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Car Corner
Mustang/Camaro Predictions Part I

August 1, 2007
By Scott Lewis

As you may know there is going to be an all new Camaro for 2009. You can see it in action in the new Transformers movie. Before the new Mustang came out in 2005 I wrote an article on what Ford should do with the Mustang. I would like to do that now with the Camaro. However, I first want to look back at that old Mustang article and see how well I made predictions. This month I will cover the Mustang and next month I will cover the new Camaro.

Inspiration by a Survey

For starters, I was in no way inspired by the Transformers movie that stars the new Camaro. What inspired me to write this set of articles was a survey in Hot Rod magazine. See, I was on vacation in the middle of June. Some people like to take books with them on vacation. I take car magazines. I read Hot Rod magazine from March 2006 through May 2007. I know, that is a lot of unread magazines. Hey, I got behind. I've been busy.

Hot Rod put out a survey asking readers to tell them what they wanted in a new Camaro. Because I read all those magazines in a short period of time I was able to read the survey with the comments from the editors and what they hoped the answers would be to the survey. Then I was able to see the results of the survey with the editor's comments, and finally I could read the feedback to the whole thing from other readers. It was fun. I will make some references to the survey in next month's article, but I will not rehash it. It has been too long since the survey came and went for me to comment on it directly. But some of my ideas were "solidified" by the survey results and the opinions of the Hot Rod staff.

Scott's Mustang Wish List

I made some predictions, well maybe more like a wish list, of things Ford should do with the Mustang back in 2003. Ford had plenty of time to read my list and incorporate my ideas into the 2005 Mustang. Did they? We'll see. I have made other off handed comments about the Mustang in other columns. Let's find out how I did in predicting the Mustang.

Let's start with my comments from the April 2003 edition of Car Corner.

1) Release the new Mustang on April 17, 2004 as a 2005 model car. Wrong. This was the anniversary of the original Mustang's debut. This didn't happen. Ford took too long to get the car into production and missed the chance to really capitalize on the 40th Anniversary.

2) Do not put a live axle (non-independent) rear suspension in any of the new Mustangs. Wrong. Ford chose not to install an IRS in any of the Mustangs. Even the Shelby versions get a solid rear axle, which reduces its handling potential. Ford claimed this is what its customers asked for in a survey. I suspect only drag racers answered that survey. I still think this was a mistake.

3) Keep producing low volume special edition Mustangs. Right. So far they have produced a California Special (even available outside California), V6 Pony, Shelby GT-H (for Hertz), Shelby GT & Shelby GT500. The V6 Pony is really just an option, but it is a nice change in look for the V6 Mustang. I have already heard they are going to come out with a Bullit edition, and I assume Mach 1 won't be far behind. I even heard a loose rumor that they were going to bump displacement of the 4.6 liter engine to 5.0 and put it in a Boss 302 Mustang. Oh, and there are show car pictures out there showing a Shelby GT500KR (King of the Road). Keep this going as long as you can.

4) Make a good 6 cylinder engine as the base engine. It needs to be a smooth power plant with at least 200 hp, but probably not much more than that. Right. The base Mustang has 210 hp in a decently throaty V6. However, the V6 Mustang could be smoother, but I am going to count myself as right on this one.

5) The Honda Accord may be a basic transportation car, but it is available as a coupe with a reasonably powerful V-6 (0-60 in 7 seconds). Why can't Ford match that with a 6 cylinder Mustang? Right. I have read road tests of the V6 Mustang that put it right at 7.0 second in the leap to 60 mph. Though I still think it could have been done with a smoother engine.

6) Power for the V-8 in the base and GT Mustangs should be in the 250-300 hp range. More than 300 hp should be left to the special editions. Right. The Base Mustang GT gets 300 hp. The next step up is the Shelby GT with 319. I expect the Bullit & Mach 1 to get variations of this slightly upgraded motor. They GT500 gets a lot more power. I expect the Boss 302 to be somewhere in between.

7) Make the Cougar. Wrong. I thought this was a perfect chance to bring back the Cougar. Imagine lengthening the wheelbase of the Mustang and putting all that into back seat leg room. Add sequential taillights, hide-a-way headlights and a formal roof line and the Cougar can return. Dress up the interior to go toe-to-toe with the Infiniti G35 Coupe or even, heaven forbid, the BMW 335i Coupe.

