By on April 17, 2012

After reading yesterday’s post about the future Euro-Trash Mustang, the sad reality is that most of us are incorrectly reading between the lines. Fortunately for me, I have a soapbox, slathered in venom: assuming Ford killed the Panthers, the Ranger, the Mercury brand and castrated Lincoln for a good reason, the Mustang shall remain rear-wheel drive with the requisite proportions.  It won’t be a Probe, as the public/UAW outcry (with the ensuing hate mail to Ford execs) and the stunning (straight line) performance of the 1987 Ford Mustang 5.0 put those worries to bed. Even the Bruce Jenner Mustang wasn’t a big deal, so let’s all be cool.

Back to the Venom on the Vellum. As to the Mustang-Aston Martin connection, don’t sweat it: the original Pony car ripped off other designs for its unique take on Americana. So I welcome the future AMM, or Aston Martin Mustang!

The dirty little secret is that the Mustang never was unique. The original riffed on Edsel Ford’s dream of making a “Continental” themed coupe with a long hood and short deck; the Ford Falcon’s wheelbase adjustment proves the point. Hell, even the kick-up under the quarter windows was a blatant rip-off of the Continental Mark II.  The next small Mustang, the Mustang II, was every tacky bit of 1970’s personal luxury on the same theme. The Mustang III (Fox) made no bones about its Mercedes SLC influence and European influenced aerodynamics.  So who gives a shit about an Aston Martin Mustang (AMM)?

 

 

I must admit that I love the changes to the new Mustang, even if they are too subtle. A weekend of liposuction was needed, but the chrome grille frame, clear signal lenses (???), extra negative area in the front bumper and lump-free hood on this baseline V6 model does a fantastic job cleaning up the look. It’s no minimalist Fox, but this Mustang  does a better job emulating the original’s tasteful theme.

 

 

The Mustang has a great trapezoidal theme about it, all stemming from a centerline on the bumper. I think the new bumper just accentuates these trapezoids, as they seem larger and more focused on complementing the grilles’ shape.  Then again, perhaps I need to see old and new together to really know.

 

 

Wait, why are the block off plates on the grille spaced out in this manner?  Was someone playing Connect Four while in the Alias (software program) studio lab? Then again, I must admit the golfball dimples do help take away from the cheapness of it all.

 

 

As with any mild, mid-cycle redesign, the Mustang looks about the same as you turn the corner. Not necessarily a bad thing, even if many of this platform’s detractors wish this was more of a pure Pony car and not a bloated, steroid-infused Muscle car.

 

 

The moment I saw this center cap on an older S197 Mustang, I immediately thought of better days when automakers made really expensive emblems out of things like metal, glass and various plated finishes.  Yes, it’s that good.

 

 

The subtle nod to the original Mustang’s fake vent is much appreciated, especially after we had to endure that awful appendage on the 1999-2004 model in the same location. Not just awful, but Pontiac Aztek awful!

 

 

Yes, this sheet metal isn’t new for 2013.  But the curvaceous belt line and gentle upkick to the rear of the door does take away from the height of this machine.  Hopefully the new Aston Martin model will have more greenhouse and less body.

And don’t say it cannot be done!  Look at the Toyota/Subaru/Scion sports coupe at this price point, it is totally doable!!!

 

 

There’s something about the new rear end treatment that just blows me away.  In a good way.  I like the bulk-distractors surrounding the license plate, and I truly adore the smoky tail light and trunk treatment.  Something about the clean and minimalistic lines harkens back to the 1987-93 Mustang LX 5.0, just not literally. That said, imagine if the fake gas cap went away and the license plate went up there instead?  Very foxy indeed.

 

 

Note how I cropped this photo to help you imagine the Mustang as a shorter, sleeker body.  If the exhaust pipes moved up, and as mentioned before, if the license plate replaced the phony gas cap…oh my, I think I need a cold shower!

 

 

This is where I normally expect a hunk of black plastic to visually thin the booty, just like the outgoing model.  Nope!  There’s a subtle black plastic insert under a pair of red reflectors.  I assume this not only looks great to you, but makes conversion to Euro-spec lighting a breeze.  If so, kudos to you, Ford. This bodes very well for the future Aston Martin Mustang.

 

 

I wish the crease in the quarter panel matched the seam where the bumper meets said hunk of paneling. Integration is a little thing, but that’s what this column is all about!

 

 

These pods look even better at night, but they are very futuristic even in the brutal sun of a Houston lunch hour.  I suspect these will age well, just like the cult-classic status butt of a Mustang LX 5.0 notchback.

