Archive for the ‘Classic American Cars’ Category
2006 Ford Mustang GT May 31, 2018 | 11:29 pm

2006 Mustang GT – The Inspiration

2006 Mustang GT
On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang went on sale for the first time. Over 22,000 ponies were snapped up by hungry consumers on the first day. In Detroit, Lee Iacocca was hailed a genius. His idea to come up with a four-seater car with bucket seats, a floor mounted shifter and be no longer than 180 inches turned out to be the start of a long-lasting love affair between Mustangs and the American public.

Who doesn’t love a Mustang?

My dad did. He was one of the 22,000 fanatics who bought this ride on the first day of release. It was kind of a brown mustard color with a beige ragtop. Dad’s idea of a good deal meant he bought a 6 cylinder with a 3-speed manual transmission for under $2,400. It had all the performance characteristics of a Ford Falcon. That’s probably because all of the underpinnings were Falcon parts.

I didn’t care. It was a babe magnet and that’s all a sixteen-year-old could ask for.

Ponies in the Pictures

Ford didn’t waste any time promoting the Mustang to the masses. Deals were struck and the long hood, short deck, sports car, started appearing on the silver screen as a product placement arrangement. Goldfinger marked the pony’s debut. Bond, in his Aston Martin DB5, chases the voluptuous and villainous Tilly Masterson in her spanking new Mustang up mountain roads. Using Aston Martin’s optional “spinning blades axel extension,” Bond shreds Tilly’s tires sending her and the cute white Mustang to a bad end.

Quickly the Mustang went from prop to supporting actor. Steve McQueen and a 1968 Highland Green Mustang fastback sporting GT package and 390/4V engine, blasted through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt. The original Gone In 60 Seconds featured a 1973 SportsRoof named Eleanor that gets the crap kicked out of it in one of the longest, and most destructive car chases in movie history. In Getaway, the 2013 Shelby GT 500 Super Snake gets more time on camera than any of the human stars.

And then there was I Am Legend, a sci-fi flick set in NYC starring Will Smith and a 2007 Mustang Shelby GT 500 Super Snake. Whoa! Lots of grumble-rumble exhaust tones, tire shredding, and pedal to the metal races through downtown New York City. The Cobra, with its shiny red paint job and two white racing stripes, clearly was the most talented actor…and it wasn’t acting.

5th Gen Mustangs Bring the Pony Back from Oblivion

In the late 90s somebody at Ford’s design shop apparently channeled the Mustang’s Falcon DNA and created a 4th Generation that looked like a Taurus. Not very exciting but then neither was the Mustang II that preceded it.  Sales suffered. it wasn’t until 2005 when the 5th Gen hit the showrooms that the pony got back it’s spurs back and it got them back in a big way.

That look that sold so well in 1964 is what inspired the designers of the 5th generation GT. The fastback (what Shelby called 2+2) was back with a roofline and taillights that recalled those ponies of the 1965 vintage. Back also was the canted nose with its big grille and round headlights, side sculpting, and a retro interior.

The looks were cool, but the real seller was the return of performance. What was under the hood and under the car made the Mustang GT a player again.

The GT came in two trims, Deluxe and Premium. There really wasn’t any difference between the two other than leather seats and a better sound system. Engine choice, suspension and transmission choices were identical:

  • Engine:SOHC 24-valve 4.6-liter V-8
  • Power (SAE net): 300 bhp @ 5750 rpm
  • Torque (SAE net): 320 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
  • Zero to 60 mph: 5.1 seconds
  • Transmissions: 5-speed auto, 5-speed manual
  • Suspension: McPherson Strut w/coil springs, live axle
  • Brakes: 4 wheel disc, 4 wheel ABS

If you are looking for an affordable coupe or convertible that’s fast and fun and comfortable enough to drive every day, the 5th Generation Mustang GT deserves serious consideration.

Want one?

I found one.

 

2006 Mustang GT side view

 

If you are anywhere near sunny Southwest Florida, there’s a dealer in Fort Myers that has a 2006 Ford Mustang GT that looks pretty sweet. I found this on CarGurus.com if you want to follow up.

