California Knows How to Party: 2019 Ford Mustang California Special

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
california knows how to party 2019 ford mustang california special

The Ford Mustang, recently made pointier and stripped of its middle-child V6 engine, earns a California Special package for 2019.

On the rare chance that anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the California Special’s history, it emphatically does not include surfing lessons and a being stuck on the 405. Among other items, though, it absolutely features the de rigeur GT/CS stripe because in California, there’s no point in doing something if you don’t shout about it, right?

That fading stripe stretches all the way along the Mustang’s flanks from its 5.0 badge to the fender scoop. Like most things in California that are trying to call attention to themselves, there is an extra stamp on its rear, too. Here, it is Ford’s black and red CS script. Up front is a blacked out open grille and the splitter from the Performance Pack. This author approves of that final addition, for sure.

A re-tuned five-point-oh makes 460 horsepower in the 2019 GT, pounded to the pavement by way of a six-speed manual with rev-matching that allows drivers to do an acceptable heel-and-toe impression. On downshifts, the engine rpm kicks up to smooth out the transition between gears while providing a slick exhaust burble. An automatic is optional, of course. Please don’t get it.

Friday’s special edition Challenger gained a thumping stereo and the Mustang is now available with one too, gaining an option box for a Bang & Olufsen branded audio system. This B&O Play unit has a 1,000 watt 10-channel amp and 12 speakers. The road tunes you chose this morning will be cranked out with newfound verve, then.

There have been several iterations of the California Special, stretching all the way back to 1968 when Ford, only a few years into finding success with its massively popular pony car, fired a couple of Shelby-esque rectangular fog lamps at the grille along with Shelby style tail lights and simulated air scoops. A variety of V8 engines, including the 429 Cobra Jet, could be opted.

California Specials didn’t appear from the factory again until 2007, two years after the restyled ’05 Mustang showed up at dealers. Including this new iteration, it has been offered on a total of five different Mustang bodystyles.

Elsewhere in the Mustang line, buyers now have more color choice, with new hues including Velocity Blue, Need for Green, and the Bullitt model’s exclusive Dark Highland Green. Interestingly, the EcoBoost is now available with the GT’s variable active valve performance exhaust system. You’ll remember that as the one with Good Neighbor mode that doesn’t summon a State Farm agent but allows drivers to schedule when their Mustang should bark through its exhaust and when it should mutter.

In 2016, Ford charged $1995 for the California Special package. The 2019 Mustang goes on sale this summer with prices not yet announced.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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4 of 13 comments
  • Readallover Readallover on Mar 12, 2018

    It is missing the Mercury Cougar taillights.

    • See 1 previous
    • Tonyola Tonyola on Mar 13, 2018

      Actually, the CS (along with the '68 Shelby) got '65 T-Bird taillights. It was only the '67 Shelbys that had the Cougar lenses.

  • Tinn-Can Tinn-Can on Mar 12, 2018

    That's like 70amps draw at max stereo output? Did they upgrade the alternator too?

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.