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Wild Horses: The Most Innovative Mustangs Ford Ever Made

Vukasin HerbezSeptember 23, 2022

To say that Ford Mustang is a popular car would be an understatement. With over 10 million examples sold since 1964, Ford’s best-seller is by far the most popular pony/muscle car ever. But numbers don’t paint the whole picture. For the last six decades, the Mustang has starred in hundreds of movies and music videos, making it universally recognizable all over the globe. In fact, the Mustang has long stopped being ‘just’ a car. It is now a widely accepted cultural object, and many innovative Mustangs rank among the greatest vehicles Ford has ever built.

Being in constant production for almost 60 years, the Mustang has seen its ups and downs, recessions, and market changes, but has remained on the scene. In fact, with the Chevrolet Camaro going extinct in 2024 and Dodge Charger getting killed off in 2023, the Mustang will be the only muscle car left on the planet. So let’s look back at how the Mustang stayed relevant all those years and why the new seventh generation is so important. Most of all, let’s remember all the wild horses that created this legend through the decades.

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Ford Mustang 1964 ½ (1964)

The first Mustang was so successful that it started a new class of cars – pony cars. It also entered the history books as one of the best first-year sales of all time. Over the years, Mustang became an automotive symbol of America and one of its finest and most respected vehicles worldwide.

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So what’s the secret of the Mustang’s appeal? For most drivers, it’s the mix of a good amount of performance with that V8 rumble, a touch of luxury and good looks, and an affordable package with a long list of options. Of course, don’t forget the image and the legend, which were integral to the Mustang’s appeal from day one (via Classic Mustang).

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Ford Mustang 289 HiPo (1965)

Although the Mustang looked sporty and cool, it shared modest underpinnings with the economy Falcon and its engine lineup included mild versions of the inline-six and small V8s. The power output was nothing special and its performance was somewhat below expectations as a result (via Motor Trend).

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Ford responded well with an exciting engine called K-Code. The K-Code was the 289 V8 but with a milder, more street-friendly tune and 271HP, more than enough for the performance the Mustang fans asked for. Introduced in 1965 and available until 1967, the 289 HiPo was the first Mustang that ran as well as it looked, especially if you ordered it in the gorgeous Fastback body style.

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 R (1965)

Carroll Shelby started building Mustangs in 1965 as fire-breathing machines that brought Ford much-needed recognition and performance credentials. But the cars responsible for the Mustang’s racing success were 34 “R” models produced only in 1965. They were sold to privateers and racing teams all over America and the world. Those cars were not street legal and were purely for racing purposes, which they did exceptionally well (via Supercars).

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The GT350 R had numerous modifications and was lighter, faster, and sharper than the regular GT350. The same 289 V8 powered the R version as the regular Shelby GT350, but it had close to 400 HP and numerous racing modifications. The car was light and well-balanced and proved extremely fast, winning multiple races in America, Europe, and South America.

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Ford Mustang 390 GT (1967)

Mustang got its first redesign in 1967 and Ford introduced a slightly bigger and more luxurious model. The design was better and more elegant, and the options list was longer than ever. Performance car lovers finally got a big block option in the form of the 390 FE V8 engine, which produced 325 HP (via Car and Driver).

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It was a fast and powerful car, but it was more of a Grand Tourer than a muscle car. The reason was that the engine borrowed from the Thunderbird was more suited for effortless cruising than drag racing. Still, one of the most innovative Mustangs ever produced regardless.

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (1967)

Even though the Mustang had performance versions like GT with 289 HiPo V8 engine or Shelby GT 350 in 1965, the first true performance Mustang with a big block engine was the 1967 Shelby GT 500. Bigger and more powerful than before, the 1967 GT 500 featured a new design, modified front and rear ends, and a hefty 427 V8 engine with 335 HP and 420 lb.-ft of torque.

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In those days, Ford was notorious for underrating the power output of their engines, and 335 HP sounded like too little from the big 427. Enthusiasts claim that the real power was closer to the 400 HP range and its performance figures backed that claim (via Silodrome).

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Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 428 (1968)

The legendary 428 Cobra Jet debuted in 196 and Ford immediately put it in the Mustang. The Mustang 428 CJ was a mid-year introduction designed for drag racing, which is why it was sold in modest numbers.

