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By Jim Flammang
April 7, 2004
Vehicle Overview Ford’s “pony car” celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2004, and all models wear special commemorative front-fender badging. A limited-edition 40th Anniversary Package that features performance-oriented upgrades and Arizona Beige stripes on the hood, lower rockers and deck lid is available.
Last year saw the return of the limited-production Mach 1 Mustang, which first debuted in 1969. Continuing into 2004, the current version has a functional “shaker” scoop on its hood as well as an air-dam extension and low-gloss black striping above the rocker moldings. Not only has the Mach 1’s body been lowered by half an inch, but its 4.6-liter V-8 engine is also good for 305 horsepower. An SVT version of the Mustang called the Mustang Cobra is also available. (Skip to details on the: SVT Mustang Cobra)
Coupes and convertibles are available. Regular V-6 Mustangs come in standard, Deluxe and Premium trim levels, while the GT V-8 is offered in Deluxe and Premium levels.
Ford’s Mustang is the last of the traditional rear-wheel-drive pony cars. At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Ford introduced a brand-new Mustang that will go on sale as a 2005 model-year vehicle.
Exterior Even in the tamer, V-6-powered trim levels, the Mustang flaunts a sporty appearance with its long hood and short rear deck. Several styling cues, including the hood scoop, side scoops and a grille that contains a pony emblem in a chrome corral, are evolutions of the Mustang’s appearance from more than three decades ago. Convertibles have a glass back window and a power-operated top that stows beneath a hard boot.
Interior Mustangs seat four occupants on front bucket seats and a split, folding rear seat; the seatback is fixed in convertibles. Seating is reasonably upright for easy entry and exit, but the doors demand considerable space in order to be fully opened. Cargo volumes are a modest 10.9 cubic feet in the coupe and 7.7 cubic feet in convertible models.
Under the Hood Base-model Mustangs carry a 190-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 engine, while the GT gets a 4.6-liter single-overhead-cam V-8 rated at 260 hp. Either engine can team with a five-speed-manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. With the manual shift, the Mach 1’s 4.6-liter V-8 generates 305 hp at 5,800 rpm and 320 pounds-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. A limited-slip rear axle is standard on GT models.
Safety All-disc antilock brakes are standard on the Mach 1 and SVT Mustang Cobra and optional on other models. Side-impact airbags are not available.
Driving Impressions Whether it packs a V-6 or V-8 engine, the Mustang is a strong performer, yet it’s easy enough to live with for everyday driving due to its relatively smooth ride and quiet operation.
Handling is another bonus, especially when driving a GT. Steering demands moderate effort, but you get firm, secure responses and a tenacious grip through curves. The GT’s V-8 delivers a satisfying exhaust sound. Ford’s five-speed-manual gearbox isn’t always the easiest to shift, and some of them have made a clanking sound.
Related Model: SVT Mustang Cobra Revived as a 2003 model, the SVT Mustang Cobra dishes out more power than any of its predecessors — 390 hp at 6,000 rpm and 390 pounds-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. The extra horsepower on the current version results from an Eaton Roots-type supercharger that features a water-to-air intercooler for the 4.6-liter V-8 engine. A six-speed-manual transmission sends all the Cobra’s vigor to the back wheels.
Coupe and convertible body styles are available, but the soft-top Cobra has its own suspension tuning. The Cobra is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
For 2004, 1,000 examples of a limited-edition Mystichrome Appearance Package, which features color-shifting body paint, will be produced. Two new regular colors are available: Screaming Yellow and Competition Orange. Ford halted the production of all SVT products midway through the model year, but a new group is expected in a year or so. Back to top