By Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2015 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
It may be the pride of Dearborn, Michigan, but the Ford Mustang has strong bonds to New York City. The original Mustang bowed there on April 17, 1964, at the World’s Fair. Almost exactly a half-century later, Ford announced the 50 Year Limited Edition version of the all-new sixth-generation 2015 Mustang at the 2014 New York Auto Show.
The 50 Year Mustang is based on a loaded GT fastback with the performance pack. Beyond that, customers face few choices: Wimbledon White or dark Kona Blue metallic paint; six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With the manual, it starts at $46,995. The automatic transmission adds $1195. Production is limited to 1964 units.
The anniversary Mustang comes with several unique styling touches. Outside, designers carefully applied chrome trim to the grille, side-window openings, and taillights—shiny accents inspired by elements used on the original Mustang. In addition, there is a large simulated gas cap badge with discreet “50 Years” lettering on the rear panel between the taillights. Wheels are 19-inch alloy units with a unique Y-spoke design that Ford said was inspired by the first Mustang’s optional chrome-plated steel wheels. The front units are nine inches wide and fitted with 255/40R tires. Rear wheels are .5-inch wider and wear 275/40R rubber.
Perhaps the most interesting visual touch on the outside is a set of louvered rear-quarter windows. Unlike the body-color louvers on the ’65 Mustang fastback, the new treatment is made from layered sheets of glass that Ford said is the product of a newly developed construction technique.
The leather-trimmed interior is finished in a unique black-and-cashmere scheme. Front seat backs feature “Mustang 50 Years” logos. Cashmere accent stitching is added to the steering wheel, seats, door panels, instrument panel, shifter boot, and center armrest. The dash’s large aluminum trim panel sports a model-specific “axel spin” finish. A “50 Year Limited Edition” badge with engraved serial number and Bill Ford’s signature resides on the passenger side of the dash. A set of unique loop-carpet floor mats with cashmere contrast stitching and suede bindings round out the interior ensemble.
The balance of the car is the standard ’15 Mustang GT with the performance pack. The restyled body is lower and wider than the 2014 Mustang’s, and one of the most significant changes is the adoption of a fully independent rear suspension.
Underhood sits a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 435 bhp and 400 pound-feet of torque. Stickshift cars come with a Torsen differential running a 3.73:1 rear gear. With the 6-speed automatic, a limited-slip diff and a 3.55:1 final-drive are supplied. Road & Track’s test of a manual-transmission performance-pack GT showed the combination was good for 0-to-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and 13 seconds flat in the quarter-mile at 110.9 mph.
To meet the rest of the car’s needs, the performance pack includes Brembo six-piston aluminum front brake calipers with upgraded rotors, Pirelli P-Zero summer tires, a strut-tower brace, a unique front splitter with channels to direct cooling air to the front brakes, a larger radiator, retuned suspension, thicker rear sway bar, a center-mounted interior gauge pack for oil pressure and vacuum, and tweaked tuning for the car’s antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and electric power steering.
• The 50 Year Limited Edition Mustang’s nicely executed interior and exterior design touches enhance the car’s striking styling while respecting the nameplate’s history.
• The only 2015 Mustang variant available with an automatic transmission and the performance pack.
• Capped production of 1964 cars means this Mustang isn’t easy to corral.
• Being based on a loaded GT means the anniversary special isn’t cheap.
• The 2015 Mustang’s more widely available 50 Years Appearance package includes some—but not all—of the Limited Edition’s visual extras for an affordable $1595.
Not content to commemorate Mustang’s 50th anniversary with only the all-new sixth-generation car, designers also came up with this 50 Year Limited Edition special. Anniversary models of cars can be hit or miss, but we think Ford did a great job with this one. The unique interior and exterior trim is understated and classy, making an already desirable car even more so.