Chevrolet has retreated from the V8 muscle car wars with the end of production for the Camaro, and so has Dodge with the Challenger and Charger. That leaves Ford as the only player in the field with the S650 Mustang. Starting with the four-cylinder EcoBoost, it’s a gateway to the pony car lifestyle. Following that is the S650 Mustang GT, while the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse is where all the glory is with 500 horsepower on tap and a slew of performance upgrades. Highlighting the Ford Mustang muscle car monopoly, CEO Jim Farley touched on the matter during a media walkthrough that took place at the company’s 2024 racing season launch party, located at racing partner and builder Multimatic’s facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Mustang is going to celebrate its 60th anniversary coming up here. A lot of our competitors have left,” said Farley. “They’ve come and gone. We never did that. We’ve always been there with Mustang. Sixty years, and it’s changed over time. We have EcoBoost, we have the Dark Horse now, and we’re going to continue to invest. And if we’re the only one on the planet making a V8 affordable sports car for everyone in the world, so be it.”
“Affordable” is a relative term, however. Just a little over a month ago, this statement wouldn’t have rang true, as Dodge and Chevy were offering V8 muscle cars with significantly more power for the money, or a V8 for less money than the Mustang GT and/or Dark Horse.
If you’re looking at getting your hands on the 500 hp Ford Mustang Dark Horse, you’ll have to shell out $61,725 (including destination). That’s basically Camaro ZL1 money, which delivered 650 horsepower. In 2020, Chevy launched the C8 Corvette Stingray with an MSRP just a hair under $60,000 USD. That base price has since inflated significantly, but the same fate is likely reserved for the Dark Horse, as well. At least that means this new muscle car will be slow to depreciate.
Perhaps the Dark Horse is out of reach for you. In that case, there’s the S650 Mustang GT, priced from a more agreeable $44,950 (including destination). Then again, Ford and Multimatic are prepping the Mustang GTD, which is a $300,000 track star that so happens to be street legal, like the Ford GT supercar before it.
That said, Ford Performance seeks to demonstrate Mustang capability to the fullest, as the brand will have Mustangs race on six different continents on any given weekend throughout 2024, from IMSA and NASCAR, to Australia Supercars and the World Endurance Championship.
At the end of the day, Mr. Farley is right. It is the only “affordable” V8 sports car on the market, and as American performance enthusiasts, we should be thankful that Ford is committing to the Mustang ethos. But certainly, it’s not getting any cheaper.
If we’re lucky, advances with hydrogen combustion technology could keep the V8 well beyond what the current projections show. Or, more efficient V8 engines could spark another V8 engine boom, though such technology is unlikely to be cheap in either case. At the moment, durable and simple V8 engines are at odds with regulations both home and abroad.
When we next see the Dodge Charger, it will utilize the Hurricane inline-six engine, along with electrification, but there is a rumor of a new V8 engine in the works from Stellantis. Meanwhile, GM just debuted a refreshed Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, which shares a similar architecture and LT4 V8 engine as the outgoing Camaro ZL1, while also investing hundreds of millions of dollars towards next-gen Small Block V8 production.