2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Time Machine
February 09, 2011
Fair warning, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Mustang fanboy. Having a black GT parked in my backyard last night instantly had me waxing poetic about the pony cars of my past. I've owned two Mustangs -- the first was a 1995 GT followed immediately by a 1998 SVT Cobra. Both were black and convertibles. How does our new 5.0 stack up?
Well, it kills my old Mustangs. This new 5.0 would feast on my old pushrod 302 as well as the 4.6-liter 32-valve Cobra. But the feeling remains the same. I found myself driving just as I did back then -- windows down to hear the big burly V8, revving the engine instead of using the horn, romping on the throttle whenever I could. Yes, I was in heaven.
I went back over some of the coverage my Cobra received while I was working for some enthusiast magazines and realized how much fun I had trying to squeeze out as much performance as I could. I was in the beginning stages of open-wheel racing and the poor Cobra endured a lot of punishment. The suspension was pretty much shot after two years, so I convinced my bosses to use my car as a test mule.
We had Hotchkis Suspension perform a complete suspension swap. I lunched the rear end with countless powerslides and replaced it with a 3.73 Torsen unit. Then I slapped a set of Kumho VictoRacer DOT-legal slicks on it. Up until I sold the Cobra to buy my Elise, it won me a few trophies in local club races and autocrosses. It also taught me that racing is exponentially harder on cars than spirited commuting. Broken engine mounts, a short-block replacement, several brake rotors and countless tires can attest to that. When I put it up for sale, it needed a new transmission, and yes, I let the buyer know that, but he just had to have the car.
I'm guessing our 5.0 will be much less of a cash vampire, especially since we won't be racing it. My Cobra had a real problem with boiling the brakes and warping rotors, but our new GT's Brembos will likely address this problem. The seats are also significantly better than my old 'Stangs, though I feel like I'm sitting a bit too high and upright. I'd also like to hear more of the engine, perhaps there's a mod available for the induction sound tube (or snorkus, if you prefer). As for tires, I have a feeling that we'll be going through them quite frequently.
With as many Mustangs produced and sold over the decades, there's probably one in your past, too.
What's your Mustang story?
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor