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They did a test on the Roush, Cobra, GT, and Bullitt. Check it out!



Mustang Roundup
Corralled! — Four V-8 Mustangs at a Ford dealer near you, pilgrim

“Doing that to the Falcon was like putting falsies on Grandma,” a Ford Motor Company product planner was quoted as saying. “It was just out of character. Falcon was not a sporty car and couldn’t be made into one.”

He was referring to the original Mustang, a car that then-Ford division boss Lee Iacocca envisioned as having the flair of the Thunderbird for the price of an economy compact. At $2368, the long-hood, short-rear-deck 4-seater with strengthened Falcon running gear and a choice of 6-cylinder or V-8 engines became an overnight icon, capturing the imagination of an entire nation’s youth. Plants in Dearborn, Michigan; San Jose, California; and Metuchen, New Jersey; rallied to produce more than 400,000 Mustangs in the first 12 months—a phenomenal run, since early sales projections were in the 75,000-unit range. For Ford, 19641¼2 was a very good year.

The formula still works. An affordable price, a blue-collar chassis (the modern Mustang’s structure dates back to the Fox platform of 1978, which underpinned that road rocket, the Ford Fairmont), a relatively large-displacement V-8 driving the rear wheels and the retro-cue New Edge styling keep Mustang lovers of the new millennium coming back for more.

Part of the reason for the Mustang’s continued success is the diversity of models offered. Look at the ones we’ve tested here, any of which can be purchased directly through a Ford dealer, and covered by Ford’s warranty (or its equivalent): the meat’n’potatoes GT, the stylish/minimalist Bullitt GT, the SVT Cobra with its 4-cam engine and independent rear suspension, and the Roush Stage 3, with supercharged performance in the Corvette league. Conspicuous by absence is the supercharged Saleen S281-SC, also available through selected Ford dealerships.

The Saleen PR person we spoke to was all too happy to provide a car…until we mentioned it would appear in the same story as the Roush Mustang. “An apples-to-oranges comparison!” he insisted. Really? Both are live-axle Mustangs with supercharged sohc 4.6-liter V-8s, with similar outputs, appearance and buyer demographics. He then added that he considered the Roush to be a “kit car.”

Huh? Roush is about as tightly connected to Ford as they come, with a Siamese-twins’ motorsports union for decades, and having developed performance parts for SVT for years. It’s a kit car the way the Porsche GT2 is to the 911 Turbo. So no Saleen.

In any case, enjoy our Mustang roundup. With the Camaro as we know it ceasing production at the end of 2002, the Mustang will remain the last true American pony car. Unsophisticated? Yes, but in a way that’s actually part of its appeal. Yet it’s difficult to find a better mix of affordability, attitude and brute strength, wrapped in a package whose stars and stripes shine brightly just beneath the paint.—Douglas Kott

[imghttp://www.roadandtrack.com/images/dec2001/1201_mustang_cobra_action.jpg[/img]

Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Why didn’t Ford build a 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra? Because it was busy fixing a problem. The potent 4-cam 4.6-liter V-8 in the 1999 Cobra didn’t put out 320 bhp as claimed. This was due in part to the exhaust, which late in the design process was pinched a bit so it could pass beneath the lower control arms of the independent rear suspension and not scrape the pavement.

As such, more than 8000 1999 Cobras were recalled. Ford fitted each with a new cat-back exhaust system with less restrictive mufflers, plus it smoothed the passages of the lower intake manifolds using the extrude-hone process. Together with revised engine management, this bumped the Cobra back up to where it should be, a true 320 bhp. Unfortunately, the changes weren’t in time for model year 2000.

This explains our eagerness to test the 2001 Cobra SVT. Would it be quicker than the last Cobra we tested, a 1999 model for our April 1999 issue?

It wasn’t, but we believe we know why. At 5.6 seconds to 60 mph and a quarter-mile blast in 14.2 sec. at 99.7 mph, the 2001 Cobra is a tenth off the 1999 car in both measurements. But chalk it up to heat, as it was a speed-sapping 102 degrees Fahrenheit at the track, whereas we tested the 1999 car in mid-winter when the temps were in the 60s.

More important than how the new Cobra compares with the 1999 car is how it fits in today’s Mustang lineup. In short, it’s the sophisticate of the group. It boasts a hand-assembled aluminum-block engine that pulls like a freight train all the way up to its 6800-rpm redline. It’s fitted with multilink independent rear suspension that may not be popular with the drag-racing crowd but endears itself to road racers by keeping the back end well planted on bumpy curved roads.

