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2005 Ford Mustang GT

My Screaming Yellow Stallion

     Call it retro, call it heritage, call it old style; whatever you call it, it looks good. Ford hit their mark with this one. The 2005 Mustang looks fresh and timeless, new and old blended together in one hot product. Looking at this Screaming Yellow Pony car brings back mental images of the 60’s and early 70’s Mustangs. That’s no bad thing.
     Under the hood lies one of Ford’s bread and butter V8s, albeit with some tweaking here and there, because this is no carry over truck engine. The aluminum 4.6-liter V8 features 3-valves per cylinder (2 intake and 1 exhaust), as well as variable cam timing for improved breathing. It pays off big as this mill cranks out 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Coupling that power to the solid rear axle is either a 5-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. Thank the maker, our filly came equipped with the latter. When the manual gearbox is selected, the Mustang is equipped with a 3.55 axle ratio for quicker acceleration. Ford also managed to squeak out a 52/48-weight distribution, helped in part by use of an aluminum hood.
     Style wise, Ford hit the bull’s-eye. The hood is tall and muscular, wrapping down over the slant-back grille. Grille mounted lamps recall Shelby’s of yore. Chiseled wheel arches wrap around 17” rolling stock, ours featuring the optional dual 5-spoke machined aluminum wheels and Pirelli PZero Nero tires. All editors agreed they’d go with another style because these rims just didn’t fit the style of the ‘Stang. Sheet metal remains devoid of non-functional scoops, which doesn’t break our hearts. Rear fender scoops are replaced with a scallop running the length of the door and up in front of the wheel arch. Out back we find the traditional 3-bar taillamps. A large chrome cap is located where the fuel filler once resided on Mustang’s of yore. And of course, you can’t miss the dual 2.5” stainless steel exhaust tips sticking out from under the bumper. Even the engine bay recalls a bit of the past with bare painted sheet metal exposed and things look just fine without a plastic engine cover.
     Classic Mustang cues are resurrected inside as well. The twin-hooded dashboard remains simple, just as they used to be. Plenty of real and faux aluminum keep the interior looking great and, just like with the exterior, it keeps you daydreaming of classic ‘Stangs. For the most part, the interior looks worth every bit of the $27k asking price. Only a few details, like the plastic on the parking brake, scream “cost cutting”. The seats are well formed for a wide range of body sizes and are particularly comfortable thanks to headrests that are actually useful. The Shaker 500 audio system on our GT Premium model gets plenty loud, and like all Ford radios, is easy to operate. The stubby little shifter falls easily to hand thanks to placement far better than the previous Mustang. As expected, the rear seats are incredibly tight, but they’re there for emergencies. Our tester had the interior upgrade package, which includes the MyColor gauges. MyColor allows the driver to select from 125 colors to backlight the gauges however he or she prefers. It’s a gimmick, we know, but an industry first, and thus, necessitates mentioning.
     During our time with the Mustang, we headed back home to escape the traffic for a little old time country fun. Was it mere coincidence that the Homecoming Festival just happened to be the same weekend? Not quite! Saturday night we entered this Screaming Yellow stallion in the annual car cruise through town. Pointless engine revving a plenty (oh, does it sound good!). The locals were drawn to the retina-scorching Mustang like cats after warm milk. Many an old timer had stories of the “good ole days”.
     But enough talk, let’s burn some rubber. And the Mustang is more than happy to oblige. Dropping in behind the wheel is exciting enough, but it doesn’t quite prepare you for what kind of fun is to come. Twist the key and that V8 rumbles to life with an authoritative bark. There is no being quiet with this motor! Sitting with the engine at idle, you can almost hear each cylinder fire, exhaust rumbling in the background. Revving elicits a throaty clearing of the pipes with a slight popping as the revs fall back to idle. The best part, however, is not that you merely hear it, but that you feel it reverberating through you. Turn off the traction control, stab the gas a couple times, drop the clutch and hang on tight. The rear tires answer back with loud screeching as they claw for grip, once underway rpms climb quickly, grab second with another chirp of the tires. There is torque aplenty down low for the jump of the line, but the motor also has power up high as you wind it out, with peak power coming in at 5750rpm. Leaving the traction control system on still allows a bit of tire squealing on dry pavement, but it steps in more when the asphalt is slippery. Ride motions are better than what you will expect from the live axle setup, Ford spent some time on that rear suspension tuning. Only once did we excite some rear axle hop, but we attributed that more to the combination of wet and dry pavement. Turn in is superb with good weight to the steering; the tires talk back to the driver like in no Mustang before. The “exceeds expectations” box can be checked for the handling category. The near 50/50 weight balance goes a long way in outpacing all previous generation Mustangs. Brakes are firm and strong with twin-piston calipers up front. The clutch is heavier, but take up is right where is should be and easy to feel. Rowing through the gears widens the smile with each shift. Throws are short, a little clunky, but once in motion the shifter slides into the next cog without much drama.
     Not too long ago 300hp was the threshold everyone tried to reach, now we have sedans sporting 320-plus. Which is true, but none of them will put a smile on your face like this $27,500 Screaming Yellow Stallion.

The Good:
Timeless styling, muscular V8, that sound.
The Bad:
Ugly wheels, bright enough for every cop to see.
The Verdict:
The most fun you can have for $27k.
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