By on August 31, 2006

ford_mustang_shelby_gt500.jpg No question, the Ford Mustang is a galloping success. Both the base and GT models are a runaway success, contributing significant revenue to their corporate parent. And now legendary racer, sports car constructor and chili magnate Carroll Shelby is adding some hot tamales to the feed bag. The Shelby Cobra GT500 goes on sale any second now, saddled with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 good for 500hp. Although there’s little doubt that Shelby’s performance package will be a well-engineered addition to the core car’s strengths, it’s still a case of too much too late.

Let’s Review. For 50 percent more than the MSRP of a Mustang GT, the GT500 buyer gets a supercharger, an intercooler, a race-proven T56 six-speed manual transmission, suspension mods, 18” wheels, wider tires, distinctive spoiler and grill treatments and one whole Hell of a lot of Shelby badging. Oh, and roughly 400 pounds of additional weight, which push this pony car into the Crown Vic weight class. And that’s what I’m talking about: Ford’s decision to add horsepower to the Mustang instead of reducing weight.

It may be a piercing glimpse into the obvious, but Ford could have made a serious performance car out of the Mustang GT simply by shedding weight. In fact, if the 300hp GT lost 700 pounds, it would have the same power-to-weight ratio as the 500hp Shelby GT500. A leaner, meaner, altogether keener Mustang GT would find a willing market, and serve notice to GM and DaimlerChrysler that Ford isn’t going to cede the ponycar market quite yet. There are a number of ways, most of them relatively cheap, to ditch the Mustang’s extra pounds.

Start by eliminating the air conditioning. This lightweight GT (call it the GT-L) would be a potential race-ready road car, not a boulevard cruiser for hot nights in Vegas. If it wasn’t for the Federal standards about defrosters, you might be able to leave off the heater. But even with a heater and defroster, the elimination of the air conditioning unit would drop a lot of mass, and some drag on the engine as well. Next, ditch the power windows. If Ford made the call, its suppliers could come up with a manual window regulator in a heartbeat.

Likewise, lose the electric locks. Real racers can push their own lock buttons down. Ditto for the electric trunk release. Once those are gone, the module that controls these functions and related wiring can also be deleted, saving even more weight. The radio and CD player can also go; the glorious fury of the Mustang GT’s V8 is music enough to a performance junkie. And while we’re at it, deep-six the sound deadening material behind the front seats. And the back seats, rear seat belts and shoulder harnesses.

Ford can use the front fascia from the base six cylinder Mustang, delete the fog lights and save a few more pounds. The cladding on the rocker panels can go, too. Who cares if the tires throw a little dirt on the side of the car? And off with the spoiler. A real racer is going to fashion a spoiler that works, rather than one that satisfies the design committee. Removing the spare tire, jack and tools will also liberate some major heft.

These simple steps would get the Mustang coupe’s weight near the goal of 2600 lbs. Several more radical changes would get the weight to less than 2600 pounds. How ‘bout manual steering? Back to the supplier for a manual rack and pinion gear. This would allow the elimination, and drag, of the power steering pump. A Mustang with manual steering would probably be a bear to park, but pistonheads aren’t going to buy this car for their grandmothers. The final step: kill the center console. This would require some new parts, but the existing console has to be a lot heavier than a few rubber boots around the shifter.

Tweak the car’s suspension, add appropriate decals and there you have it: a Mustang that’s fully competitive with the Shelby version, and a lot better handling to boot. As less is sometimes less, the Mustang GT-L’s development costs would not be prohibitive. Lest we forget Shelby himself jettisoned ballast when he developed the GT350, ‘way back in the 60s. It was a belter that burnished the image created by the Cobra. Porsche, Mazda, Honda and several other manufacturers build lightweight performance cars like these. Even better for Ford, they charge more money for them. That’s a business plan that FoMoCo should latch onto pronto.

Of course, not many people would buy this car. But there is simply no underestimating the street cred a GT-L would generate for Ford and its entire Mustang franchise. Of course, there’s nothing to stop ole Shel from putting his Mustang on a diet…

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110 Comments on “The Ford Mustang GT Must Diet...”


  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I like where you are going with this, Bob.

    I’d call the lightweight model an “LX” and slap some “4.6” badges on the fenders to make the point. And lower the base price to something more like what the original “LX” sold for.

  • avatar
    miked

    I’d buy the GT-L. That’s eveything I want in a car with none of the crap I don’t want. Added bonus: fewer electrical items means fewer things to catch on fire (e.g. Ford’s infamous cruise control module)

  • avatar
    dwillms

    Although I like the logic that saving weight is equally as important as a power increase, your ideas are just a little off-base.

    For all the changes you are proposing, you would be lucky to save 350 lbs, let alone 700. Second, fabbing up new manual parts in place of power ones would only increase cost. Other than the most hardcore racer-types, who else would pony up just as much for a stripper GT with manual everything, no A/C, and no back seats (!).

    I think the better idea would be to develop the GT500 to deliver 500 hp, but with little-to-no additional weight over the regular GT. That way you would have a better power-to-weight ratio still, and the type of people who would buy a 500 hp car won’t worry as much about any lack of creature comforts.

  • avatar
    Caffiend

    And who would buy it? Sure some of us would be interested. But in the real world, no back seats, no radio? The wife would like that.

    Build race cars. Build street cars. Can’t be both.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Can’t be both? STi? Elise?

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    I loved this article! As a fun project I recently purchased an ’89 5.0L and decided to take the exact route this article describes. Even for a 17 yr old car, it still is powerful, but quite in-efficient. When making any car fast, efficiency is key. After removing the AC, all sound deadening, Power Windows, Rear Seat, Stereo, spare tire I estimate I’ve saved around 400 to 500 pounds! It is a noticebly faster car, and I haven’t spent a dime on superchargers or any power adders.

    I’ve always said the automakers are missing a large market for stripped cars. Great article to bring this concept of increasing effiecency to the fore-front.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I believe this idea has already been done. A couple of years ago I read an article in one of the auto magazines, can’t remember which, where the tested a stripped down race version of the Mustang GT. It had light weight racing seats, no back seat, lighter rims, and some of the other mods mentioned above. I believe they said it weighed 500 lbs less than a standard Mustang GT. They also said that it was uncomfortable and the performance numbers were almost identical to the GT (worse in some of the tests). Really not a product with a market, though I do agree in principle with the idea that the Mustang needs to go on a diet if it truly wants to get back to its roots. IMHO the only way to do this and make it work is to start at the start and design it from the ground up to be a quick racer similar to what Chevy did with the latest Corvette. Shaving a few pounds here and there to reduce the overall weight of the car. Not that the Corvette’s a particularly light car, but it’s a lot lighter than it would have been using the same old building technology.

  • avatar

    A stripper with a V8… build it NOW!

  • avatar
    a_d_y_a

    Why would you race a mustang with a solid live rear axle? Independent rear suspension would be a better mod, than any weight savings mentioned in this article. Try firming the suspension a bit first. Have you seen a Mustang under heavy braking, it nose dives like the titanic.

