With the performance market extending at an extremely fast pace and with customers demanding more and more niches, the traditional muscle car makers are forced to jump on the bandwagon and expand their offerings as much as possible. Ford is already offering a solid Mustang lineup, but the family needs to grow even more. Some new models are already underway, but the Blue Oval should consider introducing at least five new nameplates over the next two years.
A new Bullitt might not seem to be an urgent model given the current muscle car market trends, but it’s a great way for Ford to stand out. Dodge already has the crazy Challenger SRT Demon and Chevy launched a new Camaro ZL1, so Ford needs a little extra to feed the Mustang’s iconic status.
Not to mention that the Bullitt movie car is of massive importance to the nameplate, helping the first-generation Mustang become one of the most legendary sports cars of all time. Previous Bullitt models, based on the fourth- and fifth-gen Mustangs have been a big hit with enthusiasts, and it’s pretty clear that a S550 version would do extremely well.
The extra features, the unique chassis tweaks, the plain Jane looks, and the Highland Green will surely make Bullitt enthusiasts and Mustang collectors surge into dealerships for a 10,000-unit run spread over one or two model years. By the looks of it, Ford seems to be planning on making one- we’ll just have to wait for them to “officially” announce it.
When it comes to iconic models from the past, Ford has done a great job at keeping them alive throughout the years. We’ve seen both the GT350 and GT500 return with great success in recent years and we even had short runs of the track-ready Boss 302. Even the hardcore Super Snake has been revived by the folks over at Shelby, while Hertz had the GT-H revived twice over the last two decades.
However, Ford completely ignored the Mach 1 since the fourth-gen Mustang was discontinued. Created as a performance model of the original Mustang in 1969, the Mach 1 was kept in production until 1978 (although the second-gen version wasn’t much of a performance car as it was an appearance package). The nameplate returned briefly in 2003 but disappeared again in 2004.
Despite customer demand, the iconic remained just a memory as of 2017. Well, this definitely needs to change, and with the S550 sharing so much heritage with the first-gen Mustang, the timing seems right. Slotting it in the current lineup would be pretty easy too, as a S550 Mach 1 would make for a great road-oriented version of the Shelby GT350. All Ford needs to do is make a less aggressive aero kit, remove the carbon-fiber, and inject more oomph into the 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8.
Unlike the Mach 1, the GT500 received far more attention in recent years, with the latest version being offered for the 2014 model year. However, three years without one is a long time, and although both the GT and Super Snake have the power, a “GT500” badge is mandatory for the sake of heritage.
Not to mention that both of the above are more of the aftermarket package variety rather than a proper factory car. The GT500’s arrival is that much more urgent with a new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat around.
A 600 to 700 horsepower GT500 is totally doable with a turbocharger attached to Ford’s current V8 and the existing GT350 can be used as inspiration for a menacing exterior. The good news is that FoMoCo is working on it and some prototypes have been spotted testing on public roads, but it won’t be here until 2019. The new GT500 needs to happen now!
Having already discussed the Mach 1, you’re probably asking why Ford should also offer a new Boss 302 in the same lineup. After all, both are performance versions of the same car and both will likely slot between the GT and track-prepped GT350.
It’s a fair question, but the Mach 1 and Boss 302 are from being the same thing. While the Mach 1 is more road friendly, the Boss 302 draws inspiration from a full-fledged race car, so it employs a number of lightweight components.
At the same, it’s a more subtle alternative to the GT350, which screams “race car!” from every angle. What’s more, the Boss 302 will hit the market in significantly more limited numbers, with production capped to around 2,000 units.
This would make it quite exclusive compared to the Mach 1 and the GT350. The former is likely to see a production run of around 5,000 units, while the GT350 will exceed 4,000 units by the end of the 2018 model year. Finally, the Boss 302 will be more affordable than the GT350 given its stripped down specifications.
Speaking of stripped down Mustangs, Ford needs to bring a bare naked 5.0 GT for the masses in to dealerships. This idea is far from new and is something Foxbody enthusiasts are probably familiar with it.
Ford did something similar back in the 1980s, when the V-8 engine was not tied only the performance GT model, but it was available on lower trims too. Ford should do this again with the S550 pony and create a no-nonsense V8 model without the infotainment system, air conditioning, heat, and all the other convenience features that a gearhead would sacrifice in order to have a lighter, more affordable car.
Heck, Ford should even offer a rear-seat delete kit on this model. With all those things removed, this base GT would not only be significantly lighter than any other non-Shelby Mustang, but it could also be as affordable as the EcoBoost, which starts from $26,195 (compared to the $33,195 sticker of the GT).
It would make for a super affordable platform for aftermarket parts as well as cheap but very potent track car project. Now that’s something many Mustang enthusiasts will appreciate. And I dare say Ford could draw the attention of Mazda Miata buyers too!
What kind of S550 Mustang would you like to see Ford build? Comment your thoughts below!