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But this was a true beast of a car with a 390 HP engine, light body, and four-speed close ratio manual transmission. With a 0 to 60 mph time of just 5.4 seconds, this was the fastest stock car of the era and is a highly valuable collector’s item today (via Motor Trend).

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Ford Mustang California Special (1968)

This special version was among the most famous and desirable for Mustang collectors. Ford presented the California Special in 1968. It was a special model for California dealers to boost Mustang sales in the state. Ford decided to make the California Special a more upscale model and invested a lot in this version (via Hemmings).

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First, the CS came only with V8 engines and its equipment level was high. Second, the California Special featured a different rear end from Carroll Shelby. Also, it had a rear deck spoiler, Cougar taillights, and CS badges. Third, the CS had a vinyl roof, side decals, and fake side scoops. Despite the fact the California Special sold 4,325 examples, it failed to meet Ford’s sales goal. In fact, at the end of the 1968 model year, many unsold CS models were still on the dealer’s lots.

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Ford Mustang Boss 302 (1969)

The third redesign of the Mustang appeared for the 1969 model year, and the car grew in size once again. The Boss 302 is the essential model among the many performance options. Produced for only two years, 1969 and 1970, the Boss 302 featured a 302 V8 engine conservatively rated at 290 HP (via Car and Driver).

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The actual output was closer to the 350 HP mark. The Boss 302 was a model intended for racing in the Trans-Am championship. Apart from a blackout hood, spoiler on the trunk, and other details, it featured a stiff and track-tuned suspension, a close ratio gearbox, and a high-revving engine.

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Ford Mustang Boss 429 (1969)

The mythical Mustang Boss 429 is a proper muscle car legend too. Conceived in 1969 as a pure racing engine intended for use in the NASCAR championship, the Boss 429 featured a different engine architecture than the rest of Ford’s big blocks. The Boss 429 was much broader and had semi-Hemi combustion chambers, which helped achieve better flow inside the head that ultimately produced more power and torque.

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Rated at 375 HP by the factory, this unit produced over 500 HP in reality and even more in race trim. Ford decided to put this engine into the Mustang, creating a limited production Boss 429. Still, NASCAR chose not to homologate it since the series only accepted intermediate and full-size cars and the Mustang was a pony car model (via Supercars).

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Ford Mustang Mach I (1969)

The original Mach I was introduced as an affordable performance version of the Mustang Sportsroof in 1969 and featured a long list of options and three engines. The base was 302 V8, then the 351 V8, and the top-of-the-line model – the mighty 428 Cobra Jet. Although Ford built over 20,000 examples of this model in 1969, only a small number had the Cobra Jet engine, which was the ideal option.

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Only 428 CJ-equipped Mach Is had true performance potential and could beat other muscle cars on the street. The 428 Cobra Jet’s output was 335 HP, but everybody knew that it produced more than 400 HP (via Hemmings).

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Ford Mustang Boss 351 (1971)

In 1971, Mustang received another thorough restyle, which would be the final one for the first generation. The car again grew in size and weight and featured a new sharper look with a much wider track. Unfortunately, the Boss 302 and Boss 429 versions were gone, but the Grande and Mach I stayed, albeit with lower power ratings. However, there was one exciting model introduced in 1971, and that was the Boss 351 (via Motor Trend).

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Made for one year only, the ’71 Mustang Boss 351 was one of the rarest Mustangs produced, with only 1800 made. It used a highly-tuned version of the 351 V8 engine with around 330 HP. It was fast, good-looking, and more expensive than the Mach 1 version of the same model year. Today, it is a true collector’s item.

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Ford Mustang II (1974)

The second generation of the Mustang debuted in 1974 and was on the market for four years until 1978. Despite the fact it was a subject of so many jokes and bad press, the Mustang II was a fundamental model. The downsizing of the whole Mustang range, the introduction of economical four-cylinder engines, and part sharing with other Ford models helped the model survive the recession of the 1970s and the subsequent death of the muscle car movement (via Mustang Driver).

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The downsized, hideous 1974 model was controversial enough, but the shocking news was that there was no V8 available. The 2.3-liter straight-four was the base engine with a 2.8-liter V6 as an optional power plant. The V8 would arrive a year-and-a-half later in 1975 with low power and compression. So at first, the Mustang II was no faster than an import economy car. It was one of the most controversial decisions in Mustang history and potentially could have killed the Mustang legacy. Fortunately, it helped save it.