    Mustang sells because it does one thing really well. Cruise. For crusing more the badges the better your bragging rights. So the Shelby makes sense.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    I understand the point that loosing some weight is a good thing but let’s get realistic. The ZO6 corvette is made of aluminum, Magnesium and balsa wood (floor) and its weight as a 2 seater is 3100 LBS. A target weight of 2600 is a figure that may work on a planet with less gravity but come on! Anything that is not at the size scale of Miata with a 4 cylinder is going to be way over 2600 lbs. Even the beloved 5.0 LX notchback could not get that light if you took out the interior and removed the doors.

    Removing the features of the car to save weight? Ridiculous! First off you can’t even remove the power windows on a 05 and newer Mustang because they automatically have to roll down 1 inch to clear the molding when you open the door. They did this to remove the need for an ugly drip molding and seal the door better for wind noise. Remove the air conditioning? What? If people want a purpose built race car they would make one them selves, there is not even something the size of a niche market for a purpose built race car from the dealer this day and age.

    All the points in this article seem to point that the 400 lb supercharger upgrade is a better idea by far. You can use the car every day with the radio and A/C and then go to the track and run a high/mid 11 second quarter mile. I’m not sure if anyone realizes just how disgustingly retarded fast this is for a non race specific car that can be driven daily.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    a_d_y_a:

    The GT 500 comes with a IRS suspension. It’s part of the 400 LB add is because of the IRS. It is heavier than a “live axle”.

    I guess they ditched it.

  • avatar

    “Of course, not many people would buy this car.”

    Exactly. Arn’t car companies in the business of selling cars…? This is one of those articles where it’s easy to talk if you’re not actually the one responsible for running the business.

  • avatar
    SonicSteve

    Gearhead,

    The GT500 comes with a solid axle just like the Mustang GT

    The big weight gain can be attributed to the cast iron block and all the supercharger pumbing that comes with the car. A ford GT block converted to wet sump could probably have been used to save weight.. but $$$ would have gone up for sure.

    Cars are getting heavier and heavier, part of this is increased safety, the other part is the desire for torsional rigidity. Sure a 99-04 Mustang GT is lighter than its 05-07 counterpart, but to get the same stiffness out of the chassis a lot of bracing would have to be added.

    It would have been nice if they had taken a full 2-3″ inches of thickness out of the car to reduce weight that way and make it more of a “low slung” look.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Delte the Air Conditioning?

    You so crazy, Bob.

    Though killing the center console would help. I don’t know about weight saving, but that ugly Ford Family radio has to die.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Regardless, any Mustang that weighs close to 4,000 lbs is not a pony car. If it is, then I guess this comes as great news to Cadillac owners out there.

    Anyway, good article. I doubt deleting all the aforementioned parts would shed 700lbs, but it would definately make a better car. I believe Ford did make a “stipped” version of its Mustang GT back in ’95? I believe it was called the Mustang GTS.

    • 0 avatar
      Wild Billy

      Indeed Jordan.
      Ford made a “stripped” version of the GT that was called the GTS.
      It came for the 95 year model and that was pretty much only modification to the Mustang line that year.
      It was the powerplant of the V8 (and its differential and double exhaust) in the body of a V6. It had the Mustang GT rear bumper and badges. It was available with pretty much every options you wanted.
      I live in Puerto Rico and I bought one that I’m driving every day. Every Mustangs then but the Cobra R was coming with AC so mine does have one (V8 AC lines (different on V6). According to the first owner, you could feel a little more punch when driving the GTS (compared to the standard GT) but not something that impressive. I cannot really judge, when I got mine it was already old, modified (3.93 gear, 17″ Cobra R rims, BBK long headers, O/R H pipe, no cats, Flowmaster Super 44…). It doesn’t have the standard Ford radio but an aftermarket one and mine had been ordered with the GT spoiler. It has manual powered windows (really rare even on the V6, it’s a b*tch to find the door panels), no trunk release, no power lock, no super fancy sound system, no lighted sun visors (yellow warning sign instead of orange on GT), no cruise control. Mine was also ordered with the GT fog lights. The funny thing is that the “-way electric powered driver seat was a standard. Mine’s exterior is totally accurate to the stock GT and interior was ordered with nothing but AC. It was available with the Borg Warner T-5 (mine had it) or the sluggish AODE auto. I have to say that it is an awesome first car and that it makes the modifications easier (you don’t have to bother about removing all these things since they were not even mounted). The following years these Mustangs were not sold as GTS but as packages in the GT line. They were not as famous as the GTS because of this marketing decision but they are virtually similar. If anyone wants more infos on the 95 GTS I’d be happy to send you some more.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This proposed GT-L/LX should also get more power from the 4.6 – I’m sure you can get 350HP without too much effort.

  • avatar
    jjdaddyo

    Sounds like a Mustang RS America model

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I saw a GT500 yesterday at the Ford lot with the hood popped getting a power-bath.

    Ugliest, most ungainly looking engine-bay you can imagine. It’s 50% plumbing.

    Put it this way — if this car were to meet European pedestrian Safety Standards, the driver wouldn’t be able to see over the swollen hood.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Slap some GT350 badges and a couple of blue stripes on the Mustang described in this article, and Ford should be ready to go.

    Sure, not many people would buy it, but it’d work well as another performance icon (I doubt Ford’s making money off the GT either, but it “enhances the brand” or whatever corporate b.s. you want to use). In addition, it’d bring the Mustang a little closer to where it started, and it might just entice some of the sports car nuts who write the Mustang off as nothing more than a tire-torture device.

    If Ford really wanted to go the full mile, start up a spec racer program for these stripped Mustangs.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Even if you removed the interior, AC and power everything all that stuff would never amount to 700 LBS.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Of course, not many people would buy this car. But there is simply no underestimating the street cred a GT-L would generate for Ford and its entire Mustang franchise.

    Excuse me, but over on the “Death Watch” series of articles we jump all over the Big 2 for making cars people won’t buy.

    This car isn’t designed to do stoplight drags, any more than the Land Rover LRV is designed to travel across the trackless sahara. Both of them are designed to drive the mean streets of suburbia while preserving the owner’s delusions about himself as a teenage street racer (Mustang) or intrepid African explorer (Land Rover.) AC, power steering, power windows and locks are all neccessities on these cars because they’re not intended to do anything more than shuttle the driver back and forth to work and to look cool. And you can’t be cool if you’re burning up from the heat!

    No doubt some enterprising builder might come up with a stripper version, but my guess is it wouldn’t be any less expensive than digging up an original ’69 in beater condition and restoring it to its former glory.

  • avatar
    noley

    The root of the problem is that the basic Mustang is at least 500 pounds too fat right off the car transporter. The Ford website doesn’t list curb weight, but I seem to recall the ‘stang being about 3200. Why a 2-door sports coupe needs to weigh as much as the average sedan defies logic.
    But then again, the Mustang is not really supposed to be a sports car, just something to pose in and look like you’re going fast. In reality, the Mustang would sell very well with a 200 hp six as the only motor.

