Ford to Unveil New Model During Woodward Dream Cruise Tomorrow. Mustang NASCAR Cup Edition Coming?

AutoInformed.com

Ford is the first big automaker to have carbon fiber wheels as standard equipment on Shelby GT350R Mustang.

As a sponsor of the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise, Ford Motor will announce a new production vehicle. The Cruise, aka America’s largest annual celebration of automotive history and culture, is an ideal place to build on the momentum created last week by the 10 millionth Mustang celebration (Milestones – Production of 10 Millionth Mustang, New Camaro Z/28 Priced at $75,000) and the announcement that Mustang will return to NASCAR Cup racing next February (Mustang Running in NASCAR Cup Starting at Daytona 500).

AutoInformed opines that the time is right for a NASCAR edition production Mustang. On display at the Mustang celebration over the rumble of V8 engines, was the strength and depth of fans and owners of America’s original Pony Car. The one that created a stampede of street machines that continues to this day. ( 8/17: Well we were wrong – or at least prematurely right – no production NASCAR edition just yet. Instead a more targeted Mustang Cobra Jet that isn’t street legal – see  Fastest Ever? 2018 Mustang Cobra Jet)

The Cold War and the Pony Car Wars

AutoInformed.com

Mustang was built at the famous Rouge complex – boats, steel, Model T parts, cars including Mercuries – a few minutes from company headquarters, for four decades before moving several miles south to Flat Rock in 2004.

Some things never change in the pony car tradition. On display to Ford’s World Headquarters was a crowd of the age of the Cold War, Soviet Union aggression and the Cuban missile crisis. The Mustang itself created a street war. It was a simple idea – stuff a big engine into a sleek – long nose, short deck 2+2 coupe based on a dreary compact chassis and sell cars – lots of them. No matter that the back seat was only big enough to hold copies of Car Craft and Hot Rod magazines.

At one-point Ford had several plants running flat out to meet demand. Such sales caught General Motors napping. The hurried response was brilliant – the Camaro, especially the early Z28 models. The Z28 GT350 wars continue to this day. Along the way Pontiac GTO and Chrysler got into the game with Hemi ‘Cudas, Dodge Challengers and Chargers..

Okay, so I was off the racing line because I was laughing at the fun of it all.

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This remains ‘Merican pavement pulverizing territory. The burnt rubber on Woodward avenue in the run up to the Dream Cruise with the prelude of Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge at the MI Concourse just off Woodward in Pontiac are just the latest examples. With American passenger cars now an endangered species, the pony cars thrive. I’ll wager the Mustang is the last passenger car assembled by FMC after the crossover tidal wave finishes washing though the auto industry and it wrestles with connect and self-driving vehicles.

AutoInformed.com on Pony Cars - Woodward Dream Cruise

One 5-liter Mustang owner told me in the parking lot of Ford WHQ while showing me a circa 1969 photo of his kids: “that’s Shelby One and standing next to him is Shelby Two,” a wry reference to the college debt he is still paying down.

So, the tradition continues. Over the years both Pony Cars and their drivers have grown larger. And the later day pony cars are supremely sophisticated machines considering the stock they came form – IRS, disc brakes, yaw control, traction control, fuel injection, body control that is electronic and not just form fat sway bars, et cetera. The GT350 Mustang has a damping set-up so sophisticated that it can adjust the rear dampers based on what the front wheels are doing – real time. Real fun.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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