The reasons I think this is worth a serious look is as follows:

  • It’s freaking beautiful. That Torch Red Clearcoat paint job is highlighted by two big racing stripes. At first, I thought this might be a Cobra.
  • It’s a one owner car. Living in Naples, FL, it’s obvious this ride has been garaged all its life. Our UV exposure would have done a number on that clearcoat if this GT lived in a parking lot or driveway.
  • And here’s the big kicker. This car has 32,212 original miles! That’s 2,684 miles per year. Sound implausible? Not down here in God’s waiting room where it’s not uncommon to see seniors driving the ride they always wanted only to discover they can’t see at night or deal with the Snowbird seasonal traffic that rivals rush hour in L.A.
  • The interior is in great shape and it appears to have leather buckets meaning it is a GT Premium trim and comes with an upgraded sound system.

The description provided by the dealer stresses that this car is in incredible condition. They say you can hop in it and drive cross country. That’s dealer hyperbole of course, but for it to be so strong it probably is in better shape than most 12-year-old cars.

Now about the price. The dealer is asking $14,970 which is about $4,500 more than KBB says it’s worth. However, that KBB estimate is based on Good or better condition and 144,000 miles.

Here’s the way I see it. If you can provide the same level of care as it has obviously enjoyed, and the ride is as sweet as you think it is after you inspect it, and you want to keep it long term, then it might be a good deal. At some point, the 5th Generation GT will become a collectable because it put Mustang back in the race. Also keep in mind this car has been on the lot for 3 weeks so there is probably a good chunk of wiggle room in the price.

If you plan to drive it a few years and then trade it in, just walk away and find one for $10,000 or less.

Of course, you could also leave this GT alone and search out a 2016 Mustang GT Shelby Cobra with its 450 horsepower, 450 lb.-ft. of torque, Brembo calipers, 19-inch alloy wheels, and all the rest. But that’s another story.

Corvette ZR-1 March 11, 2018 | 05:38 pm

Okay, listen, I realize time marches on. The surest way to be disappointed in the performance of a classic sports car is to try and compare it to something rolling off an assembly line these days. Horsepower wars are a real thing, and they are happening right now in the auto industry.

If you pick out a sports car from 20 years ago and then line up against some of the stuff that’s out there now, there’s a good chance you’re going to get your butt kicked.

So it’s in that context that I want to talk to you about the ZR-1. Specifically, the C4.

When GM came out with this thing in 1990, people couldn’t stop talking about it. I remember reading this exact article in the April 1991 issue of Car and Driver magazine.(1)

It was a comparison test between the 1991 ZR-1 Corvette and the 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo. I was fifteen years old at the time, so I was quite impressionable. I would have done *anything* to own either of these cars, an I’m sure many teenagers were the same way.

GM had acquired Lotus back in the mid-80’s. And they presented Lotus with the idea of coming up with a special Corvette that would be the fastest production car in the world. Keep in mind that at the time, the 1986 Corvette was powered by the L98 v8 engine that produced 230hp. That was good for a 0-60mph time of around 6 seconds.(2)

Lotus started working on a supercar engine, meanwhile the world continued to evolve. By the time the 1990 ZR-1 came out, the L98 had been bumped up to 245hp. The engine Lotus designed for the ZR-1 was deemed the “LT5” and it had an incredible (for the time) 375hp. GM actually had trouble finding someone to make the engine, and finally settled on Mercury Marine. So yes, the fancy Corvette had an engine made by boat people!

This new engine dropped 0-60mph times down to around 4.9 secs, clearly a huge improvement over other Corvettes of that era. Its quarter mile time was 13.2 secs at 108 mph. Because the LT5 was all-aluminum, it had minimal effect on the overall weight and balance of the car (curb weight in this test was listed at 3519 lbs).

It ended up winning the shoot-out with the 911 Turbo in that C&D article, even though the 911T ended up besting the Corvette with a 0-60mph time of 4.4 secs.

The ZR-1 looks much like other C4 Corvettes, but there are some subtle differences that only “experts” might pick up on.

First of all, the rear fenders were pushed out to handle some gigantic 315/35-17 tires. Also, the rear bumper on the ZR-1 swooped out instead of being concave, and had four square tail lights instead of the round tail lights of the “base” Corvette. There was also a high-mounted third brake light that was unique to this model.

But that’s just the exterior. There were other invisible upgrades that make the ZR-1 very desirable in terms of “king of the hill” performance. It had a beefier rear differential, beefed up cowl structure to minimize shake at high speeds, and many of the Z51 upgrades for brakes and suspension.

When the C5 Corvette came out in 1997, it’s 345 hp engine began chipping away at the king of the hill. Most C5’s are capable of doing 0-60 in the high four-second range, and are typically considered to be the equal of the C4 ZR-1. But it wasn’t until 2001 when Chevy did the Z06 that its performance was eclipsed (i.e. 0-60 time of 4.3 secs).