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Ford Mustang II King Cobra (1977)

The state of ‘muscle’ cars in the ’70s doesn’t mean there were no interesting Mustangs between 1974 and 1978; they just were slow. But there was still one that was particularly interesting, the special edition King Cobra model. Ford knew that their 5.0 V8 engine made only 140 HP in the Mustang II and its performance was very slow, but they also knew that dressing up the car could attract buyers.

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With a flaming snake on the hood, front and rear spoilers, and a full body kit, the King Cobra was a typical 1970s factory custom car. The 5.0 V8 was mated to a four-speed manual transmission in an attempt to make it a performance car. Needless to say, its performance was not great, but the outrageous body kit stole the show, and today the King Cobra is considered another collector’s item (via Mustang Specs).

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Ford Mustang GT (1982)

Ambitiously marketed with the slogan “The Boss is Back,” the 1982 Mustang GT 5.0 proved to be a big step forward for the Fox body breed. This was the first GT model in 13 years and was one of the hottest US cars of 1982. Ford discontinued the GT model in 1969 to concentrate on other performance variants. But in 1982, with the introduction of the 5.0-liter engine with 157 HP on tap, they decided to reintroduce it.

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The 1982 GT was significantly faster than other Fox body Mustangs and had a redesigned front end, spoiler, hood scoop, and suspension modifications. Even though its power output was modest, the 1982 GT marked the beginning of Mustang’s performance renaissance (via CJ Pony Parts).

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Ford Mustang SVO (1984)

The third generation of Ford Mustang appeared in the 1979 model and brought much-needed modernization to the Mustang range in design and technology. The so-called Fox body Mustang was sleeker, more modern, and aerodynamic. It was also somewhat lighter and more nimble, which reflected in its performance.

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However, the biggest news was the introduction of a turbo engine, a very modern device for the time. Ford’s SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) department introduced a Mustang SVO in 1984 featuring a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 175 HP. It was quite the power output for a small engine. As a light car, the ’84 Mustang SVO was very hot at the moment (via Fuel Curve).

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Ford Mustang 5.0 GT HO (1987)

The rise in power of domestic cars during the ’80s brought the first actual performance to the Mustang in almost 20 years. The Fox body Mustang grew more and more potent with each model year, starting with 175 HP in the 1983 model. By the late ’80s, the venerable 5.0-liter V8 engine was pumping out 225 HP and 300 lb.-ft of torque, translating to competent 0 to 60 mph times.

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This car marked a return to its roots with a robust V8 engine and exciting performance. Also, the late ’80s Fox body GT was very popular, so they are plentiful today, making them an excellent choice for entry-level collectors. On the other hand, the aftermarket for those cars is enormous, so you can modify and make your Fox body GT even faster for a reasonable price (via Motor Trend).

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Ford Mustang Cobra SVT (1993)

The Fox body Mustang Cobra flew under the radar of mainstream collectors for a long time. Most people tend to dismiss it as another Fox body Mustang, but the Cobra is much more than just that. It’s a proper performance car, blurring the line between classic muscle car and sports coupe (via Mustang Spec).

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It was produced for one year only in 1993 and marked the end of the Fox body Mustang generation. Under the hood was an SVT-prepared 5.0-liter HO engine with trick GT40 heads. The 0 to 60 mph time was well under six seconds, and the 1993 Cobra handled perfectly thanks to a revised suspension. Ford made just 4993 examples in 1993. If you’re in the market, hurry up and get one before they become the Shelby GT350s of the 21st century.

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Ford Mustang Cobra R (1995)

Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) department was responsible for some of the fastest muscle cars of the last 25 years. In 1995, they presented another Cobra R. It was produced in only 250 examples and sold exclusively to individuals with a racing license or private teams.

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Under the hood was a tuned 5.8-liter V8 engine which delivered 300 HP and 356 lb.-ft of torque. Even though this kind of power is not impressive today, it was a significant number in 1995. Since the Cobra R was a relatively light car, it performance was excellent. The 0 to 60 mph time took 5.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest accelerating American production models (via Car and Driver).

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Ford Mustang Cobra R (2000)

Many Mustang diehards think the coolest-looking fourth-generation Mustang is undoubtedly the 2000 SVT Cobra R. Again, this limited-edition model with an “R” designation produced only 300 copies exclusively for racing drivers and teams. The Cobra R featured many improvements and enhancements over other Mustangs (via Ford Performance).

