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As The Mustang Is Set To Turn 60 Years Old, It Finds Itself Almost Alone

S650 Ford Mustang Heading To Europe

The Ford Mustang has enjoyed wonderful company with the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro, with all of them on the market at once since 2009. But, like the first Malaise Era, this New Malaise Era is claiming a few of these iconic nameplates once again. General Motors stopped producing the Chevrolet Camaro in December, and Stellantis ended its Dodge Challenger and Charger production with the V8 ahead of the new all-electric Dodge Charger Daytona, while shelving the Challenger name once again.

What this means is that Ford is now the only manufacturer offering a V8 muscle car. And one of the only companies out there offering a front engined V8 coupe, period (unless you’ve got Mercedes-AMG or Aston Martin money).  This strategic move is partly attributed to the success of the Mustang Mach-E crossover, which offsets many of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by Ford’s ICE vehicles, as far as the government is concerned (though, in reality, it’s just handing off the carbon footprint to somewhere else). And with more strict emission mandates now timed for 2030, it’s highly likely that the days of the V8 muscle car will soon reach their limit.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Build Price Configurator Ordering Oxford White
Image copyright Neil Britton, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Yes, there will be an ICE version of the new Dodge Charger, but it ain’t got no Hemi. Instead, it will be using the new twin-turbo, inline-six Hurricane engine, by 2025. On paper, it’s got Hemi-beating power, but more importantly, significantly lower GHG emissions, as far as an EPA testing cycle is conerned. Hemi sounds, however, no. And ease of tuning, probably not.

So, what does this all mean for the Mustang? As you can imagine, Ford is looking to capitlize on the lack of competition.

Jeff Marentic, general manager of Ford Blue products, recently spoke to CNBC. He revealed that the company has plans to grow the Mustang brand even more, knowing that there is still a market for a true American sports car around the world, and as the only manufacturer of a muscle car with a V8, there are expectations to see sales rise. Especially at the beginning, when new versions of iconic vehicles start a new generation. Case in point, The Ford tallied 122,000 Mustang sales in 2015 to fewer than 49,000 as it sunset the S550 model and ramped up production of the seventh-generation Mustang, the S650.

Image copyright Niel Britton, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

The V8 model of the Ford Mustang is the highest-selling version in Europe, and the automaker even ended up discontinuing sales of the S550 EcoBoost Mustang (the last-gen model) across the pond a few years back. Ironically, the EcoBoost was modeled as the “global” Mustang when it first debuted back in 2014. Anyway, this explains why Ford has opted to only offer the GT and Dark Horse versions across the pond, though with major hits to their power figures.

Whether or not sales will eclipse the S550 model remains to be seen. While the S650 Ford Mustang is indeed the last V8 muscle car standing, as MC&T first reported it would be back in 2021, the major headwind is the price, and customers will likely be quick to point out the horsepower shrinkflation when it comes to the price of a V8 Mustang. And doing away with toggle switches and analog gauges for screens and software isn’t the most equal of tradeoffs. Sure, a younger customer may find that appealing, which the Ford Mustang definitely needs. But with the older customers carrying disproportionate purchasing power, their tastes still need to be considered as well. Maybe that’s what the $300,000+ Mustang GTD is for?

whipple supercharger s650 mustang

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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