8) I made a series of predictions for the price range of the various flavors of Mustang and they have largely held up. Right.

I was commenting in general on retro designed cars in my May 2003 column and had this to say about the upcoming Mustang:

"What about the New Mustang. It is strongly reminiscent of the 67-68 Mustang. Will they mimic the 69-70 look next. Will they ever mimic the bloated 71-73 Mustangs? How about the dreaded "Charlie's Angels" Mustang IIs of the mid seventies? Or will the New Mustang last for 7 - 10 years with rotating trim changes to copy the Mach 1, Cobra, Shelby, Bullit, etc? Do we want retro in a "mainstream" vehicle. After all, the Mustang has been around for a long time. And there in lies the Mustang's one advantage over the other cars mentioned here... it has been in production all along. However, it will be interesting to see what Ford will do if the New Mustang is very popular. How will they maintain that and still be able to update it?"

There is no actual prediction here, but I did elude to them keeping the basic look of the car and rotating trim... which they are doing. Right. The taillights changed and are more like those of the 69-70 Mustang than the concept car's. In essence they have combined the trunk style of the 65-66 fastback with the quarter windows from the 65-66 Shelby, that basic look is 67-68, and the 69-70 taillight section. Hmm. I guess they have covered all the most popular years in one car. They will have a tough time with the next redesign.

I did a recap of the Mustang in my August 03 column comparing it to its competition.

"My estimates for the Mustang are as follows: I would estimate that the horsepower for a GT model will come from the existing 260 hp V-8, or possibly the new 280 hp V-8 from the Lincoln LS. The LS weighs over 3800 lbs and does 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. The Mustang with this same engine, a manual transmission and about 500 lbs less weight should be good for 0-60 time of about 6 seconds flat. I would expect 1/4 miles time to be about 14-1/2 seconds. Not the fastest car out there, but fast enough to satisfy the speed appetite for the majority of the public. Don't forget the Mach 1 and SVT Cobra editions can carry the banner for the truly power hungry. I will be happy with a GT with 250+ horsepower. Wrap this up in convertible form for under $30,000 and I will be waiting with baited breath for the release of the new Mustang."

The engine did not come from the LS, but it is a offshoot of the modular line. We'll call this one a draw. The horsepower was at the top of my earlier prediction, so that's good enough. I was right that special editions would carry more horsepower, but missed the 0-60 prediction by almost a second. The new GT with 300 hp did 0-60 between 5.1 and 5.3 second depending on what magazine you where reading. 1/4 mile times where closer to 14.0 seconds flat. However, you can get a convertible Mustang GT with the V8 for under $30,000 if you are careful on the options sheet.

The Score

Let's tally the score. I count 6 correct and 4 incorrect. Not bad. But let's help me out and look at some of those I got wrong. One prediction was to make a Cougar. This is not really a Mustang prediction. Plus they came out with the Cougar the same year that Chevrolet came out with the Camaro. There is still time for Ford to build an upscale, formal coupe and call it a Cougar. Let's take this one off the list. Were down to 6 to 3.

My performance predictions were a little off. They were too conservative. That's actually a good thing. More performance can be good. Ford seems to have hit it just right there. Finally they made a Mustang that can beat my 93 Camaro... when there is no Camaro to beat. I still said, "fast enough to satisfy the speed appetite for the majority of the public" and that much was right. Let's swing that one over to the other side. 7 to 2.

I totally missed the launch event, but I never thought they would actually do it. Does this matter. Nah... we'll drop that one and bring the tally to 7 to 1.

That leaves my biggest wrong... the lack of IRS. I stand strong that the Mustang should have an IRS. But I am not going to change the score for this one.

Conclusion

So, overall I did pretty well. I was right or close enough on 7 points about the Mustang, and only out-and-out wrong on 1 point. So it's time to put that kind of thinking into the new Camaro.

Come back next month and I will make some predictions and even some wish list items that may or may not make it. Hey, just subscribe to my newsletter and you will be notified when the article is posted online.

Until then...

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