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Thread: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

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    2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package




    2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    By Pete Dunton

    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...5&Itemid=10857

    Not surprisingly all the recent media attention given to the Mustang is focused on the Shelby GT500 and GT500KR. Both are ultra fast performance cars with 500 and 550 horsepower on tap respectively. Most performance-oriented buyers will never have the opportunity to own or even sit in one of these new rare Shelbys. But then again most people who do get the opportunity to own one of these horsepower monsters, they probably won’t be driving it much keeping it as a collectible.

    However the good news is that the car that offers the most bang for the buck in the Mustang fleet is the Mustang GT, and it’s almost as easy to buy and own as your run-of-the-mill boring family sedan. To get an idea of how great this feat is, let’s consider the base price of a 2008 Mustang GT is a mere $26,240. And for this low base price a Mustang GT buyer gets through the ¼ mile in 13.8 seconds and from 0-60 mph in about 5.3 seconds when buying the Mustang GT. There is not one new performance car that costs less than the GT that goes faster than it. Not to mention these performance figures are exactly the same as the legendary 1969 – 1970 428 Super Cobra Jet powered Mustangs. However this fact is always overlooked by most the auto press which is not surprising. The Mustang GT is such a good-looking automobile; it’s so easy for its looks to mask all the other great aspects of this car.

    Ford really caught the competition off guard when the 2005 Mustang was released. The previous Mustang design was attractive and had many fans. But Ford wanted to go one better by releasing a modern retro design combining past design elements of both the 1967-1968 and 1969 Mustang. It was an extremely risky proposition but turned out to be a tremendous success. In fact it may go down as the most successful retro styling in automobile history. The new Challenger is another great success story but the Mustang must get the kudos. After-all would there have been a new Challenger if there was not the very successful new retro Mustang? Probably not. Further proof is that the Mustang’s current exterior design is four model years old, yet it still looks as fresh as its release in the Fall of 2004.

    The Mustang has stood the test of time, back in the 1970s the Mustang fell off the performance wagon and became nothing more than a cruel joke with the Pinto based Mustang II. Slowly Ford starting with the Fox bodied Mustangs (released in 1979) began to repair the damage it had done to the Mustang name. It took 30 years of work but now it’s a given that the Mustang is America’s 2+2 coupe. The Camaro and Firebird are long gone. The Camaro may return for 2010, however we won’t know for certain until the first 2010 Camaro rolls off the assembly line.

    We know the Mustang GT is fast but now for the specifics. Ford abandoned the pushrod V8 in the 1990s for a more modern SOHC (single overhead camshaft) and DOHC (double overhead cam) V8 block designs. The Mustang GT which had as its main V8 since 1982 the 5.0 liter HO (302 CID) V8, was forced in 1996 to use as its new engine the 4.6 liter SOHC V8 that produced 215 horsepower. The 4.6 liter proved to be up to the job, and provided the GT with good performance. However at the time the new Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and Pontiac Trans Am had a 5.7 liter LT1 V8 (rated at 275 horsepower), trampled the GT with ease. By 1998 the SOHC 4.6 liter was a very healthy 260 horsepower. When the retro 2005 Mustang was released the GT’s SOHC 4.6 liter was up to an impressive 300 horsepower. The GT’s SOHC 4.6 liter V8 has 24 valves (3 valves per cylinder), VCT (variable camshaft timing), and CMCV (Charge Motion Control Valve). The CMCV keeps emissions to a minimum while VCT provides optimum horsepower at the best possible efficiency. The end result of all of the above is 300 horsepower and 320 lbs/ft of torque giving this motor plenty of punch while also having the added benefit of 26 mpg on the highway.

    There are two transmissions available on the Mustang GT, the Tremec 5-speed manual transmission and an optional 5-speed automatic transmission. Of course the Tremec is the more fun of the two, for the traditional gear head who loves shifting the gears. The 5-speed automatic does provide a nice compromise for those who live in urban areas and don’t want to fiddle with releasing and engaging a clutch 500 times during a morning commute in rush hour traffic.

    Even Mustang owners will admit that handling has never been Mustang’s strong suit in the past. Over the years the suspension, braking, and steering have improved. Today the Mustang can hold its own in all these areas against some of the best new performance cars. The current GT’s skidpad of .87 is very impressive, and even more impressive is how well balanced the suspension feels hitting the curves. The front suspension is a MacPherson design with reverse “L” lower arms, and the rear suspension consists of a three-link solid rear axle. The GT comes standard with 17” wheels and 18” polished aluminum wheels are optional.

    In the looks department, no other car has anything on the Mustang. Its facade is the perfect blend of the best of the old Mustang mixed with modern flair. To sum it up, the new Mustang is a sheer masterpiece; every line and curve is appealing to the eye. Very few who look at the car can look away without taking a second look. The GT takes the Mustang’s styling one step further in sporty looks with big round driving lights mounted in the grille, a rear deck spoiler, and an optional attractive non-functional hood scoop. Only recommendation I could make to Ford to improve on this almost perfect package is to offer a functional shaker hood scoop as seen on the previous generation Mach I Mustangs which was a modern version of the optional shaker hood scoop found on the ’69 – ’70 Mustangs.