 

 

That’s a rather gigantic cowl to hood trim panel. As much as I’d like to think I know why we’re seeing this, I really don’t know.  But I certainly don’t care for it.  This is more proof why cars need to shrink, and lose pointless, frivolous bulk.

And on that note: the ball is in your court, upcoming Aston Martin Mustang.

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50 Comments on “Vellum Venom: 2013 Ford Mustang...”


  • avatar
    docrock

    “That’s a rather gigantic cowl to hood trim panel. As much as I’d like to think I know why we’re seeing this, I really don’t know . . . and I don’t either” but just a few guesses.

    The washer nozzles are hidden in the cowl, thus keeping the hood free of said nozzles. I am also guessing that the hard point of the firewall was set and that FoMoCo is using the same windscreen – it was a cost/production decision. As for the size, it may have been due to wanting enough clearance for all of the possible engine combinations without have a different hood for each.

    Just a few early morning, caffine infused guesses.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    “…oh my, I think I need a cold shower!”
    Too funny. Great write up!

  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    “Hopefully the new Aston Martin model will have more greenhouse and less body. And don’t say it cannot be done! Look at the Toyota/Subaru/Scion sports coupe at this price point, it is totally doable!!!”

    The Toyobaru can have a low body and big greenhouse because it has a low cowl. It has a low cowl because it has a boxer engine under the hood. The Mustang’s cowl, on the other hand, must fit over the much taller 5.0 V8. Expect the cowl to be just as high as the current model or even higher given they plan to sell it in the EU with its pedestrian impact regulations. High cowl = high body lines = small greenhouse (unless you want the next Mustang to be as tall as a Range Rover).

    • 0 avatar
      AMC_CJ

      For the record, the 60’degree V6 sits up taller then the 90’degree V8. But, the upside to the taller-narrower V6 is that it leaves plenty of room on the side of the engine to work around; a big selling point for me when I bought our 2012, as I don’t like other people touching our cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Paulie, agreed. How about “lower” cowl, not as low as the Toyobaru?

      The current 5.0 is a bit lost in the current engine bay. They could lower it a little bit if they had the R&D money, inclination. There has to be a happy medium.

      • 0 avatar
        PaulieWalnut

        A lower cowl would be nice but I wouldn’t bet on it. Given the engieering constraints involved in making a world Mustang, I’d call it a result if the cowl didn’t get any higher than it is. There needs to be several inches clearence between the engine and the hood.

        If AMC_CJ is right and the V6 is the tallest engine then perhaps they’ll ditch it or a lower option? I’ve heard rumours of a 2.3 Ecoboost 4 and a 2.7 v6 in the works at Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        One more thing to consider…if Euro pedestrian standards are so restrictive to automotive design, how on earth did the Toyobaru make production?

        Also keep in mind that this platform was dreamed up in the early 2000s, well before Europe had these ideas.

        I don’t think we have all the info to draw a valid conclusion.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Your forgetting about the range topping GT500 and its 5.8 S/C which has both a taller deck hieght and the aforementioned blower creating a need for the tall cowl.

        John Luft of Shelby American has confirmed that Shelby’s relationship with Ford will continue onto the next generation car (interveiwed at the NYIAS) so most likely the 650hp monster in the current car will carry over (almost forgot: SUCK IT SVT Cobra, GT500 wins round two!!!!)

      • 0 avatar

        I have a feeling the 5.8L is a dead end along with the retro design, because I still think there will be a DI, turbocharged 5.0 in the future.

        I’m still a little amazed they even bothered making the 5.8, but it certainly sounds cool on paper.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “One more thing to consider…if Euro pedestrian standards are so restrictive to automotive design, how on earth did the Toyobaru make production?”

        The boxer four in that car sits really low. If Mazda were to make another RX, they’d be able to lower the hood and cowl for the same reason.

        Now, that said, whining about “pedestrian impact standards!” lets the manufacturers off the hook for huge grilles to frame their logo, massive, concept-car-chic wheels and the high beltline and pillbox windows they so desire.

        No, seriously. Look at that designers **actually draw** when they’re free from constraints like money, space, ride or pedestrian crash standards. They **like** pillbox-mobiles on twankie-deuces. Blaming regulations is a cop-out.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulieWalnut

      I considered mentioning the tall deck 5.8 but, realistically, even if it carries over, I doubt it will make it over to Europe. Pedestrian impact problem solved!