    And while 500 hp in a Mustang would be a whole lot of fun I can think of a whole lot better ways to get more performance for a whole lot less money. And you can get it without the heft of a big honkin’ V8.
    How about putting a turbo or supercharger on the 4.6 liter? You won’t have much of a weight gain and all it would lack is bragging rights about displacement. Even better, buy something else, like an EVO, STi or build a Factory Five Cobra.

    Mustangs. Fun rentals but still a yawn.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    A Roush or KB supercharger on a base GT will make a safe 430 HP @ a cost of $4K – $5K with a gain of about 75lbs of stuff. After all of that the total would be about 30K but with a 1/4 mile time in the 11’s.

    People who want a Mustang GT probably would not want an EVO or STI I’m guessing.

  • avatar
    Captain Tungsten

    It may seem a correct strategy to replace things like electronic window regulators, locks and even power steering for mass reduction. But the current components are beneficiaries of a lot of relentless development to get mass out, and their manual counterparts are likely the same designs used in the Mustangs in the’60s. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current components were lighter than the manual ones that would replace them, unless the manual ones were completely redesigned.

  • avatar
    adehus

    Love the idea of a lipo-ed ‘stang, but I’m inclined to think that the weight has more to do with the engineering of the frame, structural components, etc. After all, an Elise still weighs in at 2000lbs+/- with AC and power windows.

    Not a fair comparison, obviously, but I think the general point still stands- ‘lightness’ probably needs to be an engineering goal from the beginning. Something for Ford to look into for the next gen Mustang, maybe.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    i think the goal weight should be 3,000lbs, if im not mistaking the Vipers goal weight is 3,000lbs. it seems like an obtainable number. Lightweight wheels; no rear seats; lightweight racing front seats; Carbon Fiber Hood, Fenders, Trunk lid; no AC; no spare tire/jack; lose a lot of the sound insulation. And i agree, IRS or go home. Ford should concentrate on making the mustang the best handling and braking car in the class. Forget about all out straight line speed.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    IRS suspension is heavier than a live axle.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    What you want has already been made, and made better. Just not by Ford. What you want is a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS. You can get them for about $27k or less if memory serves (place in Cali that will sell you them under invoice). The RS has rear seats and four doors and AWD. Fast as hell and you car drive it in something other than a straight-line, oh and change the tires and you can even do some gravel or dirt.

    While I agree that most newer cars need to save weight the type of car you are asking Ford to build would be lucky to sell more than 500/year. What is the incentive for cash strapped Ford to do this? Better that they put any money they would spend on this into something that will sell in volumes say the Euro Focus or a derivative of the Focus they use in Rally racing (call it something else in the states).

    They wanted the Mustang GT to be a good bang for your buck straight line car; low weight costs too much money.

    What Ford could have done is significantly up the use of aluminum in the Shelby to get a better weight balance and weight overall.

  • avatar
    eslai

    Cute article but way out of touch with reality. People don’t want to give up creature comforts for speed, and where is it written that prospective Mustang buyers are SCCA drivers? Mustang buyers for the most part don’t seem to be the types that would “get it”, I’m afraid.

  • avatar
    miked

    If you build it with IRS, what’s the first thing guys who take it to the track are going to do? They’re going to put stiffer aftermarket (anti)sway bars on it. Why add all the weight to make IRS just to tie it all together with sway bars and undo all the indpendance the IRS gives you. (Go on over to VW Vortex and see all the posts about people butting bigger sway bars on their new fancy suspenion in the Mark V GTIs when they all got along just fine with the old twist beam suspension on the Mark IV)

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Reviews say that the Mustang GT will post up a .86g skidpad. 0-60 in 5.2 (you guys don’t seem to relate to 1/4 mile)

    Under 27K.

    27MPG Highway also.

    Not bad for 3500 Lbs. Most cars this size will not do these numbers.

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    Allow me to follow up on my previous post. Although I am completely on board with the concept of a stripper muscle car as a fun project race car, that exactly what it is, a race car. Without A/C, sound deadening, Rear seats, or a Stereo, I wouldn’t dare drive it regularly or take the family on vacation in it. It’s uncomfortable as hell! But that’s not its purpose. A stripper car, of any make would sell in low volumes, so not a great business case does this vehicle make. Low volume specialty cars exist, they’re called TVR’s for example.
    Ford needs to sell cars to the masses to stay in business. So build a stripper of your own. It’s much more enjoyable too!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Gearhead, you faithful defender of all things American,

    Those numbers seem about accurate, except for the 27mpg on the highway. More like 27mpg from Mt. Witney (14,000+ feet) to sea level. And they’re OK. About the same as a WRX.

    However, the car is very, very heavy — too heavy for thre brakes at the very least. And as a car is only as good as its brakes…

    Though, the convertible version rectifys that, as you are simply smiling too much to actually care.

  • avatar

    I agree with the major stuff, but eliminating power windows and door locks? are the manual versions even that much lighter? even if so, I can’t imagine the difference is much more than a few big macs.

  • avatar
    htn

    A Roush or KB supercharger on a base GT will make a safe 430 HP @ a cost of $4K – $5K with a gain of about 75lbs of stuff. After all of that the total would be about 30K but with a 1/4 mile time in the 11’s.

    And if Ford did it at the factory (called it a mustang GT-S) their cost would probably be less than 1K and they could easily add 2-4K to the price. Don’t know about strength of rest of drive train. Might also have to be upgraded.

    Howard

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I’ll go further and say the Mustang GT is exactly the car Ford wanted and needed. For this one type of vehicle Ford really know its target audience. They sell a ton of these things as is, (probably the V6) lots of ladies like the Mustang looks and a V6 is fine by them. For those who want some tire smoking torque and V8 growl you have the GT and look its well under 30k (really who pays MSRP anyway so it’s a bunch less). Mustang owners don’t car how heavy the car is with a few simple mods (which Ford will sell you) you can bump the power and improve the handling. Hell the Shelby GT is standard Ford Parts bin fair. Any Mustang owner can do the same.

    While the Mustang GT is not something I would buy since I need 4 real seats and at least a bit more than 2 doors it is a great design and win by Ford. Ford knew exactly what it was doing on the Mustang, it’s a shame they can’t do the same on the rest of their lineup. Without the 2005 Ford Mustang you would have never seen the green light on a Dodge Challenger or Chevy Camaro.

  • avatar
    ktm

    gearhead, I rarely look at 0-60 times, as the quarter mile is more telling.

    Jeff in Canada, and most likely cheaper as well. Focus on the unsprung weight first (17-in. light-weight wheels), add the Roush supercharger per gearhead’s suggestion, eliminate the spare, replace the two front seats, swap the hood and deck lids with carbon fibre pieces (I don’t know the stock weight for these pieces, it may be pointless as the savings may be marginal), and you have a car that is still streetable.