Indeed, the 245-width BFGoodriches are put to good use on the Cobra, which has a 1.2-in.-wider track and laps the skidpad at an impressive 0.88g. With help from aluminum lower control arms, the Cobra has 125 lb. less unsprung rear weight than the live-axle Mustangs. What’s more, it rides a half inch lower in front and a quarter inch lower in back than the GT, for just the right amount of aggression.



Aesthetics aside, the Cobra rockets down the strip quicker than all the Mustangs tested here except for the supercharged Roush car, its 5-speed Tremec gearbox transmitting the throaty-sounding power to an 8.8-in. limited-slip differential with 3.27:1 gearing. Traction control is now standard on the Cobra, a new system with a “Power Start” mode that allows aggressive drivers to spin the rear wheels as long as the car is tracking straight. If sideslip is detected, the timing is retarded and the fuel-air ratio altered to stop the offending wheel from spinning. If this doesn’t work, the ABS kicks in to control the spinning wheel.

Back on the scene after its one-year hiatus, the reinvigorated Cobra, which lists for $28,605, deserves a close look. With the most powerful engine and most sophisticated chassis, this is undoubtedly the best Mustang based on the SN95 chassis.

—Andrew Bornhop


2001 SVT Cobra
Base price
$28,605

2001 production volume
est 8000
Engine
dohc 32-valve V-8
Horsepower (SAE)
320 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque
317 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
Suspension, f/r
ind/ind
Brakes, f/r
13.0-in. vented discs/
11.7-in. vented discs
Tires
245/45ZR-17
Curb weight
3380 lb
0–60 mph
5.6 sec
1/4 mile
14.2 sec @ 99.7 mph
Braking, 60–0
137 ft
Skidpad
0.88g
Slalom 64.0 mph



Roush Premium Stage 3 Mustang

There’s a rhythm to the esses at Bob Bondurant’s instructional course under the relentless Arizona sun. Small flicks of the steering wheel allow you to carve the largest possible arc from curb to curb, compressing the suspension side to side in a sort of high-speed automotive duck waddle. The Roush Stage 3 Mustang I’m driving really has the hang of it.

It’s not perfect in other places; lay into the throttle too early out of a hairpin and the front tires squawk loudly from understeer. Engineers explain that, through front shock valving, the edge has been taken off the Stage 3’s turn-in (and turn-out), likely to protect drivers used to stock Mustang corner-entry speeds from the Stage 3’s Corvette-like velocities.

You adjust by skuh-weeeeezing on the throttle, letting those fronts take a set and allowing 360 supercharged horses to drop-kick your lucky patootie to the next corner. Let loose of the reins in a straight line and you’ll see 60 mph from rest in a scant 5.1 seconds, and whistle through the quarter in 13.6 sec. at 107.0 mph.

This is a serious car, a worthy contestant to a stock C5 Corvette, if falling a bit short of Z06 performance. The price of $48,975 (for the “Premium” Stage 3 with every conceivable mechanical and cosmetic option available) is as steep as its acceleration curve. We’d certainly opt for the $9500-cheaper base Stage 3, a car that does without some of the Premium’s bodywork (side skirts, rear wing), reworked suspension and 14.0-in. front brakes clamped by Alcon 4-piston calipers (it has 13.0-in. rotors and Brembo calipers instead).

Yet it still has the same sweet 360-bhp 4.6-liter V-8 breathing through twin side exhaust pipes. That 100-bhp increase comes from an Eaton Roots-type supercharger, blowing its triple-lobed charge through a generously sized air-to-air intercooler in the nose. Internally, the sohc 4.6-liter V-8 remains as stock as the day it left Ford’s Romeo, Michigan, factory.

The Premium’s suspension gets a complete makeover, with the live axle receiving cast-aluminum lower links whose geometry is revised for the Stage 3’s lowered ride height. Progressive-rate springs and Bilstein shocks valved to Roush’s specifications, firmer bushings selectively applied to the suspension and steering rack and a 33-mm front anti-roll bar that appears to have been pulled off a motorhome all lend a reassuring precision to the aging structure, with ride firmness that falls somewhere between the SVT Cobra and that thinly disguised race car for the street, the Cobra R.



Apparently, Roush has determined the ideal offset for its 5-spoke wheels, as there’s an enormous amount of rubber crammed under the Mustang’s stock fenders: 265/35ZR-18 BFGoodrich Comp T/As in front and 295/35ZR-18 in back. Nothing rubs, even on the track.