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Yes, we have to have more greenhouse to ugly up the new Mustang. Ford seems to be determined to shoot itself in the head. I hope that the giant greenhouse thing is gone for good, but if not, at least for another 10 years.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Maybe I’m just suffering from that “we just bought the previous model” syndrome, but I’m not loving the new front end, even after seeing it in person. The rear looks nice, and I’m thinking those taillights should directly swap into a 10-12′ model, which I might do, but the elongated snout and taller hood isn’t really working for me in the base model trim. The car is already pushing the bloated limits, and I think this just made it worse.

    For some reason our 12′, with it’s high revving V6, and the general shape of the car, reminds me of a early 70’s Ford Capri in spirit. I like the relatively flat front end/grill, and I like the power dome in the hood.

    As far as the upcoming model; going for Gen-Y my ass. I’m in my 20’s and I love the retro look, and I liked how I could buy a no-frills no-nonsense no-gadgets basic 305hp RWD car that’s still practical/big enough for loading up the back for weekend getaways. Although I know I must be the exception to my market, because I have also yet to adopt to smart-phone usage. Either way, I fear what the Aston-Martin-Mustang is going to be.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I personally prefer the 05-09: cleaner and simpler, and without the bulbous curves of the last Fox or the faux-musclecar 2010+.

    It also lacked hips. Now, this is just me, but I hate hips on a car.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    I still think the look of the Mustang peaked with the 1999-2004 model. It looked muscular and Mustang-ish yet futuristic at the same time.

  • avatar
    robc123

    This is the yr that they fixed the solid rear axle?

    Still a bit puffy, the ford GT hit the high water mark.
    Shame about those pedestrian standards.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      IRS alone won’t “fix” the Mustang. IRS is a small piece of the puzzle and don’t expect greatness from that (change) alone. It’ll slow it down at the track if anything. You won’t even notice much of an improvement (from IRS) on bad road surfaces vs. equally firm live rear axle damping/bushings/sway bars. Besides, Mustangs aren’t intended to set tracks/canyons on fire or make you feel like you’re riding on clouds. Just a sporty everyday runabout with room for kid and groceries combined with a style and decent performance, but ultimately affordable by the masses. I don’t want a car I need to climb down into, through out the day and practically stop for every dip. Not for an every day car. Sure, Mustangs are flawed in many aspects, especially when it comes to refinement, but who cares? Folks that complain wouldn’t buy a Mustang no matter what form it takes. I’ve wrecked more Mustangs than they’ve rode in. The current ones deliver as promised, live axle and all. A true sports car, it’ll never be, I hope.

    • 0 avatar
      AMC_CJ

      No, but what needs to be fixed about it? It’s one of the reasons I bought mine; simple setup and cheap and easy to repair with far less moving parts to wear out (we’re talking bushings, CV joints, boots, etc. that are all found on a complicated IRS setup).

      That’s just the mechanic in me speaking, and you look at a vehicle a bit differently then the idiots at the rags who generally know nothing about the actual car itself.

      Besides, even the base V6 model out-handles most drivers who will be behind the wheel, even those who call themselves “enthusiasts”. As far as the ride goes, it’s a sporty car, I don’t find it that bad.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      I’m guessing most people can’t feel the difference between IRS and a live rear axle. I think the benefits of IRS are internet sensationalism in regards to the average enthusiast. I went from a 2003 Miata to a 2008 Mustang GT, and there wasn’t much of a difference.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    I own a 2012 GT and after seeing the ’13 in person, I think they aced it. Having said that, I’m also ready for the ‘next step’ in evolution for these cars. Cut the weight and size down a bit, have a selection of powerful 4, 6 and 8 cylinders (with manuals), and give us a nod to the past but reach for the future, please.

  • avatar
    word is bond

    “pointless, frivolous bulk”

    This describes alomst every complaint I have with modern styling.

  • avatar
    Shipwright

    Sajeev, I’m suprised that in your post you didn’t mention that some of the inspiration for the ’71-’73 Mustangs (particularly the fastbacks) likely came from the late ’60’s Lamborghini Espada.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Especially from looking at that cowl, it appears Ford made several styling compromises. I don’t know the reasons or details, of course, but back in the days where automakers just used “blanks” or “plugs” to cover places on the dash where higher-priced options would go, the cowl appears over the top.

    I suppose, like it or not, to keep manufacturing costs in reason, a one-size-fits-all approach is mandatory, no matter how it may look. In the case of this Mustang, that cowl looks…not good.