    What’s the Mustang’s rear-end ratio? A swap there may be in order as well.

    Bob Elton’s posts are like train wrecks waiting to happen. I read them for sheer morbid curiosity.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    I think the braking is 116 feet 60 to 0. The WRX 60 to 0 is only 1.5 feet shorter and weighs about 200 lbs less.

    Not sure what the brake fade is like between the two. I would suspect the GT has more.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    htn:

    When the Roush supercharger kit is used the vehicle retains the 36K factory warranty. The driveline was built for 450… anything more the engine tends take a crap from what I hear. The trans and the axle housings are the same between the GT and the GT500.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    What’s the Mustang’s rear-end ratio? A swap there may be in order as well.

    3:55 Auto

    3:75 Manual

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    gearhead:

    The WRX is a better car.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    gearhead455: “The WRX 60 to 0 is only 1.5 feet shorter and weighs about 200 lbs less.”

    The fact that a 4-door, AWD sedan weighs less than this 2-door RWD coupe tells the whole story.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Jonny, you can’t say that in all fairness. In Europe the GT moniker stands for grand touring, while here in the US we have warped that meaning to describe the sport model of a line. The Mustang GT is really a grand tourer in the traditional sense. The two are not really comparable.

    The WRX is in a different category than the Mustang. I used to post frequently at NASIOC and this topic (which car is better, blah blah blah) came up often. Why compare a two-door (traditional) GT to a 4-door sedan? Why compare a car with rally heritage to a car with its eyes set on the quarter mile?

    Someone who is looking at the Mustang is not (most likely) going to consider the WRX, Mazdaspeed6, Legacy, etc, unless they are looking at strictly performance oriented vehicles. Even then, if someone is looking at a WRX they will not even consider the Mustang as they are most likely import-biased.

    Hutton, your comment is most telling and in the spirit of the original editorial.

  • avatar
    JSForbes

    General question: does sharing a platform do anything to weight?

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    i dont think taking the back seats out is abig deal. Mini just did it and they sold everyone. and i dont think the mustangs back seats are much more useful then a Mini. I would suspect anyone that was trying to save weight would be taking the back seats out of there GT anyway.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    No AC? We must have AC!
    To quote John Phillips III of Car and Driver, in a counterpoint sidebar for the road test of the Porsche RS America, on which the AC was optional:
    “To air is human, forgive design”.
    A cooler driver is a happier driver, a less fatigued driver.

    Replace the factory seats with a fixed angle racing shell type seat with adequate padding. That should easily save 70 pounds or so!!

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Jonny,

    The WRX STI has a 33K MSRP (USD), It should be a better car and I never said it was not.

  • avatar
    Commuter

    What you forget is the car was a compromise from the begining. It was built on the same heavy platform designed for the luxury Lincoln LS and Jaguar S. It can never be a lightweight, much like the Nissan 350Z based on the same platform as Infininty FX. Platform sharing is a fact of life and it adds weight to the smaller members of the family, but it makes them cheaper. Even the original Mustang shared it’s frame with a stodgy sedan.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    As others have said, the author’s idea of superficial weight savings is going to compromise comfort and convenience while saving MAYBE 200-300 lbs, nowhere near the 700-800 needed to get to 2600 lbs.

    The car’s chassis is just not engineered with weight savings in mind. Low cost was the number one priority…..Period.

    The C6 corvette, even in non Z06 steel chassis guise, has every convenience feature known to man and still weighs 300 lbs less than a Mustang GT, and 600+ lbs less than the GT500. No contest. With 400 HP it will run with the 500 HP Shelby in a straight line and destroy it in the twisties….assuming a driver with sufficient skill at the helm.

    The only “weigh” to carve significant poundage is nothing less than a clean sheet redesign…but with the bargain priced Mustang selling well….this will be many years away.

    Of note, my 1991 LX 5.0 notchback with one airbag and rear drum brakes weighed about 3100 lbs. The Mustang needs to get back to that weight as a realistic goal. 2600 lbs is a nice idea, but about as likely as having $1.50/ gal gas making a comeback.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Gearhead,
    I’m sure Jonny is comparing the regular WRX ($23k base) to the Mustang GT ($26k base). Seems fair.

    If you’re talking STi, the the comparison would be to the GT500, which at $42k, and with 500 horses, should embarass the Subaru… but… it doesn’t. Almost identical numbers all around. Where does your extra $10,000 go? Not towards performance.

    It can be said that WRX vs. Mustang is a dumb argument, and I’m not really getting involved, but it keeps coming up, so obviously some people are comparing them.

  • avatar
    nweaver

    The elise uses power windows because they weigh LESS than manual cranks!

    Likewise, the AC etc is pretty low on the weight scale…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Ford has tried this approach with the Mustang relatively recently not once, but twice. The first was the 1995 GTS. The second was the 2000 Cobra R. The former was marginally cheaper (but not any faster) than the GT, while the latter was faster but outrageously expensive. Both were unmitigated sales failures and even for the small number that was produced, many sat on dealer’s lots for years.

    The unvarnished truth is in order for Ford to keep the Mustang’s price relatively low (regardless of the equipment level), it’s going to be a porker, and cutting equipment to save weight is akin to figuratively cutting their own sales throat.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    gearhead — What hutton said.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    People will try to compare any type of performance car from 2 doors to 4, 2 seats to 4. The 350z, Mustang GT, Impreza, RX8, G35 Coupe are all performance cars to one degree or another. They all sacrifice something. I have yet to find a car under $30k that has great looks (inside and out), great power, great handling and a moderate amount of functionality.

    Stock for stock a Mustang will outrun a WRX and look good doing it. Looking at sales volume it appears that is what America cares about.

  • avatar
    ktm

    JSForbes, platform sharing can have a lot to do with weight. The 350z/G35 is as heavy as it is because it shares the same platform as the FX35/45.

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    Wow . . . this site’s credibility factor as a source of reasonable suggestions on how to fix the domestic auto industry just took a major nosedive, IMO. If this is your idea of a winning plan, thank God you’re not sitting in the corner office on Michigan Avenue.

  • avatar

    First let me say that I absolutely agree with your assertion that what the Mustang really needs is a serious weight-reduction to be a proper sports car. However, as some other commenters have mentioned, the weight savings outlined in this article are a ricer’s dream.

    Here’s a realistic estimate of the weight savings that you prescribed (the weight estimates are on the generous side):

    – eliminate A/C (35lb)
    – eliminate power locks (10lb)
    – eliminate power windows (15lb)
    – factory stereo deck + speakers (20lb)
    – remove all sound deadening material/tar (50lb)
    – remove backseats and belts (75lb)
    – use base Mustang front and eliminate fog lights (15lb)
    – eliminate spare tire, jack, etc. (50lb if full size spare)
    – eliminate all extra body pieces (sideskirts, spoiler, etc.) (30lb)

    TOTAL = 300lb
    And again, these estimates are on the generous end. Moreover, because of the lack of even basic creature comforts, the resulting model would sell maybe 500 units per year only to dedicated racers (like the Evo RS, the old Mustang Cobra R, etc.)

