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Ford Mustang gallops towards Australia

Giddy up: The famous American pony car, the Mustang, is an almost certain starter in Australia from about 2015.

Aussie designers and engineers saddle up for bit part in new global Ford Mustang

7 Sep 2012

FORD’S iconic Mustang is poised for right-hand drive production, opening the door for the muscle car to be launched in Australia in its next generation from about 2015.

And the even better news is that Ford’s Australian designers and engineers are believed to have a hand in the project as part of their global product development contribution.

Ford Australia is tight-lipped about the Australian connection to the American-built “pony car”, but the local branch of the Blue Oval company and its Ford Performance Vehicles offshoot have extensive experience with independent rear-suspension rear-drive large cars and supercharged V8s.

Ford Motor Co president Alan Mulally last night announced in Amsterdam that after 50 years, the Mustang finally will be sold in Europe, including in right-hand drive form for Britain.

“We heard it here first – Mustang, the American icon, is coming to Europe,” he said.

“We will have more details to share in the future. One thing we can say for sure what has made Mustang such a sensation in the US for nearly 50 years soon will be enjoyed by customers in Europe.”

27 center imageLeft: 2013 Ford Mustang.

Officially, Ford Australia is non-commital about the possibilities for Mustang in Australia, with public affairs director Sinead Phipps saying: “At this stage, Mustang has been confirmed for Europe but nothing further, so I can’t speculate further than that.”

However, she did not rule out the sixth-generation coupe for Australia, which is under development in the United States.

She also did not rule out an Australian role in the project.

GoAuto understands that Ford Australia designers and engineers – who were responsible for the Ranger ute and related upcoming T6 SUV that is thought to be called Everest –have been enlisted to help with some aspects of the Mustang development.

All of Ford’s global design centres are likely to have been asked to submit a design theme for the car, but the Melbourne-based team is believed to be helping out with at least some aspects to the design and engineering of the rear-drive sports coupe.

The new Mustang reportedly will break with tradition by dispensing with the live rear axle, instead employing an independent rear end.

Ford Australia has extensive experience with such suspension systems via its locally built Falcon, including high-performance variants such as the supercharged V8 Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) GT.

Europe is likely to miss out on the V8 Mustang, instead making do with a more fuel-efficient high-output V6 and possibly a turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder.

No ‘Stang range in Australia would be complete without a V8, and the local model is certain to get the latest version of Ford’s 5.0-litre Coyote, perhaps the supercharged Miami version developed in Australia by FPV – the official Ford hot shop that has just been brought in-house by Ford Australia.

In the US, the current Mustang has a choice of 227kW 3.7-litre V6 or 331kW 5.0-litre V8 engines. A 5.8-litre supercharged version produced by Shelby, called the GT500, is armed with a mega 494kW – more than an Australian V8 Supercar racer.

In Australia, FPV’s GT range is powered by a 335kW/570Nm locally developed supercharged version of the Coyote – an engine that FPV hoped would one day become part of the official Ford family.

When that engine was developed, British-based Prodrive was the majority stakeholder in FPV, with Ford owning 49 per cent.

However, Ford Australia last month announced it would buy out Prodrive and bring the operation in-house.

The Ford Mustang was launched in its first generation in the United States in 1964, creating a sensation around the world and prompting a host of imitators.

The 2+2 coupe was named after the World War 2 Mustang fighter plane, which in turn was named after the breed of wild horse revered in the American west.

The car was famously championed by then Ford vice-president Lee Iacocca, making him a house-hold name around the world.

The Mustang has never been officially sold in Australia by Ford, but hundreds have made their way here over the years, many by private enthusiasts who have had them converted to right-hand drive.

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