    There’s no mistaking a new Mustang for any other car on the road. Someone would have to be pretty inept or have never seen a car before to not recognize the new Mustang as being a Mustang a block away. If you had a time machine and could go back in time to 1969 and bring back five people, all five would recognize the new Mustang as a Mustang immediately. The only problem I see that Ford has with the new Mustang is that it will have a difficult time improving upon its design when it gets updated in 2009/2010 time frame. Ford, I am sure will take the smart route and only make slight cosmetic changes not wanting to leave to chance the possibility of ruining the Mustang’s perfect looks.

    How many times do you see a beautiful exterior design, yet then enter into the interior and you feel short-changed? Too many in my opinion, with the GT that is not the case the interior has a beautiful retro yet modern look. This can be seen in everything from the layout of the gauges, dash shape, seats, and even steering wheel. But it is all 100% functional, and it’s easy to figure out what everything does. Put another way you won’t have to pull out the owner’s manual to figure out how to run or read something. It used to be driving a sporty car or muscle car meant you had to deal with uncomfortable seats or seating position. In the new Mustang GT, the seats provide great lumbar support, yet are very comfortable. This is the type of muscle car you would not mind taking a trip from New York City to Los Angeles in. Of course you’ll probably get a few tickets on the way to LA, because it’s hard to not have a “lead foot” in this exciting car. The traditional muscle car fan probably would spend most of the time during this 3,000 mile trip with the windows down listening to what has to be the best new car V8 sound/rumble emanating from the true dual exhaust system. This is the type of car you could almost subsist without a radio. But for those who like their tunes Ford has not forgotten thee, there are different sound system options like the (1000 watt) Shaker 1000 system and a Sirius radio option. And for those who get lost easily there is an optional DVD navigation system.

    Now comes the fun part, the convertible top option. For those that love wind-in-the-face motoring the convertible top option is available on the GT and a popular one at that.

    So much emphasis is placed on the old muscle cars from the golden era, it’s so easy to forget that there’s a brand new Mustang GT available at such a reasonable price that could run with the best muscle cars of yesteryear. With the new CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards as passed into law last year looming in the background a big dark storm cloud is descending. The Mustang GT may not have many years left in its current form as a new inexpensive fun V8 powered muscle car. The days of the Mustang II with 130 horsepower V8s or even worse may be right around the corner.

    There are performance cars that make more horsepower but nobody can beat the bang for the buck the new Mustang GT provides. It is indeed the perfect package, providing the most performance for the money for the average Joe or Joanne.

  2. #2
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Very nice writeup. I have liked the Mustang GT since 1996, when I used to own one. I especially like the new one, although, like all other cars, it is too heavy.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Great story, Pete - and I share your enthusiasm for the Mustang GT. Though it's not the quickest or best handling car onthe road, it does an amazing job of recreating the feel of the '60s/'70s... it has that muscle car personality and driving it is not unlike driving our 'Birds. Given the constraints Ford has to operate under, the achievement is no small thing.

  4. #4

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    I have to be honest, this generation Mustang just looks terrible to me.
    I liked the previous two generations much more - styling wise..
    In terms of power, of course, the current ones are beasts.
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    I have to be honest, this generation Mustang just looks terrible to me.
    I liked the previous two generations much more - styling wise..
    In terms of power, of course, the current ones are beasts.
    I have to give it to Ford; the company does a great job of designing the Mustang so that it has consistently appealed to a very wide range of buyers - from old people to women to young guys. This is a key reason for the car's enduring success. GM should try to take a lesson....

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    "The Mustang has stood the test of time, back in the 1970s the Mustang fell off the performance wagon and became nothing more than a cruel joke with the Pinto based Mustang II. Slowly Ford starting with the Fox bodied Mustangs (released in 1979) began to repair the damage it had done to the Mustang name."

    One thing I hate to mention but have to concede is that the Mustang II actually may have saved the Mustang. The times were not favorable to big, V-8 brawlers and the public wanted smaller, more fuel efficient "sporty" cars. The Mustang II sold big when it came out - far outpacing the last of the "big Mustangs" (the 1973 fastback)... so the existence of the Mustang II probablymade it feasible for Ford to keep the car alive until times improved and they could bring back real performance, which began circa 1982 with the return of "The Boss" 5.0

  7. #7

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    I actually havent liked MOST mustangs that have come out.
    I liked the Mustang 2...
    and then I didnt like any mustangs again until the 90's lol.

    but the Mustang 2 is gorgeous.
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    I actually havent liked MOST mustangs that have come out.
    I liked the Mustang 2...
    and then I didnt like any mustangs again until the 90's lol.

    but the Mustang 2 is gorgeous.
    I will admit to kinda liking the Cobra II.... always thought it had lots of potential....

  9. #9
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Mustang II is gorgeous??? Are you on hallucinogens?

