When a Mustang becomes a Thunderbird
Ford has produced a one-off Mustang to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the US Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team.
The USAF Thunderbirds Edition will be auctioned on August 1 with proceeds going to EAA Young Eagles organisation's program which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.6 million young people since 1992.
The Thunderbirds Edition joins five other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by Ford for the EAA Young Eagles auction in recent years. Ford vehicles sold at auction during past EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised nearly US$1.9 million (NZ$2.44m) to support Young Eagles.
The unique vehicles produced in the past include the Mustang AV8R, with cues from the F-22 Raptor, which in 2008 helped introduce the glass-roof canopy and delivered a record auction contribution of US$500,000 (NZ$643,000). In 2009, it was the AV-X10 "Dearborn Doll" Mustang crafted in honour of World War II aircraft. In 2010 two automotive icons – the late Carroll Shelby, a former US Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, longtime P-51 pilot – collaborated for the first time to create the SR-71 "Blackbird" Mustang inspired by the legendary reconnaissance jet. The "Blue Angels" Mustang in 2011 celebrated 100 years of United States naval aviation, and last year's "Red Tails" Mustang paid homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, the squadron of P-51 Mustang pilots who were the United States' first African American military airmen.
The latest one-of-a-kind car is VIN 0001 of the 2014 model year and boasts unique body treatments above and below the vehicle and will be auctioned during the EAA's Airventure Oshkosh at Wittman Regional Airport in Wisconsin.
This unique Thunderbirds 5.0-litre glass-roof Mustang coupe comes in a custom brilliant white paint with red and blue accents, as well as markings and logos, tying it to the Thunderbirds' F-16 Falcon aircraft. The unique treatment includes wide body modifications and a handcrafted and painted "belly pan" that emulates the F-16 Thunderbird appearance. TS Designs handcrafted the front and rear wide body elements, Creations n' Chrome crafted the unique belly pan – plus applied the paint and markings – and Forgiato created custom 22-inch wheels to further differentiate this Mustang from anything else on the road.
Unique interior details of the US Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Ford Mustang GT include a modified navigation screen, instrument cluster and rear seat-delete. The car's Recaro seats include embroidered Thunderbirds elements. Additional features include unique sill plates and puddle lamps that project the aircraft silhouette when the doors open.
It is also equipped with a Ford Racing supercharger and suspension handling pack with Brembo brakes.