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First and foremost was its 5.4-liter V8 with 385 HP and 385 lb.-ft of torque. Second, its body kit with front and rear spoilers and side skirts. Third, a stiff suspension and a few chassis modifications. This Cobra was born for performance, and the buyers got precisely that when they pressed the gas pedal. The 0 to 60 mph sprint was achievable in just 4.4 seconds and its top speed was around 150 mph, which was impressive for the day. Too bad that Ford built only 300 of those thoroughbreds, because they are nearly impossible to find today.

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Ford Mustang SVT Cobra (2003)

Inspired by the wild SVT Cobra Rs from the ’90s, the 2003 model was not named R since it wasn’t so limited in production and was available to the general public rather than just racing drivers and private teams. However, this SVT Cobra was a fascinating and vital model for the Mustang dynasty since it featured two firsts.

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One was the first factory supercharged engine and the other was an independent rear suspension. SVT took the standard 4.6-liter block and mounted different heads and superchargers to get 390 HP and 390 lb.-ft of torque. The engine was named “Terminator,” and a rumor circulated that it delivered more than the advertised 390 HP. Ford equipped the SVT Cobra with independent rear suspension, a setup similar to the first Ford GT to handle all its power and torque (via Motor Trend).

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Ford Mustang Bullitt (2003)

The ghost of Mustang’s glorious past haunted Ford in the early 2000s. For those who don’t know, ‘Bullitt’ was a 1968 movie with Steve McQueen starring as Det. Frank Bullitt. McQueen drove a dark green 1968 Ford Mustang. The movie became legendary for its iconic chase scene where the Mustang chased a black Dodge Charger jumping through the streets of San Francisco. Mustang fans’ image of a green Fastback achieved cult status (via Ford Performance).

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That was why Ford decided to introduce the Bullitt version. It featured a blacked-out grille, Highland Green paint job, and American Racing wheels. The 4.6-liter engine was slightly upgraded to 265 HP and 305 lb.-ft of torque. It was still enough to achieve an impressive 5.6-second 0 to 60 mph time. The Bullitt Mustang was more expensive than the regular GT model and fewer than 6,000 were built.

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Ford Mustang GT (2005)

The world was stunned when Ford introduced the fifth generation of Mustang in late 2004 as a 2005 model. The retro-futuristic design was perfect for the time. It captured the essence of the legendary first generation and presented an exquisite, sporty shape that is still modern even 17 years after its unveiling.

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The new Mustang featured a lot of new technology but still a somewhat old platform with a live rear axle. Nevertheless, buyers went crazy for the car. During its 10-year market life, Ford introduced numerous special versions and powerful Shelby models. But the sweet spot in the range was always the regular GT model. With a 4.6-liter 300 HP V8 engine at first and a 5.0-liter, 425 HP V8 engine from 2011 to 2014, the GT was a very capable car with exceptionally good road manners (via KBB).

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H (2006)

With the new retro-looking design came the return of legendary Mustang special versions like the Shelby GT-H. Back in 1966, Shelby offered its GT350 model as a rental car through the Hertz network. The cars were painted black with gold stripes and GT350-H model designation. Exactly 40 years later, Ford did precisely that with 2006 Mustangs which were turned into Shelby spec and named GT-H.

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The cars were regular GTs with a 19 HP power increase, a new front end, some details, and black paint with gold stripes. And once again, the Shelby GT-H was a rental car in selected locations (via CJ Pony Part).

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2007)

The first Mustang to wear the Shelby name in almost 40 years was the 2007 model. Conceived by the SVT department, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 was something else. It looked mean and had an aggressive design with multiple upgrades. The car sounded terrifying thanks to its new 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine with 500 HP and 480 lb.-ft of torque.

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It was the first production Mustang that broke the magic 500 HP barrier and the most powerful muscle car at the moment. With racing stripes on the hood, roof, and trunk, four exhaust pipes, and a scary rumble from the V8, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 would make Carroll Shelby proud. Of course, its performance was terrific and 0 to 60 mph took only 4.5 seconds. We guess that this car probably could do better, but the massive torque burned the rear tires if you pushed the pedal too hard (via Edmunds).

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Ford Mustang Bullitt (2008)

When the retro-looking masterpiece of design saw the light of day embodied in the 2005 Mustang, fans of the legendary pony car were ecstatic. The new car looked fabulous and introduced new levels of power and performance. Its retro look also opened the doors for numerous special editions which mimicked the fantastic Mustangs from the past.