  10. #10

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    lol it looks like a Camaro from the front. how could I NOT like it?
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    lol it looks like a Camaro from the front. how could I NOT like it?
    Now that's something I never saw!



  12. #12

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    it really does
    the first time I saw one was in a movie recently, and I was really confused, as it looked like a Camaro from the front, but said Mustang on it
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    it really does
    the first time I saw one was in a movie recently, and I was really confused, as it looked like a Camaro from the front, but said Mustang on it
    I don't see it....

    Camaro is smooth and rounded; the mustang much more angular and baroque. The only commonality I see is the round headlights....

  14. #14

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    the round headlights
    the grille
    the way the front fenders flare up a little bit
    trying to find good pictures so I can show you what I mean
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  15. #15

    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    oops, I was mistaken
    I was apparently thinking of the wrong mustang. I apparently meant a 1973 mustang looks like the camaro from the front. not a mustang II. Sorry, my bad!
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    oops, I was mistaken
    I was apparently thinking of the wrong mustang. I apparently meant a 1973 mustang looks like the camaro from the front. not a mustang II. Sorry, my bad!
    Aha!

    The '73 was the last "big" Mustang .... I liked the Mach 1 fastback a lot; unfortunately, it was a sales disaster for Ford - not so much because of the car itself but because of the times, which were just about as bad as they could be for a big, heavy, gas-slurping muscle car... .

    Kind of like they are right now - and will do the same to the '09 Camaro.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Yeah, the Mustang II was a rebodied Pinto.

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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    To be fair the Mustang II could have been a great peformance car had Ford let it be. It was so light yet a 302/351 Windsor easily fit in the engine bay. Ford could have dropped a modified police interceptor 351 Windsor (same size as the 302 Windsor) under the hood and could have tweeked it to 200+ horsepower in the mid 1970s. Then if Ford had upgraded the rear axle (using a reasonable performance ratio like 3.23 to 3.42), upgraded the rear drum brakes to rear discs, used a five lug wheel pattern, and tuned the suspension for handling - it would have had a real performance car. Remember the curb weight on the Mustang II was between 2600 to 2700 lbs. It was around 2700 for the 302 V8 powered Mustang IIs as I recall.

    So imagine if the very light Mustang II with King Cobra grapics and spoliers had a 200+ horsepower 351W and all the upgrades mentioned above, it would have gave the Trans Am back in the day a run for the money if not beat it. However Ford was asleep at the wheel, and did not take peformance seriously until 1982:

    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...3&Itemid=10634

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete
    To be fair the Mustang II could have been a great peformance car had Ford let it be. It was so light yet a 302/351 Windsor easily fit in the engine bay. Ford could have dropped a modified police interceptor 351 Windsor (same size as the 302 Windsor) under the hood and could have tweeked it to 200+ horsepower in the mid 1970s. Then if Ford had upgraded the rear axle (using a reasonable performance ratio like 3.23 to 3.42), upgraded the rear drum brakes to rear discs, used a five lug wheel pattern, and tuned the suspension for handling - it would have had a real performance car. Remember the curb weight on the Mustang II was between 2600 to 2700 lbs. It was around 2700 for the 302 V8 powered Mustang IIs as I recall.

    So imagine if the very light Mustang II with King Cobra grapics and spoliers had a 200+ horsepower 351W and all the upgrades mentioned above, it would have gave the Trans Am back in the day a run for the money if not beat it. However Ford was asleep at the wheel, and did not take peformance seriously until 1982:

    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...3&Itemid=10634
    I agree completely; even the 302 that was put in the car could surely have been notched up to 185 hp or so - which in the very light Mustang II would probably have made it competitive with the much heavier 200-220 horse 400 and 455 Trans-Ams of the mid-late '70s....

  20. #20
    jillsuncle
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    Re: 2008 Ford Mustang GT – The Perfect Package

    Eric,

    Your diplomacy knows no boundaries. I have driven a 2007 GT and it struck me as a great "Starter Platform". The fact that it burns 87 octane fuel shouts "de-tuned" engine. I recommend dropping a Supercharger on that baby and never having to open up the engine block. For an additional 7 to 10 G's you can blow away a GT500 probably not the 550. Those cars have that HOG 5.4 that needs Jenny Craig and they probably don't handle as well as a base GT.

    Anyway don't tell your Insurance Agent - Hot Rod your Lame Mobile into something that everyone should want to roll in. Be advised anything less than a 3:73 rear end is going to ponderously slow (In my opinion). You can get 4:10 gears very reasonably and any idiot can install them. With this rear axle and the Supercharger jacked up for 93 Octane you can still go 140+ MPH. How often do we do that? Even Club racing for Class B Prepared seldom go over 140 mph due to the roadcourses on the circuit. If the track has a decent straightaway maybe 3:73 gears are the answer. Chevy makes a great car - A Corvette. The new Camaro will not sell like the Mustang and never will. The Mopar equivalent is fast but has very questionable quality control. Can you say "blown Hemi". Mexican Hemi's are known for their stellar reliability NOT, and they need a 50 gallon gas tank as they SUCK fuel.

    Later Folks Vroller :

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