    To lose weight the proper way, Ford needs to spend money. For example, fit the car with quality, light-weight forged wheels. This will save about 8lb/corner for about 30-35lb total weight savings of unsprung weight. Use a lot of aluminum suspension pieces. Again, this can easily save 25lb/corner (100lb total) of largely unsprung weight. Use an aluminum engine block (75lb) on the GT500 (they do on the Mustang GT). Ford used an aluminum block in, I believe, the ’95-’98 Cobra but reverted to cast-iron because they didn’t want to redesign the block to reliably handle the big power numbers they wanted. Use aluminum/fiberglass/CF-composite hood, trunk, roof, doors, bumpers (50-150lb). This is typical in sports cars on other makes. Anyway, the list goes on. The point, though, is that weight savings is not cheap or easy.

    Once again, I do agree with you that Ford should have focused its GT500 development dollars on putting the Mustang on a diet rather than just sheer brute force performance. The result would have been much more exciting.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    My neighbor has a base WRX and I just stomped it into the dirt with my Mustang GT last week on the street.

    Also, I paid 23K for my 06.

    No one here has driven a GT 500 so make all the conclusions you want. The GT 500 should run Mid 11’s and the STI runs a mid 12. When the numbers get that low the difference is about an eighth of the length of the entire track.

    Oh yeah… and the numbers I was posting before where STI.

    Base WRX stopping is 126 feet compared to the GT 116
    1/4 mile Base WRX is 14.4 and the GT is 13.8 (not even close)
    Skidpad base WRX is .84 and the GT is .86 (near the same)

    So it goes faster, stops faster and turns about the same. On top of that… the WRX is a boy racer mobile with a giant wing and fart cannon. Good car though it just depends on what you like looking at and how you prefer to drive.

    Do these numbers mean it’s a better car, maybe it does and maybe it does not. It all depends how you define better.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Oh, you own a Mustang GT. I get it now.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I don’t want to get too into this, but gearhead, you are pulling numbers from the ’01 to ’05 WRX, not the refreshed ’06 model.

    And… believing that a GT turns “about the same” as WRX is laughable at best.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    “JSForbes, platform sharing can have a lot to do with weight. The 350z/G35 is as heavy as it is because it shares the same platform as the FX35/45”

    It’s actually the other way around. The FX35/45 is based on the FM platform designed for and first seen on the G35. Although the FX came out only a couple of months after the G35 here in the states, IIRC the G35 was available (as the redesigned skyline sedan) for quite a while in Japan before either of them were released here. All the weights are significantly different. G35s and the 350Z use aluminum suspension components to decrease weight. The 350Z rides on an even shorter version of the platform(as it should since it isn’t a 2+2), which also decreases weight.

    All G35s and FXs have 112.2in wheelbase:
    G35 Sedan 3416lbs
    G35 Coupe 3336lbs
    FX35 4046lbs
    FX45 4299lbs

    The 350Z has a 104.3in wheelbase:
    350Z 3188lbs

    While the G35/350Z and the Mustang undoubtably have higher weight from sharing some components with their respective platform mates, it also decreases the cost tremendously. Selling between 25-32k, these cars don’t cost much more than the average well equipped family sedan. Common folks like me can own one. People are using the Corvette as a comparison but the Corvette uses fiberglass body and balsawood floor, not to mention it *STARTS* at over $45k. I was thinking about buying a ‘vette, but I bought the 350Z instead because I got a 2005 new for $23.5k. Even with their depreciation to get a ‘vette for that price I was looking at having to buy one at least 5 years old, or with insanely high mileage, and of course no warranty. Sometimes, it’s worth it to trade higher weight for a lower price… otherwise many of us couldn’t afford a car like these at all.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    For the number of cars involved, would it not make more sense to team up with some tuner/body shops and send unfinished vehicles direct to them for completion. The buyer could then choose from an a-la-carte selection of body panels/seats & interior fitments/powertrain mods and have their customised street or track car without the need to throw unwanted bits (and the warrantee) away. The cars would cost a bit more but it’d be no extra cost for Ford, and some people wanting their dream car might drop by a showroom to sum it all up and end up leaving in a standard Mustang.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    My neighbor has a base WRX and I just stomped it into the dirt with my Mustang GT last week on the street.

    And people neglect to mention that the more you pound a WRX keeping up with a Mustang the quicker you burn clutches. AWD and high rpm launches (to out-launch a Mustang) are a nightmare on a clutch. And labor on a WRX? Major ouchie.

    The WRX’s Achille’s Heel is its lack of durability after the 36k warranty runs out. Sure you can drive it hard at the drags, but your wallet pays dearly for it.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Uh…. my last WRX had 105,000 miles on it and I had to replace the battery.

    And tires.

    Nothing else.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Let’s not forget that car companies are here to make $, and designing a car that no one (other than the arm chair customers who don’t care about AC) will buy to beginning with, is not smart.

    Even the people who buy WRX or Evo add AC, so what is the reason for opting it out? I don’t think there is a cheap way to cut 700lb in a 3000lb+ car. It would be cheaper to design from a different platform to begin with. Simply put, Ford’s decision to add a bigger engine is the wise thing to do for 2 reasons: 1) people who buy power rather than performance (power to weight) will be happier with a bigger car, and 2) engineering cost of adding a big engine is cheaper than weight reduction.

    For a small, fast car, they should resurrect the Probe, using a smaller platform (like Focus), make it a sport coupe, not a hatch back, something like the Sky or Miata.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Gearhead,

    No way stock GT500s are anywhere near mid 11s. Period.

    The GT500 has been tested by all the major mags, and in stock trim, its 2 ton weight relegates it’s ET’s to high twelves at about 112-114 mph, or no better than an 03-04 4.6 Cobra, which was a few hundred pounds lighter. Maybe the powershifting gearheads at MM&FF will run a low 12, but that’s not realistic for those of us that want our trans/clutch/diff to survive.

    No doubt with slicks/drag radials and a pulley/ retune they will run 11s….but if the car weighed 500 lbs less, they’d be running that fast stock. The 3100 lb 505 HP Z06 runs mid 11s stock…no surprise that the 700 lb heavier GT500 is slower than we all hoped.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    lzaffuto:

    If your referring to my post, I wasn’t trying to compare a Mustang to a corvette in terms of performance. I was just trying to point out that the Corvette was designed from the get go to be light weight, relatively, and this would be the only way to realistically put the Mustang on a diet, a complete redesign from the ground up. Who knows, maybe they will try to reduce the weight some next time around.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Well, I’m not sure of the durability of a WRX or the new mustang (TBD) but each car does what it does. I’m sure if I was on less than optimum driving conditions I would have lost because of the AWD. I think the car was a 2003 WRX… I thought the sacrifices in ride quality were not worth whatever difference there was in handling. My car still turns good for what it is and feels good on long trips.

