America’s favorite sports car gets even more style and technology for 2019 thanks to the revival of the legendary Mustang GT California Special, new features including rev-matching on 5.0-liter 6-speed manual-equipped models, the first-ever custom-tuned B&O PLAY premium audio system for Mustang, three new vintage-inspired colors and over-the-top stripes.
“No doubt, 2019 is an exciting year for Mustang enthusiasts, especially fans of our California Special and BULLITT models,” said Corey Holter, Ford car group marketing manager. “This year further targets hardcore enthusiasts who want even more performance from BULLITT, while new technology – including rev-matching on manual transmission-equipped Mustang GT and active valve performance exhaust on the EcoBoost model – means even more thrills.”
When Mustang first hit the streets in 1964, owners clubs sprang up around the country, with many regional dealers creating their own personalized pony car designs. One – inspired by the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupe prototype – came to be called the California Special.
That original version featured blacked-out grille, fog lamps and a side racing stripe that ended ahead of a new rear fender scoop. It wore a Shelby-inspired spoiler, custom taillamps and twist-lock hood fasteners. Impressed, Ford put a limited number of California Special cars into production for 1968. Before long, the California Special had joined the ranks of Shelby, Boss and Mach 1 special-edition Mustangs.
Today, the 2019 California Special for Mustang GT is a visual standout, featuring a trademark fading stripe that traces from the 5.0 side badge to the rear fender scoop. A signature Ebony Black and Race Red script California Special badge adorns the trunk lid. At the front, the car follows the blacked-out open grille and picks up the Mustang Performance Pack 1 splitter. The California Special wears unique five-spoke painted machined wheels.
Inside are rich black Miko suedetrimmed seats with embossed GT/ CS insignia and contrast red accent stitching, along with custom embroidered GT/CS floor mats. Signature California Special script badging appears on the passenger-side dash panel.
“Few things are more satisfying than dropping the top on a California Special and taking a drive down the majestic Pacific Coast Highway,” said Mark Conforzi, Ford designer. “This signature design takes its cues from the original California Special, while enhancing the personality of today’s Mustang.”
Mustang GT’s powerful 5.0-liter V8 engine packs 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque and tops out at 155 mph. When that torque gets delivered to the pavement via 6-speed manual and available Performance Package, you better hold on, because that’s where rev-matching gives Mustang drivers a leg – or a heel and a toe – up.
Advanced rev-matching helps smooth out shifts by first predicting shifts then quickly matching engine rpm – similar to the heel-and-toe methods the pros use. On downshifts, engine rpm instantly kicks up to smooth out the transition between gears.
Like Ford Mustang, Bang & Olufsen is an innovator in both iconic design and heart-racing performance across its line of audio products. And now, for the first time, the B&O PLAY audio system comes to Mustang with a stunning 10-channel amplifier producing 1,000 watts across 12 high-performance speakers.
When the class-exclusive quad-tip fully variable active valve performance exhaust hit the streets for Mustang GT for 2018, critics and customers alike raved over the deep throaty sound of the 5.0-liter V8 engine. What took everyone by surprise was its driver controlled, fully active exhaust mode and quiet start mode, also known as good neighbor mode. Now, a fully variable active valve performance exhaust brings an aggressive snarl to 2019 Mustang equipped with EcoBoost. This class-exclusive quad-tip exhaust system can be controlled by the drive mode system or via personalized MyMode settings with the 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument panel, as well as through the standard 4.2-inch cluster.
Mustang enthusiasts now have more opportunity to personalize their car than ever before, with exciting new vintage-inspired colors including Velocity Blue, Need for Green and the iconic BULLITT model’s exclusive Dark Highland Green.
“These intense new colors trace back to Mustang’s classic colors of the late 1960s and early 1970s,” said Holter. “While colors like Shadow Black and Magnetic Gray will still be popular for those who prefer to go stealth, these new colors pack a brighter, more vibrant punch for 2019.”
The 2019 Mustang goes on sale this summer.
— Content and photos courtesy Ford Motor Company