That was a long-winded build-up to explain that I understand the ZR-1 is no longer considered to be astounding performance. The world has indeed moved on. But as a collector car, or a classic, I think it has a lot of merit.

Some of the classic cars out there are so awful to drive, so impractical, so unreliable, that they really aren’t good for anything more than just being looked at. The C4 ZR1 certainly doesn’t fall into that category. The suspension is quite livable. For the most part they are quite reliable. Calling a 2-seater that sits only inches off the ground practical may be a stretch, but this isn’t something that can’t be driven on the street with ease.

As you can imagine, prices on ZR-1’s are all over the place. Considering they are supercars of the time, they are quite reasonable. These days, there’s been quite a run-up of Porsche 911 prices, so if you were to compare the 1991 ZR-1 pricing to the 911T prices, you’re definitely going to get a bargain!

Let’s do a bit a round-up, and see what we can buy on today’s market. We’ll cover Ebay, Craigslist, and maybe a few other hiding spots depending on what we find.

Ebay

1) There are four days left on this red 91, and it will be interesting to see where it ends up (currently at $10,000). It’s located in Vallejo CA, and has 69k miles on it. It doesn’t appear to have a reserve. The seller has good feedback, but not much of it. The photos are only average, and the seller did a really crappy job of providing details in the ad.

2) While I was typing this up, the auction for this black 91′ ended. It had a buy it now/ best offer of $17,995. It’s a Texas car, and the photos and description are slightly above average, but still lacking considering this isn’t some kind of $5k beater. This car was being sold by a dealership with great/plentiful feedback.

3) The last ebay auction I’ll cover today is for this gorgeous 1990 model. It’s in Colorado, and is being sold by an outfit by the name of Gateway Classic Cars. They do a lot of business on ebay. They only have 81.6% positive feedback. Reading over some of the negative comments, I’m sure it’s difficult with older, classic cars to please everyone. This ZR-1 has 87k miles, so it’s no spring chicken. They’ve done their typical, excellent job with the description and photos. The classifieds ad price is $18,995.

Craigslist

Looking at a few of the less expensive ones on Craigslist makes me think we are bottoming out prices. You can’t possibly get any cheaper for a C4 supercar, right?

It’s not hard to find some really solid, nice examples in the $15k-$20k range. Here are a few of the less expensive options:

1) This 1990 is advertised in the Orlando Craigslist for $15,000. It has 81k miles, and the same owner since 1997. He claims he bought it from astronaut Susan Steel. It’s white with red interior, which is quite rare. The alternator, battery, and fuel pump were replaced for the sale. It doesn’t sound like it needs any more work. This was posted 2 months ago, and I’ve contacted the seller to see if he still has it.
Edit:
He replied. His note back to me follows:

Thanks for the inquiry. The car is very sound, in excellent mechanical condition and would have no problems getting on the highway.
The ZR1 has been stored for the last 16 years, so it would appreciate being driven.
The 1 thing I would look to change would be the tires. May not be a problem, but they have been on the car for 16+ years.
Please email or call with any questions or concerns.
Thanks, JP
PS: I am in the southern most part if Jacksonville closest to St Augustine right off i95….fyi.

2) Here’s another ’90 model, this one for $13,500. The owner mentions it needs some ABS work, has a few scratches here and there, and needs a recharge for the AC. It only has 51k miles. It’s in Muskegon Michigan.

3) Okay, take a deep breath and hold it. Make sure your’e sitting down, I don’t want you fainting and whacking your noggin. This red 1990 ZR-1 in Los Angeles is advertised for an incredible $9999. Granted, it has 131k miles on it, and needs: tires, AC recharge, window switch, seat upholstery, and something is wrong with the tach. This was posted 26 days ago. Maybe the owner is negotiable, and you could pick this up for $8900? Incredible…

References
(1) http://media.caranddriver.com/files/1991-chevrolet-corvette-zr-1-vs-1991-porsche-911-turbo-submodel-comparison-test-car-and-driver1991-chevrolet-corvette-zr-1-vs-1991-porsche-911-turbo.pdf
(2) https://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/the-chevrolet-corvette-a-history-in-zero-to-60-times#21

1977 Ford LTD June 9, 2013 | 10:11 pm

Stretch it out. Go ahead. It’s 1977, and you don’t give a crap about compact, fuel efficient, lightweight, weenie stuff. 220 inches long – yeah baby. My parents had a Ford LTD in the late 70’s when I was growing up. I didn’t ride in a car seat because if they even existed back then, my parents sure didn’t own one. I rode in the front seat, the back seat, stood in the floorboards and called to my pretty mamma, whatever. Who cared, I was wrapped in the loving and nearly impenetrable arms of 2 tons of Detroit steel.

