Ford will offer a new “Feature car”

So, you probably saw the news from last week that Ford has announced special appearance packages for the 2022 Mustang GT and Mach-E. In that announcement they mentioned “throwback styling” and specifically called out the “the original ’93 Triple White Fox body feature Mustang”.

This is the second fox-body reference from Ford which I have seen in a week. What is going on here? I think we can all agree that Ford hasn’t typically given the fox-body a lot of love. My summer had a couple examples of this.

At the Carlisle Ford Nationals, I learned about the brand new Ford Special Vehicle Registry. I haven’t written about it yet as I can’t register my car on the site. I asked them about the problem in person and followed up via email months ago but, as of today, I still get an error. Oh, I registered my 2014 Mustang GT with no issues. There are some 1993 vehicles in that registry but I have tried at least one other feature car VIN than my own and it failed as well. From talking with them, I know they care deeply about this project but just haven’t had the time to fix this.

In addition to this little glitch, I also made contact at Carlisle with someone who had knowledge of the Ford Show Parts offerings including their certificate of authenticity programs. At my request, he researched the feasibility of providing a certificate for feature cars but found that Ford does not have the data to produce such as certificate or to verify the authenticity of our feature cars. Hmmm. Somehow Marti Auto Works is able to provide us with a deluxe report that includes our feature car package and also our build dates. This seems to be all the data you would need and this must be sourced from Ford. Right?

Both of these left me a little disappointed about Ford’s enthusiasm for our feature cars and the fox-body in general.

And then, the Eluminator was announced. It’s a 281 hp electric crate motor from Ford Performance. You might think that it is not particularly noteworthy to fans of 28+ year old Mustangs, until you read the Carscoops article on this announcement and spot this little gem –

Ford was tight-lipped on specifics, but told us the motor will produce 281 hp  (210 kW / 285 PS) and 318 lb-ft (431 Nm) of torque. Those are decent figures and Ford’s Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Hau Thai-Tang, noted the output is higher than what was available on the Fox body Mustang.

It’s the last line that got me. There are other groupings of Mustangs to measure this 281 hp against. Most notably, 281 hp is more than any SN95 Mustang GT ever had. But, a Ford chief relates this ultra modern crate motor all the way back to the Fox-body Mustang. Obviously, someone there does recognize the importance of the Fox-body and where it lies in their customer’s hearts. Cool.

Speaking of cool

And, then comes the latest news of the Ice White Appearance package. The original Feature Car packages came at the end of the Fox-body generation as a way to increase demand for the Mustang. With rumors of a redesign for 2023, this package does the same for the S550 Mustang.

The Ford news release states that this is being done to celebrate the Woodward Dream Cruise. What is interesting is that this is not the first white treatment for a Mustang that Ford has done for the Woodward Dream Cruise. Back in 1997, there were 58 white Mustang special editions for the Cruise coming in both coupe and convertible body styles. That car was a joint effort between Ford and ASC. Although, never called out as a feature car, it had a white exterior, white 5 spoke wheels and a white spoiler.

1997 Woodward Dream Cruise Mustang GT
1997 Woodward Dream Cruise Mustang GT badge

And, now we have a new “special edition” car. It’s not called a “feature car” but is compared directly to the 1993 triple white. And, because I can, I feel that it is appropriate to measure this new “feature” car against that original 1993 model. I’ll break it down in a few major areas and rate it in terms of faithfulness to the original and execution.

Exterior – spoiler

The spoiler is arguably the signature “feature” of the original feature car. For 2022, I think the Performance Rear Wing is a great choice. True, they already have this wing which would normally require the Performance Package, so it’s not just for this special edition but, from many angles, it evokes the original feature car spoiler.

Spoiler faithfulness and execution – 10/10 (a couple points added for using what you already have when it works)

Exterior – wheels

Here, I’ve got the biggest issue with this car. Honestly, though, this must have been the toughest design decision on this whole car. White wheels scream the 90’s. And, any car in 2021 with wheels other than your basic silvers, grays, blacks and their various shades is just not a good look. But, they did what they could. And, I’m okay with the hybrid of painted and machined. I just don’t like this wheel. I would have rather seen a five spoke wheel design like the 18″ Machined-Face Aluminum with Low-Gloss Ebony Black-Painted Pockets Wheels with the black paint replaced with white. Or, a bolder choice would have been to take the 19″ X 8.5″ Ebony Black-painted Aluminum Wheels from the Black Accent Package but to do them in white. Holy cow would that have been wild!

Wheels – 5/10 (not bold enough)

Exterior – other

For the rest of the exterior, we will rate it as a whole. Stating the obvious, I am a little disappointed not to see this as a convertible. But, my feeling is that almost all Mustangs look better as coupes than as convertibles so I can’t complain too much. If I were buying, I’d take the coupe over the convertible if there was a choice.

The question here is how much can you white out? I think they’ve gone with a decent compromise even though there still are a fair amount of black plastics. I think the mirrors could totally go all white and still look good. For the rest, I’m not sure what else I’d white out without passing the limit of tastefulness.

I also applaud the absence of “special edition” badging on the car. I just heard from someone who, in 2021, bought a 1992 feature car where neither he nor the seller knew it was anything other than a run of the mill Mustang. In the spirit of life’s little surprises – no badging. If you know, you know.

Exterior – 7/10 (simple changes but not over the top. Yeah, the top. Minus 1 for that)

Interior

What we are missing in the new interior is embroidery. That’s as weird as it is to read as it is to write. Floor mats with embroidered ponies would have been nice but I think they really missed it by not putting a pony on the white upper panel of the seat. I think that could have been a cool nod to both the 1993 feature cars and the pony seats of the original 1965-66 Mustang.

I think the interior holds true to the original in that none of the whites look to match. The Oxford White leather seat inserts might match the door panel inserts but they certainly do not match the dash pad or the white stitching. Both of those don’t really match each other either.

Interior – 8/10 (too subtly done missing a few cues yet mismatched whites adds back a couple of points)

Package Offerings

This new package is stated as available on the “Ecoboost® and GT Premium Fastback” models. The way I am reading that is “Ecoboost® Premium and GT Premium Fastback” models. The LX was arguably the best Mustang value and we were really lucky to get a special edition in it. It didn’t seem like just another way to add more options onto an already premium model.

I would have rather seen this package on the Ecoboost® and GT Fastback base models giving those entry level offerings a little something special. That could have provided a nice way to get some luxury upgrades like leather seats into those base models.

Package offerings – 6/10 (too bad it requires premium but we can get this with the lower cost Ecoboost® car as well as avoid the up-charge of the convertible.

Summary

I can honestly say that I am thrilled to see this will be offered. I am mostly joking with the above critique. I understand there are tradeoffs in making something like this and that I probably shouldn’t judge it too harshly against the past. Style trends come and go. It would have been safer to choose a red or yellow car to base something on than the white. Kudos Ford. And, in the spirit of the 1/2 year model introduction of the original feature cars, let’s see a 2022 1/2 in red. And even yellow.

My only true wish for this car is that Ford keep track of how many they make and are able to provide some certificates of authenticity for their future owners. Potentially, there will be hundreds or even a thousand owners willing to pay $50 for a piece of paper that will contribute to their enthusiasm for the Ford brand and their products. I hope they are listening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.