    Despite what people say, yes the Mustang GT gets 26-27 MPG on the highway. I have driven this car non-stop (ok I did pee and eat) from Detroit to Charleston SC on regular unleaded. I did not once feel uncomfortable in the car (13 hours) for a “performance” car. I’m not just here to blow my own car either, all I can say is that I am happy with it. No squeaks or rattled after a very abusive 6,000 miles… I expected it to happen but it has not yet.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    doctorV8

    I don’t care if you believe me but a friend of mine at Alternative Performance (Lidio) is running a Vortech blown 05′ automatic @ 475 HP running on heavy 20″ ghetto ass wheels W/street radials. It runs an 11.30 @ 122 Mph, and yes I have seen the car.

    http://www.alternativeauto.com/waterbox/wb_archives/supercharging-05-gt.html

    You do the math, I say 11.90’s or better for the GT500. Matter of fact I’m sand bagging that number.

    I’m sure there is less than 33K in this car. And as far as the ZO6? have you seen one at the strip? The damn things will not hook worth a damn with the SLA rear suspension. Handling or squat and go… it’s hard to have it both ways.

  • avatar
    RicardoHead

    To finish off the weight loss, why don’t they ditch the front seats and bolt down some aluminum beach chairs (even the ones that recline!). That ought to save about 150 lbs or more there.

    And get rid of the fenders, hood, and other unnecessary body panels that just add weight for the sake of vanity.

    And who needs that damned rear view mirror anyway? Or those airbags? And you can weld Schwinn handlebars and skip the weighty steering wheel.

    What the hell is Ford thinking???

  • avatar
    kablamo

    Honda did that almost 10 years ago. They had to put the AC back in because so many people wanted it.

    I agree with the point of the article, but not the reasoning. Cars are heavy now in big part (pun intended) because they are physically large. All that steel folded together for an extra 3 inches wide, 2 inches height, 8 inches length… adds up to a few hundred pounds each generation, especially if you figure extra soundproofing, comfier seats and airbags (and all their wiring).

    Cars were nice and light 15-20 years ago (imports anyways), they also had 6-8 inches less wheelbase and sometimes 16-20 inches less length than identical models nowadays. No wonder they were 500-800lbs lighter.

    The Mustang is a BIG car, there’s no denying that.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    gearhead,

    No doubt an aftermarket blown Mustang can do that….with 475 at the wheels, which is easily doable with a Vortech S or SQ on a stock ’05 motor. 11.3 is impressive on 20s.

    But the GT500 will more likely dyno at 420-440 rwhp, and be much harder to launch than your buddy’s automatic.

    All the mags have tested the stock GT500, and like I said, the aftermarket will tune them to run like mad, but it is a mid to high 12 sec car stock without powershifting. And before you say those guys drive too conservatively…C&D ran 0-60 in 3.4 and 11.7 in a Z06, and MT went 11.5 at 127.

    Now if the first batch of press cars turn out to be dogs….I’ll eat my words. But I wouldn’t count on Ford making a mistake like that. 500 crank HP or not…it still weighs nearly two tons.

  • avatar
    skor

    The 1965 Mustang with 289 and four speed came in at about 2600-2700 pounds.

    Let’s see, no air bags, no anti-lock, no energy absorbing bumpers, no side impact beams, no three point seat belts, no seat belt retractors, etc.

    DAMN YOU RALPH NADER!

  • avatar
    kablamo

    “Do these numbers mean it’s a better car, maybe it does and maybe it does not. It all depends how you define better.”

    Well stock for stock a GT would get its ass kicked on the track by the STI. That’s how I’d define better. But that’s me…

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Doctorv8

    Whatever the outcome it’s going to be fast… The autotragic is 10 a ten HP parasitic load over the manual (offset by quicker shifts). Even with a dyno of 400 RWH it ran a best of 11.90 (mostly 12 flat).

    I’m not here to argue because the car is not been tested yet so it’s pointless but I’m optimistic at best about the #s. I biased my assumptions on what I have seen with a car that (in theory) makes 25 HP less.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    Brilliant! But you forgot one thing. It will be WAY cheaper.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    kablamo

    I agree with you, it’s a matter of perspective. (STI would woop my ass) but the WRX not so much on the street.

  • avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    I wonder if there are any car models that drop in weight or dimension for each generational redesign? That might be a reasonable topic for a whole other article.

  • avatar

    How ‘bout manual steering? Back to the supplier for a manual rack and pinion gear. This would allow the elimination, and drag, of the power steering pump. A Mustang with manual steering would probably be a bear to park, but pistonheads aren’t going to buy this car for their grandmothers.

    If my mom, who probably had a slightly lame arm at the time (she was in the beginning of multiple sclerosis when we had that car) could park the Peugeot 404, a car with very heavy manual steering for its day, I suspect the average pistonhead could park the Mustang. But I think better engineering could shave a significant % off of today’s obese cars.

  • avatar

    The reason the car weighs so much is that it’s quite large for a 2+2 coupe. It’s nearly 188 inches long and 74 inches wide.

    And if you think the Mustang is heavy, wait till the next Camaro hits the scales. The concept is around 78 inches wide, if memory serves. And width drives weight more than length.

    If you want a practical, great handling sports car for an amazingly low price, get the RX-8. Unless you don’t know how to drive a high winding engine. Or want decent fuel economy.

    Despite having the most adult-friendly back seat you’ll find in any sports car, the RX-8 is 174 inches long, under 70 inches wide, and weighs just a bit over 3,000 pounds.

    And if you want something really light with absolutely no creature comforts, buy an Elise. I don’t have the dimensions handy, but they’re tight. And I can attest that Lotus gave no thought whatsoever to comfort.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I just checked; the Elise is two Schwinns long, one dog wide and six inches high.

    Best of all, Lotus is the cruelest (and most honest) car company in the world, as they humilate their owners ever time one of the poor schlubs has to climb on the seat to get out of the car.

    Ford is trying a different tack by trying to drive their buyers to suicide every time they look at the radio.

  • avatar

    This discussion reminds me of a mountain bike racer I know who used to say that people would spend $1000 to shave 1lb off the weight of their bike but then forget to take a pre-game dump…

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    gearhead,

    Let me repeat: the car HAS been tested, and I guarantee that your friend’s car made 475 REAR WHEEL HP to trap at 122, and the GT500 had 500 FLYWHEEL HP, and traps much slower….as in 12.9 at 112 in this article, where it gets beaten by a base C6 Corvette:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/11150/heavy-pedal.html

    And remember your friends car has a lighter aluminum 4.6 vs an iron block 5.4, smaller brakes, etc, and probably weighs 100+ lbs less than the GT500, even with the Vortech and its associated plumbing.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Just make the damn thing smaller. It’s huuuuuuuuuuuge. I would’ve test driven it while choosing a car if it seemed compact sized instead of midsized.

