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Ford Has Spotty History Remaking the Mustang 


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 Post subject: Ford Has Spotty History Remaking the Mustang
Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:12 pm 
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Ford’s SVO Mustang of 1984-86 had great handling, European feel and a high price that hurt sales.

Car companies have been haunted by fuel crises, safety scandals, sketchy technology and the consumer backlash they often inspire. Still, few industrial horrors stir up car people like plans to remake the venerable Ford Mustang.

Unlike its main rivals, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Nissan Z, the Mustang has been in continuous production since it hit the market in 1964. As a result it has weathered a few particularly bad periods, some of them brought on in part by Ford’s attempts to remodel its “pony car” to fit better with the latest trends in auto design and perceived customer preferences.

One could argue the first-generation Mustang, which came out in 1964, was the biggest hit and that the company has been trying to recapture the early Mustang sales magic ever since. From 1967 onward the cars grew and got more cluttered exteriors and bigger engines to make up for weight gain. By the early 1970s they were huge, with some industry insiders calling them “aircraft carriers” because of their wide, flat styling.

Then the gas crunch hit and Ford switched the Mustang to a compact Pinto-based design. For a time you couldn’t even get a V8 engine in a ‘Stang. Ford touted the new car, called the Mustang II, as a sophisticated European-style sports car, but others considered it a “dog” and it still marks the darkest days for the nameplate.

With 1979 Ford rolled out a new Mustang based on the Fairmont or “Fox” platform. Over a long production run through 1993 it developed into a classic and a surprise turnaround for the Mustang. in 1984 Ford got the European bug again and tried selling a racy Mustang called the SVO (for Special Vehicle Operation). It had a revvy turbocharged four-cylinder engine and was the most expensive Mustang in the lineup.

I still love the SVO, which was probably the closest the Mustang ever came to being a real sports car. But its high price guaranteed few would buy it. Buyers opted for the traditional V8 GT model instead.

By 1993 the the aging Fox platform was losing popularity, as were hotrod cars in general, and Ford almost cancelled the successor model that rolled out for 1994. The Mustang muddled along until 2005 when the current retro-style version sparked an uptick in consumer interest.

Now the model needs to take the next step. But is the market ready for a refined “European style” Mustang or should Ford seek to maintain the car’s rough-around-the-edges charm?



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 Post subject: Re: Ford Has Spotty History Remaking the Mustang
Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:47 pm 
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Retro fox body ftw
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