    The rest of the car? Yeah! I like some of the touches, espeically the “chrome” treatment around the gaping maw of the grille opening. What I don’t understand about these is that ugly black rubber/plastic piece around the back and top of the window glass. What? Did Ford get the dies wrong and use that as a cheap fill-in, because that’s what it looks like. Make it thin and “chrome” it for a nicer look, after all, I gravitate toward bright, shiny objects! Oh, yes – the window sill should be “chromed” as well.

    Yes, I am quite serious about those touches, too. I hate everything blacked-out – it looks cheap. Yes, Camaro, I’m looking at you, too. Ditto for the Challenger.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A proper Mustang even if a little heavy in the butt.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Ford has been pretty good at timing the market with the Mustang.
    I think the timing would be perfect to launch a smaller trimmed RWD Mustang to make the pony car rivals look like bloated SUV’s.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Part of the reason I made a Mustang my first new car purchase in ’88 was because it was the last car you could get with the HO V8 and roll-up windows and well as radio (cassette) delete. The upgraded GT suspension, brakes and Eagle tires were manditory with the 5.0 engine option (for good reason) but that’s about it. It was like $1800 for everything including the 5.0 engine on a $7995 base LX notch IIRC. That’s what keeps me from pulling the trigger on a new pony. You’re forced a bunch of crap you don’t need if you want the go-fast goods. Roll-up windows no longer exist on most lines but give us a radio (CD player) delete, at least. Factory speakers are crap anyways, unless you get BOSE or Kickers and the like, but what do they cost?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think this year you can get all the hi-po goodies on tbe “base” GT. Last year you had to get the Premium model to get the Brembos and Track Pack, but I think they changed that this year. Same with the V6, you can get the Perf-Pack on the base model, no Premium required. You can even get the Recaro seats in cloth, without adding leather. You cannot get Brembos though, not on any V6 (though I doubt you really need them anyways).

      Its probably as close to what you are describing as possible these days. The reason they do not offer radio-deletes and no power windows is simply because that equipment is too cheap to justify the complications it would add to the assembly. These days most buyers are more concerned with the “ICE” and connectivity than the car it goes in, so surely you can see how few people would prefer no radio at all.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I could just get married if didn’t mind owning things I didn’t want, but bought anyways. I can see where it would cost them more to delete a chinsy CD/MP3 than throwing it in. People already voted, but that’s what I love about trucks. You can still order them ala-cart or the dealer orders them the way they think they’ll sell the fastest. Power windows and vinyl floors. Roll-up windows with power slider and fog lights. At worst, they force an AM/FM but you don’t have to get options X, Y, and Z to get option C. Probably because trucks generate more profit so they can afford to slow down the assembly line.

    • 0 avatar
      Shipwright

      The 5.0 L LX was an exceptional deal. At current prices an un-molested LX is a rarety and therefore, worth more than a GT of the same year.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I think it was $200 for the hatchback option so too many went for it. Notchback Mustangs from the previous 2 decades were too common and worth half as much as fastbacks, so for the price, you had to have it. I’m pretty sure the eye grabbing GT was also a $200 bump over a similarly equipped LX hatchback, so again, it was too irresistible especially with the added value and rarity of vintage Mustang GTs. Then too many LX 5.0s, especially the lighter and cheaper notchback, were gutted and cut up by 1/4 mile racers, before ultimately getting scrapped.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I have actually been considering buying one of those, looking at whats available. I found a 91 LX hatchback equipped like you mentioned, 5.0, stick, no power windows. 31k miles, mostly unmolested (X-pipe, MAF upgrade), excellent condition, $13k. I prefer the look of the hatch even though it weighs a bit more, and I hate the look of the GT, so it has to be an LX for me. That price is at a classic car dealer, so its probably high, but I dont know if thats a good deal or not. Will take more research…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I’m not sure about the price but, if you like it, you won’t find another in that condition. You may spend as much or more on a high mileage LX, by the time you get it into a similar condition. But then the restoration cloth seat covers are a little off and you can polish the alloy wheels, but they won’t sparkle like with the factory clearcoat. I mean, I’m looking for a low mileage 7-Up LX convertible (or will build my own tribute), but I intend to drive/enjoy it and don’t expect prices to ever go through the roof.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I think my problem with it is I am not looking to keep it stock, which defeats the purpose of buying a low mileage original. I don’t like the seats, I prefer 17″ Bullitt or Cobra wheels, I want to improve the suspension, and 225hp was a lot in 1991, but not so much today. And for the same kind of money I can get one hell of a nice 3rd or 4th Gen Z28. I know, I am all over the map, which is why I can’t pull the trigger on anything. I figure I will know when its right.

