NO TUVE TIEMPO PARA TRADUCIR .........
MACKINAW CITY, Mich. - Look out for the new Mustang! Ford's classic pony car shows a muscular-edge design in the styling department for 1999. But that's not all. There are more horses hitched beneath that exaggerated front hood to help mark the 35th anniversary of this American automotive icon.
When the original Mustang coupe rolled out in 1964, it set a generation on edge with envy. Many iterations followed, from the first Mustang GT Fastback of 1965 and powerful 1969 Mach I, to such muscle machines as the Boss 302 of 1970, the GT 350 in 1984, and Mach III in 1993.
Current designs come from the revised 1994 Mustang, which is still built on Ford's so-called Fox platform, which dates back to the Ford Fairmont of the 1970s.
With exterior lines less rounded now, the new Mustang shows more creases and sharp angles. This 1999 version seems as much inspired by the original knife-edge coupe as Ford's more recent cutting-edge GT90 supercar, whose taut shape consists of complex interlocking triangles.
Coupe or convertible
Results of Ford's latest remake of the pony car were on display in Michigan recently with a preview test-drive program for the 1999 Mustang, cast as sporty two-door coupe or sensuous convertible.
Long and low, this Mustang carries vague reflections from the original. We note the extended hood with twin ridges or scooped door panels, plus that prominent galloping pony emblem clad in shiny chrome and mounted to a honeycomb grille.
With brawny exterior shapes and impressive power packages purring below the long hood, Mustang still warps the mind with lust for this slick set of wheels that feels good to drive and delivers fun in a racy package. Yet Mustang represents a narrow focus that's clearly retroactive: Detroit steel muscle pumped up with heady horsepower directed to the rear wheels.
Today's Mustang comes in three separate postures. In base coupe trim, it totes Ford's 3.8-liter Essex V-6 engine, now with a split-port induction system and injected with 40 more ponies, to reach 190. The engine was reworked with new dual-runner intake manifold to increase airflow into the combustion chamber and slick piston coatings installed to reduce friction. Also, a new balanced shaft tames this plant and pares the shake-rattle-and-roll effect of the former V-6. Consider this the value story for Mustang '99, as it tallies to $16,995 plus $525 in delivery fees. Then add $4,600 to drive the dazzling Mustang V-6 convertible variation.
While a V-6 may satisfy some, the Mustang's historical image as a raucous "guy car" hinges on hunky power derived from a rip-roaring V-8 engine. In order to find this kind of Mustang in 1999, you have to step up in price as well as power. Two revamped 4.6-liter V-8 Ford engines slip into Mustang's serious editions, which also come with sport-tuned suspension hardware and other performance paraphernalia.
More pony power
The Mustang GT carries a revised version of Ford's single-cam V-8. In this installation it produces 260 hp, up some 35 hp over the previous GT's V-8. This significant increase in horsepower was effected by improving the way the V-8 breathes, particularly at engine speeds above 3000 rpm.
New camshafts can lift higher and for a longer period, as intake manifold runners were straightened to create a more direct path for incoming air, and bigger intake valves were inserted. Also, the engine's combustion chamber was reshaped and exhaust valves reset, then a new coil-on-plug ignition system was specified.
With GT, Ford's list price for a coupe runs to $21,395 and the convertible hits $25,395.
Both V-6 and V-8 versions mate with either a manual five-speed transmission or an optional four-speed automatic, but for the GT, quicker gear ratios go to the automatic.
Late in the year new Mustang spins off a snake in the stable called SVT Cobra, and its power should choke the horse. Ford applies independent rear suspension and manual five-speed stick mated to the 4.6-liter V-8, but with dual cams and four valves per cylinder plus multipoint injection. Expect output to climb as high as 320 hp.
In a spin around the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, one driver tested both V-6 and GT variations of Mustang's new theme - along with a stint in a predecessor that by comparison seemed as different as night and day.
The new version feels more sophisticated and fun to drive. There's a refreshing refinement to the foundation that eliminates the roughness of the previous pony. It now acts quite tight, even crisp, demonstrating a quietness factor that has been dramatically improved now that the chassis has been boosted by sturdy new steel structural supports that take extra measures to ensure rigidity.
Other changes to the chassis include an increase in the driveline tunnel height at the rear, which permits about an inch more vertical height for the rear-suspension system. New linear-rate rear springs were then ordered, with springs and shocks and stabilizer bar retuned. In addition, the track width of the rear wheels was increased by 1.4 inches, setting up a broader stance that helps settle the rear end during handling maneuvers.
Mustang's power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering feels more precisely tuned in this version, and there's an enhanced on-center balance. It can cut a corner quicker too, as the diameter of the turning circle drops by about 3 feet, which means this is a more agile animal.
To rein Ford's pony, new twin-piston aluminum calipers go to front discs on brakes, reducing the unsprung weight by 10 pounds and evoking a more linear and positive feel to the brake pedal. A computerized anti-lock system is standard equipment for GT, and Ford now offers all-speed traction control as an option for any Mustang edition.
Mustang's interior impresses with twin cockpit positions reminiscent of the original plan. The design defines each front passenger's post with a dash line arching high over driver's instrument panel and rider's storage box, then dipping low in an arc through the center section, which clusters controls for Mustang's climate and sound systems.
Even the Mustang V-6 has many standard features, from analog instruments to air conditioning and remote keyless entry. Options include the GT's decklid spoiler and leather seat upholstery, plus anti-lock brakes and traction control.