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Again, Ford couldn’t resist, and in 2008, the new Bullitt Mustang saw the light of the day. Same as before, it was dark green, with a blackout grille, American Racing wheels, and a few mechanical modifications. The 4.6-liter V8 engine pumped 315 HP and 325 lb.-ft of torque. It was enough to launch this Highland Green Mustang coupe to 5.0-second 0 to 60 mph time. The 2008 Bullitt Mustang was again produced in limited numbers and had big collector car appeal (via Ford Performance).

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2013)

The swan song of SVT supercharged Mustangs was the 2013 Shelby GT 500. This glorious muscle car had a 5.8-liter supercharged V8 which pumped out a monstrous 662 HP and 631 lb.-ft of torque. At the moment, this was the most potent American-made V8 and it was a proper beast of an engine. Installed in RWD on a live axle platform, it was known as a tire smoke generator. But besides its burnout and show potential, it was also a very serious performance machine (via Auto Week).

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A 0 to 60 mph sprint took only 3.5 seconds and the $50,000 Mustang could embarrass a $250,000 Ferrari in a stop light drag race. Buyers loved this overpowered Mustang, and despite it being discontinued, it’s still the king of the hill among Mustang fans.

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Ford Mustang Boss 302 (2012)

Ever since the first retro Mustangs appeared in showrooms across America, fans asked for the return of the Boss 302. For those who don’t know, the Boss 302 from 1969 is a racing car homologation special for Trans-Am races. Exactly 43 years later, Ford revived the Boss 302. It had a new 5.0-liter Coyote V8, which delivered 444 HP and 380 lb.-ft of torque. Again, this was almost a pure racing car with no back seats, a factory-installed roll cage, and a host of other external and internal modifications.

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As you would expect, the performance was better than the regular Mustang GT. The 2012 Boss 302 could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.97 seconds and top 155 mph. Until we see the future version of the Boss 302, the 2012 model is widely considered one of the coolest Mustangs of all time and deserves a place on our list (via Edmunds).

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Ford Mustang Eco Boost (2015)

The Mustang purists can dismiss the 2.3-liter turbocharged model. But let’s remember the early ’80s Fox body Mustangs with similar engines and decent performance. Back then, turbocharging was state-of-the-art technology. Fast forward 30 years and it’s still exciting to see a small four-cylinder engine produce big power. Even before the Camaro with a 2.0-liter engine, Mustang introduced the 2.3-liter Eco Boost unit with 315 HP. Ford was the first major manufacturer to introduce downsized and turbocharged engines in the wake of the economic recession.

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It looked strange initially, but it proved a good business move since the most significant part of Ford’s global engine lineup is turbocharged. It affected a traditional muscle car like the Mustang. And when the latest generation was introduced, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost had its place in the engine lineup. The engine proved to be very capable and well-received by the customers. It was fast, taking 5.1 seconds to 60 mph and hitting around 150 mph. The affordable price and outstanding performance made it very popular. That makes the EcoBoost one of Mustang’s best sellers both in America and globally (via KBB).

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Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Performance Pack 2 (2018)

What exactly is the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2? It’s a GT, which means it has a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with 460 HP and 420 lb.-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission in the tradition of classic muscle cars. With the 0 to 60 mph times in the low four-second range, the Performance Pack 2 is fast. But its numbers are just half the story. The essence of the Performance Pack is in its handling, braking, less weight, and driving dynamics.

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If you choose the PP2, you’ll get chassis improvements, stiffer springs, beefier anti-roll bars, performance tires, bigger brakes, racing seats, and more. This package transforms the standard Mustang GT from a great sports car into a fantastic driving machine (via Road and Track).

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 (2017)

For those who want the classic screamer Mustang with Shelby heritage but with modern technology and unbelievable V8 performance, the new GT 350 R is a perfect choice. Even though Shelby used the Mustang GT as a basis, much of the car’s suspension, design, aero package, and engine were new. The most significant single difference was the fantastic Voodoo engine with a 5.2-liter displacement, 526 HP, and 429 lb.-ft of torque.

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The main feature of this high-revving powerplant is flat plane crank technology. It allows the big V8 to scream to almost 9000 rpm. It is the same technology that exotic manufacturers like Ferrari use. This is the first time a muscle car has such an advanced engine. Ford’s investment in Shelby GT 350 R paid off. the performance is mind-boggling, with 3.9 seconds for 0 to 60 mph. But the numbers don’t do justice to this car (via Auto Week).

