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First Drive: Ford Mustang GT R

Suddenly, it's 1970

Matt Stone
Apr 18, 2005
Photographers: John Kiewicz
Any racing fool worth his die-cast-model collection remembers the Grabber Orange, Bud Moore-built Mustang Boss 302s that Parnelli Jones and George Follmer used to crash and bash their way to the SCCA Trans-Am championship in 1970. Ford celebrates these cars--and the Mustang's 40th anniversary--with the Mustang GT-R, a "what if?" club-racer concept that has the look and the moves.
Photo 2/2   |   Ford Motorsport Archive
The GT-R began life as a 2005 GT body-in-white, receiving a serious but straightforward conversion to race-car spec. Power comes from a 5.0-liter, 440-horse, aluminum DOHC V-8 crate motor from the Ford Racing catalog. Suspension, rollcage, brakes, and rolling stock are all legit track hardware. The paint--now called Valencia Orange--body mods, carbon-fiber trim, and tinwork are Concours quality; the GT-R was developed at the Saleen Special Vehicles facility where the Ford GT is assembled.
Words can't describe this car's bark and rumble (insert "whumpa whummmmmpaa-a-a-a!" noises here). It feels about 350 horses, but sounds 550's worth. While the acceleration was less than expected, the handling proved more: flat, neutral, lots of stick, and with sharp turn-in.
The GT-R would be an ideal weekend track toy. They could build and sell these. And should.
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