American Muscle isn’t dead. In fact, performance cars across the globe are making their return to our ever-changing market. The battle for the best American Muscle hasn’t been this fierce in decades. Red-Eyed Demons & Hellcats approaching 800HP, track-tuned Camaros sharing engine power with the Corvette Z06 – it’s a new age of American Muscle – and we’re along for the ride.
Ford Motor Company has been pushing their performance portfolio with the grand (and very limited) announcement of the Ford GT. Demand has well exceeded availability of this new generation GT, but for now only a select few will have the chance to get behind of the wheel. Ford has also been pushing the evolution of the Mustang since it’s completely new redesign in 2015. With each new iteration, buyers are tempted by special edition releases with names like Shelby, Roush, Hennessey & Saleen to support each unique performance package.
This brings us to the latest Mustang – The Bullitt. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the film & the famous scene with Steve McQueen chasing down a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco in a 1968 Mustang fastback – this new Mustang represents a piece of Hollywood history. This isn’t a novelty, though – Ford approached this release with the true driver’s car in mind.
From a glance the Mustang Bullitt is a clear throwback to an earlier time. Once you take a seat behind the wheel – branded with the film’s title in cross-hairs – you hold the clutch, hit the ignition & awaken the beast. The Bullitt is only available in 6-speed manual transmission, built on the platform of the Mustang GT Premium producing 420 horsepower & 420 pound-feet of growling torque. Immediately after launching the car forward, you can feel the power as you shift through the gears, which is made even more enjoyable with it’s rev-matching feature kicking up the engine RPM for smooth downshifts. Driving this Mustang is as you would hope, pure joy. Mode selections for Normal, Sport or Track with separate options for exhaust noise – so if you need to shift into stealth mode, you don’t need to change out your exhaust system at the shop – it’s all accomplished with the press of a button. Everything about this car screams American Muscle from it’s unique front grille absent of any badging or branding to it’s naturally aspirated V8 engine covered by a GT350 intake manifold – stitched Recaro seats, big red Brembo brakes & white cue-ball shifter knob, through to it’s MagneRide Damping System & throaty active exhaust. The Bullitt’s acceleration quite literally lives up to it’s name; while you may be inclined to shift at the ample 4000 RPM mark, you’d be missing the full capability of this drive-train if you didn’t hold down the throttle until reaching it’s horse power peak at 5,000 RPM or approaching the 7,500 RPM redline. The car is agile & balanced; it handles with precision & has all the features of a modern high-performance vehicle.
Mustang has been a staple in American automotive history, this latest release we’re reminded that Mustang was alive & well 50 years ago, and it’s here to stay – true to it’s nature – Pure American Muscle.
I wonder if Ford will be receiving royalties for the increase of viewership for “Bullitt” on Netflix as the nostalgic gear-heads revisit this film from 1968 – I know I’ll be one of them.