It’s a very well-sorted package and one of the few cars in this performance league that can be ordered with an automatic transmission. The one thing we do miss is the characteristic V-8 rumble; the side exhausts chop the pulses up into muffled bursts. But I’m sure there are more than a few Mustang loyalists willing to pony up $50K and forego the rumble in exchange for sheer velocity.

—Douglas Kott


2001 Roush Premium Stage 3
Base price
$48,975
2001 production volume
est 300
Engine
supercharged sohc V-8
Horsepower (SAE)
360 bhp @ 5250 rpm
Torque
375 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Suspension, f/r
ind/live axle
Brakes, f/r
14.0-in. vented discs/
13.0-in vented discs
Tires
265/35ZR-18 f,
295/35ZR-18 r
Curb weight
3590 lb
0–60 mph
5.1 sec
1/4 mile
13.6 sec @ 107.0 mph
Braking, 60–0
137 ft
Skidpad
0.91g
Slalom 64.5 mph



Ford Mustang Bullitt GT

The 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT is more than just a car named after a chase-happy action film. While it certainly pays homage to the 1968 Mustang Fastback in which Steve McQueen careened through the streets of San Francisco in the movie, Bullitt, it also serves as a reminder of the early days of Ford pony cars. With its extra performance and uncluttered exterior, the Mustang Bullitt GT cleverly recaptures some of the original spirit that made those first Mustangs so popular.

Like its movie star ancestor, this latest Bullitt packs a lot of punch into a relatively unassuming package. Gone from its trunk is any sort of rear wing or spoiler. Simple rocker panels and revised moldings on the C-pillars and quarter panels give the car a clean, purposeful look. A large hood scoop keeps it from appearing too ordinary, while the wheels are styled after those found on the movie’s original Mustang Fastback, but in a more contemporary 17-in. size. For a touch of flair, a brushed aluminum fuel filler door adorns the rear quarter panel.

Inside, further aluminum accents on the doorsills, shifter ball, shifter bezel and foot pedals give the Bullitt a customized 1960s’ feel. Combined with the special charcoal leather sport seats, the interior enjoys a distinct look unlike other Mustangs. It’s muted without being boring.

Increased power is squeezed out of the GT’s 4.6-liter V-8 by freeing up its breathing at both the intake and exhaust. A cast-aluminum intake manifold and twin 57-mm-bore throttle bodies improve throttle response across the rev range, delivering more immediate access to the Bullitt’s additional power. The re-tuned exhaust system boasts 20 percent better flow along with a deeper, throatier growl.

On paper, these modifications produce only modest gains in horsepower and torque (265 bhp at 5000 rpm and 305 lb.-ft. at 4000 rpm), but on the road, the more immediate power delivery at lower revs translates into a car that feels quicker and more responsive than a standard GT. The test numbers bear this out, with the Bullitt GT posting faster 0–60-mph and quarter-mile times of 5.8 seconds and 14.3 sec. compared with the GT’s 6.0 sec. and 14.7 sec.



Stiffer spring rates, re-valved struts and shocks and different anti-roll bars make the Bullitt an easier car to drive quickly. In addition to sitting 1 in. lower, the car feels more planted on the road and less affected by bumps. And while it’s still no substitute for the Cobra’s independent rear suspension, the Bullitt’s cornering behavior is stable and predictable in its own right. Bigger 13-in. front brake rotors round out the list of performance upgrades, enabling the Bullitt to actually outbrake the Cobra.

If I had to pick a Mustang to own, this would be it. Not because of its Hollywood heritage, but because it offers the best combination of performance and value wrapped in the cleanest packaging of the bunch. The Cobra and Roush may be faster on the timesheets, but the Mustang Bullitt GT has a special style, an understated character that elevates it beyond simple numbers.

—Kim Wolfkill


2001 Bullitt GT
Base price
$26,230

2001 production volume
est 6500
Engine
sohc V-8
Horsepower (SAE)
265 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Torque
305 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Suspension, f/r
ind/live axle
Brakes, f/r
13.0-in. vented discs/
11.7-in. vented discs
Tires
245/45ZR-17
Curb weight
3360 lb
0–60 mph
5.8 sec
1/4 mile
14.3 sec @ 98.9 mph
Braking, 60–0
126 ft
Skidpad
0.87g
Slalom 63.6 mph



Ford Mustang GT

Let’s get something straight right now: The Mustang GT is not a sports car. It’s not even a grand touring car, despite the GT initials that adorn it. It’s a musclecar, with the forte of straight-line speed, achieved by big horsepower and even bigger torque; the kind of V-8 power that makes leaving a pair of long black stripes from a stoplight as easy as falling in love.