  • avatar
    tom

    Bob:

    While I agree in general, I think it wouldn’t work with the Mustang. The Stang will never be a race car. The suspension is decades old, as is the solid axle.

    The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is reduced to the max, but it was a genuine race car to begin with, being one of the most sophisticated racers out there.

    A lighter Mustang would still be outhandled by almost every modern car on the street, so there would be no point in producing a car like that.

    The Mustang is about horsepower and since it’s not about racing, you won’t get anyone who is willing to sacrifice air conditioning, radio or power steering in order to have a lighter car.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Those numbers truly suck, not even a low 12. There is no way that the GT500 is even close to 500HP. Even if there where 450HP at the wheels it should have ran a low 12.

    The GT500 seems ridiculous for that price to run a 13 flat… I think I would chip in the extra $2500 and get the vette hands down. No-brainer.

  • avatar
    windswords

    This has been done before for sure, not just by manufacturers but by Shelby himself when he worked for Lido at Chrysler.

    From the Allpar.com website (bold emphasis mine):

    Dodge created the “race car in street clothes” Daytona C/S Competition (rather than just the C/S Performance) package to aim it at the SCCA Showroom Stock and NHRA Stock drag racers. The package started with “maximum performance” brakes, ditto the suspension and a Turbo II drivetrain with a high capacity cooling system in a no-frills, base Daytona. A/C was only available as a dealer-installed option.

    http://www.allpar.com/history/fwd-performance.html

    I’ll give you ONE guess what the C/S stood for.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I have done to a track 911 everything suggested in this thread for the Mustang–removed a/c, radio, spare, jack, fuel cell in place of steel tank, fiberglass front and rear end, no back seat or soundproofing, removed rocker panels, about to order a carbon-fiber front hood ($1,100…), etc., etc., etc.

    I think my full roll bar put most of the weight back in.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Gearhead,

    Your comments lead me to think that you are unclear on the concept of rear wheel HP vs flywheel HP….the GT500 clearly does not have 500 HP at the wheels…nor did Ford ever indicate that it did!

    1) All manufacturer’s HP ratings are SAE corrected to a specific temperature and pressure, with all power robbing accessories installed, on an ENGINE DYNO out of the car….ie net flywheel HP.

    Most tuners will run their cars on a Dynojet, Mustang, or other type of chassis dyno that measures acceleration of two large drums that are spun by the car’s driven wheels, ie rear wheel hp. This is typically 15-17% less than the flywheel number, and even higher—20+% —for an automatic.

    The 10 HP difference you mentioned earlier between an auto and manual is pure conjecture….on a 500 flywheel HP car, the difference is more than 25 HP at the wheels.

    So, although some cars, like the $160,000 Ford GT, are clearly underrated, often dynoing at well over 500 rwhp stock, the new GT500 will likely make 500*0.85 or about 425 rear wheel HP.

    Conversely, your friends blown GT that runs 122 mph traps is making at least 475 rear wheel HP, or 475/0.80 = 593 flywheel HP. Plus, it’s lighter and easier to launch….no brainer that it’s faster than a stock 2 ton GT500.

    Now, with a smaller blower pulley and a retune, another 100+ HP will be easy on the GT500…and a more efficient twin screw blower swap will easily make 700+ HP at the WHEELS. The motor is built to handle it…now THAT will be a worthy opponent to a new Z06….at least as long as the road stays straight. ;-)

    Sorry for the tangential post….but I hope this helps. It does support the need for a diet…..kind of sad when a 500 HP “sports” car with a 6 speed manual trans can only trap 112 mph.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    rudiger,

    You are correct about the 2000 Cobra R and 1995 GTS, but don’t forget there were also limited edition Cobra R’s in 1993 and 1995.

    But the original lightweight Mustang of the EFI era was the 1986-93 LX 5.0, of which Ford sold plenty…and the car’s performance was legendary…running as fast in the quarter mile as an L98 Corvette for under $15k brand new.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Just found this on leftlane news:

    Upgraded Shelby GT500 Mustang, which puts down 563 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, good for 11.8 in the 1/4.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/2006/08/31/videos-custom-563-horsepower-shelby-gt500/#more-3876

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    There you go…that’s the pulley/exhaust/traction combo I mentioned. Just wait until someone swaps a big Kenne Bell twin screw blower on there…it’ll be wickedly powerful. The old 4.6 Cobras made an easy 600 rwhp…I’m expecting much more from the new 5.4.

  • avatar
    nino

    Better yet, why didn’t Ford use the RX8 for the base of the new Mustang? Just a little restyle and sustitute a 250HP V6 for the rotary motor and……but wait, Mustang drivers HAVE to have a V8 motor even if a lightweight, V6 combo would smoke their ass.

    I could never understand why the Nissan “Z” cars were able to carve out a respected performance reputation using 6 cylinder motors, while cars like the Camaro and Mustangs have to have V8 motors to have any performance cred.

  • avatar
    tms1999

    As opposed to the GT500, Ford could not hope to charge more for a car with a lot less. Ford ain’t Porsche.

    Especially since most those mods can be done diy fashion. Pretty easy to ditch the extra like AC and sound deadening.

    And finally, they could just ditch the rear seats, because they are a joke and make their car a 2 seater. I mean a real 2 seater. Because it already is.

  • avatar
    SloStang

    My ’97 Mustang is similar to the GTS. A/C, cruise and “premium” stereo are the only options. No power windows, power locks, fog lights, or rear defroster. It’s a simple car that was

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    Ford is stealing enough of Mazda’s engineering lately, why didn’t they pay attention to the new Miata’s construction.

    06 Miata is bigger, got more stuff, and has a more powerful engine, yet gained only 20lbs.

    “For speed, add lightness.”

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I may well be wrong, but I believe the rough conversion factor for converting hp at the rear wheels to flywheel hp is 25 percent less for a conventional front-engine/rear-drive car and 15 percent for a rear-engine/rwd or front-engine/fwd car.

    I would assume that a modern automatic transmission with a lockup torque converter would give you the same hp as a gearbox.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    “I could never understand why the Nissan “Z” cars were able to carve out a respected performance reputation using 6 cylinder motors, while cars like the Camaro and Mustangs have to have V8 motors to have any performance cred.”

    The sad fact of the matter is that most guys that like Camaros and Mustangs DON’T consider the Z cars, or anything else for that matter, to have any performance cred. Most have a mindset of “If it’s slower than mine at all it’s completely worthless”. And god help you if you own something FWD. You find a few people like me and a few friends I have that like almost anything that’s fun to drive, but most are skewed to one camp or the other.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Stephan, a quick search indicates the following rules of thumb (which I have always used) :

    15 to 20% for manual
    20 to 25% for automatics
    25%+ for AWD

    There is no mention about engine/drivetrain configuration.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Ktm, turns out we’re both wrong. After consulting with a major Porsche racecar builder friend, he explains that there are so many factors affecting dyno numbers, ranging from ambient temperature to transmission-oil viscosity to phase of the moon to dyno operator technique that one really needs to forget the fudge factors–they’re basically meaningless–and simply use dyno numbers to compare one engine to itself after tuning or mod changes are made and the same engine is re-dynoed under identical conditions. Anything else is numbers pulled out of the dyno’s anus and could be on or off by a factor of…well, you pick it.

