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The Mustang GT: A History of Power

The legacy of the Ford Mustang GT is unmatched in automotive history. From its origin as a simple performance package to its time as a movie star in Bullitt, and its current place at the top of the pony car heap, the Mustang GT reigns supreme.

First Generation — The Mustang GT Classics

As we mentioned, the first GT wasn't actually a model at all. It was an "equipment package" available on some 1965 Mustangs. What did it have to offer? Among its upgrades were:

Disc Brakes
Dual Exhaust
Improved steering ratio
225 to 271 hp, depending on the engine

A similar Mustang GT package was offered for the 1966 and 1967 models, though the latter also had an updated design. Some would argue that the first "true" GT model was the 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback, also known as the GT-390, because it came with a 390-cubic-inch, 335-horsepower V8 engine. Is that name ringing a bell? It should — that's the iconic model driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Starting in 1970, however, Ford put the GT to rest.

First Gen Mustang GT

Second Generation - Skip It

The second generation of the Mustang, from 1974 to 1978, had no GT models. None at all. So, you know what? Screw this generation.

Third Generation — Return of the Mustang GT

While the "Fox Body" generation started in the 1979 model year, it wasn't until 1982 that the GT made its triumphant return. The 1982 Ford Mustang GT had:

157 hp
Better breathing intake and exhaust systems
302-cubic-inch, 5.0-liter V8

While that horsepower might not seem too impressive by today's standards, it was still good to have the GT back. The 1983 Ford Mustang GT got a refreshed design, as well as a bump to 175 horsepower. In 1984, Ford celebrated the Mustang's 20th anniversary with a commemorative GT model. Though they tweaked the design in 1987, the Fox Body persisted through 1993, with each year's Mustang GT offering incremental upgrades.

Third Gen Mustang GT

Fourth Generation — A Custom Paradise

The wholly redesigned SN95 body style sort of kicked the doors open for modified Mustang GTs. While some find the design generic, there are plenty of Mustang lovers that adore SN95s for how fun they are to mod — you'll still see them on the track today, souped-up with Mustang GT performance parts. The 1994-1995 Ford Mustang GT featured:

215 hp
0-60 MPH in 6.1 seconds
5.0-liter V8

Let's get real — that's not super impressive. But, again, it was really all about the custom mods. The 1996-1998 Ford Mustang GT did away with the overhead valve 5.0-liter engine in favor of a 4.6-liter V8, but otherwise had very similar output.

For the 1999 model year, there was a big design overhaul. Killer sharp edges gave it a name: The New Edge Mustang. All 1999-2004 Ford Mustang GT models were in the New Edge style, which brought along some upgrades, as well:

250 hp
0-60 MPH in 5.4 seconds
4.6-liter V8 with dual-overhead cam

Fourth Gen Mustang GT

There were a couple of other Mustang GT milestones in this period. The first Special Edition Bullitt was released in 2001, and it was technically an upgrade over the GT with five extra horsepower. Also, Ford produced its 300 millionth car in 2004 — a 40th anniversary model Mustang GT convertible.

Fifth Generation — Brand New Design, Retro Mustang Style

While the 2005-2009 Ford Mustang GT was completely redesigned from the previous generation, its look reached back into the 60s and 70s for inspiration. That said, these S197 models are still ripe for modding with custom Mustang GT parts. The stats on these puppies included:

300 hp
0-60 MPH in 5.5 seconds
4.6-liter V8

That substantial horsepower increase is worth noting here. The 2010 Mustang GT retained most of these same specs but bumped that up even further to 315 horsepower.

And yet, there was even more power to come in the fifth generation, starting in the 2011 model year. Along with some suspension tweaks and other upgrades, the 2011-2014 Ford Mustang GT got a significant engine upgrade with the Coyote, taking it back to a 5.0:

412 hp
0-60 MPH in 4.3 seconds
5.0-liter V8 Coyote

That's quite a performance boost — hell of a way to close out the generation.

Fifth Gen Mustang GT

Sixth Generation — The Modern Mustang GT

While some of the retro design elements carried over into the sixth generation, they were combined with a bit of euro flair, making the "S550" Mustang a bit sleeker and more ergonomic. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary, so of course, Ford celebrated with a commemorative Mustang GT. But you want to know what was under the hood. The 2015-2017 Ford Mustang GT gave us:

435 hp
400 lb-ft
5.0-liter V8 Coyote

The extra horsepower is nice, but the best performance upgrade was actually the suspension — independent rear suspension on all Mustangs, and other design changes to accommodate it. 2018 was a refresh year, and the 2018-2019 Ford Mustang GT again beefed up the Coyote engine's performance:

460 hp
420 lb-ft
0-60 MPH in 3.9 seconds

Sixth Gen Mustang GT

So, where is this road heading? Well, we've got the 2020 Ford Mustang GT, and it further cements the Mustang's legacy, just as we expected. No matter what the Blue Oval is cooking up next, it's bound to blow us away.

Make Your Own History with Mustang GT Performance Parts

We are in awe of the Mustang GT's history — so much so that we're doing our best to be a small part of it. And we want to bring you along for the ride. Lethal Performance has the Mustang GT parts you need to get your car running and looking like a killing machine. From body and styling parts to Mustang accessories and ripping superchargers, we've got you covered. Whether you need fourth, fifth or sixth generation Mustang GT performance parts, we'll get you rolling in no time. Call us at 977-2LETHAL if you have any questions.

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