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2005 Ford Mustang Photo
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2004 Detroit Auto Show Coverage (1/4/2004)

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If your big enthusiast heart hasn’t already burst with the introduction of a new Corvette — the second in eight years, no less — you may want to check into the ICU ward and strap on the EKG whilst reading about the new 2005 Ford Mustang, the first ground-up renovation of the classic pony car since 1979 and easily one of the best-looking efforts to emerge from J Mays’ halls of car coutoure.

2005 Ford Mustang

2005 Ford Mustang

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The ’05 Mustang makes its grand entrance at the Detroit auto show this week (technically the North American International Auto Show, the last time we’ll refer to it that way for the remainder of the week) riding atop a new rear-drive, live-axle chassis and powered by your choice of a V-6 or, maybe more suitable to your street cred and its own, a V-8 engine. The V-6 will sticker under $20,000, Ford says, and the V-8 Mustang will be the most affordable car in its performance arena, they add.

Live axles? Six-cylinder engines? Buyers won’t have it any other way, Ford engineers told us at a background session for the new Mustang late last year. In short, the V-6 version pays the bills, keeps unenthusiasts in two-door coupes and keeps the total sales numbers high enough that Ford can spin off wild, high-performance versions like the 390-hp Cobras of recent vintage.

As for the live-axle rear end, Ford execs tell us that the tuner crowd needs the durability of the setup so they can continue to tune the ’Stang’s engine lineup for racing and other not-so-street-legal events. “We talked to a lot of Mustang owners as we were developing this program,” said Hau Thai-Tang, chief engineer. “They are a very passionate group, and a lot of them told us — very strongly — that the all-new Mustang had to have a solid rear axle.”

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