Everything about this car is loud—from the engine, to the exhaust, to the Mach 460 sound system, to the car’s styling. Redesigned in 1999 to look more like a
Mustang from the ’60s, the 2001 brings more styling tweaks, including blacked-out headlamps and a huge air scoop on the hood. While these styling cues give the GT a more menacing face, the hood scoop is blocked off (providing absolutely no power gain whatsoever). The scoops in front of the rear wheels also have no functional benefit.

Mustangs have always been about performance, and this one carries on the tradition. No doubt some Mustang purists are still having trouble sleeping at night over the loss of the 302, replaced in 1996 by the modular sohc 4.6-liter V-8. Back in 1996 that engine produced 215 bhp. Skip forward to present day and our GT test car has a full 260 bhp at 5250 rpm and 302 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000. This means that the GT is one quick car. Its 0–60-mph time of 6.0 seconds is 0.8 sec. quicker than the last GT we tested (R&T, April 1996). Handling has improved, too. The 2001 GT tops the old Mustang in the slalom—63.7 mph versus 62.1, and the skidpad—0.86g vs. 0.80g (245/45ZR-17 Goodyear Eagles, front and rear, no doubt help).

Unfortunately, Ford has not addressed many of the problems enthusiasts have with this car, including a lack of independent rear suspension and a strange seating position that’s too high. But while I heard gripes about the shifter’s long throws and strange shape, I personally will be upset the day they get rid of this angled-to-the-left lever. The trunk has useful space but with an opening that is much too small, though the rear seat does have a split/fold-down ability. But what happened to the bolstered front seats of the GTs of the 1980s? The current ones are flat as a board.



Despite being a musclecar, the GT handles the twisty stuff just fine. The Quadra Shock rear setup keeps the rear planted, and you really have to work to make the tail slide out. Steering is a bit ponderous, and the car isn’t as fond of changing directions as, say, a BMW M3, but there is enough sport in the car for all but the most hardcore back-road chargers.

At $24,165 for the Premium edition (including a 6-disc in-dash CD player and stylish Bullitt wheels), the Mustang GT provides incredible bang-for-the-buck. And included in that admission price is the awesome sound emitted from the GT’s large-diameter dual exhaust pipes. Rev the GT hard up to 5000 rpm, lift the throttle—and then rejoice in the burbling and popping, for there is nothing like the sound of an American V-8.

—Mike Monticello


2001 GT
Base price
$22,730

2001 production volume
est 45,000*

Engine
sohc V-8

Horsepower (SAE)
260 bhp @ 5250 rpm

Torque
302 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm


Suspension, f/r
ind/live axle


Brakes, f/r
10.9-in. vented discs/
10.5-in. discs

Tires
245/45ZR-17

Curb weight
3305 lb
0–60 mph
6.0 sec
1/4 mile
14.7 sec @ 96.4 mph
Braking, 60–0
131 ft
Skidpad
0.86g
Slalom 63.7 mph



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 1NastyFordGT on 2001-12-19 10:05 ]</font>
 

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Great article. I really like the summary of the Bullitt, almost as if I wrote it myself.

*****
http://www.roadandtrack.com
If I had to pick a Mustang to own, this would be it. Not because of its Hollywood heritage, but because it offers the best combination of performance and value wrapped in the cleanest packaging of the bunch. The Cobra and Roush may be faster on the timesheets, but the Mustang Bullitt GT has a special style, an understated character that elevates it beyond simple numbers.
*****




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: llama_boy on 2001-12-17 15:49 ]</font>
 

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Nicely done article...fair..and clean. I don't even mind articles that don't prefer the Bullitt like this one did..I just expect a fair opinion that does not stretch to bash the bullitt. Yes, I would love to have a Saleen..or Roush..but they are not the bullitt and don't offer the heritage that the bullitt does. It is for that reason..and that I am a poor college student that I chose the bullitt.
 

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Now that was a nice article. Too bad Saleen did not want to put a car up for this review. Would have been nice. I would have liked to see a Steeda in here as well;-)... Before the Bullitt came along I was looking hard at the Steeda Mustangs.

Happy Holidays.

Bud
 

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Thanks Norman, thanks Llama_boy. Very nice reading!
 
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