        BTW, I see those 7-Up edition convertibles around here a lot. I know a guy who just sold a mint one recently for $8900, and there is another for sale locally for a little more. There are also a few basketcase ones available real cheap, one of my daughter’s friends has one thats a bit worn out but still restorable. Ironically that $8900 car is the one that got me turned onto Fox bodies in the first place, I figured thats a good bargain, and it makes $13k seem real high. I just don’t want a convertible, and I dont want green. My favorite is a 1993 black LX hatch with the 16″ 5-spoke rims. I remember almost buying one new when I was in the Air Force, and I talked myself out of it. IIRC it was like $12k OTD. Never should have passed up on that!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You might think about stripping out the interior (if you do get it) and packaging it away for a later restoration. Reproduction parts are never as good having OEM or NOS. Original headlight come to mind. Save them and go aftermarket for now. Especially if you have that much tied up in it. I know a guy that’s selling a 150K mi aniv. triple white ’90 GT conv. that does have the leather interior and top that I need in near perfect condition. These are everywhere in my parts and I see maybe three 7-Ups a year. The GTs don’t interest me either and all I’d really need is the LX trim for the tribute.

  • avatar
    rodface

    On the subject of fake fender vents, I’d like to express my absolute disdain for the three depressions on the rear flank of the new Camaro. I’ve seen better simulations of vents on cheap plastic toys.

  • avatar
    replica

    I had a 2008 GT about 2 years ago. Recently bought a 2012 V6. I quite like it. They improved a million little things that a casual test drive won’t discover. I also LOVE the turning radius, makes the car feel much smaller than the 2008. It doesn’t feel like a big car to drive and I don’t feel like I’m in a bathtub. The rearward visibility is great and the back window is huge for a modern car.

    On to this newer 2013 here. Not a fan of the taillights. Not a fan of the stuff around the rear license plate. I dig the new rear bumper though with the Mazda style reflectors.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    While this car probably won’t win any new Mustang converts I think it will satisfy the cars loyalists. Meaning it will give those with previous models reason to trade up and those who liked past Mustangs a reason to buy one. Nothing spectacular but nothing glaringly wrong either.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “The original riffed on Edsel Ford’s dream of making a “Continental” themed coupe with a long hood and short deck

    While it is true that Edsel did supervise the original 1939 Continental, he had been kicking daises from underneath for quite some time when the first Mustangs were designed.

  • avatar

    Sajeev,

    I did a piece on the history of the Mustang here on TTAC a while back called Who’s Your Daddy, Mustang?

    This is probably the Mustang’s foundational document, from when ad man Barney Clark was still working for Chevy’s ad agency, it’s a design brief for a four seat sporty car with classic sporting proportions, long hood, short deck.

    http://imgup-lb.automotive.com:8080/f/30851293/gm-original-1956-four-seat-sports-car-proposal.pdf

    Barney Clark in 1956:

    “A four-seater of this type cannot compete successfully with two-seaters using the modern long, low ultra-streamlined type of styling. It is necessarily too high, with too long a roofline. So why not go against the grain and revert to the idiom of an earlier day, the 1930 Bentleys, TC-MGs, and so on? Let’s revert to the slab stern and high luggage compartment, the nearly vertical rear window, the leather strap and “chunk of road machinery” feeling. There is a powerful sentimental appeal to reinforce us, as well as the masculine feeling for machinery that is visible. Besides, I think we would find an unexpected advantage in styling that is counter to the trend: we would be copying no one; it would always look individual and fresh; the visual impact of such a car on the street — even five years old — would remain sharp and clear. You could, in a sense, “style it and forget it” — there would be no nececessity for yearly revisions or major facelifts.

    We would, in essence, be creating a “classic”. And such a car would live longer in the minds than any “car-of-tomorrow” designs we can produce today.”

  • avatar

    “The dirty little secret is that the Mustang never was unique.”

    Bob Cumberford mentions the fender line of the ’61 Continental (the way the belt line kicks up) and the roof line of the ’63 Pontiac Tempest.

  • avatar

    “Wait, why are the block off plates on the grille spaced out in this manner? ”

    Probably to manage air flow or reducing noise. The dimples make me think of golf balls so it’s likely about aero.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    A good critique, not snarky nor ass kissing,

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