Motorbooks International – St. Paul, Minn.
Release Date: 2004
Although the little Mustang II enjoyed sales success when compared to the American auto industry as a whole, it gave enthusiasts little to be excited about. Concerns that the replacement, due as a 1979 model, might not be any more thrilling to drive led to rumors that the Mustang name might be relegated to an options package on a less-sporty Ford product.
With the introduction of the all-new, practically sized and smartly styled Mustang, Ford announced to the world that America’s favorite pony car was facing a bright and, literally, turbocharged future.
As is its habit, Ford built the new Mustang around a platform it would share with other, more humble cars. Deep down under the new pony’s distinctive sheet metal was Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr DNA in the form of the “Fox” unit-body platform.
Nearly 75 years after the Wright brothers showed off a working definition of the term “aerodynamics” at Kitty Hawk, Detroit came to understand that incorporating basic principles of aviation science into passenger car design could pay off in big ways. A car shaped like a barn door requires an enormous amount of horsepower — and precious fossil fuels — to push through the air at 60 miles an hour; however, a vehicle designed more like a drop of water can cheat the wind.