Although the 351 Windsor v8 is a big heavy beast, by 1977 it was already partially neutered. Figure 200hp if you’re lucky, but gobs of torque. Hey no worries, were you wanting a sports car or a cruiser? Flip the AC on max, set the cruise, and float down the road dude.

This particular one has 16k miles on it. Are you kidding me? Where do you think you’ll ever find another 77 LTD with 16k original miles on it? Look at that woodgrain. Look at that plush carpet, those wheel arches. See the headlights? The radio? See the little silver button on the floor by the left of the brake pedal. Trivia time – that’s the bright headlight switch. Try to find a switch like that on a 2013 Avalon and you’re gonna be disappointed. You’d have to buy a limo to get a bigger back seat. Didja see the trunk? I’m pretty sure I know a couple of single guys who could move everything the own into this car and live in it.

If I had just won like $269M in the powerball lottery, I would buy this car. Just because. Might sit in my gigantic air conditioned car warehouse most of the time, but it would look beautiful doing it.

ltdltd2ltd trunkltd door panelltd dashltd headlight switchltd back seat

1989 Ford Mustang GT Anniversary May 28, 2013 | 03:45 pm

Fox-body Mustangs were enormously popular in the 80’s and 90’s. It seemed like everybody in my high school either had a Mustang or wanted one. They are far from perfect cars, with several known design flaws and issues, but they are a ton of fun.

The 5.0L v8 of this era put out around 225 hp. Compare that to about 420 hp for modern Mustang GT’s, and we begin to realize some progress has been made. The 89 GT was quoted in Motor Trend as doing 0-60 mph in about 6.2 secs, with a 14.8 sec quarter mile. Many of the Mustang aficionados will grumble about those numbers, saying these cars are super easy to modify for several dozen more horsepower. But don’t shoot the messenger!

The 5.0L is very torquey and easy to drive, making these cars great to play around with as a daily driver. The interiors are nothing special, but have a unique vintage look so having a clean example makes it cool.

Speaking of clean examples, Ebay has this clean one with only a few minor blemishes. With a current bid of $5,550, it would be an awesome car to go play around in.

mustang GTmustang GTMustang GTMustang GT Mustang GTMustang GT

According to the seller:

This is a 1989 Mustang GT 5.0. 25th Anniversary. 5.0L V8 with 5 speed. There are about 105,000 original miles on the car. The car is Deep Shadow blue with the titanium gray bottom. The car is all stock except for the cat-back Magnaflow exhaust, drop in K&N air filter and rear end gear ratio(3.73). The other things that have been changed/upgraded are the LX tail lights and clear 6 piece headlight set. The car has been completely repainted about 3 years ago. This car has had a lot of freshening up done to it in the past 3 years (listed below). This car has had almost a completely new interior in it too. It runs and drives fantastic! Car has power windows, power locks, power mirrors and factory sunroof. The A/C has been converted to R134. It is charged and COLD! This Mustang has a set of original Ford factory Pony wheels that are in great shape. The front tires are brand new and rear tires are about new with 85% tread remaining. I will attempt to give an accurate as possible condition of this car as the car does have some minor flaws. There is a ding/chipped paint on edge of hood (something fell out of hands when walking by the car in the garage), passenger side lower ground skirt has chip and has been touched up though, rear hatch has small raised bump spot and at some point in the past someone broke in through the hatch and when car was repainted they never fixed the under side where the lock retainer clip is. You can’t see it unless the hatch is open and are looking for it, it doesn’t effect the operation or function of hatch or lock at all. Passenger side black trim has some small chips in it and the factory radio doesn’t light up very good anymore. All these noted issues are pictured below so you can see for yourself what I’m referring to. These cars are becoming extremely rare and this is one really nice all around car. Thanks for your looking and good luck bidding!

All new items:

Exterior-

New Paint
New Clear head light set
New front tires
New window sill trim
New door seal weather stripping
New LED license plate bulbs

Interior-

New headliner
New door panels
New door speaker grills
New door handle trim
New drivers door lock actuator
New carpet
New front and rear seat upholstery
New hatch shocks

Other New items-

New O2 sensors
New Battery (year ago)
New K&N air filter
New radiator

With 100k Mustangs produced in 1988 and again in 1989, and about 85k in 1990, there should be enough out there to find something worth buying.