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Ford Mustang Mach E (2021)

The Mustang has been a sports/muscle coupe or convertible for almost six decades. Powered by gasoline engines and with a rear-wheel-drive train. It’s the winning formula and it shouldn’t be changed. We agree with that, but Ford doesn’t.

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For the 2021 model year, Ford introduced the Mustang Mach E, a fully-electric, five-door SUV model with Mustang-inspired styling but technology straight from the Tesla Model X. To millions of Mustang fans, this was terrifying news; an attack on the holy legacy of Mustang as a proper muscle car. Some even thought it was a joke. But it isn’t. The Mustang E proved to be, if not a replacement for the regular Mustang, an interesting addition to the Mustang fleet. Interestingly, buyers responded very enthusiastically and the Mach E sells well (via Edmunds).

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2020)

The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is a car of superlatives. This Mustang is not only the most powerful car in the long lineage of these powerful machines, but it’s also the first Mustang with an MSRP of almost $80,000. It can quickly inflate to nearly $100,000 if you tick a few boxes. Affordability was one of the critical points of Mustangs throughout the years, and we can’t exactly call $100k cars affordable. But despite its whopping price, this car is worth the asking price. Here’s why.

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Under the hood is a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 with 760 HP with a 10-speed automatic. The 0 to 60 mph time is possible in 3.5 seconds, making it the quickest production Mustang ever. However, this is not all, as the 2020 Shelby GT500 is full of carbon, and lightweight materials. It has a unique aero package, revised suspension, and braking. It is genuinely a supercar-beating Mustang, but also adequately priced (via Ford).

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Ford Mustang Mach I (2022)

Even though 2020 wasn’t the best year in the car industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford was still able to introduce new products and designs. That includes further expanding the Mustang GT range. One such product was the brand-new 2021 Mustang Mach I. This model marked the return of the legendary Mustang nameplate used periodically from 1969 to 1973 and from 2003 to 2004. This Mach I is better than ever and has more power and performance than its predecessors (via Top Gear).

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Interestingly, Ford discontinued the Shelby GT350. The Mach I and Shelby were aimed at the same market. Both cars have somewhat similar price tags. Under the hood is the same 5.0-liter Coyote V8 but with a few Shelby and Bullitt parts. The result is a 480 HP rating (same as the Bullitt). Customers hoped for a 500 HP rating. But Ford decided to keep it 480 HP using already existing components for some reason. However, the new Mach I will come with special body parts. Also, a handling package, special paint, decal trim, and a host of unique details to enhance this special version of the Mustang’s identity.

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Ford Mustang GT 5.0 (2024)

After a successful run of the S550 Mustang generation, Ford introduced the all-new seventh-generation model in September of 2022. It will go on sale next year in the summer of 2023. The new Mustang uses the modified S550 platform but the new design, technology, upgraded engines, and suspension. It has a large digital dashboard, numerous other improvements, and, most importantly, no hybrid drive trains, AWD systems, or anything that would ruin the proper muscle car feel (via Motor Trend).

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The Coyote 5.0-liter returns as the only engine option for the GT model. But it has a few very crucial improvements. The first one is the fact that it has double intake runners for each cylinder bank. It makes the engine capable of delivering more power (we suspect around 480 to 500 HP). The six-speed manual is standard and the 10-speed automatic is optional. We expect this S650 Mustang GT to be significantly better than its already great predecessor.

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Ford Mustang Dark Horse (2024)

If you look at this list, you will see that model names have repeated themselves since 1964. The GTs, Mach Is, Cobras, Shelbys, and Boss 302s have always been the recognizable performance versions in the Mustang lineage. However, for 2024, Ford is preparing an all-new thoroughbred Mustang positioned above the GT. Its name is Dark Horse and it is already one of the best modern Mustangs.

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The Dark Horse is a track-oriented model based on GT. It uses the fourth-generation Coyote V8 with double intakes and revised parts but takes up a notch. The engine used in the Dark Horse has forged internals, new camshafts, electronics, and an even larger intake system. This means it will rev higher and deliver more power than the already potent standard Coyote V8. We expect it to go over 100 HP per liter of displacement. That means that the Dark Horse will have over 500 HP on tap (via Auto Express).

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