By Otsile Kadiege
Ford’s Mustang is a performance car which needs no introduction. The current generation Mustang is the world’s best-selling sports car and throughout its lifetime it has we’ve seen several special edition models like the Mustang Bullitt in 2019, and the Mustang Mach 1 in 2021. Adding to list of limited edition models is the Mustang California which is a spiritual successor of the iconic 1968 original.
Brief Mustang California Special history
When the now iconic Ford Mustang first hit the streets in 1964, owners’ clubs sprang up across America, with many regional dealers creating their own personalised designs. One – inspired by the 1967 Shelby GT notchback coupé prototype – came to be called the California Special. That original version featured a blacked-out grille, fog lights and side racing stripes that ended ahead of the rear side air scoops, as well as a Shelby-inspired spoiler. Impressed, Ford put a limited number of California Special cars into production for 1968.
California Special exterior design
The newest interpretation reflects the original with a honeycomb front grille finished in Ebony Black and featuring a GT/CS badge in Race Red, as well as lower side stripes finished in black, red and grey. Incorporating GT/CS logos, the stripes run from the front to the rear wings and feature a hidden “California Special” script that is almost invisible in low light conditions but becomes much more prominent in stronger sunlight.
Aerodynamic enhancements includes a larger front splitter, a rear wing from the GT Performance Package, and side air scoops behind the doors for the first time on the Mustang range in SA. At the rear, a California Special faux filler cap sits above quad 4.5-inch tailpipes linked to the Active Valve performance exhaust. It’s fitted with five-spoke alloy wheels which measure 19×9-inch up front and 19×9.5-inch at the rear. The wheels are finished in Carbonised Grey to complement the front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser.
The Mustang California Special is available in 9 exterior colours are available, including signature Atlas Blue and Cyber Orange Tri-Coat, providing eye-catching contrast with the distinctive black and grey detailing. Customers also have the option of five other metallic colours: Rapid Red, Dark Matter Grey, Carbonized Grey and Oil Slick Purple. Solid colours comprise Shadow Back and Oxford White.
California Special interior styling and technology
Inside, the Mustang California Special features standard heated and cooled front seats. Its leather seats and door inserts are part-finished in grey Miko suede – an ecological, synthetic material made from recycled polyester – with red stitching. Seats and floor mats are embossed with the GT/CS logo, and the instrument panel is finished in Carbon Hex aluminium with a unique Mustang California Special badge.
On the tech front, the limited edition Mustang is fitted with an 8-inch touchscreen which runs on Ford’s SYNC®3 communication and entertainment system with navigation, voice commands and smartphone compatibility. As standard, the Mustang California Special comes with driver assistance technologies like Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keeping Alert.
The Mustang California Special is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 engine delivering 330kW power and 529Nm of torque. It’s paired to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford claims the Mustang California Special accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. As standard, the California Special is fitted with limited-slip differential and MagneRide® Damping System which is said to monitor driving conditions one thousand times per second and uses an electronically-controlled fluid to match damping resistance to the driving scenario.
Braking performance comes in the form of large-diameter 380x34mm ventilated discs and six-piston fixed aluminium Brembo callipers in front, along with 330x25mm discs and floating Brembo callipers at the rear.
Pricing, availability and warranty
Only 100 units of the Mustang California Special will be sold in SA. Enthusiasts who are lucky enough to get their hands on one will have to part ways with R1,154,900. Included as standard is the Ford Protect comprising a four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first.
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