This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

Photo Courtesy Ford

The early Mustang fast-back is a common object of desire thanks to its classic lines, American power, and that iconic “Bullitt” chase scene. Then the reality of owning a half-century-old performance car sets in: the rusty rockers, sloppy steering and less-than-stellar brakes. The modern, low-buck alternative? How about a 2005–’14 Mustang GT? Right now you can find one for less than $10,000.

That 2005-’14 Mustang, often referred to by its S197 chassis code, ushered in the Mustang’s current retro styling. In fact, Ford dressed it up in several throwback jerseys throughout its model run.

Under the skin, the S197 Mustang is all traditional American pony car, featuring independent front suspension and a live rear axle. While the base Mustang received a V6 engine, the GT continued to enjoy V8 power-specifically Ford’s then-new 4.6-liter, three-valve-per-cylinder Mod motor tuned to 300 horsepower and 320 ft.-lbs. of torque. Buyers could choose from a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

The first big update came for the 2010 model year, with a sleeker nose, smaller headlights and a perkier tail. If the original S197-chassis car recalled the original Mustang, this one sort of emulated the 1970 version.

The drivetrain got its big upgrade the for 2011. The Mustang GT’s Coyote engine displaced an even 5.0 liters, featured four valves per cylinder plus two cams per bank, and produced 412 horsepower. On today’s market, expect the Coyote-powered cars to start in the teens, with lower-mileage ones running closer to $20,000.

The sheetmetal wasn’t the only thing to go retro, as the S197 platform was used to host a series of throwback machines. The first was the 2006 Shelby GT, with its subtle graphics, cold-air intake, lowered suspension, hood scoop and all-important hood pins. A similar Shelby GT-H, meanwhile, was a rental option for Hertz customers. Also available for 2006 was the GT California Special; like the 1968 original, it was mostly a graphics package.

A crowd favorite hit the market for the 2008–’09 model years: the Bullitt. The recipe added a bit more power, a bit more stick, and some design cues from the star of its Hollywood namesake. The grille, for example, lost its horse badge and driving lights, while the wheels nicely recalled the original Torq Thrusts. In addition to black, the color options included the proper Highland Green. Today we’re seeing low-mileage examples with asking prices slightly above $20,000.

Ford delivered a retro package after the facelift, too, with the 2012–’13 Boss 302: It got a bump up to 444 horsepower, stiffer suspension, Torsen differential and other track-ready touches. The graphics package included those iconic C stripes.

Read the rest of the story

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise HalfDork
2/7/19 3:46 p.m.

What does this mean:

 

"On the 2011–’14 models, the transmission is less than stellar-and that is putting it politely. However, with proper maintenance they will last."

 

Is it the MT or the AT you are talking about?

EvilScientistMoose
EvilScientistMoose New Reader
2/7/19 5:19 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

What does this mean:

 

"On the 2011–’14 models, the transmission is less than stellar-and that is putting it politely. However, with proper maintenance they will last."

 

Is it the MT or the AT you are talking about?

The Chinese-manufactured, MT-82 6-speed manual transmission. There are possibly hundreds of horror stories that follow behind this transmission, and some outright surprise that there wasn't a recall of some kind or another to have it replaced. 

The Getrag MT-82 actually came from Europe and the Ford Transit van, along with some manual transmission Rovers. This should give you some pause, as the engines in the European vehicles in question only put out maybe 2/3rds of the torque that the 2011-2014 Coyote puts out, yet Ford thought it was a capital idea to toss these behind both the V6 and V8. Everything went pretty well for the first few months of the Coyote's release, but it seems like when cold weather of Fall and Winter set in, the Chinese steel gears shrank or something else, and that's when the true shifting horror set in. I've even seen these transmissions hang up between gears while doing left-hand turns. 

I was in contact with several Ford dealership technicians during this time, I was hearing something like a failure rate of 2 out of 3 MT-82's, with Ford voiding warranties right and left, with one of the popular tactics being service advisors checking tire wear front to rear, and if the rears were more than 2/32's off, why, you must have been doing burnouts, warranty voided.  

From 2010 to 2014, there were something like 65 manufacturing revisions for the MT-82, and it still doesn't shift all that well unless you replace the shifter with something aftermarket. 

It's best to replace it with the TR-6060. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise HalfDork
2/7/19 7:02 p.m.

In reply to EvilScientistMoose :

Thank you. Yikes!!! Guess doesn’t sound like such a value then, unless one is interested in AT mustang - which I am surely not 

tester
tester New Reader
2/7/19 8:26 p.m.

In reply to The Staff of Motorsport Marketing :

I picked up a “Bullitt” last year. It filled the early Mustang void for me.  It is a 5 speed; not the problematic 6 speed. The 2005 through 2009 cars give up power and some electronic do-dads to the later cars, but stylistically, they are a home run. 

I still love the early (1965-66) cars, but I just could not make the numbers and logistics work. 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
2/8/19 5:59 a.m.

I bought a GT 5speed new in 05 and have 122k on it today. No major mechanical problems, just wear items. It's down on power compared to the later cars but it's also a couple hundred pounds lighter. I've sharpened the tune and the suspension slightly but not all that much. It's still a hoot to drive and makes me smile every time.

RWP
RWP
2/9/19 2:51 p.m.

As a bit of a contrary option, I bought a 2012 V6 (305 HP) with MT and the Performance Pack, essential the GT brakes and suspension.  Somewhat lighter than the V8, plenty of power for an urban environment (Atlanta), and a great handling car.  Sold it before moving to NC mountains due to narrow roads and winter weather.  Now regret selling at times.

 

Cooper_Tired
Cooper_Tired HalfDork
2/9/19 3:28 p.m.

In reply to RWP :

The V6 PP mustangs do not get the credit they deserve. Solid performers for the money 

mattmagee
mattmagee New Reader
2/22/19 8:40 a.m.

In reply to Cooper_Tired :

I had a 2013 PP car with the MT.  It was a lot of of performance for the 22.5k I paid for sure.  I expect a loaded GT with an auto was no faster, yet that point seemed lost to nearly anyone I spoke to.  

Put 60k trouble-free miles on it.  The only issue I had apart from the crappy transmission was that under certain conditions such as pulling out under power and crossing lanes, the traction control would freak out and try to straighten the car out.  It would cut power and start futzing with the brakes cycling side to side wagging the car around.  Probably a bad idea the be banging off a 1-2 shift at 7 grand crossing lanes but still a flaw in the code imho.

Wish I could afford to keep it but decided to get a car with an auto for commuting duty.  It's no fun spending 10-20 minutes a day in stop and go traffic working that clutch.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 Dork
2/27/19 1:14 p.m.

I have a 2013 GT with the MT. the trans is junk, I got it with under 5k miles, has less than 40k miles on it now. It has an aftermarket shifter and it grinds going into 5th gear 1/2 the time. My other car is a Miata, so the shifter is being compared to one of the best i have ever used.

 

 

Birthdays
Our Preferred Partners
vnR2ZHurWIBvPhdGYZWmZJH0hZl3ebU02t4tHoZZjZ3xFV3PObMagGO4BZXLCz91