan 300ZX, but several years later, the Nissan was getting tired, so I started looking for another car. I wanted something sporty and affordable and found that the Mustang was the only car that fitted the bill, so I bought a 2000 GT coupe with the Spring Feature Package in Silver. The car was a lot quicker than my old V6 and with the big 17-inch wheels and tires it handled good. I’d take it to the dragstrip and it would run consistent low 14s on the street tires. It was my first real experience with American muscle and since I bought that car I’ve never looked back.” – Jesse Flynn
Mustang Historical Timeline – 1964 - 1973
Mustang Historical Timeline – 1974 - 1978
Mustang Historical Timeline – 1979 - 1993
Mustang Historical Timeline – 1994 - 2004
Mustang Historical Timeline – 2005 - 2009