    I shoulda remembered that, because Don Sherman spent too much time trying to bludgeon that into my head a year or so ago.

    Dyno numbers in isolation are whatever you want to make of them, really–10, 20, 30-percent difference doesn’t matter, it’s all buehlchit. Dyno numbers recorded under quasi-scientific conditions–same operator, same temp and air density, same car, same dyno, same engine but with different tuing or mods–can give you comparative data if you use the numbers solely as comparators rather than absolutes.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Stephan,

    While it is true that there are many variables affecting dyno numbers, the modern Dynojet 248C is a very useful tool, even comparing numbers from car to car. for example, to eliminate any tuning variables, a 350 advertised HP stock 2004 Corvette will dyno without fail in the 300-310 rwhp range with a 6 speed, an automatic version of the same car will make 280-290 rwhp, and a 2006 Z06 rated at 505 HP will make about 450-460 rwhp. Seen it a hundred times.

    This assumes knowing what correction factors to use (STP or SAE) a properly functioning weather station (I had one that was reading very low on the barometric pressure, causing the numbers to be falsely corrected upward), and of course, trying to normalize oil/coolant temps.

    Turbocharged engines are a big exception, since the average Dynojet cannot simulate engine load like an eddy current dyno, and the turbos will clearly not be making full boost. And modified cars introduced a whole ‘nuther set of variables.

    So while the numbers are far from gospel, the “fudge factors” are not completely meaningless.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I remember watching a speed GT race with the current mustang… commentator mentioned that for about $55k you can buy a motorsport mustang as a platform to go racing.

  • avatar
    Bob Elton

    As usual, most of my critics either didn’t really read the story, or chose not to understand what I was talking about.

    Of course, Ford won’t sell many of these cars. Serious gearheads and racers would buy them, and these are the people who will have a great impact on Ford’s reputatuion for performance cars.

    The major point of the article is that all of the weight reductions would have been far cheaper than paying for Shelby’s badge on the front.

    I stand by my weight calculations. I’ve been making cars for 4 decades, and I know how to add up component weights. Often people forget to count the ancillary weights of related componets, like the wiring and the controls. The Mustang AC has 3 electric motors just to work the ducting.

    A lot of people seem to think the Mustang shares a platform. It does not. The Lincoln platform was dropped years before the Mustang came to production. The only Lincoln LS part in the Mustang is the transmission.

    The windows do not have to drop when the door is opened. They work better that way, but they will work. After all, how would you get into the car to open the hood for a jumpstart if the doors wouldn’t open?

    A solid axle is often less of a hindrance on the track than on the street. Tracks are smoother than streets. Solid axles eliminate unwanted camber and toe changes from the rear suopesnion, and they also allow anti-squat to be built into the car. The reason the Mustang nose-dives under braking is that the McPherson strut suspension has no anti-dive geometry.

    Another fallacy is that aluminum and fiberglass components save weight. Rarely, if ever, are weight savings from these parts, if they are required to do the same job, have the same strength and stiffness, any lighter. The steel inner panel of the Mustnag hood, along with the sound insulation, could be removed, and the resulting hood would probably be lighter than any fiberglass replacement. I have had personal experience with alternate hoods for Impala SSs, and other cars. Plastic parts are heavy.

    Anyhow, it’s always good to see some interest in my stories.

    Bob Elton

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Bob,

    While weight reduction is clearly a worthwhile goal, there is no way that ditching HVAC/ICE systems, power accessories, and sound deadening is going to turn a 3500 lb car into a 2600 lb car, or anywhere close for that matter.

    As a point of reference, I have a friend who is building a ~2500lb 96 Cobra, which utilizes numerous carbon fiber panels, a tubular K member, and a complete gutting of the ENTIRE car to reach there…..and remember that his starting point, the SN95 Cobra, was a smaller, lighter car than the ’05 by a significant margin.

    Click the link below for an exhaustive documentation of Paul’s car.

  • avatar
    packv12

    Bob,

    Tahnks for pointing out that the Mustang Does Not share the DEW-98 platform with the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S Type. Although the early test mules where LS’, the cost of using that platform was too expensive. So that leaves Ford using a reletively expensive platform for only one vehicle, since the LS was dropped at the end of 2006.

    I don’t want to be argumentative here, but I think many of the front components of the Dew platform where used on the new Mustang. If that’s tru, it is not a Mac Phearson suspension as Earle designed it, but rather a modified strut suspension with stamped steel arms (Coil-over-shock), rather than the Dew’s cast aluminum pieces.

    I remeber getting a ride around the Dearborn track in a LS mule with a 5.0 liter engine that went like lightening. I was told that the axle tramp could not be solved, which this thing had in abundance!

    I enjoyed the article, but have basically come to believe that everything is produced too heavily now. Exotic weight saving will not past the remnants of the Whiz Kids; whom can and will remove the personality of any car to cheapen it’s content for profitability!

  • avatar
    Bob Elton

    packv12,

    Mustang’s front suspension is a true McPherson, and shares no parts (save a few nuts and bolts, perhaps) with the LS or DEW98, as it was once known. Take a close look, or look in the service manual for excellent illustrations.

    It would be a better car with the LS setup, but it would also be heavier and more expensive.

    The cast aluminum suspension parts of the Mark VIII wound up weighing more than the cast iron parts of the Cougar, and they had identical geometry and dimensions. Sure looked nice, though.

    Bob

  • avatar
    packv12

    Bob,

    Thanks for the update. I wasn’t sure about the Mustang front suspension, but I’ll take a look. I know that the LS got a bum rap (IMHO) that it used Mac Phearson Struts up front.

    I change out my tires seasonally on my LS and always enjoy marvelling at the suspension. Best Homer Voice; Humm, Cast aluminum suspension!

  • avatar
    john_14620

    I totally agree that the GT 500″s 4,000lb weight is way too much. The GT is a bit too porky for my taste too. But getting it’s weight down to 2,600lb’s is completely unrealistic for anything but a dedicated race car or a ultra-niche vehicle. From what I understand, a Corvette Zo6 has a 3,150lb curb weight. GM achieved this weight using fiberglass, aluminum, magnesium, etc. I doubt that eliminating all the “luxuries” in the Stang would even get it down to the Vette’s weight without some major re-engineering of the whole vehicle. While I’m all for lightwheight vehicle’s, most people(including me) don’t want a car without things like AC, Stereo, at a minimum. If you want to race, buy a race car. But on the street I’ll keep my AC thank you very much.

    BTW WTH does “IMO” mean? I have no clue. That is driving me crazy!

  • avatar

    IMO = “in my opinion.”

    Also, IMHO, “in my honest opinion.”


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